The AFL competition has started to have a whiff of predictability about it over the last few weeks. Officials, media commentators and general footy fans have all smelt this staleness and are bemoaning the uneven nature of many recent matches. Their views are in contrast to shrewd punters like us though. We have been rubbing our hands with glee as more and more results follow the script. Last weekend was a third profitable week in a row for this column, and the kitty was boosted further by a correct ‘cheeky multi’ selection. The season profit now stands at a very healthy $475, or a 23% return on investment. Long may the AFL stay predictable!
Season Betting Tally (After Round 20)
Wagered = $2070 – $10 per suggested bet
Collected = $2546.90
Profit/Loss = + $476.90
% Profit/Loss = + 23.0%
Round 21 CHEEKY AFL MULTI
Fremantle +24.5 @ 1.65
Essendon to win @ 1.74
Brisbane to win by 16 or over @ 1.82
Combined Odds @ 5.20 (Centrebet)
ST KILDA v COLLINGWOOD – ETIHAD STADIUM (7.40pm AEST)
PREVIEW: This match of the round is a splendid way to kick off another big weekend of footy. It is a rematch of last year’s Grand Final, but revenge will take a back seat as St Kilda’s main motivation will be getting the four points. The Saints have risen to sixth on the ladder and are now looking to maintain that position and secure a home final. These sides met as recently as two months ago, with Collingwood easily triumphing by a healthy 57 point margin. A lot has changed since then though. St Kilda have got close to a full lineup on the park, have all their stars in good form and are playing with a confidence that was lacking earlier in the campaign. Collingwood, on the other hand, have started to pick up injuries, although the Magpies have still been beating their opposition week in, week out. The Saints have been excellent starters recently, winning their last eight first quarters. I rate them a great chance to continue this trend against the Pies, who might take a few minutes to get used to the pace of the game after strolling past Port Adelaide last week. Speaking of the Saints’ fast starts, my St Kilda supporting mate Jimmy has told me to inform you that Stephen Milne has been the first goal scorer a massive eight times this year. It might be a good way to start your punting weekend. Despite St Kilda’s obvious improvement, Collingwood are still the team to beat and this is exemplified by the following statistic – St Kilda have won their last six matches, Collingwood have won their last eleven.
TIP: Collingwood to win by 23 points
ANDY’S BET: Collingwood to win by 1-39 points @ 2.36 (Centrebet)
ANDY’S BET: Qtr by Qtr Leader St K/Coll/Coll/Coll @ 12.00 (Centrebet)
HAWTHORN v PORT ADELAIDE – MCG (2.10pm AEST)
PREVIEW: Let’s forget about the result, the Hawks are obviously going to win, but there is no value to be found, even in the margin betting. Despite the number of floggings happening recently, I am not confident of Hawthorn covering a line of 78 points. The Hawks’ biggest win of the year has been a 71 point success against a young Gold Coast outfit. So, as poor as Port Adelaide have been, I don’t want to touch the line bet in this game. Instead I am going to focus on Sam Mitchell in the most disposals market. Mitchel is Hawthorn’s number one ball winner, and has won his most disposals category in eleven of his seventeen matches so far this season, including the match against Port Adelaide in round 7. 30 disposals is often enough to win the most disposals group A, and Mitchell has amassed 30 or more possessions in eight of his last nine games.
TIP: Hawthorn to win by 75 points
ANDY’S BET: Sam Mitchell most disposals in Group A @ 1.60 (TAB Sportsbet)
FREMANTLE v CARLTON – PATERSONS STADIUM (3.10pm AEST)
PREVIEW: The last couple of times Carlton has travelled west to take on Fremantle the games have been tight tussles. The Blues got up by 15 points in 2009, but went down by only 6 in the final round last year. Fremantle finally regain ruckman Aaron Sandilands, but still go into the game as underdogs, although with their season on the line the Dockers will be relentless in pursuit of a win. Carlton might just have too much quality for the purple men and should sneak the win, but not by much, so a Fremantle line bet is my best play for this game. A 17.5 point head start is great value for Freo at home.
