The AFL Lines – Round 18

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

Hawthorn, Geelong and North Melbourne were perhaps the biggest winners last week, while Essendon and the perennially star-crossed Tigers may have taken the most hurt from their defeats. With two more ‘intra-eight’ matches and a third clash (Blues v Tigers) where the loser is almost certainly done for the season, Round 18 offers plenty of intrigue in its own right. Greg Oberscheidt and Cliff Bingham preview the weekend ahead.


Last week’s result serves me right for thinking that Brisbane could be added to the ‘sides that can be trusted’ list. I’ve backed them twice this season and come up empty handed on both occasions. When you’re around 1.6 units down for the year and have dropped more than that via betting on a 7-9 side that won’t be seeing finals action, self-loathing tends to kick in.


Perhaps we should have jumped off the Lions given the change of venue. That was a bit disappointing. North played well and needed to do so to get the four points. The Tigers have responded well to their earlier embarrassment. How good is Trent Cotchin! Only five weeks to go. The mixed emotions have started. The footy gets more intense but the end draws closer – time to make a few bob and salvage our season.


Results for Round 17 selections

GO – 4 selections, 4 units bet, return of 3.70 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -8%

CB – 2 selections, 2.5 units bet, return of 1.92 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -23%

Total – 6 selections, 6.5 units bet, return of 5.62 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -14%

Results for 2012

GO – 61 selections, 72.5 units bet, return of 64.12 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -12%

CB – 38 selections, 39 units bet, return of 37.42 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -4%

Total – 99 selections, 111.5 units bet, return of 101.54 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -9%


(Please note – all times are EST)



Essendon v Hawthorn, Etihad Stadium, 7.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:   Essendon +29.5 to +30.5


The Hawks are now 10 from their last 11, covering in every win. It’s a good time to wear the Brown and Gold. They look like a side that has absolute faith in every player that takes the field and the feed off each other as the confidence grows. Hodge may play this week but Franklin is unlikely. They’ve shown in recent times that even without Buddy they can pile them on, so I don’t expect that to be a big issue.

The Bombers are faltering due mainly in part to a swathe of injuries coupled with a tough draw. They need to find some form to shore up their spot in the eight. Too much has been left to Watson who has been amazing for them. Crameri is a doubtful starter this week with a crook hammy so their forward line will lack potency and Myers is also unlikely which hurts their defensive structure.

The Hawks rich form can’t last forever but with the Bombers missing so many key personnel, I can’t see them getting near Hawthorn this week. They’ll want to punish the old foe as well so I’ll have two units on the minus.


After being belted by over 10 goals in their two most recent matches against decent quality opponents, my Bombers do appear to be on the ropes at the moment, which is not exactly the best place to be with seven weeks left until the finals.

Meanwhile, Hawthorn at absolutely motoring at the moment – the manner in which they disposed of Collingwood was really something to behold. Their last seven wins have come by an average of 80 points, sounding an ominous warning to September rivals.

The Hawks have won the last two and eight of the last 11 head to head, including a 65-point win in the corresponding game last year. Of those 11 matches, three were played at Etihad, with Hawthorn winning two.

I can’t bet against my team, even though all the recent numbers suggest that doing so would be the play here.



Geelong v Adelaide, Simonds Stadium, 1.45pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Geelong -6.0 to -7.5


Game of the round for mine. Geelong found some form last week and also had some big performances from some emerging talent in the likes of Duncan and Smedts. One gets the feeling they will continue to step it up in the lead up to finals.

Adelaide can almost sew up a top-two berth with a win this week given their run home so make no mistake, they’ll be keen as mustard to knock off the reigning premiers. Tippett is no chance to play this week and there’s been plenty of talk that he won’t play again this year, which severely damages their premiership aspirations.

Both teams are evenly matched from end to end and I’d expect this one to go down to the wire. Too close to call for me.


The Cats dusted off their 2007-2011 jerseys in a very polished performance. Their 2012 record against the spread remains appalling at 4-12, but at least they appear to be pointed in the right direction now.

The Crows continued on their merry way last week, disposing of a slightly short-staffed Eagles outfit in the manner you’d expect from a top-four side. Their 2012 road record against average-to-good sides is more than respectable as well, with losses to Hawthorn and North Melbourne offset by wins against Sydney, Carlton and Fremantle.

Geelong have won eight of the last 11 head to head, including all four played at Simonds Stadium. Importantly though, two of those home victories came by four points or less, while the Crows were emphatic in a 50-point win over the Cats at home back in Round Seven.

I like the way the Crows go about their work, I like Brenton Sanderson having the inside knowledge on how best to combat his opponents, and I like the team with the clearly superior 2012 form getting the start – 1.5 units on the Crows at the plus.


