The AFL Lines – Rd 24

Filed in AFL, AFL Lines by on August 31, 2011

The eight is set, as are the pertinent details of every first round match-up bar the host of the Sydney v St Kilda elimination match next weekend. Who has the motivation this week? Who has the most incentive to rest players coming into finals or alternatively, has the incentive to push hard and try to carry some ever-elusive momentum into the key weeks of September? Greg Oberscheidt and Cliff Bingham will try to untangle the myriad of Round 24 possibilities.

CB – It has been a sad week for the punting fraternity in some respects. Some of the longer standing and more loyal readers of Making The Nut may recall a 2011 AFL season preview released in late February. Some may also be aware of Saturday’s Herald Sun article noting that bookmaker Sports Alive is now in the hands of liquidators, a situation that prompted this excellent column on punter protection (or lack thereof) in the ACT from Making The Nut’s Matt Fisk.

Now, go back to the season preview and check out the ‘recommended bets’ section, in particular the agency with which I recommended bets be placed with for the Swans to make the top eight and for Port Adelaide to win the least games.

To anyone who followed this agency advice, I wholeheartedly apologise. Not that it will be any consolation to you, but I placed my own bets on those two outcomes (plus some successful ones in the NRL) with Sports Alive. I honestly didn’t think the agency would end up in the financial state that it finds itself in, much to my chagrin and likely financial loss.

Prior to this situation arising, I’d have been nervously pacing the room and cheering for Melbourne to win on Sunday more so than I have ever done in the past for the Dees. But now…. well, it's something of a moot point for yours truly – though I do hope that those who took the advice but wagered with another agency get the chocolates come late Sunday afternoon.

GO – A sorry weekend for yours truly having done my nuts on the Eagles and the Bombers. Karma has definitely caught up with me and my Bomber bashing and I think I might be staying off that sorry lot for the duration. The Hawks are proving to be a good bet as the season wears on and the Lions are also showing signs that their future is brighter than expected. The last home and away round gives us our last look at the muppets but also poses a few games where neither team really has an upshot. I’m expecting some interesting results.

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Summary of Round 23 results

GO – Four selections, five units bet, return of $1.90, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -62%

CB – Two selections, three units bet, return of $1.90, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -37%

Total – Six selections, eight units bet, return of $3.80, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -53%

Summary of overall results

GO – 68 selections, 86 units bet, return of $100.70, Profit on Turnover (POT) = 17%

CB – 47 selections, 59 units bet, return of $53.20, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -10%

Total – 115 selections, 145 units bet, return of $153.90, Profit on Turnover (POT) = 6%


(Please note – all times are EST)


Collingwood v Geelong, MCG, 7.40 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Collingwood –22.5

GO – This could be the least exciting, top of the table clash in recent memory. The Pies will be missing up to five of their best 22 and the Cats form, aside from their systematic demolitions of Melbourne and the Suns, has been underwhelming. The Cats need a good showing to prove to their fans that they are still in contention and the Pies will be keen to explore their options moving into the finals. I expect Collingwood to get the job done but with Thomas, Shaw, Maxwell all out and Dawes clearly underdone I give the Cats a fair chance. No play here for me.

CB – I’m willing to be a bit more forgiving of Geelong than that. Sure, they lost last week when coming off the bye, but they’re certainly not alone in that boat (the record of sides returning from the bye in 2011 is a very poor 11-21). In many regards too they may have more to prove this weekend than the Magpies, who are the prohibitive favourites for the flag and considered all but across the line in 2011 by many. But fundamentally I keep coming back to the notion that had they played last week, I’d have happily stepped into the plus if almost four goals were on offer. After a year of screwing up by placing too much emphasis on the week just gone, I shall try to redeem myself (better late than never I guess) and have one unit on Geelong at the plus here.



Gold Coast v Hawthorn, Metricon Stadium, 1.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Hawthorn –68.5

GO – I’ve been less inclined to take on the big lines in recent times but expect a thoroughly ruthless Hawthorn side to make the trip to Metricon. Clarkson will want to remind everyone that there is a good reason Hawthorn have only lost to the Pies and the Cats since Round One. Sewell and Lewis did a terrific tandem job on Judd a few weeks ago and expect Ablett to get the same treatment. Bock will get Franklin but I don’t know that he has the tank. The Suns will want to finish their first season with a rounded performance but I think the Hawks are clearly a 15 goal better side and as such I’ll play one unit on the minus.

