The following are previews and betting tips for round 17 of the 2012 AFL season.
Season tally so far
Bets = 153.5 units
Won = 151.08 units
Profit/Loss = -2.42 units (1.6% loss)
CHEEKY WEEK 17 AFL MULTI
Geelong Cats v Essendon
There is a big seven weeks coming up for Geelong. Last season’s champions are in real danger of missing this year’s finals and face a daunting set of fixtures that will see them play six sides from the top 8 during the remaining home and away rounds. Essendon also has a tricky set of fixtures for their run home, however the Bombers are two games and percentage clear of the Cats and should remain safely in the top 8.
The media was quick to criticise Geelong after Collingwood beat them by 31 point last Saturday night. I think it is still too early to write the Cats off because they actually played alright and would have pushed the Magpies if not for inaccuracy in front of goal. Geelong finished with more inside 50’s and a greater amount of scoring shots, as well as dominating the marks inside 50 stat. I believe the marks inside 50 is a particularly noteworthy statistic because it tells you which team is having the better control of the football when in attack. Because of these numbers, I believe Geelong was not as bad as the media would have you believe.
A lengthy injury list is thwarting Essendon’s bid for a top 4 finish, with promising defender Michael Hibberd and unpredictable half-forward flanker Kyle Reimers the latest to succumb to soft-tissue injuries. Strong marking forward Stewart Crameri and goalsneak Angus Monfries are decent inclusions for the Bombers though.
The quick Essendon team play this ground really well, although St Kilda was able to cut through the Bombers here a fortnight ago. Geelong’s coaching staff would have studied that game and I’m confident the Cats players will be ready to carry out the coaches’ plans to notch an important win.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Geelong to win @ 2.05 (Sportsbet)
Collingwood v Hawthorn
I am really excited about this matchup as two competition heavyweights and Premiership fancies face off in a traditional Saturday afternoon MCG blockbuster. Make no mistake, this could be a preview to this year’s Grand Final. Collingwood is in third spot on the ladder, one win and one place ahead of the Hawthorn, although the Hawks have a mammoth percentage and can leapfrog their Victorian rival with a win in this match.
The Round 1 match between these teams remains as my favourite match of the season so far. I sat spellbound for two and a half hours as some of the league’s best players played breathtaking football. Hawthorn’s dazzling small forward Cyril Rioli illuminated the contest with a spectacular first half, while Scott Pendlebury was the dominant midfielder and made things look so easy in his characteristic style. As usual though, it was Lance Franklin who stole the show and the imposing forward was unstoppable during a pulsating last quarter.
A dodgy hamstring will prevent Franklin from taking to the field this time round, so I feel the advantage should definitely be with Collingwood, although the bookies don’t agree, framing this a 50-50 game. To illustrate how important Franklin is to this contest, he has booted 38 goals in his 8 most recent matches against the Magpies, and the last time Hawthorn took on Collingwood without him, early in 2010, the Hawks lost by 64 points. Without Franklin to torment them, the Pies should win.
Adelaide Crows v West Coast Eagles
If the first two fixtures of the round weren’t enough to get you excited, then maybe this ripping clash between 2nd and 5th will get you going. Adelaide is my outside pick for the flag (you can find them at about the $8-10 mark), with their talented forward line well complemented by a balanced midfield and an underrated defence. West Coast had a terrific start to the season and the Eagles were flying high after winning 8 of their first 9 matches, however John Worsfold’s team has been a touch inconsistent lately and were smashed at home by Sydney last week. I can’t recall West Coast getting belted on their home ground like that for a few years, so I’m sure the alarm bells will be ringing for Worsfold.
Adelaide has made a surprisingly large number of changes to the winning team from last week, with 6 players going out of the side. There are no big name omissions though, while Kurt Tippett is a good inclusion after finally overcoming a concussion injury sustained two weeks ago. West Coast is boosted by the return if burly forward Quinten Lynch, while rugged half back flanker Beau Waters and lively small forward Ashton also return to the Eagles line-up.
The Crows have won 5 of their past 6 matches, while the Eagles have gone 3 from 6 during the same period, so I’m going with the Crows to win due to better form, as well as the home ground advantage.
Gold Coast Suns v Brisbane Lions
The big Q Clash is back for installment number 4 of this fledgling rivalry. I think it’s a derby match that has a lot of promise and one which should develop into a spicy rivalry, especially given Gold Coast upset their more experienced enemy in the inaugural Q Clash early last year. I also recall Brisbane coach Michael Voss appearing on an episode of Before The Game this year and commenting that a Suns loss would help improve his mood after his Lions team lost earlier that day. So there is definitely a competitive edge developing between the clubs.
After a thrilling win over Richmond last week, Gold Coast head into this match hoping to record back to back victories for the first time in the club’s history. The Suns did well to win last week, however it was their first win of the season and only came via an almost unfathomable after the siren goal from Karmichael Hunt.
Brisbane will be without talented midfielder Daniel Rich due to suspension, but I still think the Lions will be too strong for the Suns, especially if Andrew Raines can continue his impressive tagging form and reduce the output of Gold Coast skipper Gary Ablett.