North Melbourne v Melbourne, Etihad Stadium, 2.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  North Melbourne -41.5 to -43.5


North Melbourne will be looking to build on their recent form and try and get a strangle hold on the top eight. It looked almost impossible two months ago but their recent form has been red hot – particularly Petrie, who is giving them plenty up forward. They are fit and well drilled and love to transition the ball by hand which will work well against a team like the Dees, whose defensive pressure is substandard at best.

Melbourne will want a big performance to try and salvage some dignity in what has been a horror season for them. They still have no avenue to goal though and the ease with which the ball exits their forward line really saps morale.

North love Etihad. The Dees hate it. That’s good enough for me – one unit on North at the minus.


North Melbourne currently holds their finals destiny in their hands, with an opportunity for a valuable percentage booster coming to hand this weekend. However, they have displayed a tendency to look ahead when faced with easier games, covering the spread only once in five games so far this season against teams with a 5-11 record or worse.

Melbourne were once again poor last week, folding badly in the second half against an opponent who had lost five straight games beforehand. While returning home from Darwin may be a blessing in one respect, their recent record at Etihad doesn’t offer any comfort, having lost 13 straight and 17 of their last 18 at the venue.

The Kangaroos have won nine straight over the Demons, with seven wins by 26 points or more and four wins by over 40 points.

North should have too much firepower, too much to play for and too many of the key numbers pointed their way, but that record of failing to put away bad sides worries me – no play.


GWS v Collingwood, Skoda Stadium, 4.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  GWS TBC


GWS will welcome back the majority of their best 22 this week after resting most of their squad for the trip west. It’s just unfortunate that they meet Collingwood on the back of a big loss and they’ll want to smack the Giants up.

All eyes will be on Cloke to see if he can clunk a few and get some confidence back – not to mention observing whether he has any pre / post or mid game chats with camp Sheedy.

Pies by plenty but I don’t often back the 1.01 favorites.


Collingwood may have stumbled twice in the past three weeks, but the last time that happened (the opening three rounds of the season), they responded by peeling off 10 straight wins. They shouldn’t have any trouble with at least the first leg of a comparable streak here.

The Giants have lost their last five games by an average of 110 points, and with the Power, Suns and Demons looming on the horizon, expect some key personnel to be ‘rested’ this week before a concerted run at a second win for the season.

Still no lines available at the moment, so no bet for me.


Carlton v Richmond, MCG, 7.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Carlton +5.5 to +7.5


Both teams are still in the hunt but hanging on by the fluff of the scrote. The Blues belted the Tigers in round one, which seems like a hundred years ago. No Judd, still no Waite probably no Kruezer along with a host of others. They were good enough to beat the Power but it’s hard to see them getting over the Tigers.

Richmond were valiant last week against a good side and you’d take more out of that than the Blues performance. Maric will be a weapon given the Blues are down to their bare bones in the Ruck which will give the Tigers a huge advantage.

Enough of an advantage for me – play a unit on the Tigers at the minus.


The Blues kept their season alive last week against the Bulldogs, but if you put a form line through the Dogs of the four weeks prior to that, it doesn’t offer a flattering assessment of how long Carlton took to get across the line. The lesson, as always – losing a dual Brownlow medallist to suspension hurts.

Richmond really have shot themselves in the foot in recent weeks, losing to Fremantle at home, blowing a significant lead against the Crows in Adelaide, folding in the dying minute against the Suns and then losing a heartbreaker to North last Sunday. They’re in better form than Carlton, but have they lost faith in their ability to seal the deal?

Carlton have won eight on end against the Tigers – all by at least 20 points, with six wins by 30 points or more and a 44-point win in the opening round of this season.

I think the Tigers are going a fraction the better this season, but the heartbreak of last week coupled with the poor head-to-head record are swaying me towards sitting this one out.


Gold Coast v Sydney, Metricon Stadium, 7.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:   Gold Coast +50.5 to +52.5


Normally you’d jump on a nine-goal start for the ladder leaders against a team with only one win. You’d be out of your mind not too. At Metricon, in the rain, in a cyclone…It shouldn’t matter.

I’m not going to though. Beat it Sydney.


Gold Coast’s home record in 2012 against sides with an 8-8 record or better: four losses by less than 18 points, two losses by 69 points or more. They’re enigmatic, I’ll give them that much.

The Swans, meanwhile, are anything but enigmatic. A May stumble aside, they’ve been taking care of business all season. Their percentage is already quite healthy at 147 (only Hawthorn ahead of them, with the Crows third best on 133 and the Eagles fourth on 124), so they may not be as desperate for a triple-figure victory as some of their rivals.

