ABSA Premiership Week 22 Preview

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

In the jam-packed end to the season, some teams will feel like they’re playing more often than they’re training. Squad depth, injury prevention and stamina will be key to some of their survival chances, and for others, title challenges. Oh, and to add to this, we’ve also got our first Soweto Derby of 2015 in store.

Bidvest Wits  8/10
Draw  23/10
Bloemfontein Celtic  36/10
Gavin Hunt will be over the moon after his side’s midweek win against Downs. It was a really tight game and their perseverance paid off in the second half with the solitary goal of the match. Sitting alone in second spot for now will be a confidence booster that they will take advantage of until Sundowns eventually catch up their game in hand. They face a Celtic side who have made the most of a their last two matches against weaker opponents to notch up impressive wins. With so much at stake, Wits will be out for the win regardless of the opposition. I’m not saying Celtic are irrelevant in this one, but bet against Wits at your peril. 8/10 aren’t bad odds on offer for a home win. Celtic will be out to spoils things, but I can’t consider them picking up any points.

Kaizer Chiefs  14/10
Draw  19/10
Orlando Pirates  21/10
No doubt the masses will be tuned in for this one. With their early season meeting being a bit of a memorial for deceased ex-Pirates captain, Senzo Meyiwa, Bucs have bounced back and are in the best form of the season. Despite a disappointing draw away to Free State Stars, they look to be more clinical in front of goal than I’ve seen in a while. Chiefs are still on their steam train run at the top of the table. There are some doubters predicting their downfall before the season’s up, but at this stage they are still holding fort at the top. Pirates haven’t beaten Chiefs in their last six meetings, although all of AmaKhosi’s wins in this period have come away from home. If the pressure of performing in front of their home crowd is an issue, then we may see the spoils being shared. Draws are a tough pick to make, so instead I’ve found some lower hanging fruit. The tight nature of this clash means we haven’t seen more than two goals in their last nine meetings. Under 2.5 Goals may not provide the same value a draw does, but is by far the easier call to make.

SuperSport United  29/20
Draw  22/10
Ajax Cape Town  18/10
A slight improvement in recent form from Matsatsantsa and a few disappointing results from Ajax have found these two sides meeting in eighth and sixth spots respectively. SuperSport’s 5-2 defeat to AmaZulu would’ve been seriously demoralising, as Usuthu picked up just their second win of the season. You never want to be that side, but it may be a chance for them to galvanise their self-belief to finish the season stronger than they started it. Ajax moved up to sixth despite going down 1-0 to Chiefs; a result most would’ve seen coming. They travel north on Saturday looking to repeat the form that’s seen them avoid defeat in their last three encounters against SuperSport. The bookies have this one priced up very evenly, with value on either side to win. I agree with the coin toss nature of the result and have decided to head for the Under 2.5 Goals market to seek safety, from what surely will be a tight affair to call.

Free State Stars  38/10
Draw  24/10
Mamelodi Sundowns  15/20
Sundowns coach, Pitso Mosimane, has come out after their midweek defeat at Wits saying that it was a blessing in disguise. If that’s the case, then Stars will have stern test ahead of them. Downs have been impossible to beat when they want to turn up, but Stars always have a mysterious edge at home which they’ll be hoping to call forth come Saturday evening. Interestingly though, Downs have never seemed to succumb to this voodoo and have only ever lost once in Phuthaditjhaba. There’s some value at 15/20 for an away win in this one and I think it’s the right fixture to pounce at it. I don’t often fancy the travellers in a PSL fixture but with a healthy head-to-head record like that, it may just be worth it this time around.

Mpumalanga Black Aces  14/10
Draw  2/1
AmaZulu  19/10
I still battle to understand why a team of Black Aces’ potential find themselves in twelfth spot. They have a chance to rectify that this weekend against a weaker than ever AmaZulu side, in a fixture that they have dominated in years gone by. If there was ever a chance to pull things back this season, this could well be the perfect opportunity. Aces’ league run of late isn’t much different from Usuthu’s, despite the away side’s surprising 5-2 win at SuperSport last weekend. Zimbabwean Tendai Ndoro has been the shining star in Clive Barker’s Aces team and he’ll be hoping for more goals from him this weekend. The home win is at a very valuable 14/10 and considering AmaZulu have never won in Nelspruit, I’d go for it. You may just find this the value bet of the weekend.

University of Pretoria  15/10
Draw  19/10
Maritzburg United  19/10
Sitting in ninth and tenth respectively, AmaTuks have probably had the less ambitious of seasons. Maritzburg United, at one stage, were flying high on the PSL log but a recent drought of wins have brought that run to a grinding halt. Conversely, AmaTuks are picking up points on the regular and have bounced out of the relegation zone with impressive style. They face a Maritzburg side that have historically had the better of them, having failed to beat their opponents, home or away. You have to feel that despite them being in relative proximity on the PSL table, they seem to be heading in quite different directions. The home side are 15/10 for a win, which is good value if you’re feeling brave. The head-to-head record of these sides is preventing me from taking this outright, but I don’t see why a AmaTuks Draw No Bet isn’t a good bet. At least you have the security of a full refund should they end in stalemate, which history suggests.

Platinum Stars  16/10
Draw  19/10
Moroka Swallows  18/10
This contest could well determine who takes the drop with AmaZulu likely to finish bottom. Both sides have had awful seasons and it’s sad to see two well supported sides fighting it out so low down. Dikwena have dropped from great heights quite quickly, whereas Swallows have been mediocre for the last few years. Terrible goal scoring records, and even worse defences have cost them. This scrap may well throw any form or history out the window and from an entertainment perspective, we can only hope these sides put in all on the line, in what could be a season-deciding fixture. Home ground advantage hasn’t favoured Dikwena much this season and I feel that the lack of prowess in front of goal that both theses sides possess could be the decider on where to place my money. The past four fixtures have not produced more than two goals, so the Under 2.5 Goals market seems the only sane bet to take in a game where no team holds any trump cards.

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