The AFL Lines: Round 1

Filed in AFL, AFL Lines by on March 28, 2012

The season may have commenced last Saturday night (with the Swans becoming the first ever team to be criticised for winning by more than 10 goals), but things really reach full swing from this Thursday night. Who will get their season off to a flying start and who will stumble out of the blocks? Greg Oberscheidt and Cliff Bingham return for 2012 with their thoughts on the opening round.

CB – Thankfully we didn’t bother with last week’s game. I was expecting the Swans to break out to a big lead but wasn’t sure what they’d do once it had been established. As it happened, they seemed to put the cue in the rack a little bit for the final term, and thus those who took GWS at the plus received the spoils. At any rate, I think a couple of opportunities present themselves here.

GO – Back again mate. In what promises to be a cracking year of footy we’ll ride the bumps with the lads as they do their best to win us a quid. We begin the search for this year’s cash cow with some generous lines given all the factors and there appears to be some cash on offer in round 1. The AFL have set out a cracking fixture for the first week and I really can’t wait to kick back and watch some good hard footy. The highlight will be the replay of the best game of last year, with the Hawks taking on Collingwood in front of a packed house at the ‘G’. (I hate you Parko, I really do.) All the best for this year big buddy – let’s stick it up these bookies. Are we having a side bet this year? I’ll go to $2.20 if you like…

CB – Sure, we’ll have a side bet – best result (in terms of units of profit/ loss) gets the cash. No need to go to $2.20 for a gentlemen’s wager. By the way, I tend to start seasons with a very conservative set of picks until the form lines for the season become reasonably apparent, so expect a few 0.5 unit bets to be utilised in the short term. I don’t care if you think I’m a giant wuss.


(Please note – all times are EDST)


Carlton v Richmond, MCG, 7.40pm

Bookmakers’ line: Carlton -13.5 to -14.5

GO –Carlton come into this match with plenty to prove after a 0-5 pre-season. Some pundits have them in line for a flag whilst others believe they will merely round out the eight again. If they can get some continuity into their list then they have the ability to threaten but with injuries to key players, particularly Jamieson who has missed most of the pre season they are showing signs of vulnerability. Their talent can’t be denied and they will be desperate to shake the knockers so expect them to come out firing.The Tigers have shown plenty so far and all indications are that their young group has taken some massive steps forward this year and they look fit and hungry. Martin and Cotchin hold the key for the Tigers as they go head to head with Judd and Murphy whilst Riewoldt and co will look to stretch the Blues defence without Jamieson, Duigan and Laidler. Carlton might still get the points here but it will be close and as such I’m playing one unit on the Tigers at the plus.

CB – Carlton do appear to look short of a run at this stage of the season, especially in defence. However, before you go racing off to back the Tigers at the plus, consider these facts: (1) Carlton have won the last seven straight against the Tigers; (2) all seven wins have come by 20 points or more, with an average winning margin of 57 points; (3) the Blues have scored over 100 points in all seven games, with an average score of 134 points. Lost in all the noise about how the Carlton backline will handle Riewoldt and company is the lingering question about how Richmond can prevent Carlton kicking a big score themselves. I’m sitting this one out at the line, but if the weather is fine and the total points line dips below 190, could be coerced into backing the overs.



Hawthorn v Collingwood, MCG, 7.50pm

Bookmakers’ line: Hawthorn -6.5 to -7.5

GO –There will be 90,000 plus  at the MCG to see these two heavy weights go toe to toe in the replay of last years preliminary final. The Hawks will be out for revenge and the Pies will be looking to prove that a change in coach hasn’t affected their playing group. Unfortunately for the Pies they have some injury woes with Krakouer and Macaffer out for the year, Nathan Brown still four weeks away and Didak, Beams, Johnson, Maxwell, Tarrant and Wood all under clouds and having limited pre seasons.Wellingham’s suspension means the Pies go in without their number one run-with player, which should free up Mitchell to go head to head with Dane Swan. The Hawks will miss Max Bailey and Roughead but BrocMacCauley looks a handy stop gap. Other than that the Hawks are flying and Clarkson’s only headache will be who to leave out. All the big guns have had great preparation and I for one can’t wait to see them take off. The Pies are still the better side but with their injuries I’m expecting the Hawks to put them to the sword – 2 units on the Hawks at the minus.

CB – It’s not often that you see a grand finalist who went 20-2 the previous season commencing as an underdog in the opening round, but here we are. As Greg points out, there are a number of Magpies who will be short of a run at best and missing from the side at worst. Interestingly, since 2007 (beyond which point both sides have been frequent finalists) the Hawks hold a 5-3 advantage over Collingwood, albeit that the Magpies won both games last year and three of the last four. In the ordinary course of events I’d be steering well clear of a small line involving comparable quality teams, but one team comes here with a much less interrupted preparation. The situational play is on – 0.5 units on Hawthorn at the minus.



