The following are previews and betting tips for Round 5 of the 2013 AFL season
Season tally so far
Bets = 51.75 units
Won = 71.09 units
Profit/Loss = +19.34 units (37.4% profit)
Essendon vs. Collingwood
90,000 fans will fill the MCG this Thursday as league heavyweights Essendon and Collingwood square off in the annual ANZAC Day clash. The unbeaten Bombers are the surprise league leaders after four rounds, while their opponents have only lost once during their flurry of MCG blockbusters to start the campaign.
Since David Zaharakis goaled in the final seconds to secure the points for Essendon in the 2009 ANZAC Day clash, Collingwood have managed to win 7 from 7 against their rival, including this match last year with a late goal of their own.
Travis Cloke has been the dominant key position player during recent meetings between these clubs, booting 27 goals during his past 7 matches against the red and blacks. Cloke is in super form heading into this clash, snagging a career-high 7 goals against Richmond last week, although Essendon might have finally unearthed a key defender to match Cloke, with Jake Carlisle taking a few key scalps already this season. Carlisle will need to be at his best to ensure Cloke doesn’t swing the match Collingwood’s way again.
I think Essendon are the fitter team, while Collingwood has the big game experience. Sticking to my method from the Sydney v Geelong game last week, I am unsure on the victor, so I will put a small wager on either team to win by 24 points or less.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on either team to win by 24 points or less @ 1.72 (Centrebet)
St Kilda vs. Sydney
Westpac Stadium (Wellington)
From my point of view, St Kilda’s decision to sell their home game against Sydney represents what is wrong with modern football. The Saints have decided that making some extra money is worth denying fans an extra home match to watch in Melbourne. I can understand the Saints position, but I am annoyed at the AFL administration for running the competition in such a way that poorer clubs are given a financial reward for doing what the AFL wants despite neglecting their own fans.
St Kilda was one of the few teams to beat Sydney last year, defeating the premiers in a Round 9 clash at Etihad Stadium. With the luxury of hosting the Swans at Etihad Stadium not available this year, the teams will instead cross the ditch to play the first home and away match outside of Australia.
With home ground advantage surrendered, I expect the Saints to really struggle to make inroads against one of the best drilled teams in the league. St Kilda have been further hindered by the suspension of prolific goal-sneak Stephen Milne, with the tip-rat the leading goal scorer in both matches between these sides last year.
Sydney should recover from a slip-up against Geelong last week, with a routine win over St Kilda in this kiwi experiment. Given the Saints propensity to leak goals to opposition key forwards, I’ll also add a sneaky bet on Swans big forward Sam Reid to score the most goals.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Sydney to win by 39 points or less @ 2.25 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Sam Reid to score the mot goals @ 9.00 (Sportsbet)