The AFL Lines – Rd 5

Filed in AFL, AFL Lines by on April 26, 2012

The Eagles, the Swans and (improbably) the Bombers kept their unbeaten streaks alive; the Giants, Suns and Demons remained winless. Ross Lyon’s new side beat Ross Lyon’s old side, while the Cats and Magpies both failed to flatter but picked up the four competition points anyway. The form lines for 2012 are gradually becoming more exposed; the contenders distancing themselves from the pretenders. What does this mean for Round 5? Greg Oberscheidt and Cliff Bingham try to solve this mystery.

CB – How about those Bombers against Carlton, eh? Never in doubt (says me who never even contemplated taking the 40-odd points start and went to play golf during the game because a drubbing seemed imminent). This seems like a really pivotal learning week – we’re going to find out a lot about perhaps eight or nine sides with finals aspirations (be they aiming for the top four or hoping to sneak into eighth – Adelaide and Richmond, I’m looking squarely at you). The lines look quite challenging this week, but I feel confident we can stay in the plus column for 2012.

Results for Round 4 selections

GO – 2 selections, 3 units bet, return of 0.00 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -100%

CB – 2 selections, 2.5 units bet, return of 4.80 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = +92%

Total – 4 selections, 5.5 units bet, return of 4.80 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -13%

Results for 2012

GO – 14 selections, 18 units bet, return of 19.30 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = +7%

CB – 12 selections, 9.5 units bet, return of 12.52 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = +32%

Total – 26 selections, 27.5 units bet, return of 31.82 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = +16%


(Please note – all times are EST)



Collingwood v Essendon, MCG, 2.40pm

Bookmakers’ line: Collingwood -3.5 to -4.5

Note: Neither of us was particularly thrilled about (a) betting in a game where both sides were arriving off only a four-day break and (b) having to bring the remainder of the column forward to preface this game, so we ditched it. No play for either of us. As it turned out, this was probably for the best.



Fremantle v Carlton, Patersons Stadium, 8.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Fremantle +3.5 to +4.5

GO – With Carlton crashing back to earth last week and Freo getting a much needed win in Melbourne this game looks set to go to the wire. Fremantle with any kind of start at home is always a solid proposition as they tend to straighten up their attack on the long narrow ground. Carlton struggled last week against the Bombers intensity especially once Carrazzo went down. They lack a genuine stopper with him gone and that will cost them, especially against Sandilands. I think the Dockers are a good match up for the Blues and should be favoured at home – one unit on Fremantle at the plus.

CB – It all seemed so simple before last Saturday, but what do we make of Carlton now? Was last week the aberration, or were the three preceding weeks simply played to a standard that couldn’t be maintained? My feeling is that last week was the fluke and that Carlton will bounce back hard this week, but they’ll need to against a side who have already rolled Geelong and whose only loss to date came on the road against an unbeaten team. Head to head, Carlton have won three of the last five and two of the last three played at Patersons, including a 30-point win in the corresponding game last year. My initial thought was to take the small minus, but if you swap interstate home field advantage around (worth 10-12 points in my mind), the line would be just over two goals at a neutral venue and around four goals in Melbourne. That feels like too much start to happily back the minus, so I’ll sit this one out.



GWS v Western Bulldogs, Manuka Oval, 2.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  GWS +64.5 to +65.5

GO – The Giants have managed to stay in the contest against most of their opponents despite periods of frailty. They look like they have a reasonable blend of youth and experience and to the surprise of many, their senior players have responded to the challenge and are actually playing the best footy they have in quite some time. Callan Ward has been in cracking form and will relish the chance to take on his old side. The Dogs got their first win last week against the hapless Demons but only by 20 points. Minson could struggle against Giles. The Dogs forward line is a shambles and the Giants have built a solid back six. Manuka is a big oval and the wind can be tricky. I like the Giants with an eleven goal start here for one unit.

CB – AFL comes to Canberra! Well, sort of. Manuka Oval holds a bit over 13,000 when at full capacity; the biggest query in my mind will be what sort of crowd they draw. It feels like anything over 10,000 will be a moral victory. Anyway…. I can’t back the Dogs at the minus, given that they’ve failed to reach 90 points scored in any game as yet. I can’t back GWS, given that they suck. The Bulldogs have won five of their seven matches at Manuka Oval to date – let’s just pencil in six out of eight and quickly move on, shall we?


