The following are previews and betting tips for the 2013 AFL Semi Finals
Season tally so far
Bets = 298.75 units
Won = 296.63 units
Profit/Loss = -2.12 units (0.7% loss)
Last Week = -3.87 units (55.3% loss)
Cheeky Multi: 1 unit on Geelong to lead at the end of every quarter and Ryan O’Keefe to get the most disposals in Group 2 @ 5.58 (Sportsbet)
Geelong vs. Port Adelaide
Background: An upbeat Port Adelaide shocked a lethargic Collingwood in last Saturday night’s Elimination Final to progress through to this Semi Final against Geelong. That win by the Power was the biggest finals upset, since, well, since the Cats were defeated in their home Qualifying Final against Fremantle earlier that day!
Port Adelaide will be hoping to mess with the natural order once again as they return to the MCG, this time aiming to become the first team from outside the top 4 to qualify for the Preliminary Final since Collingwood managed the feat in 2007.
These teams have met twice already in 2013 with Geelong emerging triumphant on both occasions as the Cats posted comprehensive victories, firstly by 48 points at AAMI Stadium and more recently by 25 points at Simonds Stadium, although the 25 point margin flattered Port Adelaide who managed to save some pride after they had already been trailing by 58 points entering the final term.
Team news: Geelong coach Chris Scott has made three changes to his losing team from last week, bringing in power forward Tom Hawkins along with tagger Taylor Hunt and medium-sized defender Josh Hunt. The Cats have lost the superb defensive service of Corey Enright to injury, while Josh Caddy has been ruled out with an ankle injury and inexperienced forward Josh Walker has been omitted.
Port Adelaide have made no change to their winning team from last weekend.
Who will win and why?: The Cats have dealt comfortably with the Power twice already this season and I can’t see that trend being reversed during a big final. The inclusion of Hawkins is a big plus for the Cats, because even if the burly forward is still troubled by a back complaint, he will provide more output than Josh Walker.
Enright is a significant loss though, leaving Geelong’s defence more vulnerable to the threat from Port Adelaide’s small forwards that include Chad Wingard and Angus Monfries.
Despite limited fanfare in the media, Port Adelaide ruckman Matthew Lobbe has been in great form during the second half of the season and is one of the best big men in the game right now. The main reason Geelong lost to Fremantle last weekend was that they had no answer to Dockers ruckman Aaron Sandilands. Lobbe won’t have as much influence as Sandilands did, but he should still ensure Port Adelaide’s midfield get first hands on the ball more often than not.
The Cats have the better team on paper, but as I outlined above, the Power should hold an advantage in enough match-ups to ensure a good contest. I predict Geelong will win by between 20 and 50 points.
Port Adelaide have been the second best last quarter team this year, while Geelong have ranked only 14th. Because of this I will take Port Adelaide at the line in the last quarter, a market which actually gives the Power a generous +7.5 point head start.
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Geelong to win by 20-39 points @ 4.00 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 0.25 units on Geelong to win by 40-49 points @ 8.50 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 0.75 units on Port Adelaide at the line (+7.5 points) in the last quarter @ 1.84 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Travis Boak to score under 97.5 dream team points @ 1.85 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Paul Chapman under 22.5 disposals @ 1.85 (Sportsbet)
Sydney vs. Carlton
Background: Sydney comfortably beat Carlton on a very wet night at the SCG during the middle of the year, which was the only time these teams met during the regular home and away season. Kurt Tippett proved a handful for the Carlton defence, while the Blues put in their usual 2013 performance that was full of ups and downs and made for a typically erratic scoreworm.
Team news: The Sydney match committee has reacted to the heavy loss to Hawthorn by dropping fan favourite Gary Rohan, while nuggetty half-forward Ben McGlynn has succumbed to an ankle injury. The Swans have brought in inexperienced duo Harry Cunningham and Shane Biggs, who have played just a total of four games between them. I think that Sydney bringing in two youngsters together like this really gives Carlton a shot at the win. For their part, the Blues have named an unchanged team, although I note that Brock McLean has been listed as an emergency, so the prolific midfielder may be a late in.
Who will win and why?: Being a Mick Malthouse coached team, I am fairly confident that Carlton won’t sit back and be satisfied with their win against Richmond last week. The Blues should come out with good intent, but on the evidence of this year I have serious doubts they will be able to maintain the intensity for the full four quarters.
Sydney were very average last week against Hawthorn and will need to improve if they want to avoid the stigma of a straight-sets finals exit. I fully expect the Swans to be able to do this though, because their form against Hawthorn at this venue two weeks ago was very good.
I expect the Swans to get on top late in this one and outlast a valiant opponent.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Sydney to win by 39 points or less @ 2.15 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Jeff Garlett and Jesse White to kick the same number of goals @ 4.50 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Ryan O’Keefe to get most disposals in his group @ 4.50 (TAB Sportsbet)