The AFL Lines – Rd 23

Filed in AFL, AFL Lines by on August 24, 2011

Round 22 gave us plenty of insights into the composition of the finals series. Hawthorn booed a top-4 berth, while the Eagles are on the brink of doing likewise. The injury-plagued Dockers are all but gone and four teams are battling for three finals spots. Indeed, wins for Collingwood and St Kilda this weekend would finalise the eight (though not their order) with a round left to play. At Making The Nut headquarters, Greg Oberscheidt put another monster performance on the table, streaking further ahead of Cliff Bingham in their season long punting match-up. Can Cliff bridge the gap a little in Round 23, or will we continue to see the punting equivalent of Geelong v Gold Coast?

CB – Could’ve sworn I made creeds earlier this year to (a) take on Port at every possible opportunity and (b) stop betting in matches involving teams who are sponsored by bookmakers. Community service announcements don’t work if you don’t listen to them. What a wasted opportunity of a season for half of this punting ‘panel’. The other half is doing rather nicely – kudos to you Greg. With your lead now out to 22.5 units (a profit of 17.8 units compared to a loss of 4.7 units), our $50 season long side bet seems all but assured to end in your favour.

GO – You can talk yourself out of anything if you try hard enough mate. The bookies have paid out on Judd for the Brownlow, you should follow their lead and pay out on the lines…put it towards the gas bill mate. It’s hard to make money without taking the bookies on but gambling courage also requires a bit of luck and 7-0 can become 2-5 with a few odd bounces. Two rounds to go before the cash cows disappear so we’d better make some loot while the sun shines.

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Summary of Round 22 results

GO – Five selections, seven units bet, return of $13.30, Profit on Turnover (POT) = 90%

CB – Two selections, two units bet, return of $1.90, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -5%

Total – Seven selections, seven units bet, return of $7.60, Profit on Turnover (POT) = 9%

Summary of overall results

GO – 64 selections, 81 units bet, return of $98.80, Profit on Turnover (POT) = 22%

CB – 45 selections, 56 units bet, return of $51.30, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -8%

Total – 109 selections, 137 units bet, return of $150.10, Profit on Turnover (POT) = 10%


(Please note – all times are EST)


Fremantle v Collingwood, Patersons Stadium, 8.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Collingwood –65.5

GO – Pavlich out for the year and up to half of the current roster playing wounded leads me to think that the minus is the play. Malthouse won’t want to lose any momentum going into the finals and after Freo’s capitulation to North last week, Collingwood by lots is the obvious result. The only reason I’d stay off this one is that Freo will want to remind their fans that before the injuries hit, they were in the running for the top-4. Patersons’ Curse is enough for me to give it a miss.

CB – Maybe it’s the text message I received from Mick Malthouse asking about my Friday night plans that gives it away, but something tells me that the Magpies won’t take anything like a full strength side across the Nullarbor for a game that doesn’t matter one iota for their finals prospects. Their stumbling opponent in the Dockers have lost their last four matches by an average margin of 55 points, topped off with an absolute drubbing at the hands of the Kangaroos last Saturday night. One more loss and their 2011 season is officially toast, though in every other sense of the word they already look done. Head to head, Collingwood have won four of the last five matches including one of two played at Patersons, by a margin of 36 points last season. I want no part of wagering on this game.



Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs, MCG, 2.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Hawthorn –41.5

GO – If you are going to lose key players then it is best to lose them early. Hawthorn have been able to respond with a game style that plays to their strengths and has proven to be as good as any in combating the press. Since round seven of 2010, Hawthorn have only lost three games to anyone other than Geelong or the Pies. The Bulldogs beat Port by 60. Hawthorn beat them the week before by 160. No Morris, no Williams, the Dogs defence is wafer thin and with the Hawks forward line flying I think a ten goal win is on the cards. The midfield battle will be hot but the Hawks have the edge there as well. One unit on the Hawks at the minus.

CB – I have to confess, my first instinct in this game was also to head towards the minus, but a couple of things worry me. The sheer size of the line is prominent, albeit that the Bulldogs have lost five games this season by seven goals or more (against Essendon twice, Collingwood, West Coast and Geelong). Head to head, the Hawks have won the last two encounters (including a 29-point win in Round Ten), but the Bulldogs won six of the eight matches prior to this. Countering these concerns – the Bulldogs have lost nine of ten matches against sides above them on the ladder, with the average loss margin being 40 points. The Bulldogs make only their second trip to the MCG, the Hawks their eleventh. The Hawks are firing, the Dogs are injured and struggling. I smell blood in the water, and will have one unit on the Hawks at the minus.


Geelong v Sydney, Skilled Stadium, 2.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Geelong -46.5

GO – Sydney fought back last week after a disappointing display against Richmond. Geelong continue to coast through to the finals and Skilled Stadium has been to the opposition what the Colosseum was to Christians. Sydney need a good showing to keep the heat off them and the form of Goodes is heartening. I think the Cats will win this one pretty easily but you won’t drag me in for eight goals. I continue my stance against backing Sydney so no play here for me.

CB – Sydney threw themselves back into the drivers’ seat for a finals berth last week and for the Swans faithful it was a good thing that they did, as this week presents ‘Mission Impossible: Beat Geelong at Skilled”. Head to head, Geelong has won the last five matches at Skilled Stadium by margins of 67, 51, 42, 18 and 27 points. That suggests to me that the eight-goal line is near enough right, and thus I won’t be partaking in a wager here.


