We’ve just began the season in this league, but from a punting perspective the tricky nature of the local scene hasn’t changed much. It’s risk vs reward, so from week to week it’s vital to identify opportunities to seek value and strike while the going’s good. With all teams in action midweek, it provides yet another opportunity to find this aforementioned pot of gold. Swallows and Chiefs have made the best starts to their ABSA Premiership campaigns and a close eye must be kept on the Dube Birds and mighty Amakhosi.
Kaizer Chiefs vs Bloemfontein Celtic | Tuesday 19 August | FNB Stadium | 19:30
Chiefs look the best they’ve been in ages, a confident 2-0 win in the MTN8 to Platinum Stars following their PSL successes. They look certain to progress, with the second leg being a mere formality at home. They take on a Celtic side yet to pick up a win this season, but who have collected valuable draws against Pirates and Black Aces; no easy feat for a team of their capability. This is their first away game of the season and no doubt one of the toughest challenges they’ll face. A home win seems a certainty and only the continuing angst amongst the AmaKhosi faithful look to inhibit Chiefs from picking up maximum points.
Polokwane City vs Ajax Cape Town | Tuesday 19 August | Peter Mokaba Stadium | 19:30
Ajax picked up a spirited win at home last week against title holders, Sundowns. Finding the back of the net seemed impossible for them at the beginning of last season, and the Urban Warriors will be hoping this is a sign of things to come. They travel to Polokwane City to face a seemingly average side that are probably over-performing at the moment. They went down to Maritzburg a week back after winning on the opening day, and a first home game of the season will be welcomed. Ajax will fancy their chances in this one, and for once I fancy backing them. I wouldn’t go outright, but their new attitude could see them picking up points. An Away/Draw double chance will be a profitable in my opinion.
Free State Stars vs SuperSport United | Wednesday 20 August | Charles Mopeli Stadium | 18:00
As the only team yet to pick up a point in the PSL, Free State Stars will be eager to get things going. To be fair, facing Platinum Stars and Kaizer Chiefs in your first two games is a rough call, and unfortunately SuperSport United shouldn’t be any easier for them. Matsatsantsa went down on opening weekend to a highly-rated Wits outfit and weren’t overly impressive a week back against Chippa United. They do come with more ability to score than Stars could ever wish for, and with the home side’s last win in this fixture coming in a cup game, back in April 2011, you’d fancy the Pretoria lads to come away with something here. Away wins are never sure things in the PSL, no matter the matchup, but I’d fancy SuperSport to have enough for three points. Stars will have to wait until next week against Tuks for some reprieve.
Orlando Pirates vs AmaZulu | Wednesday 20 August | Orlando Stadium | 19:30
Pirates, for once, looked intent to come away with a win on Sunday, with a solid victory against Wits in MTN8 action. Coach Vladimir Vermezovic’s seemingly lax attitude hasn’t sat well with a lot of supporters, and this approach had better soon bring consistent league form if he’s hoping to be there in the long term. They‘re up against AmaZulu on Wednesday evening, who find themselves in similarly topsy-turvy situation. Both sides have lost to Swallows, who as a result sit in top spot for now, as well as waiting for their first league three-pointers this season. Typically, Pirates would be the ones to back, but AmaZulu won this fixture last season and they’ll fancy themselves to repeat the performance. I think Bucs’ momentum from the cup win on Sunday will help them prevent that from happening however. A Home/Draw double chance looks safest, but I’m going for the outright Pirates victory.
Moroka Swallows vs Mamelodi Sundowns | Wednesday 20 August | Dobsonville Stadium | 19:30
As this early stage of the season, this fixture looks to be one of those ‘not to miss’ clashes. Swallows have had two great wins thus far, and as a team that rely strongly on momentum and home support, Sundowns will find things tricky in this one. Swallows’ Chabangu seems to have his striking boots back and Downs have scored just one goal in their first two outings. The head-to-head comparison favours Downs, but their current form mixed with the uncertain nature of travel makes this a tough result to call outright. Sundowns surely have to turn it on at some stage, and if this is the game for it, we could be in for a cracker. I’m going to fence-sit here, and based on the potential for both sides to score, the over 2.5 goals market looks the most reasonable bet.
Bidvest Wits vs Maritzburg United | Wednesday 20 August | Bidvest Stadium | 19:30
Wits are looking just as potent as they were last season in the league. Cup form has never been their strength, and they’ll be hoping Sunday’s loss to Pirates won’t take much wind out of their sails when they host Maritzburg in midweek. The Team Of Choice have started strong however, with an away point at Sundowns and a home win against Polokwane City. To me however, picking up points in this fixture seems a bridge too far. They did win this fixture last season, but I can’t see the feat being repeated here. Maritzburg will do well to get a point in this one, and Wits will put themselves under pressure to take advantage of opportunities like this. A home win looks to be the likely outcome here.
Mpumalanga Black Aces vs Platinum Stars | Wednesday 20 August | Mbombela Stadium | 19:30
Stars were the last team in action this weekend, going down in the MTN8 to Chiefs. They looked a little lacklustre and deservedly dented their chances of progression. Their only points of the league campaign came last time out to a weak Free State Stars side. I have a feeling about Black Aces though, despite a measly point from their opening two games. I like their attitude and they made tough work for most sides last season. Conversely, Stars have gradually lost potency and this fixture might highlight both these traits. Aces will be a tempting price outright, and if, like me, believe in their ability, it might just be the value bet of the week. Alternatively a Home/Draw double chance will prove a less risky option.
Chippa United vs University of Pretoria | Wednesday 20 August | Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium | 19:30
Chippa haven’t looked half bad so far, and may prove to be a tough place to travel to. I tipped them to lose to Dikwena on opening weekend and was boldly proved wrong with an impressive showing. They followed that up with a loss away to SuperSport, but being back home against a weak side like AmaTuks will leave Chippa licking their lips. The Pretoria boys once again look seriously average, despite a surprise draw to Wits last time out. For as long as their sluggish attack continues, I will battle to pick them to win. Chippa should be a nice price being PSL newbies and I fancy them to pick up their second win of the campaign in this one.
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.