I’ve been watching a fair bit of the Tour de France these last couple of weeks and it has dawned on me that the AFL ladder can be analysed in a similar way to a stage in ‘le tour’. At the front you’ve got the yellow jersey team Collingwood, joined by Geelong in the breakaway. Those two are being pursued by a chasing pack of four – Hawthorn, Carlton, West Coast and Fremantle. Then comes the main peloton, which consists of the teams fighting for the final two spots in the top 8 – Essendon, Sydney, Melbourne, St Kilda, North Melbourne and Western Bulldogs. Behind them you’ve got the stragglers who have lost contact with the main field and will be just happy when the race finishes.
Season Betting Tally (After Round 17)
Wagered = $1710 – $10 per suggested bet
Collected = $2027.80
Profit/Loss = + $317.80
% Profit/Loss = + 18.6%
Round 18 CHEEKY AFL MULTI
S Kilda to win by 16 points or more @ 1.28
North Melbourne to win by 16 points or more @ 1.23
Carlton to win by 1-39 points @ 2.34
Geelong to win by 25 points or more @ 1.30
Combined Odds @ 4.80 (Centrebet)
ST KILDA v ADELAIDE – ETIHAD STADIUM (7.40pm AEST)
PREVIEW: Both teams played Jekyll and Hyde footy last weekend. Adelaide had Essendon on toast with a six goal lead during the second quarter before meekly surrendering in a woeful second half performance. The Saints opened up a six goal lead in the first quarter of their match against the high flying Eagles, however West Coast had eroded that deficit and hit the front by three quarter time. St Kilda showed the fighting spirit Adelaide was lacking and rallied to win their match in the final quarter. The Saints have got too much quality throughout their list and if you throw their collective confidence into the mix, the red, white and blacks should be comfortable winners. Stephen Milne is the best value bet for most goals in the match. The ‘tip rat’ has snagged three goals in each of his last three games and is a real chance to kick a bag against an out of sorts Crows team.
TIP: St Kilda to win by 45 points
NORTH MELBOURNE v BRISBANE – ETIHAD STADIUM (2.10pm AEST)
PREVIEW: Brisbane captain Jonathan Brown is out for the rest of the season after a second sickening facial injury of the season. The big colossus was injured in a massive collision last week as he attempted to take a pack mark running back with the flight of the ball. He will be missed as the Lions have rarely won a game without him over the previous two seasons. North Melbourne were very impressive last weekend rebounding from a Collingwood thrashing to defeat the Western Bulldogs with a strong final quarter. Drew Petrie was the star of the show up forward booting five majors. The dish has run hot and cold at different times this season, but he is definitely hot now. The Kangaroos are overwhelming favourites for the victory so there Is very little value to be found, however I do like the odds for young midfielder Jack Ziebell to win his disposals group. Ziebell collected a massive 41 touches at this venue last weekend, following up 27 the week before. They are huge numbers and if the midfielder can continue his form he’ll be hard to beat.
TIP: North Melbourne to win by 35 points
SYDNEY v WESTERN BULLDOGS – SCG (2.10pm AEST)
PREVIEW: This will be an interesting match as both teams are fighting for a finals place. Effectively it is an eight pointer. Last weekend both clubs were beaten by finals chasing rivals and will be desperate to get back on the winners list. Particularly the Bulldogs. Lose this and the Doggies could be two and a half wins outside the top eight. That would be season over. At selection the Swans have gained hard nut Jude Bolton and the Dogs have lost skillful rebounding defender Bob Murphy to a niggling groin injury. It will be a tough contest, just the way Sydney like it.
TIP: Sydney to win by 11 points
ANDY’S BET: Sydney to win by 1-39 points @ 2.42 (Centrebet)
GOLD COAST v COLLINGWOOD – METRICON STADIUM (7.10pm AEST)
PREVIEW: The result of this game may not be of interest, however I am excited to see how the young Gold Coast side fares in its first meeting with league powerhouse Collingwood. The Magpies are raging favourites, and rightly so, but they are not ticking over as well as the media is portraying. Going into this match the Pies will be without 8 of their premiership 22 from last year. No matter who you are that is a big loss. Luckily their injury and suspension problems have come at a decent time and they are unlikely to be exposed by a Gold Coast team still feeling their way through the AFL jungle. By defeating Richmond last weekend, the Suns notched their third victory of the season. They are a side going places, unfortunately for them though, the ladder position occupied by Collingwood isn’t one of them. I am unusually betting on the line at TAB Sportsbet. Normally they have the worst odds, but for this match they have given the Gold Coast a few extra points and they will all count against the reigning premiers.
