Reigning English Premier League champions Manchester United are being backed to show their true form when they take on the A-League All Stars team in Sydney on Saturday night.
The Red Devils - with their new manager David Moyes in charge following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson - began their pre-season tour with a 1-0 loss to the Singha All-Star XI in Bangkok en-route to Australia.
United have also lost star striker Wayne Rooney to a hamstring injury and he has returned home to England amidst speculation in the British press he could move to EPL rivals Chelsea.
However, with United expected to field a far stronger side in Sydney than they did in Bangkok - with first choice striker Robin Van Persie and number one goalkeeper David De Gea both tipped to return to the side - few punters are giving the A-League All Stars a chance of pulling off a shock win.
United are the dominant $1.33 favourites at the TAB, with the All Stars at $8 and the draw paying $4.50, while at Centrebet the Red Devils are slightly better value at $1.38 compared to the All Stars at $8 and the draw at $4.40.
But punters are expecting plenty of goals in the exhibition game with Centrebet's Michael Felgate telling Betting Zone that the odds of there being more than 2.5 goals scored in the match have firmed from $1.91 into $1.45 while under 2.5 goals is priced at $2.60.
The All Stars' hopes of springing a major surprise have not been helped by the fact the three star imports in the A-League in Alessandro Del Piero (Sydney FC), Shinji Ono (Western Sydney Wanderers) and Emile Heskey (Newcastle Jets) all decided to pull out of the team after initially being selected.
And Melbourne Victory stars Archie Thompson and Mark Milligan are unavailable due to being away with the Socceroos at the East Asian Cup.
|Back United to beat the All Stars and South Korea to beat the Socceroos||Go for United to beat the All Stars in correct score betting 2-0 at odds of $7.50.|
Such is the expected dominance of United that the TAB has framed a market on whether United's Dutch superstar Van Persie will beat the All Stars on his own.
And while the All Stars are the $2.50 favourites to out score Van Persie in the match, the TAB's Adam Hamilton said Van Persie has firmed from $3.20 into $2.90 in that special market.
At Sportsbet.com.au - where United have firmed from $1.36 to $1.29 to beat the All Stars - Van Persie is the clear $3.50 favourite to score the game's opening goal and $1.40 to score at any time.
However, the player to watch in this market could well be United's new signing, promising former Crystal Palace youngster Wilfred Zaha, who will be desperate to impress and looks great value at $6.50.
The highest placed local in betting is the All Stars' Besart Berisha at $11 while Mark Bridge is paying $13.
In correct score betting the favoured option at Sportsbet.com.au is for United to win 2-0 at $7.50 while they are priced at $8.50 to win 1-0 and $9.50 to win 3-0.
Meanwhile, a weakened Socceroos outfit - minus the bulk of their overseas based stars - are the $3.65 outsiders at the TAB to win their opening match in the four nation East Asian Cup tournament on Saturday night against hosts South Korea at $1.90 with the draw paying $3.30.
*Note prices subject to change