The AFL Lines – Round 16

Filed in AFL, AFL Lines by on July 12, 2012

The race for both the top four and top eight is getting rather congested – only one win separates first from sixth, while five teams on the fringe of a finals berth share a 7-7 record at this point of the season. With three ‘eight point games’ set down for Round 16, it promises to be a terrific weekend of matches. Greg Oberscheidt and Cliff Bingham return to assess the upcoming round.


Were the two clear upsets last week (Carlton and St Kilda) and a couple of near misses (North and Gold Coast) an aberration, or a sign that the competition is more even than we first thought? Irrespective, we probably shouldn’t get into the habit of backing six favourites between us.

One last note: I screwed up in last week’s preview when suggesting Geelong were 4-9 against the spread in 2012 – the correct figure was 3-10, which slumped even further to 3-11 after last week’s narrow win on the Gold Coast. Keep that in mind for a couple of minutes.


Results for Round 15 selections

GO – 4 selections, 4 units bet, return of 1.91 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -52%

CB – 2 selections, 2 units bet, return of 1.92 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -4%

Total – 6 selections, 6 units bet, return of 3.83 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -36%

Results for 2012

GO – 53 selections, 63 units bet, return of 49.87 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -21%

CB – 33 selections, 33 units bet, return of 28.80 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -13%

Total – 86 selections, 96 units bet, return of 78.67 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -18%


(Please note – all times are EST)



North Melbourne v Carlton, Etihad Stadium, 7.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:   North Melbourne +5.5 to +6.5


This should be a cracking game. North are in great form and were stiff not to knock off the Eagles last week. Wells and Harvey have been great and Goldstein has been killing it. It will be interesting to see how their high possession style works against the Blues whose defensive pressure had been suspect.

Carlton will miss Kade Simpson on the outside, especially if Marc Murphy misses another week. They need to bring the intensity that got them home last week. Yarran’s run was important and the Blues seem to function better without a tall target forward so expect plenty of low ball.

North probably should be favourites on form alone given the Blues have been ordinary prior to last week but this one could go either way so no bet for me.


North Melbourne look to have rediscovered their mojo in the last three weeks, albeit that the second half fadeout against West Coast was eerily reminiscent of their flop against Port eight weeks ago.

The Blues bounced back strongly last week after a very disappointing effort against the Hawks. Their mobility was greatly improved when Hampson was subbed out and they went with only one tall – while they’re unlikely to try for a repeat does, it’s equally unlikely that we’ll see them play three talls again anytime soon.

The last four head-to-head matches have been split two apiece (all at Etihad), with Carlton winning the corresponding match last year by 18 points.

I have the slightest of leans to taking the points here in a game that feels very close to a coin flip, but will let it slide.



Melbourne v Fremantle, Etihad Stadium, 1.45pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Melbourne +17.5


It doesn’t get any easier for the Dees as they face a Fremantle side desperate for a percentage boost. Freo need to win this one well if they are to be any chance of finals and given the cattle available to both sides that should be motivation enough.

Pavlich has been in great form up forward and should get another bag this week given the opportunities. The Dockers midfield is also starting to find some consistency.

Without Clark the Dees have lacked a focal point and any real attack. They have makeshift forwards in Rivers and Sylvia but neither would be especially threatening.

Big win for the Dockers here – 2.5 units on the minus.


The Dees were flattered last Saturday by the inaccuracies of the Tigers in front of a goal – that was a 50-point hiding dressed in a 23-point loss’ body. Moreover, they have a horrendous recent record at Etihad, having lost 12 straight, 16 of their last 17 and 18 of their last 20 at the venue.

I’ve spent the last two weeks extolling the virtue of Freo being better than everyone thinks and won’t repeats the same sentiments here, but I will note that their 3-3 record interstate this season includes losses against Sydney, Hawthorn and Collingwood (combined record: 32-10) plus wins over St Kilda and Richmond (both in the ‘melee’ at 7-7 with the Dockers). The Demons aren’t a patch on any of the other five opponents I’ve just named. Oh, and their only trip to Etihad so far in 2012 resulted in the aforementioned win over St Kilda.

The home team has won each of the last six matches between these teams, but all three matches won by the Dees in that period have been played at the MCG.

It’s rare that I’m on board with an interstate team laying almost three goals, but the Dockers have too much to play for and should be too talented – 1.5 units on the minus.


Port Adelaide v Essendon, AAMI Stadium, 2.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Port Adelaide +17.5


My initial thought is to take the points in this one as the Bombers try and claw back some of the ground they lost last week. With Hurley missing though and Crameri still unavailable the Dons will need to rely heavily on midfield scoring.

Port are a better side at home and they have some solid defensive midfielders in Cassissi and Cornes as well as Thomas who could all do a job on Stanton when required.

Watson is the key for the Bombers and the Brownlow favourite will win enough of the nut to get his side home but without a target up forward it might not be too convincing. No play.