North Melbourne v Gold Coast, Etihad Stadium, 4.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  NM -80.5 to -82.5

GO – North should win this one by plenty. With the loss of Ablett the Suns will need to find another way to win the ball at the stoppage and I can’t really see who that will be.  Swallow is under a cloud and is likely to get belted by his big brother anyway. Harbrow is also a massive loss for the Suns given he is their number one rebounder. Under the lid at Etihad the Roos could really put up a monster score here. They have too much class inside and too much height up forward. Petrie in particular is due for a big one. I’ll play the Roos for one unit at the big minus.

CB – This match is likely to be less about how the quality of North and more about the insipid play of the Gold Coast. The Suns have only been to Victoria five times and lost four of those games by 71 points or more; their one such trip minus Gary Ablett resulting in a 150-point drubbing at the hands of Geelong. The Kangas won their only 2011 clash by 59 points at Metricon and less than a month ago dispatched another cellar dweller in GWS by 129 points. I feel a percentage booster coming on here – well, it’s either that or general apathy. No play.


Melbourne v St Kilda, MCG, 7.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Melbourne +38 to +39.5

GO – Melbourne are desperate for points but until now that desperation hasn’t translated from spoken word to action. They have played like a team that either doesn’t care about the result or doesn’t have the ability to impact it. They have some talent on their list it must be said but they don’t appear to have a common goal at the moment and it is killing them. The Saints have been up and down as predicted and will want to make up for last week’s loss to the Dockers. Some big names are starting to find form and that’s a good sign for the Saints. St Kilda will win but I think six goals is about right so no play for me.

CB – I’m not at all sold on the Saints this year – losing to both Port and one of the worst traveling sides of all time in the Dockers is rarely cause for confidence. However, that should all be fairly irrelevant for this week, and here’s why: the Saints have already beaten both the Bulldogs and Suns by over 10 goals, while Melbourne have already lost to both Brisbane and Richmond by over 40 points. Are the Demons any better than the Bulldogs (based on last week, no) or the Suns (maybe, but don’t count on it)? Are the Saints better or worse than Brisbane and Richmond (my gut feel right now – slightly better than Brisbane, roughly on a par with Richmond)? I feel like this line is a goal or two short of where it needs to be – one unit on the Saints at the minus.


Brisbane v Geelong, Gabba, 7.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Brisbane +22.5 to +24.5

GO – The Lions look alright here at first glance. They have done well in the contested ball, currently sixth in the AFL, and the Cats have struggled, losing this stat in each of their matches so far. North dismantled them and the Tigers should have beaten them at ‘KP’ if not for some rookie mistakes in the dying moments. Geelong are struggling at the moment but they have some much class and experience it is very hard to see them dropping this game. The Lions will push them but a goal a quarter seems fair to me. No play.

CB – This has all the hallmarks of a trap game for the Cats. A little out of sync, possibly a bit lucky to be 2-2 at the moment (although it’s easy to forget that they nearly pinched an opening round win too), traveling interstate. I felt preseason that the Lions could jump to nine wins this season and they’ve justified my faith to date – a 29-point loss to Freo in Perth seems quite acceptable upon further review, leaving a trouncing from Carlton as their only ‘lemon’ of the season to date. With Brown and Black both looking strong last Saturday night, things look on the up for the home side. Head to head, Geelong have won nine of the last 10 overall (including four out of five at the Gabba; indeed, they would have covered a 23.5 point spread in three of these four wins). I’m leaning ever so slightly to the plus, but the fear that Geelong will click one day soon and spreadeagle a side has me staying out of this one.



Hawthorn v Sydney, Aurora Stadium, 1.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Hawthorn –17.5 to -21

GO – A danger game for the Hawks as it is one they will expect to win. Sydney are on top and deservedly so given the way they have man handled their opponents so far this year. If they can upset the Hawks this week then they will announce themselves as contenders (that’ll make six). Traditionally these two have hard fought battles and both sides stack up pretty well against each other. Aurora is a difficult ground to put up a big number so I think the result will be tight either way. The Hawks will have plenty of sore bodies after a brutal encounter last week. I fancy a tri bet on this one with either side under 15.5 at 2.95. I know that’s not the normal way of this lines column, but a good bet is a good bet.

