To paraphrase a well-worn sporting cliché, last weekend was a betting game of two halves. At the conclusion of the Saturday night fixtures, we had an amazing 6 successful bets from 7 wagers. I was dancing around the living room and punching the air. However, by 7:30pm on Sunday I was sitting motionless on the couch ruing what might have been. The day was looking promising with St Kilda in complete control of the early game at half time, but the Saints went right off the boil in the second half. Meanwhile, the two bets involving Port Adelaide were probably my worst of the season. Due to the weekend’s earlier successes, we were still guaranteed to be in the black for round, although a Melbourne win in Sunday’s twilight fixture would have resulted in a ‘cheeky’ multi success and a significant boost to our yearly profits. The Dees clung to a narrow lead for much of the final term, before succumbing to a Richmond charge in the dying stages. Bring on Round 23!
Season Betting Tally (After Round 22)
Wagered = $2310 – $10 per suggested bet
Collected = $2778
Profit/Loss = + $468
% Profit/Loss = + 20.3%
Round 23 CHEEKY AFL MULTI
Hawthorn -15.5 @ 1.23
St Kilda +24.5 @ 1.23
West Coast -20.5 @ 1.92
Adelaide -18.5 @ 1.92
Combined Odds @ 7.65 (Centrebet)
FREMANTLE v COLLINGWOOD – PATERSONS STADIUM (8.40pm AEST)
PREVIEW: Fremantle host league leaders Collingwood in a potential Friday night fizzer at Patersons Stadium. During mid-July the Dockers won their 9th match of the season, but have since dropped anchor and failed to win any of their 5 most recent games. Fremantle’s wretched run of form has seen them fall out of the top 8 and effectively ended their season a couple of weeks early. The Dockers are still a slight mathematical chance of making the finals, but realistically they haven’t got a hope, with an extraordinary sequence of results required for them climb back into 8th spot.
Injuries to key players has been an ever-present hindrance to Fremantle this campaign. The casualty ward grew further during a bruising encounter withNorth Melbournelast weekend, leaving the injury list longer than a Matthew Pavlich drop punt. Fremantle coach Mark Harvey has become exasperated by the lack of playing stocks available to him, bemoaning he will struggle to find 22 fit players for this week’s match against league leader Collingwood. Skipper Matthew Pavlich has been Mr Fremantle over the past decade, the club’s games record holder, Pavlich has played a remarkable 256 of a possible 264 matches since his debut way back in 2000. The champ contracted a calf injury last week and, with no prospects for finals football, will take the opportunity to have surgery on a troublesome hip. Pavlich will be joined on the sidelines this week by key players David Mundy, Hayden Ballantyne, Antoni Grover, Alex Silvagni and Adam McPhee.
In contrast, reigning premier and competition leader Collingwood has the luxury of recalling some its stars as the Magpies finalise preparations for their finals campaign. Full forward Chris Dawes returns from a finger injury, with running players Ben Johnson, Leon Davis and Andrew Krakouer also welcome black and white additions for the match to be played on the wide Patersons Stadium. In and under clearance player Luke Ball is rested.
After a horrible final quarter against Brisbane last weekend, the Pies have been making noises during the week about treating this game as a dress rehearsal for finals. At their menacing best Collingwood destroy opposing teams in the first half. Against an undermanned Fremantle, I expect things to get very ugly very quickly.
Collingwood have played nine games since their bye in the middle of the season. In 4 of those 9 games, the Pies have kicked more behinds than goals, roughly a 50-50 ratio. The odds at Centrebet for the Magpies to kick more goals than points this weekend is $3.60, which is essentially Centrebet saying the chance Collingwood will kick more behinds than goals is only 25%. It is definitely not a certainty to happen, but I reckon Centrebet have framed a really poor market and I will throw a speculative tenner on it.