The Swans won the corresponding game last year at Metricon (the only previous match between these teams) by 70 points.

I’d much rather the minus than the plus in this one but I get the sneaking suspicion it’s a trap game (at least for the line), so I’ll steer clear.



Port Adelaide v Fremantle, AAMI Stadium, 1.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Port Adelaide +7.5 to +10.5


Good work by Fremantle last week in covering. It’s a shame Pav couldn’t snag another goal but we’ll take the $2.50 (original price of $5.00 – paid out 50% for dead heat with Petrie) on that. If the Dockers hope to play finals this year they need to win this game and win it well.

The Power have been competitive but are realistically a few elite players short and given their injuries they shouldn’t pose too many dramas for Freo.

They are a better side at AAMI but this one is too important to Fremantle to let it slip so I’ll have one unit on the minus.


I’m not sure what to make of Port’s win last week, but my gut instinct is that it says more about the Demons than the Power. Nonetheless, they have won three out of seven games at home against interstate visitors so far this season, so they are a reasonable chance of aiming up this week.

Nonetheless, this is a season-defining game for the Dockers – if they can’t win this, their finals aspirations would (rightfully) go up in smoke. Only Melbourne at home in Round 23 presents as an easier match-up in their run home. The good news is that they’re 9-1 this season against teams seventh or lower on the ladder.

Fremantle have won five of the last six matches overall between these teams, including two of the last three played at AAMI. Last year, they defeated the Power by 52 points in the corresponding game, while they beat the Power by 40 points at home in Round Seven of this season.

The stakes are simply too high for Fremantle to lose concentration in this one, and therefore I’ll have 1.5 units on them at the small minus.


St Kilda v Western Bulldogs, MCG, 3.15pm

Bookmakers’ line:  St Kilda -33.5 to -35.5


For some reason I really couldn’t give a toss about this game. You’d imagine that the Saints will win easily and they do seem to score more heavily under Scott Watters, but I don’t trust them to take care of a six goal line. Conversely, the Dogs have been belted by all and sundry in recent times. They can’t kick a score and they can’t seem to stop one either. Neither team really enjoys playing outside either so I’ll stay well away.


St Kilda looked poised to spring an upset in the opening quarter and a bit last week against Sydney – in the end, the 29-point winning margin to the home some didn’t really do the Saints justice.

The Bulldogs are 4-0 this season against other sides with five or less wins, and 1-11 (with a smallest margin of defeat of 18 points) against everyone else. Bear that in mind before you think about getting cute with a prediction of an upset here.

The Saints have won seven straight against the Bulldogs, with five wins coming by 24 points or more, including a 63-point win in Round Three of this season.

I have a slight lean to the minus here, but it’s not sufficient to warrant a bet.


West Coast v Brisbane, Patersons Stadium, 4.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  West Coast -32.5 to -34.5


The Eagles have been slumping and need to right the ship immediately. Their top four hopes are almost dusted so they’ll want a big win here to keep them in the frame. The Lions were disappointing last week and really appeared to miss Daniel Rich who gives them some grunt and some penetration as well.

Speaking of penetration, Drummond won’t play and that hurts their distribution off half back. Nonetheless, the Lions will have some confidence given they beat the Eagles last time around and the side they’ll face this week is significantly weaker, especially up forward.

The Eagles at home are usually a pretty good bet but given the decimation of their forward line I think they may be happy to take the four points rather than go for the throat. No play.


The Eagles may have had the wobbles of late (winning only three of their last seven), but at home they remain one of the competition yardsticks.

The Lions made exceptionally heavy going of last week’s win (shaking my head sadly), while their five road matches so far this season against sides with records of 9-7 or better have resulted in five losses – three coming by over 40 points.

The Lions have only taken on West Coast at Patersons once since the opening round of 2008, with the Lions winning in Round 19 of 2010 by five points. Overall, they’ve won five of the last six against the Eagles, including a two-point win at the Gabba in Round 10 of this season.

The 2012 numbers suggest backing the Eagles, while the head-to-head numbers suggest the Lions. I’ll pass.


Recommended bet summary


2 units on Hawthorn -29.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)

1 unit on North Melbourne -41.5 at $1.91 (Flemington Sportsbet, Centrebet)

1 unit on Richmond -6.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)

1 unit on Fremantle -7.5 at $1.91 (TAB Sportsbet)


1.5 units on Adelaide +7.5 at $1.90 (TAB Sportsbet)

1.5 units on Fremantle -7.5 at $1.90 (TAB Sportsbet)


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


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