ABSA Premiership - Weekend Preview

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

There are a couple of games missing from this being a full gameweek, but whilst Chiefs and Supersport are on international duty, for the sides left at home it’s business as usual. The mighty Amakhosi top the Absa Premiership table relatively comfortably, having a game in hand on nearest contenders Sundowns, who are three points back. Wits have had a great season and if they convert their two games in hand on Downs into points, may just pip the Brazilians to second place come end of season. For the punter, the end of March is always tricky. The relegation dogfight promises upsets. On that note, let’s get to it.


Ajax Cape Town vs Mpumalanga Black Aces | Friday 28 March | Athlone Stadium | 20:00
In terms of league position, both sides find themselves in very similar positions. Both of them suffer from not being the best travellers and immediately Ajax will feel they have the upper hand in this one. Black Aces have only ever travelled to Cape Town for this fixture twice, both times failing to win. In fact they’ve never beaten the Urban Warriors, no matter the circumstance, and having more of a pedigree means it will be even harder for Black Aces to come away with the three points that they so desperately want. An Ajax Draw No Bet is on offer at 5/10 and presents an opportunity for insurance against the all too common occurrence of a draw. The reality is the game may be a lot closer than what I’ve presented, but this seems the safest option in this market.

Platinum Stars vs Maritzburg United | Saturday 29 March | Royal Bafokeng Stadium | 15:30
It’s uncanny how often teams meet each other in the league and Cup in a matter of a couple of games. Just a week ago, these sides met at the same ground, with the away side from KZN coming up trumps against the odds. It went down to penalties but a win’s a win, and in Cup competition, it means that much more. Having said that though, each game is a new opportunity for both sides and I fancy Stars have a score to settle. They’re normally one of the stronger sides at home, and I can’t see Maritzburg’s trip up North being as profitable this time around. I was inclined to play safe with a DNB, but at 8/10 for the win, Dikwena have to pull off a three-pointer here.

Orlando Pirates vs Moroka Swallows | Saturday 29 March | Orlando Stadium | 18:00
Pirates miraculously find themselves fourth, with a less than impressive campaign so far. That said, they seem far too distant from the top to mount any sort of challenge for the title, and will probably see out the season looking to achieve less ambitious goals. Swallows are desperate to improve, they’ve been disappointing for the most part. They have some seasoned goal scorers, but they can’t seem to hit the net week in and week out. Again their travels have been weak, and realistically a clash against Pirates at Orlando Stadium should yield the home side some points. How many is not as easy to say though; a thought that should not even be considered with a side like Pirates. It is what it is though, and punters will look to cover themselves in case a draw is all Bucs get. It’s not going to make you rich, but the Pirates DNB at 1/4 is enough to add to a weekend multiple for me.

Polokwane City vs Free State Stars | Saturday 29 March | Old Peter Mokaba Stadium | 20:15
This is the relegation scrap of the weekend. With Golden Arrows an almost certainty to go down, these two occupy the last two spots, with the away side being a point ahead with a game in hand. At this stage that could be a differentiator and some motivation for City to improve on recent performances. They have lost five on the trot and haven’t really been competitive in any of them. Stars won the return leg earlier in the season, but will be wary of travelling here overconfident. Their away form has been just as bad and their opponents’, so this may be the toughest fixture of the gameweek to predict. Based on the home side advantage that tends to dominate this league, I’m going to have to lean slightly to one side. The bookies have it slightly in Stars’ favour too, but at 13/10 it’s far from uncontended. A Home/Draw double chance at 2/7 looks the right bet to add to multiples, as well as Total Goals Under 2.5 at 6/10. Pick your preference, but I’d fancy the latter based on the closeness of the two teams.

Golden Arrows vs Bidvest Wits | Saturday 29 March | King Zwelithini Stadium | 20:15
Relegation almost-certainties, Arrows are probably the least threatening side in the league at the moment. Most of the measly thirteen points they’ve picked up have been at home against mediocre opposition, and almost all threats from decent sides have resulted in a loss. Wits will be delighted with their campaign this season, and despite much criticism of Gavin Hunt’s squad, they find themselves in a more than credible third spot. Interestingly enough, the return leg in this one produced Arrows’ most impressive 90 minutes of the season, with a 3-2 win away in Johannesburg. This time around though, despite being at a more favourable venue, I can’t see a result anything close to that. Wits are on the up, and won’t let a chance to rack up three points go begging. At 15/20 for the away win, I can’t see much else in terms of punting possibilities. In my eyes, Arrows don’t stand a chance, so any market in Wits’ favour will be the better way to go.

Mamelodi Sundowns vs University of Pretoria | Sunday 30 March | Loftus Stadium | 15:30
Sundowns are unbeaten in five games and the out-of-control freight train approach they have to the end of their league campaigns seems to be coming true. Winning is a habit, and it seems they’re addicted. This is a local derby and both sides should carry a decent support base into the fixture. Whilst AmaTuks have been far from disappointing so far, they have lit up too few games with eye-catching football. Simple and effective sometimes doesn’t work, and with their last two games ending in 0-0 stalemates, they may look to mix things up a bit to try improve their efficacy in front of goal. Experimenting like this against a team of Downs ‘calibre in not always the wisest thing though, but it then puts them in a catch 22. If they don’t adapt, they’re not going to pierce the home defence, but any side shuffling could make things worse. For me, it’s a lose-lose situation for the university lads. The home win is at 5/10 and the bookies aren’t offering much elsewhere. I’d take it in a multiple as a banker. It could be a tight 1-0, or an open high-scoring affair, which makes other markets hard to predict. Sticking to the outright result seems the safest approach here.

Bloemfontein Celtic vs AmaZulu | Sunday 30 March | Kaizer Sebothelo Stadium | 15:30
Both sides in this one are top four contenders, bunched with other sides a little higher up. Celtic will probably be the happier of the two sides in this situation, with a sluggish start to the season hampering their early progression. AmaZulu have lost a little fizz as things have gone on, and their negative goal difference is testament to that. Losing to Polokwane City recently would be a low point that Craig Rosslee won’t want to dwell on for too long, and this may be a good chance to move on up. Celtic wont be easy at home, having taken points off a lot of the sides higher than them in Bloemfontein. AmaZulu’s away form isn’t too bad either but they’ve only ever beaten Celtic once in the Free State. This presents a mouth-watering situation and possibly the clash of the weekend in my books. With everything to play for, both sides will be going hammer and tong at it for the full ninety minutes, and picking a result might present a stern challenge. The Home/Draw at 2/7 is where I’d put my money, it plays in line with their previous encounters as well as takes into consideration their current form and league standings.

BEST BETS
AJAX CT WIN (in DRAW NO BET MARKET)
PLATINUM STARS WIN (in DRAW NO BET MARKET)
ORLANDO PIRATES WIN (in DRAW NO BET MARKET)
POLOKWANE v FS STARS - UNDER 2.5 GOALS
BIDVEST WITS - WIN
SUNDOWNS - WIN
BLOEM CELTIC - WIN OR DRAW

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.