Central Coast Mariners vs Melbourne Victory Prediction: Hosts to clinch historic treble

 | Friday 24th May 2024, 10:15am

Friday 24th May 2024, 10:15am

After more than seven months of hard work, it all comes down to Saturday (10:45, TNT Sports) for Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Victory, who will compete in the Australian A-League Men's Grand Final at Central Coast Stadium.

Ahead of the game in Gosford, I have delivered my Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Victory prediction, which you can read below, and provided all the latest team news and match odds as the two sides bid to become A-League Men's champions.

Central Coast Mariners vs Melbourne Victory Betting Tips

  • Central Coast Mariners to win & under 3.5 goals @ 7/4
  • Mikael Doka anytime goalscorer @ 18/5

It has been a terrific season so far for Central Coast Mariners, who are on the cusp of securing an unprecedented treble after already lifting the Premier's Plate and AFC Cup.

It would be quite the achievement for the Mariners who, after winning their second-ever Grand Final last year - beating Melbourne City 6-1 - endured significant turnover in the summer, losing head coach Nick Montgomery and star players such as Jason Cummings and Samuel Silvera.

Marco Tulio also left mid-season, but guided by Mark Jackson, the Gosford club finished top of the pile, two points clear of nearest challengers Wellington Phoenix.

Lebanese outfit Al-Ahed were then outmanouvered in the AFC Cup final in Oman before a return to Australia saw CCM paired with Sydney FC in the A-League Men's semi-finals. The Sky Blues were beaten 2-1 at home by the Mariners and a goalless draw in Gosford last Saturday sealed CCM's place in the Grand Final at the same venue.

Melbourne Victory, who finished third in the regular season, will be their opponents after battling past both Melbourne City and Wellington Phoenix.

Tony Popovic's side beat their city rivals on penalties in a one-game Elimination Final, triumphing despite being a goal and man down by half-time.

Extra time was also required after a two-legged semi-final with Wellington Phoenix last weekend, but Victory managed to avoid penalties again by striking through Christopher Ikonomidis in the 102nd minute.

Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Victory have met three times already this season, with nothing able to separate the sides in the first two games, a 2-2 draw in Gosford last December and a 1-1 draw in Sydney in January.

It was third time lucky for the Mariners in Melbourne in February, however, as they won 1-0 at AAMI Park through a Ryan Teague own goal.

Team News

Jackson has included two Mariners who weren’t in last weekend’s semi-final squad, Dylan Wenzel-Halls and Bailey Brandtman, but the duo are the most likely to miss out on the 18-man matchday squad.

Noah Smith and Sasha Kuzevski remain sidelined through injury.

Victory are able to welcome back French playmaker Zinedine Machach after his suspension for both legs of the semi-final against Wellington Phoenix. Machach will surely return to the matchday squad, which could be bad news for one of Kasey Bos or Connor Chapman, who may be cut from the 18-man list.

Central Coast Mariners vs Melbourne Victory Odds

Saturday's hosts are 11/10 to triumph inside regulation time, giving them an implied win probability of 47.6%, while the visitors are 21/10, or a 32.3% chance, to win themselves. The draw, which would send the Grand Final to extra time, and potentially penalties, is 9/4.

Both teams to score is 8/11 and over 2.5 goals is 10/11.

Victory's Bruno Fornaroli is the shortest price to score anytime at 8/5, with Mariners forward Alou Kuol just behind at 2/1.

Central Coast Mariners to win & under 3.5 goals @ 7/4

There was nothing to separate the sides in the first two meetings of the season, but the Mariners won 1-0 in Melbourne last time out and finished 13 points clear of Victory, who have won just two away games in regulation time this calendar year.

Popovic has overseen wins at Perth Glory and Adelaide United in 2024, but his team failed to add a third triumph in regulation time last weekend as Wellington Phoenix striker Oskar Zawada struck in added time to cancel out Adama Traore's opener, though Ikonomidis did win the game in extra time.

The Mariners, meanwhile, are a force to be reckoned with at Central Coast Stadium - only Wellington Phoenix (32) bettered their tally of 29 points at home in the league, and before last Saturday's goalless draw with Sydney FC, Jackon's side had won seven in a row at home.

CCM weren't at their fluent best against the Sky Blues, but they didn't need to be as they knew a draw would send them to the Grand Final.

Back on home ground again this weekend, I think the Mariners will show their class. Victory are a resolute outfit and won't make it easy for the reigning champions, but their efforts in recent weeks may have taken their toll, and taking a third game to extra time is a big ask.

Goals were pretty scarce in the semi-finals, with none of the four games featuring more than three goals, and I expect that theme to continue on Saturday.

Central Coast Mariners to beat Melbourne Victory & under 3.5 total goals at 7-4

Mikael Doka anytime goalscorer @ 18/5

A full-back by trade, Mikael Doka has been pushed into a midfield position to great effect by Jackson.

The Brazilian has scored seven goals in 2024 so far, including a penalty against Sydney FC in the semi-final first leg which effectively sealed his side's passage to the Grand Final.

Averaging 1.5 shots per game in the A-League Men's, Doka will be one of the Mariners' biggest threats again on Saturday.

The 24-year-old didn't find the net in his side's 1-0 win over Victory in February but he did fire off four shots, two of them from free-kicks, which once again highlights Doka as the go-to man for set pieces.

Mikael Doka anytime goalscorer in Central Coast Mariners vs Melbourne Victory at 18-5

Check out the rest of our Football Betting Tips here.

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