While the punters might still be showing some reluctance, the bookies firmly believe the top two sides on the A-League table deserve their places
|By PAUL GOUGH
Perennial A-League bridesmaids Adelaide United and the Central Coast Mariners continue to be ignored by punters in championship betting for the A-League title, despite the pair now opening up a clear lead over their eight rivals at the top of the table.
Nearing the half-way point of the season and Graham Arnold's Mariners are on top of the table with 26 points, one point ahead of John Kosmina's Reds on 25. Melbourne Victory are now a distant third on 17 points.
You can then throw a blanket over the other six teams,with just six points separating competition newcomers and surprise packets Western Sydney Wanderers in fourth spot to Sydney FC in last place on ten points ‑ with all teams still in with a chance of finishing in the top six and playing in the finals series.
|Western Sydney to make the A-League finals at $2 at Betfair
||Central Coast to win the A-League grand final at $3.60 at Betfair|
However, title betting is beginning to reflect the dominance of the Mariners and Reds.
Then come defending champions Brisbane Roar on $8.20, with Perth Glory the only other team under double figure odds after 11 weeks at $9.60.
But while the market reflects Adelaide and Central Coast's clear lead at the top of the table, the punters are wary of both team's dismal record in finals matches.
Neither club is yet to win an A-League grand final, with the Mariners having twice won the minor premiership only to lose the grand final on both occasions.
Adelaide were the minor premiers in the A-League's first season but did not even make the grand final, while they have also lost both of their grand final appearances - at the hands of Melbourne Victory.
The two clubs are easily the best performed clubs in the history of the A-League yet to win the championship.
The Reds have attracted only around 10.5 percent of money wagered on the victors of this season's A-League grand final at Betfair, while the Mariners have attracted just under 17 percent.
In contrast, both Melbourne Victory and defending champions Brisbane - struggling in second-last place with just 11 points - have each attracted just over 17 percent of money, while even last-placed Sydney FC have attracted similar interest to Adelaide.
As far as top-six betting is concerned, the Mariners and Reds are now into just $1.03 to make the finals this year at Betfair, with the Victory at $1.12 also considered virtual certainties.
But the other three positions are very much up for grabs, with the Wanderers great value at even money of $2 at Betfair to reach the top six, considering they currently sit in fourth spot and show no signs of dropping off the pace.
In contrast, Sydney FC at $3.05 are now considered the team least likely to finish in the top six this season.
* Note prices subject to change