TIP: Collingwood to win by 70 points
ANDY’S BET: Gold Coast at the line (+80.5) @ 1.90 (TAB Sportsbet)
ESSENDON v CARLTON – MCG (7.10pm AEST)
PREVIEW: Essendon were gutsy last week and that is not a word that has described them often over the last few years. The Bombers were able to come from six goals down and win their interstate match. It is the second match in a row they have successfully retrieved a sizable deficit. They will find it tougher against Carlton this Saturday night. The Blues have a top four place on the line and really need the win. Essendon were dealt a blow at selection, unable to regain skipper Jobe Watson and key defender Cale Hooker who were both expected to return from injury this week. The small Carlton forward line has struggled for goals in recent weeks, but they match up better against the tall Essendon defence and should be too nimble if they can bring the ball to ground. As far as the betting goes, I am confident Carlton will win and I am also confident they don’t have the firepower to break the game open, so a 1-39 margin bet is my preference.
TIP: Carlton to win by 20 points
ANDY’S BET: Carlton to win by 1-39 points @ 2.34 (Centrebet)
GEELONG v RICHMOND – ETIHAD STADIUM (1.10pm AEST)
PREVIEW: Geelong will be thankful for full forward James Podsiadly’s eight goal haul against Brisbane last weekend. Without that match winning effort the Cats would have been beaten by one of the league’s weakest teams. As it was though, Geelong avoided a third successive defeat and regained some winning form heading into the business end of the season. Richmond also ventured north last weekend, but were amazingly beaten by the young Gold Coast team. Richmond are descending the AFL ladder faster than Cadel Evans is descending some of mountains in the French Alps. Geelong really enjoy beating up on less experienced opposition and they average 40 games more AFL experience per player than their opposition this weekend. Unless Richmond have located their missing passion during the week, expect Geelong to win easily.
TIP: Geelong to win by 51 points
ANDY’S BET: Geelong to win by 40 points or more @ 1.66 (Centrebet)
MELBOURNE v HAWTHORN – MCG (2.10pm AEST)
PREVIEW: This is a match that Hawthorn are expected to win, however there is one match-up that will significantly influence the outcome of the match. The pivotal battle will be fought in the Hawthorn forward line where Melbourne defender James Frawley will attempt to limit the output of Hawks champion Lance Franklin. With fellow Hawthorn forward Jarryd Roughead sidelined for the season, Franklin’s role takes on greater importance. I think Frawley is one of the few who can match him and with a bit of support from his mates, could make it a tough day for the Hawk number 23. That said, I think Hawthorn have the stronger midfield, and although rebounding defender Matt Suckling has been ruled out, the Hawks should be able to generate enough inside 50’s to kick a winning score. In a match against a top club at the MCG, Melbourne are going to require huge games from big bodied midfielders Brent Moloney and Colin Sylvia if they are to win. I just can’t see those two being given the freedom to do too much damage, so I’m tipping the Hawks to win a tight one.
TIP: Hawthorn to win by 17 points
ANDY’S BET: Hawthorn to win by 1-24 points @ 3.35 (Centrebet)
FREMANTLE v WEST COAST – PATERSONS STADIUM (4.40pm AEST)
PREVIEW: This game comes down to the midfield contest. West Coast have the leading ruck combination in Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui, and these two have been palming the ball straight down into the laps of their midfielders all season. Fremantle usually have the giant Aaron Sandilands to counter this, but the big man is still injured, leaving the Freo ruck duties to Jon Griffin. This all plays right into the Eagles hands (or should that be wings?). The other thing to consider is that this is a derby game and both sides will be desperate for local bragging rights. I am intrigued by a betting option I have discovered at Sportingbet. I think this will be a tight tussle and suggest you have a nibble at their offer of $2.02 on the ‘Triple Margin 24.5’ option that the match is decided by 24 points or less.
TIP: West Coast to win by 9 points
ANDY’S BET: Any margin by 24 points or less @ 2.02 (Sportingbet)