AFL Round 14 Preview and Betting Tips

The following are previews and betting tips for round 14 of the 2012 AFL season.

Season tally so far

Bets = 123 units
Won = 125.86 units
Profit/Loss = +2.86 units (2.3% profit)


Andy’s bet: 1 unit on Collingwood to win by 25 points or more, Geelong to win by 40 points or more, Brisbane to win by 25 points or more and St Kilda to win by 16 points or more @ 7.24 (Centrebet)

Friday Night

Carlton v Hawthorn

7.50pm AEST

There has been some classic Friday night contests already this season and this matchup between two league heavyweights promises to be another thrilling encounter. Both sets of players will be fresh after enjoying the bye last weekend and will head into this match hunting for a win that would set up the second half of the season. Earlier this season both teams alternated as Premiership favourites before a form slump saw Carlton drop from the top of the ladder to their current spot of 9th, two wins and three places below Hawthorn.

The Hawks are in much better form, having won 6 of their past 7, while the Blues have managed only 2 wins during the same period. Hawthorn’s good recent run of form does need to be tempered with the knowledge that Alastair Clarkson’s men have only managed their wins against teams 8th or lower on the ladder during the past two months. So while, Carlton’s current form is nowhere near as good as their opposition’s, if the Blues get their early season mojo back, it could provide an unfamiliar level of performance for the Hawks to deal with. Worryingly though for Carlton, defender Lachie Henderson has been sidelined with a groin injury. Henderson would have been a perfect matchup for Lance Franklin and now, in his absence, Franklin looms as the matchwinner.

Carlton’s recent problems have developed into a negative feedback cycle. The loss of key midfielder Marc Murphy to a shoulder injury has meant the Blues’ midfield has not been winning as much ball out of the middle, meaning their defence has had more to deal with. Last year Carlton’s defence was the source of many of the team’s attacks with Chris Yarran speeding out the backline launching counter-attacks. Yarran missed a few games through injury earlier this year and has returned a little underdone, although with a few games now under his belt, I expect to see some of the trademark dash this Friday night. Finally, with Carlton’s forward line starved of opportunities, the situation is compounded by the absence through injury of key marking target Jarrad Waite.

While Carlton’s season has been unraveling, coach Brett Ratten has been unable to successfully tweak the game plan and the Blues remain predictable and under-strength. The MCG should bring an improvement out of Carlton, however Hawthorn should still be too strong and won’t be caught off-guard in such an important match.

Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Hawthorn to win by 1-39 points @ 2.20 (TAB Sportsbet)

Saturday Afternoon

Collingwood v Fremantle Dockers

1.45pm AEST

In a manner not befitting with the club’s usual brash attitude, Collingwood has quietly snuck up to top the table at the end of the bye rounds. First year coach Nathan Buckley has done an amazing job to guide his team to 9 straight victories during a period in which he has not been close to naming his best squad due to numerous injury concerns. Fremantle, meanwhile, has plugged away to a respectable 6 wins and 6 losses this season, however a poor percentage means the Dockers are down in 12th place. With a relatively easy month of matches following this game, Fremantle could really set up a run to the top 8 with an upset victory against Collingwood.

Eilte Collingwood midfielder Scott Pendlebury has still not fully recovered from a leg fracture and remains on the sidelines. Pendlebury’s likely opponent would have been Dockers stopper Ryan Crowley, so it will be interesting to see who Fremantle coach Ross Lyon sends Crowley to tag. Brownlow Medallist Dane Swan often avoids the hard tag because some opposition teams believe his disposal is not overly damaging. Perhaps Fremantle would be best served by sending Crowley to negate the influence of Dayne Beams as the Magpie midfielder has been sensational this season, highlighted by a 34 disposal and 3 goal performance against West Coast last weekend.

Fremantle’s chief weapons in the past have been giant ruckman Aaron Sandilands and forward/midfield utility Matthew Pavlich. With Sandilands injured, Pavlich will need to fire if his team is to be successful on Saturday. Pavlich is most influential when he plays in the forward line and kicks goals, but I believe Collingwood have a nice defensive balance to counter Pavlich, with either Ben Reid or Nathan Brown likely to be opposed to him, while the other defenders will frequently leave their opponents to block the space in front of Pavlich.

With Collingwood hitting top form, I can only see this match heading one way. I’ll also have a small interest on Dane Swan for most disposals, hoping he escapes the Crowley tag.

Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Collingwood to win by 40 points or more @ 1.94 (Centrebet, Sportingbet)

Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Dane Swan for most disposals in Group A @ 2.00 (TAB Sportsbet)

Adelaide Crows v Richmond

AAMI Stadium
2.10pm AEST

Which Adelaide team will turn up on Saturday afternoon? The impressive unit that had surged into second spot prior to last weekend, or perhaps the group of imposters that were smashed by 11th placed North Melbourne last weekend will show up again? Richmond, for their part, will be hoping for a win to position themselves nicely for a spot at a first finals appearance since 2001. The Tigers are currently in 10th spot on the ladder, but have the best run-in of those teams chasing the final top 8 spots, with only two of their last 10 matches (including this one) to be played against clubs in the top 8.

Adelaide may have been poor last weekend, but I still favour them in home matches like this. Richmond has started to pick up injuries, but at least they get to welcome back defender Dylan Grimes from injury. Grimes showed earlier this season that he is Richmond’s most measly defender and he is a timely addition for the Tigers as the Crows have a couple of big marking forwards in Kurt Tippett and Taylor Walker.

With Richmond spearhead Jack Riewoldt expected to be well held by Adelaide backmen Ben Rutten and Daniel Talia, and Tiger midfielder Trent Cotchin likely to have Crow tagger Nathan van Berlo for company all game, this shapes as a tough afternoon for the Tigers.

Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Adelaide to win by 16 points or more @ 1.82 (Centrebet, Sportingbet)

West Coast Eagles v Gold Coast Suns

Patersons Stadium
4.40pm AEST

In a midweek press conference West Coast coach John Worsfold was asked if he had any advice for Gold Coast counterpart, and former teammate from their playing days, Guy McKenna. The parallel was drawn that the Suns, currently winless and last on the ladder, are in a similar position to where the Eagles were in 2010, with Worsfold’s men winning the wooden spoon that year.

Even though it seems they haven’t improved, Gold Coast, surprisingly, have had far fewer thrashings this year than they had received at the same stage last year. After 13 rounds last year, the Suns had lost 8 of their 11 matches by more than 55 points, while only 5 of their 12 games this year have resulted in blowouts by more than 55 points. Significantly though, ignoring their match with new boys GWS and the game against the Bulldogs at a neutral venue, Gold Coast has lost their four other interstate matches this season by an average margin of 72 points.

West Coast won by a surprisingly narrow 18 point margin in this fixture last year, but this match promises to be different. I reckon the line has been well set at about 70 points, so I am going to hedge my bets and put half a unit each on West Coast to win by 60-69 points or 70-79 points, effectively getting $3.75-$4.00 odds of an Eagles win by 60-79 points.

Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on West Coast to win by 60-69 points @ 7.50 (Centrebet)

Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on West Coast to win by 70-79 points @ 8.00 (Centrebet)

Saturday Night

Essendon v Western Bulldogs

Etihad Stadium
7.40pm AEST

On a cold winter’s night in Melbourne, the players will be glad this game is being played under the roof, meaning they won’t be exposed to the elements! Essendon will be very pleased with their important win in the west against Fremantle last Saturday night, a victory which ended a two match losing streak and catapulted the Bombers back into the top 4. The Western Bulldogs were surprisingly smashed by Brisbane last weekend, ending any faint hopes the Doggies had of snaring a September finals berth.

The Dons will need to keep winning if they are to remain in the top 4, and if they are to secure the finals double chance, this is a match they must win. The Doggies will almost certainly up their tackling pressure from last weekend, so the Bombers will need to be wary that they will be required to absorb some early pressure. Essendon will win if their players can match the intensity from the Western Bulldogs because the Bombers have proven to be more skillful this season and play with a good defensive structure that often forces their opposition into a hurried kick that results in an uncontested Essendon mark in the backline.

The Bulldogs don’t appear to have enough forward options to kick a winning score on Saturday night and will only triumph if their midfield is completely dominant. I’m confident Bomber midfield general and Brownlow Medal favourite Jobe Watson will ensure his team is not overrun in the middle of the ground. Essendon should win comfortably and I reckon they will be at least a goal a quarter better than the Dogs.

Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Essendon to win by 25 points or more @ 1.71 (Multiple Sites)

Sydney Swans v GWS Giants

ANZ Stadium
7.40pm AEST

For AFL administrators, the result from ANZ Stadium on Saturday night will be keenly followed. And no, I’m not talking about the final score, I’m referring to the crowd figure! 38,000 people came to the early season showpiece between these teams and this weekend we’ll find out how many have stuck with the Giants. The AFL will be hoping for an increase on that Round 1 attendance figure, however I’m fairly sure interest will have waned. Round 12 would have been a worry to league number crunchers, with GWS and Gold Coast home games attracting a combined total of just 17,000 fans, meaning the AFL’s expansion into those new markets is a long way off being a success.

