The following are previews and betting tips for Round 9 of the 2013 AFL season
Season tally so far
Bets = 103.5 units
Won = 107.79 units
Profit/Loss = +4.29 units (4.1% profit)
Cheeky Multi: 1 unit on St Kilda to win by 25 points or more, Hawthorn to win by 69 points or more and North Melbourne to win by 39 points or less @ 7.37 (Sportsbet)
Collingwood vs. Sydney
Collingwood returned to form last weekend with a gutsy 6 point win over the previously unbeaten Geelong, while Sydney were less impressive, letting a decent early lead slip as they drew at home against a Fremantle side that was lacking many key players.
That Collingwood win last weekend continued an amazing winning streak in close matches for the black and whites, with the Magpies now victorious in their previous 12 matches that have been decided by 18 points or less. Strong on field leadership combined with players making good decisions under pressure have been vitally important in the close wins. Sydney are considered to be a well-disciplined team, but during the same period Collingwood have won all of their close matches, the Swans have only won 9 of their 17 matches that have been decided by 3 goals or less.
Utility player Brent Macaffer has been used as a tagger by Collingwood in recent weeks and he played a crucial role in his team’s victory last Saturday night, negating the influence of Geelong skipper Joel Selwood. Macaffer will almost certainly be assigned the task of shutting down a Sydney midfielder this week, probably either Josh Kennedy of Dan Hannebery.
Given their injuries, I don’t think Collingwood will be able to run away with this match, while Sydney have been a bit down on form during the past couple of weeks and are yet to beat a top 8 team this season, therefore I am expecting a pretty close match. Given all of that, I want to be on the Collingwood icemen to get the job done in a tense final quarter.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Collingwood to win by 39 points or less @ 2.10 (Bet365)
Andy’s Bet: 0.75 units on total score under 179.5 @ 1.91 (Bet365)
Port Adelaide vs. Geelong
Port Adelaide’s early season charge has well and truly come to a halt after three successive defeats have put them in danger of slipping out of the top 8 at the end of this round. Geelong were also on the losing side last week, however it was only the Cats first reverse of the season and Chris Scott’s men will be looking to bounce back immediately and maintain pace with Hawthorn at the top of the ladder.
Steve Johnson is Geelong’s prime-mover and the Cats certainly missed him last week after he was a late withdrawal due to a calf injury. ‘Stevie J’ is back this week though, and Cats fans can look forward to him prancing around the packs orchestrating Geelong’s attacking thrusts this Saturday afternoon
Port Adelaide’s match committee have reacted sternly to their recent run of defeats by making four changes to the line-up. Unfortunately for the Power, the recalled quartet are only average players or inexperienced youngsters.
Even in defeat, Geelong still showed their class during a third quarter onslaught last week. If the Cats can play more than a quarter of good footy this week, they should have no trouble getting past an opponent that is running out of steam already!
Andy’s Bet: 1.5 units on Geelong to win by 25 points or more @ 1.71 (Centrebet)
Greater Western Sydney vs. West Coast
Poor young GWS were thrashed good and proper by Hawthorn last week, continuing their winless run this campaign. West Coast, however, snuck past North Melbourne last Friday night to record their third win in a row, pumping some momentum into their season after stuttering through the opening rounds.
Stopping their opponents scoring has been the biggest problem for the Giants this season, with the inexperienced defensive unit conceding another big score again last week. The Giants have conceded more than 100 points in every game this season, with 134 points or more leaked in 6 of their 8 matches.
West Coast are bigger, stronger and, with Nic Naitanui, they fly higher. This will be another day of learning for the Giants as they get schooled by the Eagles.
As an extra sneaky bet, I am going to load up on talented GWS midfielder Adam Treloar to kick a goal at any time. He has kicked a goal in 6 of his 7 matches so far this season and I can’t believe he is better than even money.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on West Coast to win by 69 points or more @ 1.93 (Bet365)
Andy’s Bet: 2 units on Adam Treloar anytime goalscorer @ 2.15 (Sportsbet)
St Kilda vs. Western Bulldogs
Both teams lost interstate last week and head into this match occupying slots in the bottom four rungs of the ladder. The recent past has been more grim for the Bulldogs though, with Footscray’s finest managing only 1 win from their past 19 matches stretching back to the middle of last year.
St Kilda fans can at least be encouraged by their team’s ability to restrict their opposition from scoring heavily. Only Essendon has scored more than 103 points against the Saints this season, although this is somewhat tempered by St Kilda’s own lack of attacking proficiency, with the boys in red, white and black only scoring more than 91 points once in a match this campaign – and that one match of heavy scoring was only against GWS!
So, St Kilda’s stats suggest this game will be low scoring. What about the Dogs then, will they be able to bring some excitement to this match? Well, erm, no. The Bulldogs have only managed to crack the ton once this season, and that was way back on their opening day against Brisbane. Also worth noting is the fact that the Doggies haven’t managed to score more than 64 points in any of their past 7 meeting with the Saints.