CB – From a punting perspective, there is an awful lot to like about the Swans. They just play such honest footy – win the contest, tackle hard, make your opponent earn everything. That makes one of the more consistent sides in the comp, which is all you can ask for when trying to assess a game. At what is notionally a Hawks home game but essentially a neutral venue where changeable weather often plays a big part, a shade over three goals seems like a huge head start. Head to head, the Hawks have won four of the last five matches between the teams, albeit that two of these wins came by 11 points or less. The Swans have never visited Aurora Stadium before, while the Hawks have won 22 of the 32 games they’ve played here. Nonetheless, I can see a hotly contested defensive struggle being the outcome on Sunday, and thus will have one unit on the surprisingly big plus.


Richmond v West Coast, Etihad Stadium, 3.15pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Richmond +17.5 to +20.5

GO – Richmond have been valiant in defeat all year and will curse their luck they haven’t been able to get another win. The Eagles are flying and their credentials improve with every outing. The Eagles will dominate this contest for a number of reasons. Nic Nat and Cox will have their way with Maric and Vickery giving their midfield first use. Glass will murder Jack Reiwoldt. The mountainous Eagles forward line will be almost impossible for the Tigers to curtail and the run with players in the Eagles midfield will be able to nullify the Tigers midfield. They also have a couple decent ball winners themselves. We have found the bet of the round here – two units on the Eagles at the minus.

CB – The horror early season draw for Richmond continues: Carlton, Collingwood, Geelong and now West Coast in the first five weeks. It’s unclear what they did to upset the AFL powerbrokers, but an apology from the culprit should be forthcoming well before the 2013 draw is settled upon. Nonetheless, they’ve been pretty honest thus far, to the point where I think they’re on a similar level to North Melbourne and St Kilda and just ahead of the Crows in terms of performances in the opening month. Interestingly, the Tigers have won three of the last five played between these teams (albeit that the performances of the Eagles have improved significantly since 2010) and both of the last two games played in Melbourne. This is a very different West Coast beast in 2012 though. Preseason I thought they might regress from a ‘punching above their weight’ 17-5; right now it’s hard to find five losses in the remainder of their draw. No play for me.


Adelaide v Port Adelaide, AAMI Stadium, 4.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Adelaide –12.5 to -13.5

GO – Usually you’d say that the Crows are good things here and in all honesty they probably are. They stack up much better than their cross town rival and should easily account for the two-goal line. However, the showdown has proven over the years that form plays no part in the outcome of these matches. You throw 44 blokes in the middle of 40,000 rabid supporters and just pray that 44 walk off again afterwards. It’ll be brutal, it’ll be intense and in that environment it’s just too close to call.

CB – I know Adelaide looked terrific in the preseason, but do we have definitive proof yet that they’re any good? Beating Gold Coast and GWS doesn’t count, they got beaten easily by Hawthorn and perhaps most telling of all, they took an eternity to put a pretty mediocre Bulldogs side away at home. The jury is definitely out on them. Meanwhile, Port have beaten St Kilda (who belted the Bulldogs since then) and been respectable in defeat against the Swans, Bombers and Magpies (combined record: 10-2). Head to head, Port has won three of the last four and five of the last seven ‘Showdowns’. Low scoring affairs have also been the order of the day, with only four of the last 15 matches between the teams reaching 180 points in total. That couple of goals start seems mighty tempting now doesn’t it?  Just one sticking point remains – I’m roughly 5-826 when backing mediocre to poor sides against the spread. Doesn’t matter what sport it is… I cannot wager on poor teams successfully. I like Port in an upset here, which of course means you should have the house on Adelaide. Unsurprisingly, there is no play for me.


Recommended bet summary


1 unit on Fremantle +4.5 at $1.90 (TAB Sportsbet)

1 unit on GWS +65.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)

1 unit on North Melbourne -80.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)

1 unit on either side by less than 15.5 points (Hawthorn v Sydney) at $2.95 (Centrebet)

2 units on West Coast -17.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)



1 unit on St Kilda -38 at $1.92 (Luxbet)

1 unit on Sydney +21 at $1.92 (Luxbet)


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


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