The following are previews and betting tips for Round 2 of the 2013 AFL season
Cheeky Multi: 1 unit on Sydney, Port Adelaide and Essendon to win by 25 points or more and Geelong to win by 39 points or less @ 6.80 (Sportsbet)
St Kilda vs. Richmond
Thanks to Melbourne’s poor performance on Sunday, St Kilda’s capitulation to Gold Coast last Saturday night largely escaped the spotlight. However, there will be nowhere for the Saints to hide this week as they do battle with Richmond under the bright MCG lights during the showpiece Friday night match.
Six-day breaks have been mentioned in the media a bit this weekend, with Geelong coach Chris Scott quoted as saying, “The six-day break thing is so overrated.” I disagree with this comment, particularly early in the season when players are still building match fitness and games can really open up in the second half.
Both these teams suffered fade-outs last week, with Richmond holding on to win by 5 points against Carlton despite leading by 36 points at the final break, while St Kilda surrendered a 9 point three quarter time lead en-route to a 13 point defeat against Gold Coast.
The Tigers have had two extra days to prepare for this match, with the Saints recovery further hindered by returning from their interstate trip. Most pundits agree that Richmond has a better team than St Kilda this season, and given the Tigers have had two extra days to prepare, I expect the yellow and blacks will win this game comfortably.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Richmond to win by 23 points or more @ 2.10 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Richmond to win the second half by 10 points or more @ 1.90 (Bet365)
Sydney vs. Gold Coast
The AFL went all socialist on us during the off-season and doctored the fixture list so weaker teams had easier draws and the stronger teams were pitted together more frequently, but despite this, the champions from last season start this campaign with their second soft match in a row. After brushing aside 2012 wooden spooner GWS in round 1, Sydney play host to last season’s second-worst team this Saturday.
Even though they are heavy underdogs for this match, the Gold Coast boys visit the harbour city in good spirits after surprising St Kilda with an impressive second half last weekend. Suns captain Gary Ablett led the charge with a storming last quarter that included three goals among plenty of important disposals.
Sydney is still the team to beat however, with Josh Kennedy starting the season just as dominantly as last year, while speedy midfielder Kieran Jack also looks in very good nick.
Sydney didn’t thrash GWS last week, so I am going to be cautious and only put half a unit on them at the line.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Gary Ablett for most disposals in Group 1 @ 2.00 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Sydney at the line (-40.5) @ 1.92 (Sportsbet)
Western Bulldogs vs. Fremantle
In a round full of surprise results, the Western Bulldogs thumping of Brisbane last Saturday shocked me the most. Coming up against the pre-season premiers Brisbane, the Bulldogs bounced out of the blocks piling on six goals to nil in the first quarter, before cruising to a 68 point win. Fremantle took to the field a week earlier and overcame a sluggish start to run over the top of West Coast in the second half and record a 28 point victory in the local derby.
I really have to respect Fremantle after they beat West Coast, my premiership selection, so comprehensively. The Dockers conceded just 38 inside 50’s in that match, proving their dominance of general play. The Bulldogs will need a lot more forward entries than that if they are to trouble Freo. The Doggies makeshift forward line was effective against the Lions, scoring 127 points, which was amazing because it was the first time they had managed more than 85 points since halfway through last season.
Even though they were sensational last weekend, I am not convinced on the Bulldogs long term prospects this season, while Fremantle look a real top 4 contender following on from their Semi Final appearance last year. The Dockers should take this one out.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Fremantle to win by 16 points or more @ 1.74 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Michael Walters most goals @ 10.00 (Sportsbet)
Brisbane Lions vs. Adelaide
I was supremely confident both these teams would win their respective round 1 matches, and both were well beaten. Therefore, with no confidence predicting them, I am going to steer clear of all head to head and margin bets for this match and instead focus on player based bets.
Brisbane full-back Matt Maguire has been ruled out of this match due to a calf injury, depriving the Lions of an option to match up against Adelaide’s big goalkicking star Taylor Walker. With ‘Goose’ Maguire missing, the job could fall to Daniel Merrett, who may struggle against Walker’s agility. Because of this I am going to place a small wager on the mulleted forward to kick the most goals in this match.
Another great option for player bets is the head to head markets for fantasy scores in either supercoach or dream team. I prefer to bet on dream team because the scoring system is more transparent and you can easily follow your bet live during the match. The head to head markets weren’t available at the time of writing.
Andy’s Bet: 0.75 units on Taylor Walker for most goals @ 2.40 (Sportsbet)
Port Adelaide vs. Greater Western Sydney
Port Adelaide sits atop the ladder after Round 1, and should remain there for at least another week, which would be an impressive effort for a team that hasn’t played finals since 2007. GWS were competitive against Sydney last weekend and were only beaten by 30 points against the premiers, earning the players praise from coach Kevin Sheedy. The Giants will be scary once their crop of young stars fully develop.
