ABSA Premiership Week 18 Preview

Written by The Caretaker Coach for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!  

We’re back! Another disappointing showing from the national side on the international stage, albeit in a tough group, has come and gone and it’s now time to knuckle down to some much-anticipated league action. With a full round of fixtures for us in mid-week, there’s no time to lose. Let’s get to it.

University of Pretoria vs Chippa United | Tuesday 10 February | Tuks Stadium | 19:30
For the majority of these players it would’ve been a long break from competitive action and AmaTuks will be especially keen to get things going. Lingering in twelfth spot on the log, they’ll need to start strong and continue through the season. We typically see a lot of place switching at the bottom as the season end draws closer and they’ll want to avoid being caught in the mix. They face a fancied Chippa side that started the season strongly but have failed to register a win in their last five games. They lost to AmaTuks in the first encounter earlier in the season, so will want to put the record straight. AmaTuks are unbeaten in their last four games at home. With all these factors considered it then becomes a tough task for Chippa to win here. No doubt they’ll fight for it, but this one should head for a draw. Get on it at 21/10.

Mamelodi Sundowns vs Moroka Swallows | Tuesday 10 February | Lucas Moripe Stadium | 19:30
Sundowns could probably have done without this break. Towards the end of December they had finally gathered the solid momentum we all know they are capable of and find themselves competing for the title in second, albeit fifteen points behind Chiefs. Swallows had also been on a much improved run after suffering a string of six defeats in seven matches in the league. With just one loss in their last five, they come into this one a lot more confident. They lost the last encounter against Downs back in August and despite things starting to look better for the Dube Birds, I can’t see them travelling to Chloorkop and getting a favourable result. The home side are very short in the betting at 5/10 but deserving of the title of outright favourites in this one. Definitely include in multiples.

Maritzburg United vs Bidvest Wits | Tuesday 10 February | Harry Gwala Stadium | 19:30
In the last of the Tuesday night games, two very in-form sides meet in the KZN capital. Maritzburg started the season better than they’ve been in recent times, so hopefully this break would’ve been good for them. On the flip side, Wits have strung together some impressive results of late to climb into tied second on the log. They’ll have to continue this vein on form on the road, which is often the downfall for PSL clubs. Recent away results for Wits give me some confidence in their chance against Maritzburg and I feel they should be heading back to Joburg with some points to show. The away win is at 15/10, with the draw at 2/1. Take Wits on the Double Chance at 7/20.

Ajax Cape Town vs Polokwane City | Wednesday 11 February | Cape Town Stadium | 19:30
Both sides have been surprisingly impressive thus far, after both barely escaped relegation at the end of last season. They find themselves in fifth and sixth respectively, with the away side having the slightly better recent form. Having said that though, it’s Ajax that boasts the better head-to-head record, including a 2-1 over Polokwane City earlier in the season. Ajax haven’t lost to them at home and although I think this run can continue, I would be wary of writing off the away side completely. The draw is out at 22/10 and presents some decent value for those adventurous few among us. I’m including myself in that mix and hoping Ajax fluff their lines come match day.

SuperSport United vs Free State Stars | Wednesday 11 February | Lucas Moripe Stadium | 19:30
Matsatsantsa have blown hot and cold this season. After employing Gordon Igesund things looked on the up, but a topsy turvy run of form into the Christmas break has prevented a full turnaround for the Pretoria based side. Luckily for them, they host Stars, who have been equally poor, if not worse. They find themselves teetering above relegation, despite only losing two of their last five games. The trip to the Lucas Moripe Stadium is going to be a tough one, even considering the home side’s weak line of form. With some credibility behind SuperSport’s potential, I have to slightly favour them in this one. They’re a little short for me at 7/10 but I think they have the opportunity to start 2015 on the right note.

AmaZulu vs Orlando Pirates | Wednesday 11 February | Moses Mabhida Stadium | 19:30
AmaZulu’s log position says it all. For a club that’s been a PSL stalwart for some time now, it’s disappointing that nothing has worked for them this season. Having said that, they know what they need to do to turn things around, so hopefully we see a focused effort from Usuthu until the end of the season. Pirates have been their usual lacklustre selves for the most part. They finished 2014 strong and will need to continue this momentum into the close of the season. Sitting in fourth shows they haven’t been all that bad and it seems ridiculous to consider them coming short in Durban on Wednesday evening. Stranger things have happened, but I can’t count on AmaZulu causing any upsets at this stage. At 13/20 an away win, you may feel a little hard done by, but considering how well Pirates have historically closed out the season, it’s still a good bet to take.

Platinum Stars vs Mpumalanga Black Aces | Wednesday 11 February | Royal Bafokeng Stadium | 19:30
Dikwena have been awful this season. In-fighting and club politics have marred what could’ve been a great season for them. They host a volatile Black Aces side on Wednesday evening that will smell blood and be up for a duel. They do suffer inconsistency, preventing them from being real top dog contenders, but I always fancy them in a game like this. Give them a hand and they’ll always look to take the arm. Clive Barker will have identified this opportunity for his side and they’ll be prepped for a coup. With both sides at 16/10 a win, it’s a chance to climb on some value. Dikwena could very well eek out a draw, but go for the jugular here and back the away win.

Bloemfontein Celtic vs Kaizer Chiefs | Wednesday 11 February | Free State Stadium | 19:30
Celtic have made a typically ‘Celtic-like’ go of the 2014/15 season so far. A few weak defensive displays have cost them, as have a few unlikely wins encouraged them. They continue to be an unpredictable side, which at the end of it all is sort of acceptable considering their stature. Chiefs conversely have yet to lose in the league this season and after eighteen games could well go on to record an invincible season. It’s going to take a mammoth task to break them down and with a good chunk of their squad having been on active national duties, they may be too fresh for Celtic’s liking. Until a side manages to untangle this hold Chiefs has on the league, punters will continue to back them. It’s a case of taking whatever the bookies offer and at 6/10 the away win, it isn’t too bad this time around. I’m sure a slip is imminent for the AmaKhosi but I’ll be damned if I’m the one who’s going to call it.

The man knows his football, but even he gets it wrong from time to time. Feel free to share your PSL tips and multiples below.