TIP: Carlton to win by 10 points
ANDY’S BET: Fremantle at the line (+17.5) @ 1.92 (Centrebet)
WESTERN BULLDOGS v ESSENDON – ETIHAD STADIUM (7.10pm AEST)
PREVIEW: For me, last weekend was all about Essendon. The Bombers were the crucial leg in my ‘cheeky multi’ and I also had them as a stand-alone bet. They pulled off an amazing recovery to beat Sydney, reeling in a two goal defecit in the last 5 minutes, and then surviving an Adam Goodes shot for goal after the siren that could have beaten them. So Essendon are very much in my good books. The whole reason for betting on them last weekend was their impressive record at Etihad Stadium this season. Adding in last week’s win, the red and blacks are now 6 from 7 at the venue. The Western Bulldogs are still without game breaker Adam Cooney, and will rely on full forward Barry Hall to kick a winning score. Hall should be well covered by Essendon’s defensive trio of Tayte Pears, Michael Hurley and Dustin Fletcher, so I like the Bombers to continue their Etihad Stadium streak.
TIP: Essendon to win by 12 points
ANDY’S BET: Essendon to win by 1-39 points @ 2.56 (Centrebet)
BRISBANE v GOLD COAST – GABBA (7.10pm AEST)
PREVIEW: This northern ‘blockbuster’ will probably have as many interested onlookers watching on from the south of the nation. Since being shocked by their young, upstart rivals in Round 7, Brisbane will have been setting themselves for revenge in this fixture. Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett has been selected to return from a hamstring injury and his presence will be a big boost to his young teammates. Despite this I can’t see the Lions letting this fixture slip twice in a season, and expect them to come out firing and lead from start to finish.
TIP: Brisbane to win by 27 points
ANDY’S BET: Brisbane to win by 16 or over @ 1.82 (Centrebet)
ANDY’S BET: Brisbane to lead at the end of every quarter @ 2.15 (TAB Sportsbet)
MELBOURNE v WEST COAST – ETIHAD (1.10pm AEST)
PREVIEW: The Demons have brought back some senior players for this fixture and look a much better team for it. Grunt midfielder Colin Sylvia and ruckman Mark Jamar return for Melbourne, while West Coast have named ruck combination Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui despite both picking up knocks last weekend. Melbourne are a team under siege at the moment and are well down on confidence. Generally teams in this type of situation come out full of passion at the start of each game before fading throughout the second half as the game opens up and skill becomes more important. Melbourne had a good first quarter against Carlton last week and got to 24 points first, inaccurate kicking for goal costing them the quarter time lead. I expect the Dees to come out breathing fire again this weekend, before being overwhelmed by the Eagles relentless forward press in the second half.
TIP: West Coast to win by 24 points
ANDY’S BET: Melbourne first team to 25 @ 3.00 (TAB Sportsbet)
ANDY’S BET: Melbourne to lead at half time and West Coast to lead at full time @ 7.50 (Centrebet)
RICHMOND v SYDNEY – MCG (2.10pm AEST)
PREVIEW: I am going to break a golden rule in my preview for this match and ignore an overwhelming statistic. Richmond have a great recent record when hosting interstate sides for matches in Melbourne. The Tigers have beaten non-Victorian visitors 6 times in 8 such games since the start of 2010. Further to this, Sydney haven’t won in their last six at the home of football (MCG), dating back to a win over Richmond near the end of the 2009 season. The closest they have come since then was a draw with Melbourne in round 1 this year. I am going to ignore this overwhelming evidence based on Richmond’s horrible current formline of six losses in a row. Another reason why the Swans should win, and win comfortably, is the dominant influence of ruckman Shane Mumford. The Tigers get beaten in the ruck most weeks and were horribly exposed by West Coast’s Nic Naitanui and Dean Cox last week. Mumford is in that class and will give the Swans midfielders an armchair ride on Sunday.
TIP: Sydney to win by 32 points
ANDY’S BET: Sydney at the line (-21.5) @ 1.92 (Centrebet)
ADELAIDE v GEELONG – AAMI STADIUM (4.40pm AEST)
PREVIEW: Over the last few years Geelong have dominated the competition and intimidated many opponents. Adelaide has been one of the few clubs that has lifted itself for the challenge of playing Geelong and tried to beat the best. They have played a home game against Geelong in each season since 2007, winning one game and losing the other three, although only one of those losses was by greater than 51 points (the betting line for this match). They have also been one of the few sides to push Geelong in matches at the Cats’ Skilled Stadium, notably a 2 point loss in 2009. These teams played only 6 weeks ago and Geelong won by 52 points on their home turf. Adelaide are playing with more freedom now and have home advantage, so should theoretically have closed the gap. Geelong may also be tired of beating teams up after handing out two 100 point beltings in a row.
TIP: Geelong to win by 41 points