As predicted, the opening round of fixtures saw relatively low scoring results. Most teams were still looking to find their groove, new players either stood out with man of the match performances or resembled the redheaded stepchild just trying to fit in. With very little time to debrief their first efforts of the season, the second round of games could follow in the same vein as the weekend’s results.
SuperSport United vs Chippa United | Tuesday 12 August | Lucas Moripe Stadium | 19:30
Chippa, besides being their team name, will also mirror their spirits after a great start back in the top flight. A really good performance that saw them take advantage of a previously competitive Platinum Stars side will give them the boost they need to travel up north in midweek. Matsatsantsa had a tough opening game at home against Wits, and as predicted, a tight affair saw them going down by a single goal. Chippa represent an opportunity to get off the mark for SuperSport and the away side’s confidence from their last result will be all they have in their favour. A home win is the likely result, but will probably be a tad short. SuperSport might be devoid of goal scoring form, so an under goals market could make a healthier a return.
Bidvest Wits vs University of Pretoria | Tuesday 12 August | Bidvest Stadium | 19:30
AmaTuks should’ve done better at home on the weekend against Polokwane City. One can only hope this isn’t a sign of things to come this season. The problem facing this undercooked varsity side is that travelling to traditional rivals, Wits, isn’t going to help in getting their season started. A solid showing for Wits away at SuperSport showed their intention this season, and the Gavin Hunt factor makes them serious title contenders. They’re going to have to be completely off their game to drop points here, although stranger things have happened in this league. Still, a home win is almost a certainty, and possibly by more than just a goal. If the -1 Wits margin looks tempting, maybe consider a small single bet on it.
Moroka Swallows vs AmaZulu | Wednesday 13 August | Dobsonville Stadium | 19:30
Usuthu should’ve collected maximum points on the weekend, but Ajax kept the game goalless despite being reduced to ten men. They’re hitting the road to face a Swallows side that picked up a rare win against Soweto rivals, Pirates, on Saturday. They lead from early on, and after conceding, Lerato Chabangu’s 80th minute winner rewarded the Dube Birds with maximum points. They’ll be upbeat and ready to ride the momentum against AmaZulu on Wednesday evening. Gareth Rosslee’s charges have a good record away against Swallows and he’ll be hoping this history gives them a chance of at least a point. Without trying to pick an upset, I’m going for under 2.5 goals here. The result hangs in the balance, and the previous ten games have produced 25 total goals, giving me little other option besides playing the stats here.
Ajax Cape Town vs Mamelodi Sundowns | Wednesday 13 August | Cape Town Stadium | 19:30
The defending champions were far from overwhelming against Maritzburg United and sitting on a one goal advantage from the second minute cost them three points at home, after conceding a penalty in the dying embers of the game. Pitso Mosimane wasn’t exactly full of praise when asked for comments on the officials, but he’ll need to get over it and move on with the season. A trip to Ajax could be the perfect remedy for Downs. Ajax did park the proverbial bus quite well away to AmaZulu, but a similar tactic won’t fly against Downs’ high-tempo attack. Their best option for defending would be to attack Sundowns, but I can’t see them having the balls to do that. Take an away win, and hope that Downs are out to make amends for their previous efforts.
Platinum Stars vs Free State Stars | Wednesday 13 August | Royal Bafokeng Stadium | 19:30
We could be looking at a clash of two possible underperformers this season. I doubt Dikwena will be fighting relegation, but unless they bring in some replacements for the talent lost in the off season, they’re staring down the barrel of a very average return. Saturday proved that away to Chippa, and sadly they never looked like being competitive. Their namesakes from Bethlehem didn’t look much better, albeit at the hands of Kaizer Chiefs. They’re on the road again, with a trip up to the North West. Results look tough to call here too, and their prior history is just as tight. I can only see the goals being low here, as with most PSL teams early on in the season. Under 2.5 goals should get you enough to include in exotics; both teams are yet to find the net.
Bloemfontein Celtic vs Orlando Pirates | Wednesday 13 August | Free State Stadium | 19:30
I didn’t manage to catch the Celtic game on Sunday, but I’d say that they may have been satisfied with getting a point from Black Aces, despite being at home. On the other hand, I did have the displeasure of seeing Pirates go down at home to Swallows. They went behind relatively early, got an equalising penalty, but couldn’t capitalize on pressure and eventually conceded late on. This seems to be a chronic issue with Pirates and their lack of finishing ability is going to result in inconsistent results, particularly away from home. This fixture should be no different, and means a chance for Celtic to use the host status in their favour. I’d go for the Home/Draw double chance, with the stalemate looking the most likely outcome if you’re feeling daring.
Mpumalanga Black Aces vs Kaizer Chiefs | Wednesday 13 August | Mbombela Stadium | 19:30
This fixture could provide you with the midweek upset you need to cash in, and here’s why. Besides the first round results, Chiefs’ preseason exploits couldn’t have been more contrasting. Aces have built on the squad that finished a well deserved seventh last season and some well thought out purchases could propel them to new heights this season. They’re not league winning material at present, but surprisingly, I don’t feel Chiefs are either. The fans aren’t happy with the administration, and the AmaKhosi bosses are running out of time to win back their support. Until some fresh signings come in, I feel their performances could be a little stale. Look to this fixture for Aces to snatch at least a point, and the Aces Draw No Bet could bring in some nice returns. A safer option would be the Home/Draw double chance.
Maritzburg United vs Polokwane City | Wednesday 13 August | Harry Gwala Stadium | 19:30
Looking at this fixture before the weekend, I thought Maritzburg wouldn’t need much fight to get three points here, but Polokwane’s win at Tuks has put a little doubt in the picture. The Team Of Choice got lucky with the one pointer from their game against Sundowns but they didn’t look too bad with the little time they were afforded on the ball. Maritzburg take pride in their above average record at home and will need to rely on it this season. The issue is that they’ve lost what I feel was the soul of their squad; a handful of players that kept them alive last season. Polokwane City will arrive with a spring in their step and the home side will need to curtail it early on. I still think the home side are good for three points, but it won’t be a runaway result.
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.