With every team a chance to still make the A-League finals, it is likely the race will come down to the final two spots on the table
|By PAUL GOUGH
The race to make the A-League finals is on in earnest and is shaping as one of the best betting propositions for the remainder of the summer.
With 11 weeks to go in the A-League, every team can still make the top six, although the top four teams in the Central Coast Mariners, Adelaide United, Melbourne Victory and competition newcomers Western Sydney Wanderers look increasingly safe.
The Mariners lead with 34 points after 16 rounds, followed by Adelaide on 32, Victory on 27 and the Wanderers on 26.
There is then a six-point gap to fifth-placed Newcastle on 20 points with Perth Glory in sixth spot on 19 points.
The Glory are just one point ahead of Melbourne Heart, with reigning premiers Brisbane and Sydney FC just a point further back. Even last-placed Wellington are within three points of the top six.
As a result, betting on who will make the top six is generating plenty of interest, with value still on offer at Betfair.
|Sydney FC to win v Wellington at $2.05 at Betfair
||Adelaide to win v Melbourne Heart at $2.40 at Betfair|
The Jets are great value at $2.30 at Betfair to make the top six considering they sit in fifth spot and in English veteran Emile Heskey and Ryan Griffiths have two proven goal-scorers, with 13 goals between them this season.
Sydney FC, meanwhile, have taken 11 points from Frank Farina's eight games in charge so far, after the team took just six points from their first eight games under former manager Ian Crook and caretaker Steve Corica.
And the Sky Blues should pick up another three points in Week 17 when they host the struggling Phoenix, who have lost their past three matches.
Sydney FC are the $2.05 favourites at TAB Sportsbet and $2.20 at Betfair to beat Wellington, who are priced at $3.30 and $3.35 respectively, while the draw is paying $3.40 at TAB Sportsbet and $3.45 with Betfair.
The biggest game of the round is Saturday's F3 derby, with league leaders Central Coast the $1.60 favourites at both TAB Sportsbet and Betfair, while the Jets are paying $5.15 with the TAB and $6.40 with Betfair.
With home advantage, the Mariners should win this one, despite coach Graham Arnold being banned from the touchline after being sent to the stands during last Saturday's 1-1 draw against the Victory.
The final game of Saturday's triple header looks tough to predict, with Perth the $2.18 favourites at Betfair to beat Melbourne Victory, who look great value at $3.35 as does the draw in this one at odds of $3.55.
* Note prices subject to change