Melbourne v Brisbane, MCG, 1.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Melbourne -15.5

GO –Two pretty evenly matched sides here so initially the +15.5 looks quite juicy. Apart from Jonathon Brown and Brent Staker, the Lions have a fully fit list to choose from and their young playing group continues to impress. Redden and Rockliff are both jets and Leuenberger is no longer a talented kid but a footballer with serious game. The Dees have plenty of injury concerns with Jurrah, Sylvia, Jetta and Spencer all long term injuries while preseason revelation James Magner and co-captain Jack Grimes face tests. Ordinarily, the play here would be Brisbane at the plus, but I won’t be getting on board due to the Jim Stynes factor and the emotional wave the Dees will be riding. No play for me.

CB – Despite my belief that the Lions will improve in 2012, it’s hard to make a compelling case for tipping a four-win team from last year travelling interstate without their best player in Brown.That said, the Demons will also be a bit short-staffed for the first few weeks of the season, and thus it is hard to feel bolshy about their prospects on Saturday either. Head to head, the Demons have won the last three clashes at the MCG, albeit that two of those wins were by less than 15 points. How the Melbourne players react to the loss of Jim Stynes will be both difficult to predict and telling to the result, so I’ll stay out of this one.


Gold Coast v Adelaide, Metricon Stadium, 4.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Gold Coast +25.5

GO –I was a little surprised when I saw this line. The pre season champions against the reigning wooden spooners. Sure it’s at Metricon, but I doubt that will be a massive factor. The Crows looked really sharp throughout the NAB Cup and they appear to have a really good balance now. Dangerfield has been released into the midfield and they seem to have grown another leg. Quick ball movement is allowing Walker and Tippett to really explode and the return of Porplyzia bolsters them further. Ruttenwill miss with a foot injury but that is balanced by Nathan Bock’s suspension. Richie Douglas should come up from a hammy adding some extra starch to the Crows engine room. The Suns will be better this year but I can’t see them minimising the damage to a goal a quarter.  Two units on Adelaide at the minus.

CB – Brenton Sanderson looks to have the Crows up and about very early in 2012 based on their NAB Cup performances, and I expect them to roll on here. The Suns are likely to improve this season but they’ll certainly need to – last year they lost 15 games by 30 points or more, including 10 losses by at least 60 points. Last year these teams met on two occasions, with the Crows winning by 57 points at home in Round 8 and by 61 points at Metricon Stadium in Round 22. It’s a big ask to see them improving by over five goals on those two efforts – one unit on Adelaide at the minus.


Fremantle v Geelong, Patersons Stadium, 7.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Fremantle +6.5 to +7.5

GO –So much to like about this game. Ross Lyon will want to justify his position with early wins. The Cats will want to show everyone they are still the best side in the Comp as they have been for the last five years. Sandilands will play and what a test that will be for first gamer Orren Stevenson, who has impressed everyone at the Cattery with his work ethic and desire. If he can compete then the Cats midfield should get the chocolates with Mundy and Barlow under massive clouds. Hawkins will be out to show that September was no fluke and will have his hands full with Luke McPharlin riding him all day. Pavlich holds the key for the Dockers. If they can keep him in the forward line for the majority and he clunks a few, the Dockers are a massive show. This one is a little bit too close to call for me but it will be watched with plenty of interest. No Play.

CB – I’m always partial to the proven champion over the potential up-and-comer, and with such a small line I think we can have a look at the defending champs. The Dockers will have a class edge over many opponents in 2012 but I think they still fall well short of matching up evenly on the likes of Selwood, Bartel, Chapman, Corey, Scarlett, Enright and company. While I don’t put huge stock in NAB Cup form, their preseason performances suggest that they haven’t fully adapted to the Ross Lyon style as of yet. Head to head, Geelong has won five of the last six matches they have played against the Dockers at Patersons Stadium. However, the last two such matches have resulted in a win apiece and two games decided by 11 points or less, so the very recent history points to a close match. I think that class will prevail in the end though and thus will have 0.5 units on the minus.


North Melbourne v Essendon, Etihad Stadium, 7.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  North Melbourne +1.5

GO – Gerard Healy said this game is worth eight points to the winner and I think he’s pretty close to the mark. Eighth and ninth last year, these two sides will be battling it out again for a finals berth so expect both teams to give their all. Evenly matched from end to end this game is about as even as we’ll get this year. Watson and Swallow will go head to head and that promises to be enthralling. The two young capatins both have a nose for the seed in traffic and who ever wins that contest will go a long way towards getting their team across the line. Drew Petrie looms as a potential match winner for the Kangas. His ability to take contested marks in the forward 50 will be giving the Bombers defence a few sleepless nights. Michael Hurley has just signed a big deal and will be out to show the Bombers faithful that they have bet the right horse. Flip of the coin here so I’ll be staying away.