Good old inconsistent Port – throw in a spirited performance or two and make it look like you might be turning the corner, only to bring it all undone with a couple of real stinkers. Their biggest problem at the moment is scoring, with 62 points being their best offering in the last four games.

The Bombers copped their first legitimate hiding of the season last Saturday night and with Hurley out injured, Heath Hocking suspended and only seven wins from 26 matches played at AAMI Stadium overall, this looms as a legitimate trap game.

The Power have only hosted the Bombers twice in the last six years, winning by 31 points in 2007 and 41 points in 2009.

Prior to last week’s mauling I think I’d have stepped into the minus here, but it, in conjunction with some key absentees, makes me just hesitant enough to pass on the opportunity.


Richmond v Gold Coast, Cazaly’s Stadium, 4.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Richmond -37.5 to -39.5


The Tigers form has been solid, even though they’re conversion is abysmal and the source of plenty of anger for yours truly. They should work the Suns over this week as we come back to that need to build percentage for the contenders becoming paramount.

The Suns pushed the Cats all the way last week and were probably unlucky not to snag an upset. I think that says more about the Cats than it does the Suns though.

The Tigers at the minus is the lean but with the Cairns factor as well as the Tigers consistent inaccuracy I think I’ll sit this one out.


Richmond missed an opportunity to give their percentage a little upward nudge last week via some inaccurate kicking – in what could evolve into a five-way race for one finals berth, they’ll be keen to make amends this week. One way or another, this is simply a game they cannot afford to drop. By the way, after covering the line in eight of their first 10 games, they failed to do so in each of the last four – warrants mentioning.

The Suns have only kept within a 33.5 point line on four occasions so far this season – all of them occurring in matches at home. How that translates to a game in Cairns is unclear, but at least they don’t have as far to fly as the Tigers do.

The only previous meeting between these teams was at this venue last year, where the Suns stunned the Tigers in the second half to win by 15 points.

A rarely-used venue + a slightly off-form heavy favourite + a reasonably useless underdog = a no bet game for me.


Geelong v Collingwood, MCG, 7.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Geelong +9.5 to +10.5


All the signs suggest the Cats are struggling this year. They haven’t been able to put away the bad teams but have been able to keep winning. They tend to stand up in the big games but a lot of that has been on Jimmy Bartel’s back and without the little champ in the side they’ll need to find it from somewhere else.

The Pies were shithouse last week and they’ll be stinging from that performance. They are too good a side to be down two weeks in a row and I’m expecting them to hit back hard this week.

They’ll miss Wellingham in a run-with role but it will give an opportunity to a Sinclair type to have a crack and showcase their wares.

Collingwood by four goals for me, so I’ll play one unit on the minus.


Has any team prior to the 2012 Cats ever been two wins off the top spot after 14 matches while going 3-11 against the spread and only covering once in their last nine matches? It’s hard to imagine such a scenario popping up, but here we are. Hold on, we’re not done with counterintuitive trends just yet….

Collingwood are 11-3 and equal top spot but only 4-10 against the spread???? How can this be??? They covered in four straight rounds (Brisbane, Geelong, Adelaide, Gold Coast) and…. yep, that’s it for 2012 so far. Phenomenal. I don’t think we’ll see a pair of teams go 7-21 against the spread and 20-8 straight up again for a long, long time.

Collingwood won their Round Eight encounter by 12 points, but Geelong has won six of the last nine matches against the Pies. Intriguingly, only two of the last 10 matches (dating back to 2008) between these teams have finished in a margin of 20 points or less. 

Originally, I’d thought of the head-to-head blowouts and figured Collingwood was going a fraction the better at the moment, hence the minus was the play. However, backing sides that haven’t covered for a month isn’t my thing – no play.


Brisbane v St Kilda, Gabba, 7.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:   Brisbane +12.5 to +13.5


I really like the way Brisbane go about their work. Voss has finally been able to impart some of his uncompromising nature onto the kids and the benefits are showing. Zorko has been a great find and complements Rockliff and Redden well. Put Leuenberger back in this side and they are a top-8 challenger for sure.

The Saints dispatched the Bombers last week and kicked 21 goals in doing so which was totally unexpected. They seem to be gelling pretty well and for some reason they seem to play their most attacking footy when Goddard isn’t the distributor across half back.

You’d have to think the Saints here against a valiant Lions outfit. I hope the Lions get it done but I won’t be risking a bet here.


The Lions were well beaten last weekend but there’s no shame in that when you’re playing the Swans in Sydney – they continue to show good signs of improvement, albeit that a position only one win out of eighth spot probably flatters them a bit (they’re 5-0 against teams below them on the ladder and 1-8 against everyone else).

The Saints delivered one of their best performances of the season to date when they trounced Essendon last week, a week after delivering one of their worst when conceding 136 points to North. Which Saints’ outfit will turn up this week? Frankly, I don’t know.

