If Melbourne Victory are going to make an unlikely charge for the Premiers' Plate, they simply must take all three points when they travel to Sydney to take on the top-of the-table Sky Blues on Friday night.
As it stands, Victory are eight points behind Sydney in the battle for top spot with seven matches remaining. A loss would see them 11 points adrift with six matches remaining, a situation that would all but guarantee Sydney FC the silverware.
A Victory win would cut the lead to five and would give them a distinct psychological edge ahead of the finals even if they don't bridge the points gap before the end of the season.
At the moment, Sydney are well ahead in the mind games this season, having won both encounters with their Big Blue rival 2-1 having trailed 1-0 early in the match. When they first met in November, it was a David Carney double which did the job, while their clash on Australia Day was settled by a Bernie Ibini strike in the 65th minute.
Sydney are $2 betting favorites heading into this match according to AustralianGambling.com.au having not lost a home game in 11 months, while Victory, who have won three of their past four, are $3.45 with the draw at $3.55.
Perth Glory have worked their way up to third in the table off the back of a four-match unbeaten streak themselves, and they travel to Auckland on Saturday to play Wellington Phoenix.
The Phoenix returned to form with a surprise 2-1 win over Brisbane last week but have lost four straight against the Glory, who beat them twice in Wellington last season. Perth Glory haven't lost in New Zealand since 2013.
The market has the Glory as slight favorites at $2.50 with Wellington at $2.60 and the draw at $3.50.
Western Sydney Wanderers seem to have cured themselves of the draw curse that dogged them earlier in the season, but they have become inconsistent. They have gone win-loss for their past six A-League games and lost 5-1 in the Champions League in midweek. They host Adelaide United and start $1.75 favorites, but you'd be loathe to take that given a torrid week which has seen them travel to Perth then Shanghai.
The Reds are $4.33 outsiders with the draw at $3.75, which seems decent value considering both teams are coming off trips to China.
Central Coast and Melbourne City play for the third time since New Year's Eve when City travel to Gosford on Sunday. The Mariners, who are $4 outsiders, haven't beaten City in a match in nearly two years, but City ($1.80) have just one win in Gosford in nine attempts. The draw is listed at $3.80.
The round concludes when Brisbane Roar, who will be playing their ninth game in 34 days, travel yet again, this time to Newcastle to play the Jets, The exhausted Roar are winless in their past five and were hammered 6-0 by Ulsan midweek. They are $2.20 favorites to win this match, but that looks skinny, with the Jets, who are winless in their past four, at $2.95 and the draw at $3.60.