The AFL Lines – Round 7

Filed in AFL, AFL Lines by on May 9, 2012

The Eagles keep winning, the Swans tasted defeat for the first time and the Suns gave Fremantle an almighty scare on the Gold Coast. With six weeks of the 2012 competition now in the books, the haves and the have nots are becoming a little easier to identify; hopefully this will translate into some strong punting against the lines in the ensuing four and a half months. Greg Obsercheidt and Cliff Bingham look to bounce back this week as they assess the upcoming weekend of matches.


Really, West Coast? Really? Half a freaking point away from a cover after wasting countless straightforward shots at goal….. oh yeah, they covered by half a point against the Hawks in Round 4 when I had a full unit on them doing so. I’ll stop griping about last Sunday now.

We’ve seen an interesting trend developing in the last two weeks, with 12 of 18 underdogs covering the midweek spread (albeit that North failed to cover the game day spread of +17.5 on Sunday, bless ‘em). This new development is (a) bad news for the overriding 2011 trend of stepping into the favourites at almost every opportunity and (b) good news for the Baha Men and their ever-declining royalty cash flows.


Another cracking week big buddy…Adelaide pulled a rabbit out of the hat, the Pies were terrible and probably deserved to lose and the Cats couldn’t dominate the contested ball yet again. At least the Tigers maintained their solid form and dispatched the Power.

We’ve said all year it takes six weeks to establish a form line and hopefully we can translate that into some decent bets this week. There definitely seems to be some value about so let’s get stuck in.


Results for Round 6 selections

GO – 4 selections, 5 units bet, return of 3.84 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -23%

CB – 2 selections, 1 unit bet, return of 0.00 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -100%

Total – 6 selections, 6 units bet, return of 3.84 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -36%

Results for 2012

GO – 23 selections, 29 units bet, return of 25.06 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -14%

CB – 16 selections, 12.5 units bet, return of 14.44 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = +15%

Total – 39 selections, 41.5 units bet, return of 39.50 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -5%


(Please note – all times are EST)



Melbourne v Hawthorn, MCG, 7.50pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Melbourne +49.5 to +54.5


The Hawks were back to form last week – in no small part on the back of some creativity from Rioli and Franklin. You have to go back a fair piece to find the last time the Dees got past them and that in itself tells a tale.

Melbourne are struggling to get a return from their senior group with the notable exception of Clark who has been a standout for them up forward. Hawthorn’s inability to shut down opposition power forwards has been their Achilles heel and if Clark can cut loose he could kick a bag.

The Hawks should win in a canter and need the percentage boost but the Clark factor is a bit too much for me to give an eight goal start especially with Gibson still out. As for the plus, pfffft. No Play.


Granted, Hawthorn are only 3-3 at the moment. However when you consider that they’ve faced Collingwood, Geelong, Adelaide, West Coast (in Perth), Sydney and St Kilda (a combined 2012 record of 27-9 thus far), they are well above your ‘typical’ 3-3 side. The draw opens right up for them now – their next six are Melbourne, an injury-plagued Fremantle down in Tassie, Richmond, North, Port and Brisbane. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that they could reach their Round 13 bye week with a 9-3 record; indeed, anything worse than 8-4 would likely be deemed an underachievement.

The road ahead looks much tougher for the Melbourne, who have only gotten within seven goals of three sides so far this year –those sides have an underwhelming combined 2012 record of 7-11.

The Hawks have won eight on end against the Dees, with three of the last four being decided by between 45 and 56 points.

The eight goals being offered this time around feels about right – no play for mine.



GWS v Gold Coast, Manuka Oval, 1.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  GWS +15.5 to +18


Close to the match of the round which is madness in itself. Both sides will be desperate to notch their first win for season and with so much talent on show it is a very intriguing contest.

GWS have shown plenty and have a preseason win under their belts against the Suns. Ward, Scully, Coniglio and Green up against Swallow, Bennell, Hunt and Prestia – the wave of the future. Gold Coast will be without Ablett, Rischatelli and Harbrow again and will certainly miss Nathan Bock so you’d have to say that the Giants have an advantage there. 