St Kilda have won both of their last two matches at the Gabba, albeit by margins of only 13 and 14 points.

Given the recent Gabba history between these teams and the fact that the line would be around the six-goal mark if this match were played in Melbourne, I’m happy to abstain from a bet in this one.



GWS v Adelaide, Skoda Stadium, 1.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  GWS +69.5 to +70.5


Adelaide by a shitload would be the thought. No Walker, while Tippett is highly unlikely to play, so they’ll need to find someone to step up and kick a few. Dangerfield might play out of the square for a bit. If so he could kick half a dozen.

GWS will need to get used to the fact that they’ll be put to the sword for the remainder of the year.

The Crows should win by 100 even without their best two forwards and as such I’ll have a unit on the minus.


The wheel seems to have turned against GWS of late – the kids are getting tired, the elite teams are seeing them as a chance to boost percentage rather than rest key personnel, they’ve only covered the spread in one of their last four starts and they got lapped by Hawthorn last Sunday.

What the Crows make of this situation in the second half when they’ve got this game in hand is uncertain – do they try to make a genuine run at the ‘percentage race’ going on at the top of the ladder, or do they leave the likes of Thompson, Dangerfield and Tippett at home to avoid risking injuries before critical matches against West Coast, Geelong and Essendon over the ensuing three weeks?

There are too many questions and not enough answers (or at least assertions) in my mind – no play.


Western Bulldogs v Hawthorn, Etihad Stadium, 3.15pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Western Bulldogs +47.5 to +49.5


Hawthorn have been rampaging in recent times and have been putting scores on everyone. No Franklin this week but Roughie is in form so that can be covered. Gunston should get some more opportunities this week and it’ll be interesting to see how he goes.

Hawthorns biggest asset in recent times has been their ability to deny their opponents inside 50 opportunities. The Dogs biggest weakness is their inability to score from inside 50 opportunities, having one of the worst conversion rates in the league.

Put those two things together and couple with the fact that the Hawks can generate plenty of scores and that points towards a paddling – one unit on the minus.



The Bulldogs have looked bereft of ideas in attack but particularly in recent weeks – they are averaging only 72 points scored per game this season, and have broken 75 points only once in their last six matches. In recent weeks they’ve lost to Sydney by 92 points and Essendon by 84… hell, they even lost to Brisbane by almost 10 goals at home.

Meanwhile, the Hawks are looking ominous, with six of their last seven wins coming by 50 points or more (and the seventh coming by 46 points). In those seven wins they’ve conceded an average of just 58 points, while four of those wins have come against sides placed above the Bulldogs on the ladder.

Hawthorn have won their last three against the Bulldogs, including wins by 29 points (at Etihad) and 46 points (at the MCG) last year.

There aren’t many teams that are more dangerous when they smell blood in the water than Hawthorn (even with Buddy out of action), and the Bulldogs are bleeding profusely right now – one unit on the minus.


West Coast v Sydney, Patersons Stadium, 4.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  West Coast -9.5 to -10.5


Game of the round. The history between these two teams is well documented;  let’s hope we get another great contest. Both teams can take a big advantage out of winning this one with September action likely for both clubs. It’s an eight point game in the battle for the top four, so there’s plenty on the line.

I’ve struggled a bit on the twilight game this year and even more on the Swans, so I won’t be having a bet on this one. I’ll just watch and hope the Swan get towelled.


What a cracker of a matchup to conclude the round! The Eagles may have won 19 of their last 20 matches at Patersons, but the record in that period against the best teams makes for quite interesting reading. Last year they lost to Sydney by 13 points, beat Geelong by eight and Carlton by three. This season, they’ve beaten Hawthorn by five points. Oh, and they’ve lost Beau Waters to injury, as well as Shuey and Lynch to suspension. Hmmm…..

The Swans have now peeled off four straight wins (after losing three matches in a four-game span) and look to have fully righted the ship. Mumford is one of only a handful of ruckmen in the comp who can legitimately go toe-to-toe with Cox and Naitanui, while Sam Reid looks to finally converting potential into results.

10 of the last 12 games between these teams (including all six at Patersons) have been decided by 13 points or less, with the matches played out west being split three apiece. Sydney won the corresponding game last year by the ‘blowout’ margin of 13 points.

I get the overwhelming sense that this game will be in the balance right up until the dying minutes, or maybe even seconds. In light of this, the start of almost two goals is appealing – one unit on the Swans at the plus.


Recommended bet summary


2.5 units on Fremantle -17.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)

1 unit on Collingwood -9.5 at $1.91 (Centrebet)

1 unit on Adelaide -69.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)

1 unit on Hawthorn -47.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)


1.5 units on Fremantle -17.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)

1 unit on Hawthorn -47.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)

1 unit on Sydney +10.5 at $1.90 (TAB Sportsbet)


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


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