The AFL Lines – Round 21

Filed in AFL, AFL Lines by on August 16, 2012

With three weeks to go, the top four is close to set, but plenty of action remains with respect to the top two and in particular, eighth spot on the ladder. With a number of critical games in the offing, Greg Oberscheidt and Cliff Bingham try to navigate their way through to some winning bets for Round 21.


The Swans’ hoodoo against the Magpies continued, while the Dockers were hurt by the late loss from their side of both Nathan Fyfe and any sense of discipline – how else do you explain all the 50-metre penalties they gave away? I’d start making a Ross Lyon voodoo doll at this point, but it would probably find a way to get me marched 50 metres out of my own house. Of course, none of this would have been a problem had I stuck to the ‘don’t overreact to last week’ punting axiom. Maybe a voodoo doll of myself is in order. Let’s just move on.


Not our finest performance old mate. Lucky for me the Bombers couldn’t beat half of the North Melbourne outfit. Still a cracking week of footy though. There’s a bit of a mixed bag this week. Some good games and some heinous games. Hopefully we’ll find some value.

In other news, watching Open Mike with Phil Carman the other night, he punched Michael Tuck’s head clean off and got two weeks. Joel Selwood pushed his brother in the side and would have got a week if he contested the charge. Footy isn’t soft by any means, but the AFL are doing their best to make it that way.


Results for Round 20 selections

GO – 3 selections, 4 units bet, return of 3.82 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -5%

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

Total -5 selections, 6.5 units bet, return of 5.74 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -12%

Results for 2012

GO – 72 selections, 87.5 units bet, return of 81.34 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -7%

CB – 45 selections, 47.5 units bet, return of 46.01 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -3%

Total – 117 selections, 135 units bet, return of 127.35 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -6%


(Please note – all times are EST)



Geelong v St Kilda, Etihad Stadium, 7.50pm

Bookmakers’ line:   Geelong -15.5 to -16.5


The Cats welcome back a host of stars most notably Kelly and Corey. Hawkins looks set to play after recovering well from his big stack last week as well. They’ve been in ominous form in recent times and given they are still a crack at the top four they should come out all guns blazing this week.

The Saints are likely to be without Reiwoldt, despite whispers that he might get up. Even if he does play he’ll be severely hampered. Finals aspirations are shot so they might take the chance to blood a couple of kids on the big stage. Especially given Watters will be looking to find a few for next year.

Cats, too good, too big and too strong in this one and should win comfortably. A unit on the minus.


Geelong lost no admirers in a narrow loss to the Eagles last week and the recent tough footy against Adelaide, Hawthorn and West Coast appears to have woken the ‘real Geelong’ from its slumber. However, while the Cats have been fairly successful at Etihad in recent times (5-2 since the start of 2011), their record at the MCG is more impressive (11-2 over the same period).

The final margin of victory over Melbourne last week didn’t reflect the dominance of St Kilda. Indeed, the way they pushed Collingwood the week prior is probably a far more useful form line for this game. Moreover, the comparison of the Saints’ records at Etihad and the MCG since the start of 2011 also makes for interesting reading: they are 13-7 at Etihad, but only 3-5-1 at the MCG.

Head to head, the Cats won both matches between the teams last year but have only won three of the last six overall. Four of the games have ended with a victory margin of 12 points or less, implying that the line for this match is a shade generous.

I can see this game being a tense encounter all of the way, and therefore will have one unit on the Saints with the start.



Essendon v Carlton, MCG, 1.45pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Essendon +4.5 to +6.5


It would be a bit sad to note the fall of the Bombers in the second half of the year if I didn’t hate them so much. Injuries have cruelled them but that is footy and you have to cop that. If they lose this week their finals chances will be all but dusted, which seemed impossible eight weeks ago.

Carlton welcome back their skipper and he’ll be humming this week. Ratts let everyone know that the playing group feel their skipper owes them and with a few big performances they might even play finals.

Essendon might get a couple back this week but they seem to have lost the fire so it’s hard to see them overcoming the Blues.

Massive stakes on both sides of the ledger but the Blues will get it done comfortably – 2.5 units on Carlton at the small minus.


That was hugely disappointing last week – the Kangas should have been out on their feet after spending much of the game with a two-man rotation, yet it was the Bombers who failed to finish the game off. Their last five games against sides with a 10-9 record or better have led to five losses by an average margin of 52 points. That’s not good.

Meanwhile, consider the following scenario: Geelong (as favourites) beat St Kilda, Carlton (as favourites) beat Essendon, and Richmond (as outsiders) beat Fremantle. That would leave the Bombers, Dockers on Blues on 11-9 and the Saints on 10-10 in the race for eighth. Pending the margins of victory, Carlton could finish the weekend inside the eight. As a Bombers fan, I don’t consider that to be good either.

The Bombers won the Round Four encounter between these teams by 30 points, ending a five game run where a draw was the best they could come up with against the Blues.

