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Goal Australia's betting expert Paul Gough believes the smart money should be placed on the Roar and the Reds on Sunday, with the Queensland side also good value for the title

Wellington Phoenix, now under two-time title winning Melbourne Victory manager Ernie Merrick, have their work cut-out to win their A-League season opener at home against Brisbane on Sunday.

The Phoenix, after finishing last in the competition in 2012-13 - which led to the end of Ricki Herbert's six seasons in charge - open the new season as the $26 rank outsiders to win the grand final at bet365.

But with Merrick in charge and the addition of former Melbourne Victory excitement machine Carlos Hernandez, the Phoenix should improve this season although they have been badly affected by the scheduling of the opening round.

The A-League's bizarre decision to start the season at the same time as a full round of international fixtures means Wellington will be without for key players - due to call-ups to the New Zealand national side - on Sunday.

The four missing are goalkeeper Glen Moss, defender and captain Andrew Durante, veteran midfielder Leo Bertos and striker Jeremy Brockie.

As a result the Phoenix are the only home side of the opening weekend that will go in as underdogs at $3.20 at bet365, with the Roar paying $2.20 and the draw $3.40.

Brisbane look great value as the $8 equal fourth favourites to win the grand final this season given they should be more stable this season under manager Mike Mulvey - who did well to guide the club to the finals last season after the poor start under the axed Rado Vidosic.

Remember the Roar still have the bulk of the squad that won the previous two titles under now Victory manager Ange Postecoglou and have recruited superbly in the off-season with the addition of experienced Socceroo Matt McKay as well as Irish midfielder Liam Miller from Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory's Diego Ferreira.

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Back Brisbane and Adelaide to win

Snap up the $8 on offer for the Roar to win the grand final at bet365 this year while it lasts

In the other game on Sunday a new-look Adelaide team - with little-known Spaniard Josep Gombau now in charge ‑ should win at home at $2.30 against a Perth side likely to struggle this season at $3 while the draw is paying $3.40 at bet365.

*Note prices subject to change

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