CB – I didn’t waste much time potentially over-thinking this one. The Hawks are a class outfit and the Suns are still a few years away, but the line reflects this. Their one head to head meeting was in Round 13 at Aurora Stadium, with the Hawks prevailing by 71 points. Look at that margin of victory and then look back up at the line for this match – by and large the bookmaking fraternity are a savvy bunch. From my perspective it’s a game best left alone.


Western Bulldogs v Fremantle, Etihad Stadium, 2.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Western Bulldogs -41.5

GO – This one is pretty scary. Mark Harvey was reportedly sighted in his back shed looking for his boots during the weak in order to be able to field a full contingent. The Dogs showed some signs last week but in the end were soundly beaten. Barry Halls last game won’t produce the fireworks that we all secretly hope for but his form has been terrific with 30-odd goals in his last six games. Boyd continues to work hard and drives the Dogs from the inside. Callan Ward is also possibly playing his last game at the kennel. As you said last night Sting when we first mulled this game over, Freo should get belted but trusting the Dogs to take care of six and a half goals is like trusting Christopher Skase with your life savings. No Play.

CB – It is an amazing reflection on Fremantle’s current injury list (and by extension, their recent form) that they can be in receipt of 38.5 points against a team below them on the ladder. I could not be more afraid of this game, and thus won’t be betting. On the plus side, the two sides I recommended bets on pre-season to miss the eight did so. I even recommended those bets be placed with a bookmaker not currently in the hands of liquidators. Woohoo!


Sydney v Brisbane, SCG, 4.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Sydney -35.5

GO – Sydney are playing for a home final (given that I am presuming a Carlton win) and with that in mind they should win pretty comfortably. My only reservations in taking the minus is that the SCG traditionally isn’t conducive to high scoring and the form of the Lions has been quite good despite not taking home the points. Their last three have seen a ten goal thumping of the Suns, an impressive three goal loss to the Pies and an even more impressive eight point loss to the Eagles. They are proving to be hard to put away and with that in mind I think I’ll leave this one alone. Plus I swore off the Swans at any rate.

CB – The Lions have impressed me over the past few weeks, continuing to play with great intensity and commitment despite their season heading down the drain months ago. Meanwhile, the Swans have perhaps reached their season peak form wise over the past two weeks against St Kilda and Geelong – not a bad time of year to be peaking, just quietly. Head to head, Sydney have won three of the past four played at the SCG, by margins of 20, 61 and 27 points. They also summarily disposed of the Lions at the Gabba in Round 11 of this season by 65 points. Good sides need to take care of business and that’s what the Swans should do here, but the Lions are playing without heart to steer me away from taking the minus – no play.


Carlton v St Kilda, MCG, 7.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Carlton -4.5

GO – Even though the Saints are playing for a home final the Blues have plenty to play for as well. If Carlton lose this week then it will tarnish what has been a pretty good season for the Blues. If you put the sides head to head there is not really much to choose between them. Judd, Murphy, and Gibbs up against Dal Santo, Montagna and Goddard. The Saints have the edge in the ruck and their forward line really clicked last week with 15 majors between Rooey, Milne, Schnieder and Kozie albeit against a disappointing Roos outfit. The Blues have plenty of potency themselves with Walker and Betts supported by Garlett. It is a mouth watering battle and on face value it looks like a good game to stay off but the Saints have been up for some time now and the Blues are coming off the bye. I think the week off would have been just the tonic for the Blues and a welcome chance to iron out a few bugs. As such I’ll be playing one unit on Carlton at the minus.  

CB – St Kilda’s record against the other top eight sides makes for interesting reading: a lone win against West Coast (in Melbourne) does not sound fantastic when you consider that they’ve lost twice each to both Collingwood and Geelong and once each to Hawthorn, Carlton, Sydney and Essendon. Compare this to Carlton’s record against the same sides: four wins (Sydney twice, Essendon and St Kilda), one draw and five losses (Collingwood twice, Geelong, Hawthorn and West Coast). It just feels like Carlton is one level better a side than the Saints. Head to head, Carlton has won the past two matches (including a narrow win in Round Seven of this season) but the Saints won each of the seven encounters prior to that. I like backing who I feel have a clear (if not huge) edge in quality at very small minuses, so I’ll have one unit on Carlton at the minus here.


