The AFL Lines – Round 22

Filed in AFL, AFL Lines by on August 23, 2012

With only two rounds left until the composition of the top eight is decided, Round 22 provides us with three tantalising matches that may also serve as finals previews. The race to premiership glory is on in earnest as Greg Oberscheidt and Cliff Bingham preview the upcoming weekend of action.


Ross Lyon’s current and former sides continue to hate me. Last year I went 0-3 backing the Saints and 1-3 taking them on. This year, I’m 0-3 backing the Saints (1-2 taking them on) and 2-4 backing the Dockers (1-4 taking them on). All told, that’s a 4-13 record in 2012 and a 5-19 record across almost two full seasons. It’s a miracle that my overall losses aren’t substantially worse. Having had a decent preseason lash at the Dockers to make the top eight, you watch them find a way to run ninth from here.


So much Ross Lyon hatred at the moment. I don’t see what all the fuss is about really. I think he’s doing a great job. Sandilands gate didn’t help your cause but you won’t see me complaining.

The Bombers floundering continues to line the pockets. Hard to see them recovering this year. Stick a fork in them. Once again there looks to be a bit on offer for us.

Pushing hard in the last furlong! Oberscheidt comes down the outside, Bingham is fading! You beauty!


Results for Round 21 selections

GO – 4 selections, 5.5 units bet, return of 10.55 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = +92%

CB – 3 selections, 4 units bet, return of 2.87 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -28%

Total – 7 selections, 9.5 units bet, return of 13.42 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = +41%

Results for 2012

GO – 76 selections, 93 units bet, return of 91.89 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -1%

CB – 48 selections, 51.5 units bet, return of 48.87 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -5%

Total – 124 selections, 144.5 units bet, return of 140.76 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -3%


(Please note – all times are EST)



Richmond v Essendon, MCG, 7.50pm

Bookmakers’ line:   Richmond -8.0 to -9.5


Essendon’s woes culminated in a 96 point paddling by the Blues last week. Hirdy’s boys would be and certainly should be embarrassed by the tripe they served up. They welcomed a few back but their impact was minimal.

Whilst they are still a chance to play finals I can’t see them turning their form around sufficiently to make that happen.

The Tigers have had a disappointing year having come so close in a lot of games without getting across the line. They’d dearly love to end the Bombers season this week and I think they’ll do just that. I’ll have a unit on the Tigers at the minus.


It seems an eternity ago that the Tigers beat St Kilda and looked bound for the finals – since that time, their only four wins have come against GWS, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Bulldogs.

Excluding the win over Port Adelaide for a moment, the Bombers’ last six losses have involved an average of 75 points per game scored and 135 conceded, including four losses by over 60 points. Not a pretty sight at all.

The Bombers have won the last two matches between the teams (including a 19-point win in Round Eight) but the last six matches are split three apiece.

The season is over for one side and all but over for the other – with motivation potentially on the wane for both, I can’t recommend a bet here.



St Kilda v GWS, Etihad Stadium, 1.45pm

Bookmakers’ line:  St Kilda -84.5 to -85.5


Terrible game of footy this. GWS have the cue firmly in the rack for 2012 so a big number here is likely. Reiwoldt out won’t really hurt the Saints given the Giants lack of defensive options.

There’s no way I’ll get sucked into this one.


In my usual sullen post mortem after a St Kilda bet, I was trying to figure out whether the Saints just put up the white flag in the final quarter, or whether I’d overrated them. They may be 10-10 on the year without a game against GWS as yet, but they are 6-0 this season against the other three sides in the bottom four…. and 4-10 against everyone else. Case closed.

As for the Giants, their interstate trips (excluding Manuka Oval, which is a quasi-home ground) in 2012 have yielded losses by 129, 46, 67, 65, 78, 162, 95 and 30 points.

With almost nothing on the line for the Saints (at least in terms of running up a score), I can’t get a handle on what the line should be here and therefore will sit it out.


Port Adelaide v Brisbane, AAMI Stadium, 2.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Port Adelaide +4.5 to +7.0


The Lions played three solid quarters of footy last week in what was an extraordinary game of footy. It’s not often a bottom six side gives a top two contender a seven goal start and runs them down.

On that form alone you’d have to take the minus but what gives me pause is the Lions have shown an inability to string performances together this season.

They’d love a win to get them to nine on the season and with the Dogs next week they could finish on forty points which would be a great result for the club.

I think they’ll win but I can’t bring myself to put money on it.


Since Round 10, Port have beaten Melbourne and lost nine games by an average of 46 points – that says it all.

The Lions, meanwhile, have had a genuine dip all season. Their effort to fight back from 38 points down against the Crows was outstanding and really, they richly deserve to win their last two matches and make it 10 wins for the year.