TIP: Collingwood to win by 73 points
ANDY’S BET: Collingwood to be leading by 36 points or more at half time @ 1.92 (Sportsbet)
ANDY’S BET: Collingwood to kick more behinds than goals @ 3.60 (Centrebet)
HAWTHORN v WESTERN BULLDOGS – MCG (2.10pm AEST)
PREVIEW: New Western Bulldogs boss Paul Williams enjoyed the perfect start to his coaching career last week. His side booted the first ten goals of the match, racing to a 60 point lead before quarter time! However, his youthful team failed to increase the margin over the next three quarters as their opponents, the bottom placed Port Adelaide, matched the Bulldogs on the scoreboard for the rest of the game. Hawthorn experienced a similar fade out in their match, throwing away a 45 point lead halfway during the third term to eventually fall across the line by 2 goals against Carlton. Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson won’t have been impressed by his team’s inability to put the Blues away and I expect a more ruthless brown and gold this week, meaning coaching at the kennel will get a whole tougher for Williams this weekend. I also suggest a wager on Hawthorn’s exciting small forward Cyril Rioli to kick more goals than his young counterpart Luke Bruest. Rioli has kicked 14 goals in his last 4 matches at this venue, Bruest has managed only half that amount.
TIP: Hawthorn to win by 51 points
ANDY’S BET: Hawthorn to win by 40 points or more @ 1.80 (Centrebet)
ANDY’S BET: Cyril Rioli to kick more goals than Luke Bruest @ 1.90 (Centrebet)
GEELONG v SYDNEY – SKILLED STADIUM (2.10pm AEST)
PREVIEW: Geelong’s Skilled Stadium record is the stuff of legend. The Cats have won their last 29 matches on home turf. They seem to be getting better as well, winning their 6 matches at the venue in 2011 by an average margin of 98 points. That statistic is so crazy I still struggle to comprehend it, although it is inflated by huge triumphs over Melbourne and the Gold Coast. Sydney, chasing a potential home final, will present a tougher test for Geelong. The Swans midfield seems well equipped to counter Gelelong’s grunt, although Sydney co-captain Jarrad McVeigh will miss this match after his baby daughter passed away during the week. It will be tough for the Swans playing group to recover from such an emotional week, so I’m on Geelong for another comfortable home win. Sydney on baller Josh Kennedy has found a lot more of the football than teammate Ryan O’Keefe over the last three weeks. Kennedy has collected 23 possessions in each of those matches, while O’Keefe has only amassed 15, 20 and 16 touches over the same period. I’m on Kennedy to continue that streak.
TIP: Geelong to win by 52 points
ANDY’S BET: Geelong to win by 40 points or more @ 1.61 (Centrebet)
ANDY’S BET: Josh Kennedy more disposals than Ryan O’Keefe @ 1.90 (Centrebet)
ST KILDA v NORTH MELBOURNE – ETIHAD STADIUM (7.10pm AEST)
PREVIEW: The mathematicians match of the round. Permutations and combinations abound for this Saturday night showpiece. At the risk of confusing you, St Kilda need only to win this match to guarantee a finals position, and possibly a home final if Geelong defeat Sydney earlier in the day. If St Kilda lose, they can still make the finals, but only if they defeat high flying Carlton in the final round. If St Kilda lose both matches, then North Melbourne can sneak into 8th spot by virtue of a win in this match, followed up by another success next week against Richmond. Make sense? I hope so! I had been touting St Kilda as premiership contenders following a 6 game unbeaten streak then a competitive showing against league leader Collingwood. The Saints second half last weekend has made me reassess that optimism. They were cruising at half time against Sydney, but a lack of output from their midfielders combined with an injury to their only marking forward Nick Riewoldt, left them exposed. North Melbourne had no such worries, really putting Fremantle to the sword with a mammoth 98 point win, the Kangaroos biggest victory for a few seasons. With Riewoldt passed fit to play, I am going to give the Saints a last chance this week and back them at the line. Another reason the Saints get a second chance is the return of full back Zac Dawson and full forward Justin Koschitzke, both late withdrawals last week. St Kilda defeated North Melbourne less than 2 months ago at this very venue, when both teams were in similar form. That match was a very scrappy encounter with neither side managing more than 12 goals. If that happens again, Eithad Stadium specialist Stephen Milne may need only 3 goals to be leading goalscorer for the match. The ‘tip rat’ has done well for us in the past, time for him to deliver again!