This one looks a flip of the coin to me so the Giants with the start is the smart play but given the Suns pushed Freo all the way last week, I think I might sit this one out.


Granted, GWS are one of only two sides to cover the spread in five out of six games thus far, but I think the run ends here. They still haven’t gotten within 40 points of a side this season, while the Suns have given two sides currently in the eight (Essendon and Fremantle) almighty scares at home and pushed North Melbourne along for almost three quarters at Etihad a fortnight ago.

The short-term loss of Ablett has been a blessing in disguise for the young Suns outfit – forced into self-sufficiency, the likes of Swallow and especially Bennell have been fantastic.

Two weeks ago at this very ground, the Bulldogs were sent out 65.5 point favourites against the Giants; if you think the Dogs are 50 points better than the Suns, I have some magic beans you may be interested in purchasing.

The only thing that tempers the confidence here is my disgusting record when tipping bad sides, but I’m ploughing ahead regardless – one unit on the Suns at the minus.


Adelaide v Geelong, AAMI Stadium, 1.45pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Adelaide +7.5 to +8


I liked Adelaide preseason and I like them even more after their road win over the Swans. They have been smashing it in the contested ball stakes this year, in particular Thomson and Dangerfield who are ranked third and fourth in that category across the league.

The Cats have really struggled inside winning the contested pill on only one occasion which must be a worry for Chris Scott. They’ve still managed to get wins though which speaks of their quality. Pods and Tommahawk have been working well in tandem which might hurt the Crows given that Rutten is their only elite defender.

A must watch game and if I was pushed I’d lean towards the points but this one is a bit too close to call. I’ll sit this one out.


Looks like I underrated the Crows last week when considering them to be a ‘mid-tier’ side – they were most impressive at the SCG.

Geelong are chugging along at a reasonable level, but when you consider that Brisbane had more scoring shots than them a fortnight ago and the Tigers nearly rolled them the week prior, it’s hard to feel supremely confident about them.

Head to head, Geelong has won seven of the last eight matches between the two sides, but each of the last two games at AAMI Stadium has had an 11-point margin, with each side claiming victory once.

Here’s the kicker though: a 7.5 or 8.0 point start at home is worth about three goals at a neutral venue and almost five goals in Victoria. Would you lay five goals to the Crows if this game were at Simonds Stadium? I certainly wouldn’t – one unit on Adelaide at the plus.


Richmond v Sydney, MCG, 4.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Richmond -2.5 to +2.5


Richmond saved my bacon last week and they’ve been honourable in defeat for the majority of the season. Maric played his best game, probably in his career, and is starting to look at home. Cotchin and Martin are defiantly relishing getting first crack at the nut and Delidio just keeps producing.

The Swans need to bounce back this week to confirm their standing but will be hurting without Goodes for the first extended spell in his illustrious career. The midfield matchup looks a corker and holds the key and I think the Swans have an edge there, especially in depth.

As impressive as they’ve been, Richmond are false favourites here given they have only beaten Port and the Dees (with a win between them) and the Swans are 5-1 (with their only loss coming to another 5-1 side). Play two units Sydney at the small plus.


From the perspective of trying to back the Swans yet again, I really wish this game were at Etihad.

In the last four years the Swans have played 12 games at the MCG for one win and one draw (they went 0-2 in 2008; 1-2 in 2009; 0-4 in 2010 and 0-2-1 in 2011). Three of those 10 losses were by less than a kick but it’s still a damning statistic, especially when you consider that six losses were by 31 points or more. Over the same period of time, they’ve also played 12 games at Etihad Stadium, for five wins, a draw and six losses (including losses by one and two points). Throw in the loss of Adam Goodes to a quad injury and this feels like a huge trap game for them. I’d rather lay a goal about the Swans at Etihad than take half a goal start for them at the MCG.

If Richmond wins this game and jumps to 3-4 with matches against Carlton, Collingwood, Geelong, West Coast and Sydney already dealt with, surely they enter discussions about top eight contenders?