St Kilda have a great recent record against the Bulldogs and should comfortably win a match that the stats suggest will be a fairly dour encounter.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on total match points below 175.5 @ 1.91 (Bet365)
Brisbane Lions vs. Carlton
Brisbane recorded the upset of the season last week as they travelled south to take the points against a shell-shocked Essendon. That win eased the pressure on embattled Lions coach Michael Voss and he can look forward to planning for this match with a little less speculation about his future as coach. Carlton trek north in a good mood after knocking off Port Adelaide last Sunday to record a fourth win from their past five matches.
The Blues seem to have tightened things up under new coach Mick Malthouse. The coaching doyen has certainly favoured a defensive game style in the past, and after a loose start to his tenure, his team have only conceded an average of just 75 points per game during the past five weeks.
The selection news favours Carlton as key Brisbane defender Daniel Merrett has been suspended, while the Blues are able to recall Bryce Gibbs from a hamstring injury that had a sidelined the smooth-mover for the past three weeks.
Brisbane’s result last weekend was really good, but on the evidence of the rest of the season, it looks like it might have been an aberration, so I will stick with Carlton’s form and plump for the Blues to win – but not by too much.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Carlton to win by 39 points or less @ 2.25 (Sportsbet)
Richmond vs. Essendon
Dreamtime at the ‘G should be a cracker this year as both Richmond and Essendon are sitting nicely in the top 8. The Tigers won for the second successive round last weekend, while the Bombers did the reverse and lost for the second week in a row, meaning James Hird’s men are just starting to wobble after charging to six straight wins to start the season.
After dealing with the drugs controversy for most of the year, Essendon had yet another off-field distraction to attend to this week as fringe midfielder Nathan Lovett-Murray was stabbed during a domestic dispute. Thankfully Lovett-Murray is recovering well and should be able to return to training next week.
This match represents yet another chance for Richmond to beat a really good team. So far this season the Tigers are 1-3 against teams in the top 8 and, conversely, are 4-0 against teams that aren’t. The single victory against a top 8 team was only against Port Adelaide too, and not many pundits expect them to remain in the top 8 for much longer. Richmond have played good first halves against Collingwood and Geelong, before being blown away after half time, while they also missed a good chance to beat Fremantle in Perth.
It might sound harsh, but I am going to keep backing against the Tigers in big matches against quality opposition until they prove they can beat a top team.
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Essendon to win @ 1.80 (Sportsbet)
Hawthorn vs. Gold Coast
Even though Gold Coast are exceeding expectations this season, they have benefited from a relatively soft draw and their 4 wins have only been against the bottom four teams. Hawthorn is on top of the ladder, so will provide a much tougher test than anything encountered by the young Suns so far in 2013.
Hawthorn has scored the most points of any team so far this season, which is especially meritorious when you consider they played the other seven 2012 finalists to kick off their 2013 campaign, before the easier fixture against GWS last week. And all of the rampant brown and gold scoring has occurred while spearhead Lance Franklin has been criticised in the media for underperforming in front of the big sticks.
Some key outs for the Gold Coast provide further evidence that this match will be fairly one-sided. Gary Ablett’s midfield heir-apparent Harley Bennell will miss with a hamstring injury, while the Suns will also be without promising ruckman Zac Smith.
I was pretty surprised to see the line for this match as low as 66.5, so I will load up on that.
Andy’s Bet: 2 units on Hawthorn to win by 67 points or more @ 1.93 (Sportsbet)
North Melbourne vs. Adelaide
North Melbourne were very unlucky against West Coast last weekend, losing to a goal kicked after the siren. Adelaide, meanwhile, have got their own season back on course with a couple of routine victories during the past two weeks and are now knocking on the door of the top 8.
If Collingwood are the kings of the close finish (see earlier preview), then North Melbourne must certainly be the league dunce. After their loss in Perth last Friday night, The Kangaroos have now lost three matches by four points or less so far this season.
Despite their obvious problems in attack (e.g the serious knee injury to Taylor Walker and off-season defection of Kurt Tippett) Adelaide have maintained a rock solid defence and have conceded the third fewest points of any team so far this season. This defensive strength will mean they can maintain in the contest even if things are not going their way in offence.
Both teams have got strong midfields, but I am going pick North to win this match because they should have a greater spread of multiple goal kickers, but Adelaide’s defensive prowess should hopefully ensure the margin doesn’t blow out too far.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on North Melbourne to win by 39 points or less @ 2.30 (Sportsbet)
Fremantle vs. Melbourne
Fremantle were very plucky last weekend against Sydney, scrapping to a draw despite playing without their two first-choice ruckman, or their most potent forward. Their opponents this week are Melbourne, who put in a better showing against Richmond last week, but still lost by 34 points.
That loss last weekend left the Demons in 17th spot on the ladder, only above winless GWS. The average losing margin has been of great concern to Melbourne too, with the Demons losing by 10 goals or more in 5 of their 7 defeats so far this season.
Fremantle are still flying under the radar as they continually achieve good results despite a lengthy injury list, however their biggest win this season has only been 45 points, so I will be taking the Demons at the line and hoping Mark Neeld’s men can back up their form from last weekend.
Andy’s Bet: 0.75 units on Melbourne at the line (+62.5) @ 1.93 (Bet365)