Wellington Phoenix vs Macarthur Prediction: The Nix to extend Sky Stadium win streak

 | 26th April | 

5 mins read

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Australian A-League Men's leaders Wellington Phoenix have just one more match remaining in which to stake their claim for the Premiers Plate. Their opponents at the Sky Stadium on Saturday - Macarthur FC - have their own objective to complete, though, with a top-four place and a home Elimination Final to play for.

Read below for my Wellington Phoenix vs Macarthur prediction, complete with all the latest team news and match odds. The game will be shown live in the UK on TNT Sports 4 (KO, 08:15).

Wellington Phoenix vs Macarthur Betting Tips

  • Wellington Phoenix to win and under 3.5 goals @ 7/4
  • First half total goals - under 0.5 @ 11/4

Wellington Phoenix may be leading the A-League Men's at the moment, but the New Zealand club are still considered underdogs for the Premiership. Currently, they are one point ahead of Central Coast Mariners, who have played one game fewer.

Therefore, the maximum number of points the Nix can reach is 53, while the Mariners can go as high as 55. CCM play Newcastle Jets away simultaneously on Saturday, which means that the Premier's Plate could even be decided by the end of the games, should the Mariners avoid defeat and the Nix lose, or if the former wins and the latter fails to secure victory.

Events are a bit more straightforward for Macarthur, who know that a draw in Wellington will secure a top-four finish and earn a home Elimination Final. The Bulls can even finish third if they draw and Melbourne Victory lose later in the day to Western Sydney Wanderers, or if they win and Victory fail to beat WSW.

Team News

Isaac Hughes is back for the Nix, who also welcomed last season's top scorer, Oskar Zawada, back into the fold last week after a six-game absence. Zawada made a brief substitute appearance and is likely to be deployed from the bench again as he continues his return to full fitness ahead of the finals.

Macarthur will be boosted by the return of captain Ulises Davila, who served the second of a two-match ban in last weekend's 1-0 win over Sydney FC. Lachlan Rose is the most likely to make way for the Mexican.

Three players are missing through suspension, however, with Yianni Nicolau serving the final match of a two-game ban, while Tommy Smith and Ivan Vujica were both shown a red card at Campbelltown Stadium last Saturday.

Matt Millar is also out with an injury, but Jake Hollman has returned from international duty at the AFC U23 Asian Cup with the Olyroos.

Match Odds

Wellington Phoenix are 4/6 to record a hat-trick of wins over Macarthur this season, having already beaten the Bulls twice already in Sydney (3-0 in December, 2-1 in February). That gives the Nix an implied win probability of 60%, whereas the visitors are given a 23.8% chance at odds of 16/5. The draw, meanwhile, can be backed at 11/4 (26.7%).

Both teams to score is 8/15, over 2.5 goals is 5/4, and Kosta Barbarouses - who bagged a brace in both head-to-heads this term - is 6/1 to be at the double again and score at least twice against the Bulls.

Wellington Phoenix to win and under 3.5 goals @ 7/4

I've sung the praises of Wellington Phoenix for some time now, and for good reason - they very rarely let me down. In fact, I have picked a winner incorporating the match result in my last five previews on the Nix.

The start of this winning run saw two correct selections as I backed Phoenix to beat Sydney FC at 15/8 and there to be over 10.5 corners at 4/5, before a trip to Gosford two weeks later saw Central Coast Mariners to win and over 2.5 goals land at 6/4.

Giancarlo Italiano's side then beat Melbourne Victory to score a 9/4 winner, and in their most recent outing at Newcastle Jets, I suggested a draw between the sides at 12/5, which came to fruition in a 1-1.

Let's try and make it five in a row then, shall we?

This time, I'm backing the A-League Men's leaders to get back on the winning trail, but odds of 4/6 for them to merely pick up the three points aren't particularly appealing.

Instead, I'm suggesting to add under 3.5 goals to the fray, which takes the price up to a more enticing 7/4.

There's pretty clear logic in this selection, in that the Nix have the best home record in the division, collecting 29 points from 12 games, nine of which they have triumphed in. Italiano's charges have even won their last five in Wellington.

They have also been extremely efficient at the Sky Stadium, scoring just 20 times - eight other clubs have found the net more often at home - but conceding just 10 goals, which is the joint-best defensive record at home alongside Melbourne City.

It will be a big test of their credentials on Saturday against a Macarthur side that has struck 23 times on their travels this term - no team has scored more away from home - but the Nix did keep a clean sheet in their first meeting of this season, before limiting the Bulls to just the one goal in the second game.

Both of those matches saw under 3.5 goals, which is what we need to land the above suggestion.

Wellington Phoenix to beat Macarthur FC & under 3.5 goals at 7-4

First half total goals - under 0.5 @ 11/4

11 Wellington Phoenix games in the A-League Men's this season have seen the first half finish goalless - no club has seen more opening halves without a goal. In fact, half (four) of their last eight games have seen both sides fail to get on the scoresheet in the first 45 minutes.

Three of Macarthur's last eight have also ended in a goalless first half, and they were close to a fourth last week as the game's solitary strike from Jed Drew arrived in stoppage time.

I can see another opening period with little goalmouth action, as the hosts prepare to bide their time before committing forwards to get the victory they require.

Under 0.5 total first half goals in Wellington Phoenix vs Macarthur at 11-4

Check out the rest of our Football Betting Tips here.

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