Brisbane have won five of the last seven matches head-to-head, including three of the last four at AAMI (dating back to 2006). And while they deserve to win this game on the basis of the efforts across 2012, I can’t bring myself to back an 8-12 side on the road – no play.


Sydney v Hawthorn, SCG, 4.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Sydney +1.5 to +2.5


Almost the game of the year. Both sides in great form and the outcome is likely to decide the minor premiership. Probably more important than that though is with a group trailing them, the winner is guaranteed a home final and that is the real grail.

It’s hard to split them, the Hawks have a clear advantage forward of centre but the Swans backline has been outstanding. Their midfield shades the Hawks and Clarkson will need to have his run with brigade up to speed to limit the score involvements from Kennedy, Jack and co.

Rioli will miss and that hurts the Hawks but Puopolo has proven a handy foil. This one will be a cracker but my feeling is the Hawks will get a good win here. Their last start at the SCG resulted in a 46 point win so I’m content to have a unit on the small minus.


The Swans have won 10 of their last 11, conceding an average of only 66 points per game in that time. With a very strong percentage, they can secure a top-two finish by winning one of their last two games.

The Hawks have won their last two matches by an average of 68 points without raising a sweat, but to my mind the key statistic is this one: they are a combined 0-4 this season against Sydney, Geelong and West Coast (arguably the three most accountable man-on-man defences in the competition). With Franklin either missing this game or severely short of match practice, they won’t be at full strength.

Hawthorn have won four of the last six matches between these teams (including the corresponding game last year by 46 points), but the Swans were convincing 37-point winners at Aurora Stadium in Round Five of this season.

I quite like the Swans to get the job done in front of a capacity crowd at home – 1.5 units on the plus.


West Coast v Collingwood, Patersons Stadium, 7.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  West Coast -3.5 to -4.5


The Eagles are set to recall boom full forward Josh Kennedy who made a successful return to the WAFL after nearly three months on the sidelines. His presence will take pressure off Darling and Lynch and also give them the fourth tall forward option that made them so dangerous early in the piece.

Cloke and Dawes have been shithouse and with the number one defender in the league waiting for them, their task won’t get any easier.

If Collingwood are to be a chance they’ll need big outputs from their Swan, Pendles, Thomas and Beams but they might just be curtailed by the Eagles host of run with players.

The big news is that Jolly is under a massive cloud and could miss. Even if he does play he’ll be severely hampered so the Cox and Natinui combo is enough for me to have a unit on the small minus.


The stakes are huge for both sides here – the Eagles will jump to fourth with a round to play if they win, while the Magpies can secure a top-four finish if they get the points.

What do we make of the Eagles? Their last 11 matches have yielded only six wins, three of which came by 10 points or less. What I do like about them this week is the headaches they may pose for the Collingwood backline, which seemed short-staffed last week against Petrie, Hansen and Robbie Tarrant. With Lynch, Darling, Cox (when pushing forward) and maybe Josh Kennedy in the mix, the Magpies’ back six will have their hands full.

Mind you, the Magpies have been patchy of late too – winning four of their last seven, two of which came by less than 10 points. Interestingly, they are 0-5 combined against Hawthorn, Carlton and North Melbourne, but 15-0 against everyone else. Go figure. A 7-13 record against the spread in 2012 is much greater cause for caution in backing the visitors.

The Eagles will be out to snap a seven-game losing streak against Collingwood (albeit that only two of those matches were played at Patersons – in 2007 and 2009) and avenge a three-point loss at the MCG in Round 13. I like their chances –one unit on the minus.


Gold Coast v Carlton, Metricon Stadium, 7.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:   Gold Coast +62.5 to +64.5


Carlton are still a chance of finals and with Freo in a tough match against the Kangas this week, they could find themselves inside the eight on Sunday arvo.

They’ve regained most of their injured stars and were relentless against the Bombers last week. Waite back straightens them up and allows their running small forwards to be dangerous second options rather than having to be the main targets.

Gold Coast have battled hard all year but like the Giants, they’ve pulled the pin on 2012. It’s hard to see them holding back a Blues outfit with so much to play for. Metricon or no, the Blues should win this one by 15 goals and give their percentage a healthy boost – two units on the Blues at the minus.


For a team reaching the conclusion of their second season, is it a bad sign that they took the moral victory in a game lost by almost 11 goals (in which their score was roughly doubled)? I’m going to suggest that it is. Nonetheless, only Adelaide, St Kilda and Sydney have beaten the Suns by over 10 goals at Metricon this season, so the line appears generous from that perspective.

The scenario for Carlton is quite different to the turmoil of a month ago – if the Blues can beat the Suns and the Dockers lose to the Kangaroos, the Blues will be eighth with one round to go. Indeed, if they can pile on another big percentage builder and then beat St Kilda in Round 23, the Dockers would have to thump Melbourne in order to gain eighth spot on percentage. In short, the Blues have a massive interest in handing out a thumping here.

