Cheeky Weekend Multi
Fremantle to win by 25 points or more @ 2.90
Gary Ablett to get most disposals in his group @ 1.95
1 unit @ combined odds of 5.80 (Sportsbet)
Collingwood v Fremantle
7:50 PM AEDT, Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
View a detailed form guide for Collingwood v Fremantle
The season kicks off with this tasty clash between two of last season’s finalists. Both teams were a little sluggish in the pre-season, winning just one game each. Grand Finalists last year, Fremantle started their pre-season a couple of weeks behind the eight-ball but have gradually been building momentum. Meanwhile, Collingwood tinkered with their game style in the practice matches by using the handball more, but it will be interesting to see what style they go with on Friday because the Magpies best football of the pre-season came when they started kicking the ball more.
Indeed, Fremantle will slaughter Collingwood if the Magpies try and bring the ball out of defence by hand. Ross Lyon’s Dockers hunt in packs and will pressure the Collingwood defenders until they force a turnover. The Dockers also have an advantage in the ruck, where Aaron Sandilands should dominate his undersized and inexperienced opponents Brodie Grundy and Jarrod Witts. New Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury will have his work cut out for him with Sandilands palming the ball away from the Magpie midfielder, while Pendledury will also have close-checking stopper Ryan Crowley for company all night.
When these teams played last season, Fremantle’s small forwards gave Collingwood’s defenders all sorts of problems and were the major difference between the two teams. This is likely to be a problem again this year with Pie defender Alan Toovey still finding his touch a serious knee injury last year and youngster Tom Langdon promoted for his debut.
There are more than enough reasons why the Dockers will win this one.
Andy’s Bet: 2 units on Fremantle to win @ 1.67 (Luxbet)
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Michael Walters most goals @ 6.00 (Sportsbet)
GWS v Sydney
4:40 PM AEDT, Spotless Stadium, Sydney
View a detailed form guide for GWS v Sydney
Sydney’s established club travels to the western suburbs for an early season derby match against their brash, young crosstown rivals. This match will have a bit of extra spice because the Swans managed to sign glamour forward Lance Franklin from under the nose of the Giants during the off-season trade period.
This is now the fifth meeting between these sides and Sydney have thoroughly enjoyed beating up on their new neighbours, winning their four meetings by an average of 79 points. Given the line for this match has been set at about 50 points, I think this represents big value for the Swans.
Franklin will debut in the red and white for Sydney, while the Giants have a host of new faces, including Shane Mumford and Heath Shaw, but the Giants have surprisingly opted against fielding top draft picks Tom Boyd and Josh Kelly. Perhaps GWS coach Leon Cameron doesn’t want to expose the young duo against the mature Sydney bodies.
This is likely to be the most one-sided match of the weekend. Most interest will be on the output on new Swan Lance Franklin.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Sydney at the line (-48.5) @ 1.93 (Bet365)
Gold Coast v Richmond
7:40 PM AEDT, Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast
View a detailed form guide for Gold Coast v Richmond
The Saturday night spotlight will shine on Gold Coast and Richmond, who will duke it out in what could be the match of the round. The Tigers have had a slightly better pre-season posting two eight goal wins over Colingwood and Essendon, while the Suns managed just one win, a 1 point victory over Essendon.
Previous meetings between these teams have been tighter than a Northcote hipster’s pair of skinny jeans, with all three encounters decided by 15 points or less. This is a traditionally low scoring fixture as the total match score has been below 178 each time, so the ‘unders’ look a good option in that market.
Richmond tagger Daniel Jackson misses this match, meaning Gold Coast’s prolific midfielder Gary Ablett could get off the chain and start 2014 with a bang. I’m predicting a very tight match, but the goals of Jack Riewoldt might see the Tigers home.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Richmond to win by 39 points or less @ 2.20 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Total Match Score under 179.5 @ 1.91 (Bet365)
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Jack Riewoldt most goals @ 2.75 (Sportsbet)
Carlton v Port Adelaide
7:40 PM AEDT, Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
View a detailed form guide for Carlton v Port Adelaide
Sunday night footy. Yuck. I really hope the league’s Sunday night experiment fails dismally this season. The best way to watch the footy is still undoubtedly live at the game, and Sunday night matches exclude families and people from rural areas from attending. The Sunday night idea stinks.
Anyway, enough ranting, this match is crucial because both teams are likely to be fighting for the few remaining spots in the bottom of the top 8, and this result could be decisive come season’s end. Carlton are missing inspirational midfielder Chris Judd, but they will unveil prized recruit Dale Thomas for his debut in the navy blue. Key Port Adelaide defender Jackson Trengove has been named despite missing most of the pre-season due to injury.
If Carlton’s trio of former number one draft picks – Marc Murphy, Bryce Gibbs and Matthew Kreuzer – ever reach their enourmous potential, and they are at the age to do so, then the Blues could be anything. But right now they are treading water and Port Adelaide’s young talent will push them all the way.
I can’t pick a winner in this one so will go for a small play on either team to win by 24 points or less. I also recall that Carlton’s games took a while to get going in the pre-season, so I will also have a small interest on no goals being kicked in the first 5 minutes.
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on either team to win by 24 points or less @ 1.72 (Multiple Sites)
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Time First Goal Kicked to be 5.01+ @ 3.30 (Sportsbet)