I’ve got no idea what to make of this game – either side could win by five goals without surprising me – so will sit it out.


Essendon v West Coast, Etihad Stadium, 7.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Essendon -4.5 to -5.5


Both of these teams have shown some great form this year. The Eagles really deserve to be favourites given they are undefeated but injuries have thrown their forward structure into something resembling organised chaos. Hill has been the recruit of the year but funnily enough probably wouldn’t have played a game without the injuries to Le Cras and Nicoski.

Essendon keep finding a way to win and I’m struggling to think of new ways to belittle them. Watson is in great form and is feeding Stanton who is knocking up getting touches.

This game will be played at break neck speed under the lid at Etihad and I think the Eagles are just a bit more settled and have a touch more class than the Dons. Another case of false favouritism to my mind and I’ll therefore play two units on the Eagles at the small plus.


It’s extremely hard for me to evaluate the Bombers objectively. I had us sneaking eighth spot on my preseason ladder more out of hope than expectation, held that ‘hope we sneak eighth’ mentality after three unconvincing wins to start the season but feel decidedly more positive after the last three weeks.

The Eagles are an elite team but as Richmond showed a fortnight ago, they can be stretched on the road – especially as their injury toll mounts.

Head to head, the Bombers have won three of the last four played at Etihad, including a 16-point win in the corresponding match last year.

Swing home field around and you’d have the Eagles favoured by about 20 at Patersons, which is slightly below last week’s line against North prior to the late withdrawal of Nic Nat. I’d have the Dons a little ahead of North on form at the moment, so this line feels about right – no play.


Brisbane v Collingwood, Gabba, 7.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Brisbane +26.5 to +30.5


Yuck! Brisbane were ordinary last week but much of that was due to the Bombers’ pressure. Their inexperience and apparent lack of a plan two means they are been played out of games as soon as they lose momentum.

Collingwood were also pretty ordinary last week despite getting the chocolates against the Dogs. They didn’t really deserve to win that game which is a sad indictment on where they are sitting. Couple that with the fact the Lions have had the wood on them at the Gabba for a number of years (even in the periods where they were near unbeatable elsewhere) and this could result in an upset.

That being said I’m still not going to get involved.


What happened to the Collingwood side of 2011 that consistently belted mediocre to poor sides by between 10 and 20 goals? The Dogs hung around in last Friday’s game for a lot longer than I expected them too, suggesting to me that the Pies are somewhere between the fifth and eighth best side on form right now. They haven’t scored 100 points since the opening round and haven’t won a game by more than 24 points yet.

Brisbane have been badly beaten by both Carlton and Essendon but were more competitive against Fremantle and Geelong than the final scores indicated. They’ve moved out of the cellar this season and into the 12-14 group; no September threat but some spoiler potential, especially at home.

Brisbane have won two of the last three matches between these sides played at the Gabba and would have easily covered a 32.5 point line in both the other Gabba match and last year’s encounter at the MCG.

I’m grabbing the points here and having 0.5 units on the Lions at the plus.



North Melbourne v Western Bulldogs, Etihad Stadium, 1.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  North Melbourne -15.5 to -17.5


Another epic battle. The Dogs have shown glimpses but can’t seem to put four quarters together. They’d be buoyed by the improved form of Lake and Hargrave and Griffen is gunning it. Their forward line is still a worry with only six of their 22 scoring shots coming from genuine forwards last week. They must get a return from Liam Jones soon. You can’t ride the ‘talent’ tag forever without results.

North have been great and could conceivably be in the four. These are the sort of games they have won well in the last few years and they’ll be out to bite back after a disappointing showing in the West. They rebound well out of defence with their creative handball and given they get plenty of turnovers down there I think they’ll do it pretty easy – one unit on North at the minus.


North may by 3-3 on the season to date, but a bit like Hawthorn they are a ‘good 3-3’, if that makes sense. They’ve already played the Bombers, Cats, Swans away and Eagles away (combined record: 20-4) this season.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are averaging only 77 points scored per game, or 67 points per game if you remove the matches against Melbourne and GWS. This compares to average scores per game for the Roos of 120 (overall) and 101 (after removing GWS and Gold Coast).