TIP: St Kilda to win by 17 points
ANDY’S BET: St Kilda at the line (-5.5) @ 1.92 (Centrebet)
ANDY’S BET: Stephen Milne most goals @ @ 4.50 (TAB Sportsbet)
BRISBANE v WEST COAST – GABBA (7.10pm AEST)
PREVIEW: A win this week would guarantee West Coast a top 4 position at season’s end and the all important finals double chance. That should be motivation enough for the Eagles to win, and win well, against the lowly Brisbane Lions. The Lions were surprisingly quite competitive against Collingwood last weekend, although I suspect that was more to do with a lack of urgency from the Magpies rather than Brisbane’s good form. At selection there is a big out for both teams. Lions key forward Mitch Clark misses with a knee complaint, while West Coast midfield extractor Daniel Kerr rests a sore back in the lead up to the finals. I think Clark is a bigger loss as the Lions will struggle to kick a winning score without him. Even if Clark doesn’t mark the ball, he is useful in getting to ground level for small forwards like Todd Banfield to pick up the crumbs. West Coast have won 10 of their past 11 matches, that is far superior to Brisbane, who can only boast 2 wins from the same period. Expect West Coast to be at least a goal a quarter better than the Lions.
TIP: West Coast to win by 34 points
ANDY’S BET: West Coast to win by 25 points or more @ 2.07 (Centrebet)
ADELAIDE v RICHMOND – AAMI STADIUM (1.10pm AEST)
PREVIEW: In an ironic twist, both these clubs will not be playing finals football, yet are two of the competition’s form teams in the run-in to September. Adelaide have won 3 of their last 4 matches under caretaker coach Mark Bickley, while the Tigers have won back to back matches for only the second time all season. Being the home team, I am going for Adelaide to dominate the match early and then settle in for a comprehensive victory off the back of another dominant Scott Thompson midfield display, and more goals from Kurt Tippett and Taylor Walker. The pair combined for 8 majors last weekend against the Gold Coast and will be licking their lips at the prospect of facing Richmond’s undersized backline.
TIP: Adelaide to win by 48 points
ANDY’S BET: Adelaide to win by 40 points or more @ 3.30 (Centrebet)
ANDY’S BET: Adelaide first team to 25 points @ 1.60 (Centrebet)
MELBOURNE v GOLD COAST – MCG (2.10pm AEST)
PREVIEW: These two teams have both gone winless in their last five matches. Melbourne should be able to win at home, but there is no value in the head to hard market, and I am not confident the Demons will be able to cover any margin with three key players out of the side. Colin Sylvia and Aaron Davey are suspended and Ricky Petterd has a quad injury. I’ve turned my interest to the most disposals market and Gold Coast ball magnet Gary Ablett. Apart from the match against Sydney, where he was injured early, Ablett has collected more than 30 possessions in 9 of his 12 most recent matches. They are extraordinary numbers and with Melbourne lacking major ball winners, Ablett is a huge chance to take out this market. As it is a Sunday fixture, the odds won’t be fixed until the final teams are announced at 5pm on Friday. I am not sure what the odds will be, but if they are $2.00 or more, then load up on the champ
TIP: Melbourne to win by 35 points
ANDY’S BET: Gary Ablett most disposals @ approx 2.00 (Odds not yet fixed – TAB Sportsbet)
ESSENDON v PORT ADELAIDE – ETIHAD STADIUM (4.40pm AEST)
PREVIEW: With a bye in next week’s final round Essendon must win this game to ensure a finals berth. Fortunately, they have been pitted against bottom placed Port Adelaide so a win is guaranteed. The bookies agree and have given no value anywhere for the red and blacks. Like in the Friday night fixture, the odds for the goalkicking accuracy markets are very perplexing. Port Adelaide are very decent odds to kick more behinds than points. Essendon play an excellent pressurised game style at Etihad Stadium and will force Port Adelaide to take a number of shots at goal from difficult angles. Again, like I said on Friday night, this bet is not a certain winner, but I think the market has been poorly framed.
TIP: Essendon to win by 67 points
ANDY’S BET: Port Adelaide to kick more behinds than goals @ 3.35 (Centrebet)