St Kilda v North Melbourne, Etihad Stadium, 7.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  St Kilda -6.5

GO – North Melbourne were super impressive last week and Brad Scott has the boys up and about as they challenge for September action. North need to win and I think that alone will be enough. Nick Reiwoldt will be in doubt after a knock to the knee on Sunday and Dempster, who has taken over from Clint Jones as the Saints number one run-with player will not play after a sickening blow to the melon. North made the mistake of going too tall last time but with sufficient running players fit for selection, they won’t make the same mistake. North will get the chocolates here and so will I playing one unit on the plus.

CB – I quite like North and wish them well as a football club – indeed, my Dad barracks for them. Nonetheless, a win over an injury-depleted Essendon remains their only top-8 scalp of 2011, and thus I can’t buy into the hype. Head to head, St Kilda has won four of the last five matches and seven of the last nine, including a nine point victory at Etihad in Round 15. They’ve had close losses against Sydney and St Kilda this season in matches that could have gone either way and on that basis you could suggest that all three teams (and probably the Bombers as well) are roughly on a par with one another. Gambling 101 suggests that in such cases, you either take the points or stay away, and 6.5 isn’t quite enough points to lure me into taking them – I will sit this one out.


Brisbane v West Coast, Gabba, 7.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  West Coast -22.5

GO – The Lions have been valiant in defeat all year but their best performances have surprisingly come, away from home. West Coast continue to get it done and I love backing them. They love covering the line. They will stretch the Lions defence with Kennedy, Lynch, Darling and Le Cras supported by Nicoski and Shuey. Cox and Nic Nat will put Luenberger to the test and the midfield match up is very tasty. West Coast should win by eight goals and as such I’ll have two units on the minus.

CB – The Eagles have it all to play for here – one more win and they lock down a spot in the top-4 and a double chance in the finals, an astonishing turnaround from the wooden spoon of 2010. The Lions continue to work hard and show great endeavour for a 4-16 side, in particular against Collingwood last week where they fought valiantly after dropping more than five goals behind midway through the third quarter. Surprisingly the Lions have won the last four head to head matches, albeit that the Eagles of 2011 are a vastly improved unit compared to their immediate predecessors. The Eagles did win five of the last six matches prior to this though, and have a 50 per cent overall strike rate at the Gabba. The Eagles have a huge edge in both class and reasons for motivation at this stage of the year and I think they’ll roll on – two units at the minus.



Adelaide v Richmond, AAMI Stadium, 1.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Adelaide -18.5

GO – Both teams are doing what they do. Playing reasonable footy after underperforming for the majority. Very frustrating sides to support I’d imagine, especially in recent times. There is plenty to like about both sides and promising signs for the future but I seem to remember hearing that for a while know. Richmond could cover. Adelaide will probably not. I’ll reserve judgement and keep my hands in my pockets for this one.

CB – Be honest…. who saw this game a month ago and thought it would be a clash involving two reasonably in-form sides? The Tigers arrive with two straight wins; the Crows with three wins and a noble loss to Geelong from their last four. Head to head Adelaide have won five of the last six (including three at home), while Richmond have a lowly 7-19 overall record at AAMI Stadium. I don’t like backing mediocre sides to take care of business as favourites, and I certainly don’t like backing mediocre sides with terrible interstate records. Pass.


Melbourne v Gold Coast, MCG, 2.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Melbourne -42.5

GO – I have no doubt that the Suns would be happier with their season than Melbourne which begs the question, have we over rated the Demons list? Signs are probably pointing closer to yes than to no. They haven’t really improved at all over the last two years which is not what you want from a young list. In terms of development I feel that the Suns are almost on par with the Dees and by this time next year will have eclipsed them. Sorry times ahead for Melbourne who according the Mike Sheehan are the next AFL powerhouse. Melbourne should win but recent performances don’t inspire confidence that the W will be resounding. No play for me.

CB – One of the downsides of getting so close to the end of the regular season is the increased prevalence of matches that don’t matter from a finals perspective. The final flickering September hopes of the Demons were put out by Richmond early Sunday evening, making it five losses on the trot. Meanwhile the Suns don’t arrive in glittering form either, having lost by 62 points to Brisbane and 61 points to Adelaide in their last two. Laziness has made me shift into copy/ paste mode from above “I don’t like backing mediocre sides to take care of business as favourites, and I certainly don’t like backing mediocre sides with terrible interstate records. Pass.”


Essendon v Port Adelaide, Etihad Stadium, 4.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Essendon –64.5

GO – Port suck – bottom line. They were ten goals down late in the first and at that stage were down about 413 to 53 in their last nine quarters of football. 60 goals down in nine quarters – it is almost beyond comprehension. Essendon have proven to be good at roughing up the minnows this year and with their finals spot on the line I think they will be up for a big one. I have bet into the Bombers for a while now expecting them to fall over and even with the weight of that on me I am still going to back them to cover here. One unit on Essendon at the minus.

CB – I haven’t had much (indeed, any) cause to gloat in the three and a bit months that this column has been running. So it is with great pleasure that I dig into the Nut archives and find this excerpt from my pre-season preview: “The wooden spoon/ ‘least wins’ market should essentially be a race in four, with Richmond sneaking out of the battle for the cellar this year. It is worth a wager at surprisingly generous odds on Port Adelaide at $14 (Sports Alive) to win the least games.” Go Port! Go you insipid thing! Amazingly, Port have won the last six matches head to head, including three matches at Etihad (as an aside, looking up that statistic made me sad). Call me crazy, but I think that streak will end on Sunday – just a hunch. No recommended bet form me though against the monster line.


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Recommended bet summary

GO – One unit on Hawthorn – 41.5, one unit on North Melbourne + 6.5, two units on West Coast – 22.5 and one unit on Essendon – 64.5.

CB – One unit on Hawthorn – 41.5 and two units on West Coast – 22.5.

Thanks to Mark Nolan/Getty Images AsiaPac for use of the photo




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