The only previous match between these teams doubled as the Suns’ debut performance…. where they got dusted by 119 points.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the Blues really unleashed here, but the Suns have been respectable enough at home for me to steer clear of the huge minus – no play.



Geelong v Western Bulldogs, Simonds Stadium, 1.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Geelong -68.5 to -70.5


The Cats will dominate every aspect of this game and should turn on a big win for their home crowd. The Dogs have been a real disappointment and struggle to maintain any king of standard across four quarters.

The only reason not to get all over the minus is whether or not the Cats take the foot off the accelerator to avoid any un-necessary injuries in the later stages.

You’d think they’d want to play four solid quarters of footy this week with the Swans up next start but it’s enough reason for me to stay off this one.


The Cats have now won nine of their last 12, with the losses coming against the Swans in Sydney (by six points), the Magpies and the Eagles in Perth (by five points). They may well be racing North Melbourne for sixth spot (or potentially fifth if the Eagles slip), so a percentage boost would be most welcome.

For the Bulldogs, the losing streak has now extended to nine – by an average of 61 points. In their last 11 matches, they’ve lost by 70 points or more against Sydney, Essendon, Hawthorn, St Kilda, Richmond and Sydney again. That’s more than enough discussion of them.

Head to head, Geelong have won eight of the last nine overall, including a 61-point win in the corresponding match last year and a 20-point win at Etihad in Round Nine.

I have a slight lean to the Cats at the minus here, but it’s not strong enough to have a bet.


North Melbourne v Fremantle, Etihad Stadium, 3.15pm

Bookmakers’ line:  North Melbourne -17.5


The Kangas keep rolling on. Their form has been outstanding and they thoroughly touched up a real premiership fancy last week. With Wells likely to be an inclusion this week they can only improve which is scary.

Fremantle can lock up a finals berth with a win here so expect them to throw everything at the Kangaroos this week. Sandilands had a big impact last week and Pavlich has been exceptional. There are whispers he’s carrying a few injuries but he’ll play this week for sure.

The Roos have been able to use their three big forwards well by getting the ball in quickly but I like the way the Dockers match up on them. McPharlin and Johnson are both quality defenders so if the Dockers can break even in the middle they are a chance here.

With so much on the line I think the Dockers will take this one to the wire but I can’t bet into a side that is in such rare form. No play.


Not only have North won nine of their last 10 games since copping a hiding from the Hawks, but they’ve now covered the spread in eight of those matches. With wins over Adelaide and Collingwood in that mix, their form in the second half of the season is more consistent with a top-four or even a top-two side.

Fremantle have won six of their last seven matches and have their finals destiny firmly in their own hands for now – the return of Nathan Fyfe and Aaron Sandilands to the team last week certainly added some polish to their performance. However, their record against top-six sides reads terribly: one win and six losses (by an average of 34 points).

The home team has won each of the last six matches between these teams – the Kangaroos winning by 98, 54 and 13 points at Etihad; the Dockers by 29, 61 and 53 points at Patersons.

The numbers and the interstate advantage both suggest North at the minus, but…. a 5-19 betting record in games with the Ross Lyon factor attached…. better to quit late than never.


Melbourne v Adelaide, MCG, 4.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Melbourne +39.5


The Crows need to make a statement after their shock loss last week. They capitulated after quarter time and most of the lads would be a bit embarrassed about their efforts.

Sando will have them firing this week and they’ll want to put the Demons to the sword to sew up a top four spot. With the Swans and Hawks both having tough finishes to the year Top 2 and a home final could also be at stake.

Melbourne have struggled and with key players missing they’ll be well out of their depth this week. Sometimes, playing for pride just isn’t enough. Adelaide by a squillion – one unit on the minus.


Melbourne must love the Suns and Giants – without them, the Demons would be 1-16 and cruising to the wooden spoon.

The Crows would have been read the riot act this week after surrendering a 38-point lead to the 13th-placed Lions on Saturday night. Percentage isn’t of much value to them at this stage though – they simply need to close the home and away season with two wins.

Since 2007, Melbourne have won three out of six head-to-head matches overall but three out of four played at the MCG, including a 96-point win in the corresponding game last year.

If anything, I’ve actually got a slight lean to the Demons with the points in this one, which can only mean that it’s time to put the cue in the rack for this week.


Recommended bet summary


1 unit on Richmond -8.0 at $1.92 (Luxbet)

1 unit on Hawthorn -1.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)

1 unit on West Coast -3.5 at $1.91 (Centrebet, Flemington Sportsbet)

 2 units on Carlton -62.5 at $1.90 (TAB Sportsbet)

1 unit on Adelaide -39.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)


1.5 units on Sydney +2.5 at $1.91 (Centrebet)

1 unit on West Coast -3.5 at $1.91 (Centrebet, Flemington Sportsbet)


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


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