CB – To my mind the market has this match spot on – a pair of mid-tier teams who could play 20 times and split the spoils fairly evenly. Head to head, these teams have each won two of the last four matches, but North won each of the three prior to this run. Five of the last seven games have resulted in margins of less than four goals (three have had margins of two goals or less), so both the market and the historical precedent point to another close one. I have my fingers crossed for the Dons opening the season by picking up the four premiership points, but wouldn’t want to wager on it – no play.



Western Bulldogs v West Coast, Etihad Stadium, 1.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Western Bulldogs +7.5 to +8.5

GO –My initial reaction is to jump all over the Eagles here given the balance of both sides. West Coast have some telling injuries with Le Cras and Nicoski missing and Glass and Kennedy in doubt. The Bulldogs have their own issues with Dale Morris still recovering from that sickening leg break and Williams again out with a shoulder. If Kennedy plays then the Eagles forward versatility should be enough to get them across the line. Dean Cox will run all over Will Minson who has improved but is still not in the same class. Matty Boyd will try hard but without Griffin’s hard run and with Cooney unlikely to ever get back to his best they will be up against it. The Eagles midfield is hard and fit and their press is well suited to Etihad.McCartney’s first game may have an impact but I’ll trust my gut here and play one unit on the Eagles to cover.

CB – Brendan McCartney’s senior coaching debut comes against an opponent who beat the teams they were ‘supposed to’ in 2011. To wit; the Eagles went 14-0 against sides that missed the finals, while the Bulldogs went 1-11 against top-8 sides last season. For the Bulldogs to stay in the frame here, Minson needs to put up a strong contest against Cox and Naitanui – if the Eagles consistently get first use of the ball, it will be a long day of defending for the sons of the west. West Coast have won seven of their last nine matches against the Bulldogs (and three of the last four played at Etihad Stadium), including an eight-point win last year where I had to sweat out the minus covering after a second half charge by the Bulldogs. Maybe it is tempting fate a little to butter up on the small minus again, but the signs all point that way – 0.5 units on the Eagles to cover the line.


Port Adelaide v St Kilda, AAMI Stadium, 4.40pm

Bookmakers’ line: Port Adelaide +16.5

GO –The Saints have to win this game. If they fail to get across the line then you can rule a line through them this year (I already have but that’s another story.) Port Adelaide have shown some promising signs but still have a long way to go. Jackson Trengove is a big loss and throws their defence off kilter. The Saints need a return from their big guns with all but Hayes having plenty to prove. They will also want to see some improvement from the likes of Cripps and Siposs who are the future of the Saints. St Kilda should win this game but I really wouldn’t be surprised the see the Power steal a march on them here and serve it right up to them in front of their home crowd. If you really hate money then get involved but my recommendation is that you stay well away from this one.

CB – The offseason may have made the memories seem more distant, but some points remain: I still couldn’t trust Port Adelaide to successfully take out the bins, let alone put up strong competition against a 2011 finalist. They failed to beat a top-8 side all of last season, lost their last nine matches at AAMI Stadium by an average of almost nine goals and were lucky to avoid the wooden spoon. That rules out taking the plus in this match. Nonetheless, the Saints look one of the more likely candidates to slip out of the eight this year, and thus laying almost three goals on the road is far from a fait accompli. They’ve won two of their last three against Port at AAMI Stadium, including an easy 56-point win last year, but I’m not sure that St Kilda are as good in 2012 and the Power will struggle to be that bad again. There are 168 regular season matches and nine finals matches to come after this one – put the cue in the rack for the week before you get to this match.


Recommended bet summary


1 unit on Richmond +14.5 at $1.92 (Flemington Sportsbet)

2 units on Hawthorn -6.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)

2 units on Adelaide -25.5 at $1.91 (Centrebet)

1 unit on West Coast -7.5 at $1.92 (Flemington Sportsbet)


0.5 units on Hawthorn -6.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)

1 unit on Adelaide -25.5 at $1.91 (Centrebet)

0.5 units on Geelong -6.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)

0.5 units on West Coast -7.5 at $1.92 (Flemington Sportsbet)


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


Comments (2)

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  1. probertson73 says:


    Hey Cliff,

    Would you be happy to provide AFL Tips weekly – keen to hear your thoughts as I haven't the foggiest when it comes to AFL



    • Cliff Bingham says:

      Hey Robbo

      Greg and I will be doing the lines each week, so there will plenty on info on here to digest.

      As a new tipster, if you're in a simple 1 point per correct tip style of comp, my advice would be to tip the favourite in every game except the ones where at least one of us likes the underdog to cover/ possibly win outright. It's a bit of a boring method, but it should keep you in the frame at least until the second half of the season, after which you can take a few more risks if you need to make up any ground.