The following are previews and betting tips for Round 11 of the 2013 AFL season
Season tally so far
Bets = 129.25 units
Won = 126.82 units
Profit/Loss = -2.43 units (1.9% loss)
Cheeky Multi: 1 unit on Sydney to win, North Melbourne to win by 23 points or more and West Coast to win by 20 points or more @ 6.17 (Sportsbet)
Essendon vs. Carlton
A spicy clash between two bitter AFL rivals will heat up an otherwise cold Friday evening in Melbourne. Essendon have gone off the boil in recent weeks and have lost 3 of their past 4 matches after starting the season with a 6 game winning streak, while Carlton have done the reverse, winning 6 of their past 7 after losing 3 in a row to start the campaign.
Despite these teams being evenly matched during recent years, this fixture has tended to produce more than its fair share of blowouts. Half of the eight meetings during the past 4 years have resulted in winning margins of 60 points or more, while a draw in 2010 was the only game during this period with a final margin less than 20 points.
Carlton tagger Andrew Carrazzo is still out with a lingering calf injury and his absence from this match is a big loss for the Blues. Without Carrazzo snapping at their heals, Essendon’s damaging midfield pair Jobe Watson and Brent Stanton will have a bit more space to work in. On the flip side, the Bombers have Heath Hocking as their midfield stopper and he will probably go to Carlton skipper Marc Murphy who does not yet have the consistency of an elite midfielder and can be shackled by a disciplined tagger.
Essendon have been solid defensively this year, which is largely attributable to the excellent form of big men Jake Carlisle, Dustin Fletcher and Cale Hooker. This week the red and black defenders will face a different test as Carlton’s chief forward line threats are mostly quick, small forwards. This is demonstrated by Jeff Garlett, Chris Yarran and Eddie Betts all ranking in the Blues top 4 for average goals per game.
I am not sure which way this match will go, but given the recent history of blowouts in this fixture, I will have a small interest on either side winning by 40 points or more.
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Essendon to win by 40 points or more @ 6.80 (Centrebet)
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Carlton to win by 40 points or more @ 7.80 (Centrebet)
Greater Western Sydney vs. Geelong
On paper this looms as a one-sided contest with the winless and bottom-placed GWS hosting second placed Geelong. But in practice, on the Skoda Stadium turf at 1:40pm this Saturday afternoon, I expect it to be, well, still very much one-sided.
How can it be anything else? GWS’s highest score in 10 matches this season (104) is still less than the lowest score they have conceded (106). Worryingly, things have been getting worse in recent weeks too. Kevin Sheedy’s young team has not scored over 57 points during the past 4 weeks, while letting through at least 140 points in each of those games.
The line for this game has been set at 84.5 points, and given the Giants have lost 3 of their past 4 by more than this, I am going to take the Cats in this market. But 84.5 points is a massive head-start, so I will only have a small go at it.
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Geelong to win by 85 points or more @ 1.93 (Bet365)
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Mitch Duncan most disposals in Group 2 @ 3.50 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Devon Smith to score a goal at any time @ 1.90 (Sportsbet)
Adelaide vs. Sydney
Adelaide struggled to break down Fremantle at home last week and eventually went down by 7 points in a low scoring encounter, while Sydney mastered the wet conditions at the SCG to comfortably beat Essendon by 44 points.
Sydney play a similar game style to the Dockers and really hurt Adelaide on transition during the Qualifying Final played between these clubs on this ground last September. In that match Sydney’s defensive qualities allowed them to absorb 59 Adelaide inside 50’s and concede only 5 goals, while at the other end of the ground, swift counter-attacks resulted in 11 goals for the Swans from only 37 forward 50 entries.
Another downside for the Adelaide is the lack of reliable goal kicking options, with unusual sources like Sam Kerridge (6 goals v North Melbourne last week) and Tom Lynch (10 goals v GWS but only 2 goals in 3 games since) helping secure victories. With an unreliable forward line, Crows coach Brenton Sanderson has regularly moved gun midfielder Paddy Dangerfield into attack, and although Dangerfield has been effective in that role, in an ideal Adelaide world he would be playing more midfield minutes.
The only teams to have beaten or drawn with Sydney so far this season sit in the top 4, so given Adelaide are down in 9th and seem to have an inferior game plan to the Swans, I will be backing John Longmire’s men to take another step towards securing a top 4 spot.