Head to head, the Bulldogs won four straight in 2009 and 2010 before the Kangaroos won the corresponding match last year by 31 points. Importantly, North have scored over 135 points in three of the last six played between these teams at Etihad Stadium.

As much as I wish this line were two goals or less, it’s hard to see the Dogs matching motors with the favourites here and thus I’ll have one unit on the minus.


Fremantle v Port Adelaide, Patersons Stadium, 4.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Fremantle –31.5 to -35.5


Goodness, Freo nearly dropped one to the Suns last week and haven’t been at all convincing since their early season form. They’ve struggled to score well under Ross Lyon and I get the impression the’ defend at all costs’ mantra is cramping their naturally creative style. His particular version of the press definitely doesn’t suit the long narrow confines of Patersons stadium.

Port showed a bit of everything last week – competitive for stretches, utterly abysmal in between. With their coach in the gun you’d expect a good showing this week, but I doubt they can knock off the Dockers.

Five to six goals feels about right given the Dockers inability to post a big score. No play.


Prior to last week I was nervous about my ‘Freo to make the eight’ bet; now I’m looking around wondering whether the time has come to hedge it with an equivalent ‘miss the eight’ wager. Without Fyfe and Sandilands they looked incredibly disjointed last week, and have averaged only 78 points scored per game since the opening round win against the Cats.

The Power were disgusting in the second quarter last week; it was reminiscent of some of the tripe they served up in 2011. How they respond this week will say a lot about the club culture and the likelihood of Matthew Primus continuing to be head coach beyond this season.

Head to head, Freo won the only match between the teams last year (played at AAMI Stadium) by 52 points, as well as the last two matches played between these teams at Patersons Stadium by 57 and 42 points.

Given the scoring problems the Dockers are facing at the moment, I’d take the points if I had even a shred of faith in Port showing some resolve and bouncing back….. (thinking)……. no bet.



St Kilda v Carlton, Etihad Stadium, 7.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  St Kilda +25.5 to +28.5


Carlton will win this one pretty easy. The Saints will be without Sam Fisher which will cripple their defence. Gwilt is back but after a long term knee it is unlikely he will be anything near his best. Plenty in the press this week about salary cap pressure at St Kilda which could galvanize them, but given their recent inability to cope with off-field heat, it will more likely bruise their chances.

Carlton had a lazy game last week and were able to give Judd a rest which would have to help. McEvoy going down also hurts the Saints given the Blues abundance of talent in the Ruck division.

I like the Blues here but given that it is still five days away, I think I’ll reserve judgement for now.


Despite barely leaving first gear last week against GWS, the Blues have (by and large) been taking care of business in 2012 to date, and I see no reason for that to change here.

Earlier I mentioned that Hawthorn and to a lesser extent North were ‘good 3-3’ sides; conversely, the Saints are a ‘poor 3-3’ side. They’ve played four teams (Port, Gold Coast, Bulldogs and Melbourne) with a combined record of 3-21, as well as a terrible travelling side in the Dockers at Etihad. Frankly, if they were a legit finals contender they’d be 5-1 or at the very least 4-2 right now.

Head to head, the four matches from 2009 onwards have been split two apiece – last season Carlton won by 3 points at Etihad in Round 7, but the Saints exacted revenge in Round 24 with a 20-point win.

However, Carlton seem to have advanced this season while the Saints have regressed, so the almost five goals on offer seems about right to me – no play.


Recommended bet summary


2 units on Sydney +2.5 at $1.90 (TAB Sportsbet)

2 units on West Coast +5.5 at $1.90 (TAB Sportsbet)

1 unit on North Melbourne -15.5 at $1.92 (Sportsbet)



1 unit on Gold Coast -17.5 at $1.92 (Sportsbet)

1 unit on Adelaide +8.0 at $1.92 (Luxbet)

0.5 units on Brisbane +30.5 at $1.88 (Sportsbet)

1 unit on North Melbourne -15.5 at $1.92 (Sportsbet)


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


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