Port Adelaide’s strengths are a good midfield complemented by the underrated Jay Schulz providing a marking target up forward. The Power has a potential weakness with an inexperienced backline, however that wasn’t tested against Melbourne because the Demons were unable to get the ball down there often enough!
Port Adelaide showed their mean streak with a thumping of Melbourne last weekend and I expect them to show no mercy to GWS this weekend.
Essendon vs. Melbourne
Essendon is one of the few teams with a poor recent record against Melbourne, with the red and black losing their last three match against the red and blues. Colin Garland was the unlikely hero when these teams met last year, booting a couple of important goals during a rare cameo appearance in attack. It would take something similarly unexpected for the Demons to extend their winning streak over the Bombers.
Two weeks ago, during their impressive victory over Adelaide, Essendon looked much more like the team that blitzed the start of last season, rather than the rabble of a side that limped through the second half of 2012. The style of the victory was particularly noteworthy, with the Bombers physically dominant, doubling their opponents centre clearance count and laying 26 more tackles despite have more possessions.
If Essendon work both ways again this Saturday night, then Melbourne don’t have a hope. The best Demons fans can hope for is a more spirited display than last weekend’s capitulation against Port Adelaide. However, with a clear night forecast, conditions will be perfect for high scoring and I reckon the Dons can win by plenty.
Geelong vs. North Melbourne
I studied statistics during my uni days, so I spent plenty of time analysing regressions! North Melbourne need to win this match against Geelong or risk regressing to their position of a couple of years ago. And here’s why, for the first few years of Brad Scott’s reign, the Kangaroos were pretty decent at beating the teams in the lower half of the table, but often struggled against the top teams, losing all nine matches against top 4 opposition during 2010-2011. Last year they turned this trend with coming of age victories over Adelaide and Collingwood, while also beating Geelong early in the season at a time when the Cats were rated as a top 4 team.
After all that improvement, North failed against Collingwood last weekend, which will have been particularly disappointing given the Magpies were hit by injuries and running on empty for most of the last quarter. If Geelong were to beat the Kangas this Sunday, it would be the second reversal of a good result from last year, putting early doubt on the ‘Roos top 8 credentials.
I actually think Geelong will win this one. The Cats seem to have a bit more precision and purpose with their attacks, whereas the Kangaroos were a bit haphazard last week, especially so in the second half when the match was there for the taking. I am tipping Geelong’s class to edge a reasonably tight match.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Geelong to win by 39 points or less @ 2.25 (TAB Sportsbet)
Collingwood vs. Carlton
“I could never coach against my boys.” Those were the words spoken by outgoing Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse at the Magpies presentation night at the end of the 2011 season. Fast-forward to the present day and the once-revered Collingwood boss will again be the calling the shots from the coaches box as the Pies take on the Blues, except the shock twist is this time Malthouse will be wearing a navy-blue Carlton polo shirt.
As hard as Malthouse, his successor Nathan Buckley, and the Magpie players try to treat this as any other match, the emotions will be bubbling beneath the surface, ready to explode at any time. The psychological battle is too hard to predict, so I’m going to focus on what I saw from these clubs last week.
I was lucky enough to watch both these teams live at the ground last week and saw Collingwood pull off a courageous victory, the sort which was a trademark of the Malthouse era. Carlton, meanwhile, produced a classic Jekyll and Hyde performance, shambolically attempting to follow Malthouse’s preferred defence-first policies before storming home in the last quarter playing all-out attack. After coaching for more than 20 years, I doubt Malthouse will be changing his philosophies based on one quarter of football, so I expect the Blues to use the defensive game style as Plan A again this Sunday.
I am picking Collingwood to win as I believe they are more in tune with the style of football they are playing, however the Pies will want to be well in front by three quarter time, because the Blues have had three extra days to freshen up for this one and plenty of Magpie players looked out on their feet when the siren sounded to end their round 1 match.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Collingwood to win by 39 points or less @ 2.20 (Sportsbet)
West Coast vs. Hawthorn
Two premiership fancies clash in this Sunday twilight special from Perth. Even though it is only round 2 the stakes are pretty high because the loser will be winless after the first two rounds, making it a tough slog to work up to an all-important top 4 position, and no team has won a flag from outside the top 4 since the turn of the century.
Hawthorn has reacted to its round 1 defeat by rushing captain Luke Hodge back into the team after injury, while West Coast has been forced to leave out Mark LeCras due to a broken arm and key defender Eric Mackenzie misses with a hamstring injury. Mackenzie’s injury is particularly noteworthy because the tall Eagle normally stands the sometimes brilliant but sometimes erratic Hawk Lance Franklin. Big Lance had an off day last week against Geelong and I expect him to improve against the Eagles.
I really don’t know which way this will go. I start thinking West Coast has too many injuries to beat a top side like Hawthorn, but then I get confused because Hawthorn had every chance to beat Geelong last week and didn’t. With their opponents facing a 6-day break and a long flight west, I’m going to back the Eagles in a nail-biter!
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on West Coast to win by 24 points or less @ 3.40 (Sportsbet)