Andy’s Bet: 1.5 units on Total Match Score under 174.5 @ 1.91 (Bet365)
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Sydney to win by 39 points or less @ 2.20 (Sportsbet)
Gold Coast vs. North Melbourne
Last week was the second round in a row that Gold Coast played away from home and matched it with one of the best sides in the competition. Disappointingly for coach Guy McKenna, their dreadful last quarter performance last week meant the 52 point loss to Geelong was the young Suns biggest defeat of the season. North Melbourne, for once, had no such fade-out worries, steaming to a massive quarter time lead and going on with the job to post a morale-boosting 68 point win over St Kilda.
I’ve got a feeling that Gold Coast might be a bit flat after two really encouraging performances against Hawthorn and Geelong during the past fortnight. Those games will have given the Suns confidence they are quickly closing the gap to the best teams in the league, however most of Gold Coast’s players are inexperienced and they have now put in 4 good efforts in a row. Perhaps the final term last week was an indication that the group is in need of a rest.
North Melbourne ruckman Todd Goldstein has probably been the best big man in the league this season and he should continue to dominate this week as Gold Coast are missing their regular ruckman Zac Smith due to injury. Versatile Gold Coast tall Charlie Dixon is back and will help Suns 2nd gamer Tom Nicholls compete with Goldstein.
I reckon North’s midfield work ethic combined with some Gold Coast fatigue will ensure a big Kangaroos win.
Andy’s Bet: 1.5 unit on North Melbourne to win by 40 points or more @ 3.50 (Bet365)
St Kilda vs. West Coast
The finals aspirations of St Kilda evaporated a long time ago, but West Coast still have plenty to play for and desperately need a win in this match to maintain contact with the top 8 ahead of their bye next weekend.
St Kilda were truly awful in the first quarter against North Melbourne last week, while West Coast were similarly shambolic during their second quarter against Richmond in the Monday night match. Whereas the Saints lacklustre showing was understandable given they are turning over their list and 10 of their players last Sunday had less than 50 matches of experience, the Eagles meek performance was much more surprising. West Coast are seasoned finals campaigners and were completely outplayed by a visiting Richmond team that last played finals in the same year Mark Waugh was the leading run-scorer for an Australian touring team that won the Ashes 4-1 in England.
After keeping things relatively secure in a defensive sense earlier this campaign, the Saints have been far less organised down back in the past fortnight conceding scores of 110 and 133 points against teams lower on the ladder on the ladder than West Coast. St Kilda are probably one or two key defenders short and that could be exposed by West Coast’s tall forward line of Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling, with Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui rotating down there in breaks from rucking duties.
Despite a serious slip-up last week, West Coast should be far too good for St Kilda.
Andy’s Bet: 1.5 units on West Coast to win by 24 points or more @ 2.10 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Chris Masten to score more dream team points than Dean Cox @ 1.70 (Sportsbet)
Melbourne vs. Collingwood
To put in perspective just how unlikely a Melbourne win in this match is, the odds of a Demons victory are $17 at the TAB, which is even longer than the $11 available for the Julia Gillard led Labour Party to secure an election victory later this year. Given the federal election is not until September and some Labour MP’s are already cleaning out their desks, I wonder what state embattled Melbourne coach Mark Neeld’s office is in!
James Frawley is Melbourne’s most accomplished defender and he convincingly beat dangerous Hawthorn forward Lance Franklin in their personal duel last week. However, Frawley injured his hamstring very late in the match and has been ruled out of this contest, leaving Col Garland or, gulp, Cam Pederson as the men most likely to be tasked with stopping hulking Collingwood forward Travis Cloke.
Perennial Magpie ball-magnet Dane Swan silenced his critics with a typically prolific display last Friday night against Brisbane. In some ways Swan is marked more harshly because he is a champion of the game, and perhaps an easy target given his fairly relaxed body-language implies he is not always working as hard as he could be. The stats don’t lie though, and Swan has gathered at least 20 possessions in 80 of his 81 games since the start of 2010. And the match he didn’t get to 20 touches? Yep, he still had a significant impact with 19 disposals and 4 goals.
What I said in my preview last week still applies this week – “Looking through the potential match-ups it is hard to identify even one Melbourne player that will have an advantage.”
Collingwood should win by plenty.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Collingwood to win by 75 points or more @ 1.93 (Bet365)
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Nathan Jones to score more dream team points than Jack Trengove @ 1.85 (Sportsbet)