Recent form says the Blues – that is a bet I can’t bring myself to make, so I’ll sit this one out.


GWS v Melbourne, Manuka Oval, 2.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  GWS +33.5 to +34.5


The Giants have played well in our nation’s capital so a five and a half goal start is tempting but it’s a little hard to trust the young legs of GWS.

It really is a nothing game of footy but if the Dees drop this one the fallout will have an air of Nagasaki about it.

No need to open the purse here.


Hmmm…. a 2-17 side ‘hosting’ receiving five goals start from a 3-16 side at a neutral venue where hardly anyone will show up to watch – no thanks.

For the sake of statistical completeness, their only previous match came in Round 13 at the MCG, with the Demons prevailing by 78 points.


Fremantle v Richmond, Patersons Stadium, 4.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Fremantle -15.5


Another season defining game. Fremantle can pretty much sew up a top eight spot with a win and Richmond can edge ever closer to that coveted ninth spot.

Freo’s last start at home saw them demolish the Eagles so you’d have to give them a big chance of covering this line. McPharlin will be back and they missed him desperately last start. He gives their back six balance and structure and along with the Pav is their most important player. Crowley on Cotchin will be a big one too. The Dockers’ scragger has taken plenty of scalps this year and Cotch is already the Tigers heart and soul.

Richmond have gotten close in plenty of games this year but I think the trip west with their season pretty much over might be put in the too hard basket for the Tiges. I’ll have a unit on the minus.


The Dockers may be sitting on an 11-8 record, but the list of teams they’ve beaten by three goals or more makes for some interesting reading: Lions, Power, Bulldogs, Demons, Giants, Power again, Eagles (the aberration amongst the group).

Here’s a statistic for you: since the opening round loss to Carlton, the Tigers’ biggest loss of the year was by only 21 points, with six losses coming by 12 points or less. Moreover, their percentage is actually better than that of the Dockers.

The Dockers and Tigers haven’t played at Patersons since early 2010, with the only two games played at the ground since 2008 split one apiece. However, the Dockers were able to beat Richmond at the MCG in Round 11 of this season by two goals.

Freo are 3-1 in games decided by two goals or less; Richmond are 2-6. More than anything else, that explains the ladder differential between these teams. For that reason I’m reticent about the Tigers winning head to head, but I love the start on offer – 1.5 units on the plus.


Collingwood v North Melbourne, Etihad Stadium, 7.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Collingwood -21.5 to -22.5


This promises to be a beauty. Both teams in good form and every win against a top eight side sends a message. North will be desperate to take another big scalp to prove they aren’t just making up the numbers. If Wells was in then you’d give them a fighting chance.

The Pies took care of Sydney last week and even without Swan their engine room was the difference. Any team that has half a dozen players who can regularly rack up 30 plus touches and hit the scoreboard as well is tough beat.

Can’t see the Kangas getting up here and they’ll miss the run and polish of Wells along with the grunt of Adams. This line feels about right to me. No play.


The Magpies may be an imposing 15-4 on the season, but they are only 7-12 against the spread, and haven’t covered a spread in their last four matches at Etihad (despite winning all of these matches outright).

As for the Kangaroos, they’ve won eight of their last nine and lost the other by less than a kick. When you consider that four of the wins came against sides with a 10-9 record or better, and the loss came against the Eagles, it’s a pretty strong form reference. How often do you get this sort of start for a team in such good nick, especially one that has covered the spread in seven of their last eight outings?

Perhaps this explains it: Collingwood have won four straight against the Kangaroos by an average margin of 81 points, with all of these wins coming by 52 points or more. That is tough to ignore.

Call me crazy if you must, but I’m ploughing ahead, regardless of the head-to-head form and the loss of Adams and Wells to injury – 1.5 units on North at the plus.


Brisbane v Adelaide, Gabba, 7.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:   Brisbane +29.5 to +31.5


I’d usually be pretty bullish about the Lions getting a five goal start at home, but their last month of footy hasn’t been all that good. They are still a young list and look to be tiring in the home stretch.

The Crows on the other hand are hitting their straps. They’ve pretty much locked in a top-two spot with some easy games to finish and the performances of Dangerfield and Walker continue to inspire confidence.

Talia is a lock for the Rising star which is great for the Crows but he’d probably be playing SANFL is Bock and Davis were still at the club so, swings and roundabouts there.

The Crows to win this one easy but I can’t give up the five goals to the Lions at home. No play.


Brisbane really do look to be running on fumes now – their last six matches have yielded an unconvincing win over the Suns and five losses by an average margin of 48 points. With the Power and Bulldogs still to come, you could forgive Michael Voss for focusing his energies on winning those two easier games.

With the Lions, Demons and Suns to finish, Adelaide have all but assured themselves of a top-two finish (indeed, they’re a fair chance to finish top) as long as they avoid any disasters. Percentage boosts are unlikely to be necessary, so their focus will be on the best preparation for finals, whatever that might entail.