I reckon Brisbane really look forward to this match and want to gain an edge over their only Queensland competitors. Also, big forwards have been kicking bags of goals against Gold Coast, so I might have a small interest on big Jonathan Brown for most goals.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Brisbane to win by 16 points or more @ 1.59 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Jonathan Brown for most goals @ 1.90 (Sportsbet)
Western Bulldogs v Carlton
Just when Carlton had managed to put the wheels back on, they’ve fallen off again. The sensational win over Collingwood a fortnight ago was hoped to be the catalyst for a late season surge into the finals, however a horror outing against North Melbourne last Friday night resulted in the Blues losing, not just the match, but also their best player to a 4 week suspension, as well as three other key position players to injuries. The Bulldogs also endured a loss of similar magnitude to the Blues and have also made five changes to their team for this weekend. At least the Doggies haven’t lost as many key players as the Blues though.
Even though Carlton is missing more than half of its first choice team, the Blues are still warm favourites because the Bulldogs have lost their last 4 matches by an average margin of 63 points. Even though they’ve been thrashed recently, the Dogs have still got a quality midfield and, with Carlton missing a host of marking options, the Bulldogs won’t be exposed in the air like they normally are. I reckon the Doggies are more than a sneaky chance to cause an upset.
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Western Bulldogs to win by 39 points or less @ 3.40 (Sportsbet)
Melbourne v Port Adelaide
This match represents a great chance for either team to record a rare win in season 2012. The financially strapped Demons have chosen to sell this home game to Darwin, so the match will be played in neutral territory, boosting the chances of a Power win.
Both teams were in with chance of victory at three quarter time in their respective matches last week, however they were both then mercilessly crushed by experienced opposition. Melbourne has lost important ruckman Mark Jamar, as well as tagger Jordie McKenzie and forward pocket Jamie Bennell. Unlike some of the competition’s top teams, the Demons don’t have great depth and are only able to recall players that I would rate as borderline AFL standard.
Port Adelaide recall skipper Dom Cassisi from a hip injury and his inclusion will provide a hard edge to the Power, which might just be enough to propel his side to a victory. With Brent Moloney still out of the side for Melbourne, I reckon Port have a midfield of greater quality. I also believe the Power have more midfield depth, with skilled ball getters like Travis Boak, Danyle Pearce and Brad Ebert, supported by consistent second-tier players Kane Cornes, Matthew Broadbent, Matt Thomas and John McCarthy. Melbourne just don’t have the same quality to rotate through the middle.
Expect Port Adelaide’s superior midfield to outlast Melbourne in hot Darwin conditions.
Sydney Swans v St Kilda
The cracking weekend of AFL continues on Sunday when Sydney host St Kilda in the early kickoff from the SCG. As with every other match that seems to be played right now, both teams will be desperate for a win. The Swans are after a win to keep them on top of the ladder, while the Saints need to keep winning to remain in the top 8, although a win for St Kilda could potentially put them ahead of Geelong depending on the result of the Friday night game.
Due to the vagaries of the fixture list these teams met less than two months ago, with the Saints getting the jump in the first half and cruising to a 5 goal win at Etihad Stadium. The Swans have not lost since that match, while the Saints yo-yo season has continued and Scott Watters’ men have continued to alternate between wins and losses. The Saints have actually won their past two games, just the second time all season they’ve recorded back to back wins, so their formline actually dictates they are overdue for a loss!
The small SCG should suit Sydney better than St Kilda, and with limited space available to lead into St Kilda centre half forward Nick Riewoldt might struggle to make an impact in this match. Even though the Saints are in their best form of the year, the Swans are still playing better.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Sydney to win by 39 points or less @ 2.15 (Multiple Sites)
Richmond v North Melbourne
After a devastating loss against the Gold Coast last weekend this has now become a must win game for Richmond. The Tigers are now a game plus considerable percentage outside the top 8 and now need to win their next two games against fellow top 8 chasing teams, starting with this match against an in-form North Melbourne. The Kangaroos have been playing excellent football since their mid-season bye and enter this clash having won 4 of their past 5 matches, taking the scalps of Adelaide, St Kilda and Carlton during that period.
North Melbourne’s players have improved their consistency this season and I’m fairly confident the Roos will put in a good shift, but the Tigers are very unpredictable. Dangerously so for punters! Richmond should be improved by some key inclusions this week, with important youngster Dustin Martin back in the fold after a two week club imposed suspension, while ruckman Ivan Maric and midfielder Daniel Jackson also return.
With good weather forecast for Melbourne on Sunday, this match promises to be a high scoring shootout between two teams that do their best work forward of the centre. Rather than trying to predict whether we’ll see the good Richmond or the bad Richmond, I’m instead turning my hand to the total score market and betting on the total match points to exceed 220. Betting on a high scoring match also makes for more fun when cheering through every goal!
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Total Match score to be 221 points or more @ 2.50 (TAB Sportsbet)
Fremantle Dockers v GWS Giants
After some plucky early season showings, GWS now resembles a ramshackle outfit with a few decent kids. The Giants are now getting belted week after week and their average losing margin in July has been 125 points. With Fremantle currently only outside the top 8 on percentage, the incentive is there for the Dockers to post a big win, a really big win. The line is set an outrageously high 84.5 points, but you know what, I reckon that is great value for Freo!
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Fremantle at the line (-84.5) @ 1.92 (Sportsbet)