The last two Sydney matches have had amazing similarities about them. The Swans jumped out to a lead of more than 40 points in both of their past two matches against Essendon and Geelong, only for their opponents to come zooming back in the last quarter to fall one goal short of victory. It has been like watching well handicapped running races where the back-marker running off scratch flashes home to make a photo finish with the runner who had the head start. GWS are much worse than Essendon or Geelong, so the Swans will have no danger of being ran down this weekend!

The Giants work rate dropped away after quarter time last weekend and they were thrashed by Melbourne. It goes to show how important it is for the youngsters to keep cracking in as, once their opposition gets clean ball through the midfield, they don’t have the manpower to repel wave after wave of attacks. GWS have recalled veteran defender Chad Cornes for this game, while the experienced Luke Power will almost certainly start this match after being the sub last game. Cornes and Power will provide extra experience down back for the Giants and this will probably keep the margin down.

Being a bit concerned about a last quarter fadeout from the young Giants, I’m going to back them to hang in for 3 quarters and cover the 3 quarter time line.

Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on GWS to cover the 3 quarter time line (+50.5) @ 1.90 (Sportsbet)

Sunday Afternoon

Geelong Catsvs. Port Adelaide

Simonds Stadium
1.10pm AEST

I expect normal service to be resumed at Simonds Stadium this Sunday afternoon as Geelong should record a big victory to rebound from last week’s loss and a few other scrappy recent wins. Port Adelaide’s playing list has been decimated by injuries and, amazingly, all 5 members of the club’s leadership group will be absent when the Power team runs through the banner on Sunday.

I’m going to keep my analysis short for this match as I am convinced that Geelong’s team, packed with Premiership stars, is vastly superior. This could be similar to the 100 point thrashings Geelong handed out to Melbourne and Gold Coast at this ground last year.

Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Geelong to win by 60 points or more @ 2.40 (TAB Sportsbet)

Brisbane Lions v Melbourne

3.15pm AEST

For Melbourne fans this match is a chance to reflect on where their season all started to go horribly wrong. It was Round 1 and the Demons were full of optimism ahead of Mark Neeld’s first game as coach. An upset 41 point win for Brisbane was the beginning of a 9 match losing run for Melbourne. Despite Brisbane remaining down in 13th spot on the ladder, this season has largely been regarded as a success for the club and coach Michael Voss given the Lions have already secured more wins than they managed for the whole of 2011.

One of Melbourne’s few success stories this year has been the goalkicking form of boom recruit Mitch Clark. A foot injury sustained last weekend will cause Clark to miss the rest of the season, so, with Melbourne’s main goalkicking option out of action, I can’t see the Demons booting enough goals to overcome an in-form Brisbane outfit.

Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Brisbane to win by 25 points or more @ 1.85 (Centrebet, Sportingbet)

St Kilda v North Melbourne

Etihad Stadium
4.40pm AEST

This is the match with the most riding on it this weekend and fans of both clubs will have all weekend to fret about the result because it won’t be played until late on Sunday afternoon. St Kilda return to Melbourne after two interstate matches and will be keen for a win to maintain their hold on 8th spot on the ladder. North Melbourne has the same number of wins as the Saints, but trail the Moorabbin men by 3 rungs on the ladder due to an inferior percentage. The last match of the weekend will determine who finishes the round in the top 8.

St Kilda will field probably their best lineup of the season. The backline looks much nicer with James Gwilt and Sam Fisher fit and healthy again, ruckman Ben McEvoy’s is back to full fitness and forward flanker Adam Schneider was very impressive against Adelaide in his second game back from a serious hamstring injury.

St Kilda has had the wood over North Melbourne in recent years, winning the last 4 matches played between the two clubs by an average margin of 57 points. Perhaps my bet of St Kilda to win by 16 points or more is a little conservative!

Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on St Kilda to win by 16 points or more @ 1.80 (Centrebet, Sportingbet)

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3 Responses to "AFL Round 14 Preview and Betting Tips"

    1. Personally, I reckon 1.75 is a bit short. 7/12 North games have been over 200 points but only 5/12 Saints matches have cleared it…so the odds should be closer to 2.00. Still a decent chance of it happening under the roof at Etihad though, so if it is your gut instinct, go with it!


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