Adelaide have won their last two matches against the Lions at the Gabba – however, the margins of victory were only seven and five points.

The Crows have a huge incentive to win but little incentive to rack up a score, which is enough for me to walk away from a bet here.



Port Adelaide v West Coast, AAMI Stadium, 1.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Port Adelaide +39.5


Once again, you’d be pretty happy to be the home side getting a 40-point start, but Port are rubbish at best. Hartlett out suspended hurts their midfield which was already pretty skinny. They played well for three quarters against the Hawks but were still beaten by twelve goals so that’s got to sap the confidence.

West Coast have been floundering and really need a statement game but with some of their young guns needing a spell before September they might decide that the points are enough here so I’ll sit this one out.


For almost three quarters against Hawthorn, it looked like Gary Hocking might have uncovered the magic elixir. Unfortunately, the final quarter was more akin to previous efforts and they lost by 12 goals. A win over the Demons was the only shining light of the last couple of months, with their last eight losses coming by an average margin of 45 points.

The Eagles are now one win and plenty of percentage behind fourth-placed Hawthorn – with matches against Collingwood and Hawthorn (away) to come, a top-four finish seems unlikely and thus the focus may revert to locking in a top-six finish and home final. Against such an out-of-sorts opponent, there is some serious ‘caught looking to next week’ potential here.

The Power and Eagles have only played at AAMI three times since 2007, with the home side winning twice. Nonetheless, the Eagles won both matches played last year, by 18 points at AAMI and 22 points at Patersons.

Laying more than six goals on the road when the margin of victory may not mean much seems like a bad idea to me – no play.


Western Bulldogs v Sydney, Etihad Stadium, 3.15pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Western Bulldogs +48.5 to +49.5


Last time around the Dogs got belted by 15 goals. It’s hard to see them getting a great deal closer this time. They have injuries and suspensions to key players. Their confidence is down and their game plan needs another 18 months to mesh. They could use a key forward as well.

The Swans will be keen to bounce back after a disappointing loss last week and need a big win to give them every chance to stay in the top two with big games against the Hawks and the Cats in the next couple weeks.

I did say the Swans can get stuffed for the rest of the year but I like them a bit too much in this one. I’ll have one unit on the minus. (EVERYONE!!! GET ON THE PLUS! YOU’D BE MAD NOT TO!)


The Bulldogs truly have fallen in a screaming heap, with eight consecutive losses by an average margin of 59 points. They cannot be backed with anything resembling confidence.

Meanwhile, the Swans have a conundrum. Their percentage is almost 10 points shy of the Hawks, but over 18 points clear of the nearest challenger in Adelaide. With the Hawks slated for next weekend and the Cats in Round 23, the optimal strategy for their finals campaign may be to rest anyone with tired legs or injury niggles, rather than try to boost a percentage that is unlikely to affect their final ladder position.

The Swans have won four of their last five overall against the Bulldogs, including a 92-point thrashing at the SCG in Round 10. These sides have no recent history at Etihad, but the Bulldogs won matches at the MCG in 2008 and 2010.

I can’t in good conscience back the Bulldogs right now, nor can I lay more than eight goals on the road with a side that may ease up in the latter stages if the game is in their keeping – no play.


Hawthorn v Gold Coast, MCG, 4.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Hawthorn -101.5 to -104.5


Wow-Wee!!! Raise the bat bookmakers – I believe that’s the first hundred plus line offered on the AFL. The Hawkies played like ‘busteds’ last week, but they’ll still got everyone running scared.

The Suns might cover but it’s more likely they don’t. They’ve got plenty out injured and they won’t be looking to take a lot out of this game given the timing.

Franklin should play this week and will be keen to try and snatch back the Coleman after five weeks out. He could kick 20 this week.

If you have to make a bet the all signs point to the minus but taking on the ton is a bit too much to ask. No bet for me.


They may be by far the superior team in this contest, and they do have a history of piling it on against the poor sides. Nonetheless, there are 156.55 reasons not to lay the huge start with the Hawks this week. Why 156.55? That’s their percentage after 19 rounds – almost 10 percentage points clear of the Swans and more than 25 points clear of the third-best team (Adelaide). A percentage booster is pretty pointless for them, and therefore I think they’ll rest a few – in preparation for the Swans and Eagles in the final two weeks of the home and away season.

The Suns may have won last week, but they still suck. That’s more than enough about them.

Last year, the Hawks defeated the Suns by 71 points at Aurora and nine points at Metricon (in the week prior to the finals series, where multiple key personnel were rested).

Too many question marks in this match for my liking – no play.


Recommended bet summary


1 unit on Geelong -15.5 at $1.91 (Flemington Sportsbet)

2.5 units on Carlton -4.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)

1 unit on Fremantle -15.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)

1 unit on Sydney -48.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)


1 unit on St Kilda +16.5 at $1.91 (Luxbet)

1.5 units on Richmond +15.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)

1.5 units on North Melbourne +22.5 at $1.91 (Centrebet)


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


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