The following are previews and betting tips for the 2013 AFL Preliminary Finals
Season tally so far
Bets = 306.25 units
Won = 309.23 units
Profit/Loss = +2.98 units (1.0% loss)
Last Week = +5.1 units (68% profit)
Cheeky Multi: 2 units on Hawthorn and Fremantle to win @ 1.82 (Sportsbet)
Hawthorn vs. Geelong
Background: These teams have developed an intense rivalry in recent seasons, which was sparked after Hawthorn’s upset victory over Geelong in the 2008 Grand Final. Since that result the Cats have turned the tables however, managing to win all 11 matches against the Hawks from the beginning of 2009. The failure of Hawthorn to beat Geelong since 2008 has been dubbed the Kennett curse after the Hawks’ outspoken former president Jeff Kennett who made some ungracious comments in the media after Hawthorn’s premiership success in 2008. The curse is so famous it even has its own Wikipedia page!
This season Geelong has notched two hard-fought victories over Hawthorn, winning their Round 1 clash by 7 points and again in Round 15 by 10 points.
Team news: Hawthorn have been boosted by the return of big guns Lance Franklin and Cyril Rioli from suspension and injury respectively. Matthew Spangher and Jed Anderson are the unlucky Hawks to miss out, but they can’t argue too much because of the quality of players replacing them.
The selection news was not so rosy at Geelong with experienced campaigner and September specialist Paul Chapman ruled out due to a suspension, while Taylor Hunt did not show enough form last week after returning from injury and he has been omitted. Coach Chris Scott has gone with youth, promoting up and comers Jordan Murdoch and Josh Caddy.
Who will win and why?: It would be ironic if Hawthorn can snap their famous losing streak to Geelong at the first sudden-death meeting between the teams since the 2008 Grand Final. I think they can do it because all the pieces of the puzzle seem to be coming together for the Hawks, especially with the return of Franklin and Rioli this week. It is the opposite at Geelong, where Chapman is missing and All-Australian defender Corey Enright is still missing through injury, while power forward Tom Hawkins’ output has been significantly restricted by an ongoing back injury.
Geelong skipper Joel Selwood has played some extraordinary games against Hawthorn in recent seasons, polling Brownlow votes in 4 of 8 matches against the Hawks between 2009-2012, which should be boosted this Brownlow night by two best on grounds in 2013. Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson doesn’t have many suitable tagging options to curb Selwood’s influence, but perhaps Liam Shiels might be able to do a job, so look out for that match-up.
The Hawks head to head price has firmed all week, so the money has been flowing for them. I agree with this, but I can’t take them at $1.39 head to head so will instead opt for a Hawks win by 39 points or less, expecting the Cats to fight pretty hard.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Hawthorn to win by 39 points or less @ 2.20 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Sam Mitchell most disposals in is group @ 4.00 (TAB Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on James Kelly most disposals in his group @ 4.50 (TAB Sportsbet)
Fremantle vs. Sydney
Background: Fremantle have had the week off, while Sydney limped, quite literally, across the line against Carlton in a Semi-Final plagued by injuries. This is a significant advantage for the Dockers, because these teams have been traditionally quite well matched, which was proven in their only other meeting this year that ended as an exciting draw.
The stats show that Sydney don’t mind playing in Perth, with John Longmire’s team unbeaten at the ground in 4 trips west since the start of 2010. Fremantle, meanwhile, have been superb at their home ground this season, winning 11 of the 12 games they have played in front of their homes fans.
Team news: Mirroring the Friday night game, the selection news for this match favours the team coming off a week’s break. Fremantle defender Michael Johnson is fit enough to resume his place in the Dockers backline at the expense of Tom Sheridan, while the Swans were hit hard by injury last week and have lost main forward Kurt Tippett and depth midfielder Tom Mitchell. In brighter news for the Swans, forward flankers Ben McGlynn and Gary Rohan have been promoted back to the team, which is a feel-good story after both missed the Swans premiership triumph last season through injury.
Who will win and why?: The key reason why I am so big on Fremantle this week is that the Dockers play a relentless brand of football and really wear their opponents down. This is particularly important this week because Sydney were looking pretty sore and sorry by the end of the game last Saturday night, not even scoring a single point in the last quarter against Carlton.
Making things even harder for the weary Swans is that Patersons Stadium is the longest AFL ground and good fitness is crucial to a good result here.
Like Hawthorn, Fremantle’s head to head price is pretty short, and I am not so confident on what the final margin will be. What I am confident of though is that Fremantle’s miserly defence will restrict Sydney to a low total. Apart from when they rested half their team in Round 23 against St Kilda, the Dockers have only conceded more than 93 points just once this season. I will take two bets on the Swans score remaining low. The reason I have picked the 3rd quarter for one of my bets is that Fremantle might relax a little bit in the last quarter if the match has already been won.
I will also have an interest on pesky Fremantle forward Hayden Ballantyne for most goals. The little man has taken out this market in two of his past three games.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Sydney’s total score to be 68 points or less @ 1.88 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 2 units on Sydney’s 3rd quarter score to be 17 points or less @ 1.73 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Hayden Ballantyne for most goals @ 8.50 (Sportsbet)