West Coast v Adelaide, Patersons Stadium, 7.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  West Coast -35.5

GO – West Coast have been good to me this year. Every line they receive always looks to be ‘overs’ at first glance. Once again a six goal start for a top four side with a significant home ground advantage against a bottom four side with nothing to play for seems to be a bit too short for mine. The Eagles will want a dominant performance against the Crows to legitimise their top four spot and to remind everyone that they are not making up the numbers in September. Despite wins against Gold Coast and Brisbane in the last month, the Crows best performance was a narrow defeat to the Cats, who have their own question marks. The Eagles are legit and the Crows are not. One unit on the Eagles at the minus.

CB – The Eagles continue on their merry way, having locked in a top four berth last weekend and now returning home, where they have an 8-1 record against interstate travellers this season. Compare this to the Crows, who are 2-8 (wins against Brisbane and Gold Coast) when travelling interstate in 2011. Head to head, West Coast has won three of the past four matches played at Subiaco, with two of these wins coming by 50 points or more. In many respects I’m with Greg here – a significant class advantage plus a significant home ground advantage should equal a towelling up of the Crows. I just can’t bring myself to give up a six goal head start in a game that has no finals implications, and will let this match pass me by.



Port Adelaide v Melbourne, Adelaide Oval, 2.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Melbourne -13.5

GO – If I were a Melbourne supporter I’d have to seriously consider following another sport. Port have their own problems that are well documented but the Demons are supposedly a club on the rise. How can the Dees only be giving Port 13.5 points? One would possibly be mad not to take the minus in this game, Ports performance last week notwithstanding, but how can you trust the Demons? I really want to take the minus but it feels too much like reckless gambling. Melbourne should win by ten goals but a Port victory wouldn’t surprise. Given I can’t even narrow it down to ten goals either way it probably a pretty good one to stay off.

CB – Ahh, the Adelaide Oval… what a tranquil and idyllic setting. It’s just a shame that such a meaningless (and likely low quality) match will play out here. Head to head, Port Adelaide has won each of the last five matches played in Adelaide, albeit that AAMI Stadium form may not readily translate to the Adelaide Oval. Backing a team with a miserable interstate record and poor recent form at the minus would make me feel like an idiot. Backing a team who have only won two games all season to cover a small plus would also make me feel like an idiot. Suffice to say, I’ll pass on this match.


Richmond v North Melbourne, Etihad Stadium, 4.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  North Melbourne –14.5

GO – The Tigers can sew up ninth spot with a win this week and given their historical affinity for finishing just outside the eight, I’m tempted to back them on that premise alone. Just when North looked the goods and were a real smoky for the eight they shit the bed and turn in a performance like last week. Boomer Harvey has been in the press again for his failure to compete against the good sides. He’ll no doubt come out this week and have a blinder and everyone will love him again. The Tigers are a solid unit and tend to play pretty well when it doesn’t matter and on the back of that, and Trent Cotchin, I’m going to play one unit on the plus.  

CB – It’s funny how perception can blur reality. Last week North were in the frame for a top eight spot while Richmond’s race had been run (and lost) some time ago, which may explain the line. This line has been offered in apparent contrast to a couple of pertinent facts: (1) Richmond beat North Melbourne earlier in the year and (2) if the Tigers win again, they will finish above North Melbourne on the ladder. Head to head, the last five matches have resulted in two wins apiece and a draw in 2009. To my mind North still have a marginal edge class wise on Richmond and though I think the 14.5 point line is a touch bigger than it should be, I’m not willing to trust Richmond in a game with no consequences for their season – I will sit this one out.


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Recommended bet summary

GO – One unit on Hawthorn -68.5, one unit on Carlton -4.5, one unit on West Coast -35.5 and one unit on Richmond +14.5

CB – One unit on Geelong +22.5 and one unit on Carlton -4.5.

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



Comments (1)

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  1. Schitty says:

    With Hawthorn deciding to take the Box Hill reserves to the Gold Coast this weekend the idea of taking the Hawks minus now has considerably less merit…Do so at your peril…