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Honda, Bolt highlight off-season A-League signings

The A-League has been given a tremendous publicity boost after the fastest man in history decided to join Central Coast Mariners.

Olympic gold-medal winning superstar Usain Bolt is one of the most famous men on the planet and a huge media circus has followed his move to the Mariners. The commotion has been so vociferous that it has overshadowed a far more intriguing signing, as Melbourne Victory have snapped up legendary Japanese midfielder Keisuke Honda with a lot less fanfare. The dynamic playmaker was the architect of plenty of misery for the Socceroos during their golden period, and his signing represents a real coup for the league.

Bolt’s signing is little more than a publicity stunt, as he has never previously played professional soccer, but at 32 years of age Honda can still light up the league. Central Coast Mariners are rock bottom of the ladder and have no chance of glory, whereas Melbourne Victory are fourth and very much in the hunt for silverware. The bookmakers listed on OddsMarket responded to the Honda news by slashing the odds on Melbourne finishing the season as champions.

Sydney FC look to have the premiership wrapped up, but the bookmakers believe Melbourne Victory will thrive in the Finals Series. They beat Newcastle Jets to become champions last year, and the arrival of Honda should give them a much-needed shot in the arm. Sydney remain narrow favourites for the championship, but they are closely followed by Melbourne Victory, who have leapfrogged Melbourne City FC and Newcastle Jets in many bookmakers’ lines, despite trailing both teams in the ladder.

Honda was still going strong at this year’s World Cup and he is one of the best players to ever play in the A-League. He is not quite on the same level as Alessandro Del Piero and David Villa, but is certainly in the top five. He is also a fair bit younger than the other two were when they headed to Australia. His arrival is a lot more exciting than 40-year-old World Cup winner Romario making four appearance for Adelaide Utd. Honda starred for AC Milan for many years, won the Russian Premier League with CSKA Moscow and was named MVP as Japan won the 2011 Asian Cup. He is a supremely cultured midfielder, bringing grace and flair to the middle of the park. His arrival will fill the gap left by departed talisman Besart Berisha, and Victory fans can feel confident going forwards this season.

Honda’s move to Australia will spark a rise in popularity of the A-League, as will the Bolt circus. Betting on the league will skyrocket, and OddsMarket will keep soccer fans up to date with the latest developments. It is a hub that brings together a wealth of data and tools to arm soccer enthusiasts and sports bettors with everything they need to know in order to take on the bookmakers. It features videos with respected tipsters, articles from expert sports writers and a lively forum. The odds comparison tool allows you to see what prices each bookmaker is offering on your favourite team and all the other sides in the league, and it is customisable.

You can also benefit from tools like a bet calculator, a calendar, a results section and a bet tracker, which are all underpinned by sophisticated technology designed to make your life easier. The site can help A-League fans see what bookmakers, tipsters and sports writers think of each team’s chances, and it is a great resource for all soccer fans. It delves into all the world’s main leagues and competitions like the Champions League, so you are certain to find plenty of useful insight and it should be a key bookmark.

About the author

avatarThis post was written by a Staff Writer for Ultimate A-League

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