The following are previews and betting tips for Round 20 of the 2013 AFL season
Season tally so far
Bets = 238.75 units
Won = 241.78 units
Profit/Loss = +3.03 units (1.3% profit)
Cheeky Multi: 1 unit on Pearce Hanley to kick a goal in the Richmond vs. Brisbane match, Sydney to win by 17 points or more and Fremantle to win by 74 points or more @ 7.37 (Sportsbet)
St Kilda vs. Hawthorn
Friday night footy has been the playground from some great matches this season, however I don’t expect this edition to reach any great heights. Hawthorn will be looking to consolidate their position at the top of the AFL ladder, and they should easily defeat a St Kilda team that has won only 3 matches all season.
The 16th placed Saints have actually lost their past six matches, and five of those losses have been by margins of 30 points or more. Given the odds, margin betting is the only option for this game, and the line is set at 52.5 points. The Saints have only been beaten by more than that 3 times this year, so I wouldn’t bet against them at that line with much confidence, while the Hawks have won only twice this year by more than 58 points and those big wins were only against Melbourne and GWS.
The main team news is that Hawthorn’ skipper Luke Hodge will miss with a thumb injury and superstar forward Lance Franklin is out with a tight hamstring, but Franklin’s absence shouldn’t have a huge effect on the outcome given the Hawks covered for him quite well when he missed a couple of games a few weeks ago. In both those two matches that Franklin missed, fellow brown and gold forward Jarryd Roughead booted the most goals, so he is one to follow in that market, especially considering the Saints have struggled to defend against tall forwards during the past two seasons.
When one team is favoured heavily and the line looks pretty spot on, a strategy I have used recently has been to place a number of small bets on narrow margins. I have done this for my bets below, which give me effective odds of $2.50 to $2.70 for Hawthorn to win by 40-69 points.
Andy’s Bet: 0.25 units on Hawthorn to win by 40-49 points @ 8.00 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 0.25 units on Hawthorn to win by 50-59 points @ 7.60 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 0.25 units on Hawthorn to win by 60-69 points @ 7.80 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 0.75 units on Jarryd Roughead for most goals @ 2.75 (Sportsbet)
Richmond vs. Brisbane Lions
Richmond gave observers another glimpse of their potential last weekend as they outplayed Hawthorn to upset the league leaders by 41 points. That win was the Tigers 12th of the season and surely secured the club a finals berth for the first since 2001. Brisbane had few troubles overcoming St Kilda at the Gabba last Saturday night, although the Lions suffered a major injury blow when skipper and key forward Jonathan Brown went down with a season-ending foot injury.
Richmond’s victory over Hawthorn was even more important considering it was at the MCG, the venue where the Tigers will most likely be playing their Finals matches this September. In fact, Richmond have won 7 from 10 at the home of football this year, making them decent candidates to be considered the MCG specialists. Those figures are fairly distant to their opponents this week, as this is Brisbane’s one and only MCG fixture this season, so the Lions are entering unfamiliar surrounds.
The feel-good factor is high on Punt Road at the moment and I can see the yellow and blacks kicking clear for a big win at their favoured venue.
I am also going to have a cheeky something on Brisbane wingman Pearce Hanley to kick a goal at any time. The flashy Irishman has scored at least one goal in 5 of his past 6 matches, so seems great value at even money!
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Richmond to win by 40 points or more @ 2.20 (Centrebet)
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Pearce Hanley to kick at least one goal @ 2.00 (Sportsbet)
Geelong vs. Port Adelaide
Geelong’s upset loss to North Melbourne last weekend has slipped the Cats down to 3rd on the ladder, putting Chris Scott’s team at risk of missing out on a home Qualifying Final, which the top two teams are rewarded with at the end of the home and away season. Port Adelaide remain favourites to clinch 8th spot on the ladder after winning their past three matches, however those matches were all against teams 12th or lower on the ladder and the winning margins were all less than 10 points. So even though Port have been getting the wins, they haven’t been too convincing.
The key stat for this game is that Geelong are playing on home turf at a venue where they have only lost 1 of their past 41 matches – other wise known as once in a blue moon!
Another stat of significance is that Port Adelaide have only played interstate against top 8 opposition once this season, which resulted in a 30 point loss to Essendon. It is incredible to think that Port, a team that plays interstate every second week, have only played once interstate against top 8 opposition to this stage of the season.
Port Adelaide relied on a lucky bounce and some Chad Wingard last quarter heroics to beat Adelaide last week. Perhaps their luck might run out this Saturday.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Geelong to win by 40 points or more @ 1.92 (Sportsbet)
Carlton vs. Western Bulldogs
Since nearly losing to GWS in Round 15, the Bulldogs have played much better football, competing strongly against top class opposition (Essendon, Hawthorn and Sydney) and beating finals chasing West Coast. For Carlton, the Blues run of three successive wins came to an end against Fremantle last week, with the Dockers pulling away in the final term to win by 36 points.
Carlton’s last quarter fade-out against Fremantle was understandable given the Blues lost Andrew Carrazzo early in the match and the Dockers played the game at a frenetic pace for the full four quarters.
Much like the Doggies game against the Swans last week, the Blues are a very good clearance team and rank 3rd in the league for the clearance differential. This is the Bulldogs main strength (they rank 2nd), so if Carlton can neutralise this part of the game, similarly to what Sydney managed to do last weekend, the Blues will be more than halfway to a win.
