Collingwood v Essendon: 2012 ANZAC Day Preview and Betting Tips

The following are previews and betting tips for Round 5 of the 2012 AFL season.

Season tally so far

Bets = 40 units
Won = 51.91 units
Profit/Loss = +11.91 units (29.8% profit)

Wednesday Afternoon

Collingwood v Essendon

2.40pm AEST

The most hyped home and away match of each season is here again. The now traditional Collingwood and Essendon ANZAC Day clash is less than 24 hours away and the 2012 edition looks like it will live up to the hype.

The two clubs have been playing on this day each year since 1995 and legends of those early matches, James Hird and Nathan Buckley, are once again prominent figures on gameday, with both now head coaches of their former clubs. Hird’s Bombers remain unbeaten after four matches and underlined their impressive start to the season with a comprehensive victory of arch-rival and premiership contender Carlton at the weekend. Buckley’s initiation as Magpies boss has been far from perfect as his side, plagued by injuries and off-field issues, has lost two of their first four games. That’s as many defeats as the ‘Woods suffered under previous coach Mick Malthouse for the whole of the 2011 home and away season.

Recent history favours Collingwood, with the Pies on a 5 match winning run against the Bombers, however both teams played on Saturday and have only three days to recover and prepare for this one, so the short break adds an extra layer of uncertainty to the analysis. The weather will further complicate matters as persistent showers have soaked Melbourne already on Tuesday and more wet weather is expected for game day, although the weather bureau is expecting this rain to ease during the afternoon.

Having been present at the ground to witness three Collingwood matches this season, it is clear the black and whites are both under-manned and lacking match fitness. Despite this the Pies have still done enough to win a couple of games and the defence, a large source of the early season woes, held up well last week. Until last weekend, Essendon had been winning without really playing that well, so it will be interesting to see if they can maintain the excellent form that was present during Saturday’s defeat of Carlton. I can’t split these teams, but if you’ve got an inkling, go with that team to win by 39.5 points or less as you can get odds of around $2.50 for the Pies and $2.85 for the Bombers.

To get some extra interest from the match I recommend chucking on a few small wagers. Collingwood’s lack of fitness has been exposed by opponents in last quarters of matches this season and the Pies have not won a final term, losing their last quarters by an average of 15 points. Even more alarmingly for the black and whites is a combined total of 7 scoring shots during the last quarter of their past three matches, while conceding 20 scores to their opponents (including the lower ranked Richmond and Port Adelaide). The two other small bets I recommend are based on the weather. If a fiercely contested match like this one is played during slippery conditions, goals will be hard to come by, so I’m tipping a low-scoring game. Finally, tough little Collingwood on-baller Jarryd Blair is likely to spend more time at the stoppages in the absence Luke Ball. Blair is a wet-weather specialist and picked up 3 brownlow votes for best afield during a rain affected match last season. The odds on the midget winning the ANZAC day medal are huge and I can’t resist a small interest!

Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Essendon to win the last quarter @ 2.00 (Sportsbet)

Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Jarryd Blair to win the ANZAC Day medal @ 51.00 (Centrebet, Sportingbet, TAB Sportsbet)

Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on total match score 150 points or less @ 6.50 (Sportingbet)

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