The choice of venue won’t advantage either team, with both sides playing 3 of their last 4 at Etihad Stadium, and seeming to play the ground pretty well.
Only four Carlton games this season have been decided by 40 points or more, so it is a good idea to back whichever team you fancy to win by 39 points or less. For me, that team will be Carlton because they carry a greater forward line threat and should be able to match the Dogs in the middle.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Carlton to win by 39 points or less @ 2.25 (Sportsbet)
Gold Coast vs. Melbourne
These clubs finished last season in a similar position, however the rate of improvement by Gold Coast during 2013 has far exceeded that of Melbourne, with the Demons possibly even getting a bit worse. The improvement for the Suns has mostly been reported in terms of the number of wins – as many so far in 2013 as 2011 and 2012 combined – however I think the improvement is best described by the fact that Gold Coast lost 10 matches by at least 60 points in their debut 2011 season, they then lost 9 games by that margin last year, but this year they haven’t lost any matches by 60 points or more!
That is the scary level of development that is possible when a large group of talented youngsters all improve at the same time, and things will only get better for the Suns from here. Melbourne don’t have the luxury of such a talented young list, although the Demons were slowly building during the tenure of Dean Bailey before his sudden sacking late in 2011.
Gold Coast are getting a lot better really quickly, while Melbourne somehow keep finding new ways remain at the foot of the ladder. That should be illustrated this Saturday night.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Gold Coast to win by 39 points or less @ 2.40 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Nathan Bock for most goals @ 5.50 (Sportsbet)
Sydney vs. Collingwood
All eyes will be firmly fixed on ANZ Stadium this Saturday night as the in-form reigning Premiers host the team they beat at the Preliminary Final stage here last year. For their part, Collingwood will travel with confidence after belting Essendon last week to jump to 6th on the ladder, although Sydney will still enter the game clear favourites after winning 9 of their past 10 matches. The Swans have also have good recent form against the Magpies, winning their MCG matchup by 47 points in Round 9, as well as that Preliminary Final triumph here last year.
As good as Collingwood’s win over Essendon was last week, the Pies have been up and down like a yo-yo this campaign and their previous wins against top 8 teams were followed by two heavy defeats by more than 40 points.
With the Magpies cyclical nature suggesting a dip in form for the black and whites this week, the Swans seem the perfect team to expose them. Sydney destroyed Collingwood on the outside transition in the Round 9 clash this year, while speed machine Lewis Jetta did it all on his own during that Preliminary Final last year.
This will be a great game to watch to see if the Pies can be a threat this September, but I don’t think the Magpies have the running and defensive capacities to stop the Swans.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Sydney to win by 16 points or more @ 1.93 (Bet365)
Essendon vs. West Coast
The drugs saga keeps getting worse for Essendon, with an impatient media increasingly agitating for some sort of punishment for the Bombers. The emotional exhaustion for all connected to the club is a likely cause of the poor on-field performances during the past fortnight. Essendon, a team ranked second two weeks ago, has lost its last two matches by a combined margin of 135 points!
West Coast, meanwhile, beat Gold Coast by 17 points in Perth last weekend. However, that win shouldn’t be allowed to mask the previous 6 games, which yielded just the one success.
The Eagles regain a trio of key players, with prolific midfielders Matt Priddis and Chris Masten back from injury, while Mark LeCras – who kicked twelve goals in match here against Essendon in 2010 – is the other notable inclusion.
West Coast have not beaten a top 8 team this year, so if Essendon lose this one, then maybe it will be a blessing in disguise if the Bombers don’t participate in the finals this year.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Essendon to win by 19 points or more @ 1.93 (Bet365)
Adelaide vs. North Melbourne
Adelaide have been one of the surprise packets of 2013, however that surprise has been a nasty one for their supporters. After being one kick from last year’s Grand Final, the Crows have dropped right away since Taylor Walker did his knee earlier this campaign and Brenton Sanderson’s side are very unlikely to play finals now even if they their final four matches.
The dream is still alive for North Melbourne though, and there may yet be a silver lining for 2013’s most unlucky team (five losses by less than a goal) as they are still a chance to make 9th spot on the ladder, which may be upgraded to 8th pending the result of the Essendon drugs investigation. And this match is pivotal to North’s chances of getting to 9th spot as the Kangaroos close the season with three fixtures against sides in the top 8.
Even though they are in better form, I am not confident on a North Melbourne victory considering they are playing away from their favourite Etihad Stadium surface. Since the start of 2011, the Roos have won a very impressive 25 of 38 matches (66%) at Etihad Stadium, but only 7 from 25 (28%) away from their rooved enclave.
I am not sure who will win, but I am confident it will be tight
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on either team to win by 24 points or less @ 1.70 (Centrebet)
Fremantle vs. Greater Western Sydney
If Fremantle bring the same manic intensity they showed against Carlton at Etihad Stadium last week, then they will thrash GWS in the late game this Sunday. Yes, the Giants were great against Melbourne last week and managed to secure for their first win for the season, but they have been pretty good for three weeks in a row now and history shows they’re overdue for a poorer performance.
Fremantle skipper Matthew Pavlich is available again after serving a 3 match suspension, while promising defender Garrick Ibbotson returns from injury.
With Pavlich back, and big ruckman Aaron Sandilands getting better every week, plus a formidable midfield and dangerous small-forwards, Fremantle are the season’s big smoky. They should win big here.
Andy’s Bet: 1 units on Richmond to win by 74 points or more @ 1.92 (Sportsbet)