The AFL Lines – Round 8

Filed in AFL, AFL Lines by on May 17, 2012

It’s amazing to think that after a preseason where the overarching verdict was ‘same old, same old’ we can be seven weeks into the 2012 competition and find the defending premier sitting in tenth, the losing grand finalist in seventh and the current flag favourite in ninth. Not only that, but GWS have thrown wooden spoon markets into disarray with their inaugural franchise win over the Gold Coast – those who took the $1.12 back in March about them trailing the field home are no doubt feeling pensive. Speaking of pensive, Making The Nut’s AFL betting offices have not exactly been dishing out high fives with must gusto or frequency of late. Greg Oberscheidt and Cliff Bingham are seeking to get things back on track as they assess the Round 8 lines.



Wow, that was a train wreck of a weekend. In trying to put the pieces together and reclaim some lost ground over the ensuing weeks, I think a few personal rules of mine should be reinstated, post haste. Respect strong sides playing at home (especially against opponents travelling from interstate). Only take the minus if you think the favourite has a substantial advantage. And perhaps most importantly, refrain from making statements such as The only thing that tempers the confidence here is my disgusting record when tipping bad sides, but I’m ploughing ahead regardless”.There is a reason that disgusting record manifested itself to begin with; it is best to heed those lessons.


This is absolutely ridiculous. Rational thought apparently has no place in gambling anymore. I’d be better off necking a bottle of tequila, blindfolding myself and throwing darts at the fixture from the roof of a bus. The only teams that have managed to maintain consistent form across a two week span are teams I haven’t rated to begin with. Surely we’ve got to come good?


Results for Round 7 selections

GO – 3 selections, 5 units bet, return of 0.00 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -100%

CB – 4 selections, 3.5 unit bet, return of 1.92 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -45%

Total – 7 selections, 8.5 units bet, return of 1.92 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -77%

Results for 2012

GO – 26 selections, 34 units bet, return of 25.06 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -26%

CB – 20 selections, 16 units bet, return of 16.36 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = +2%

Total – 46 selections, 50 units bet, return of 41.42 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -17%


(Please note – all times are EST)



Collingwood v Geelong, MCG, 7.50pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Collingwood –5.5 to -6.5


As you note below, the Cats have the recent history and the 2011 flag, so it’s fair to say they stack up well against the Pies. Some important outs since then though with Ottens and Ling saying farewell and they have been missed.

Right now you’d have to say that the Pies are probably travelling a bit better than the cats but I can’t really split them so no bet.


Neither of last year’s grand finalists has yet to really wind up in 2012. Collingwood may be 5-2 but had they lost to the Bombers instead of clinging on by a point, they’d have lost all three games to date against sides with a winning record. Geelong are only a couple of very minor changes in fortune away from being 2-5, and were summarily dismissed by an in-form Crows team last Saturday.

Head to head, the Cats won both matches in 2009, Collingwood won two of three (including a preliminary final) in 2010 and Geelong rebounded to win all three (including the premiership decider) last year. For two ‘alpha dog’ sides, it’s a little surprising to note that only one of those eight matches resulted in a winning margin of 20 points or less.

I fancy that Collingwood are going a fraction the better of the two sides right now, but the recent history points to the Cats. All told, this is a game I’m happy to merely watch and learn from.



Port Adelaide v North Melbourne, AAMI Stadium, 1.45pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Port Adelaide +15.5


North need to have a win to restore their pride after a dismal performance last week.

Port have shown themselves to be tough to beat on occasion (especially at home) and they will fancy their chances of pinching a win here to relieve some pressure on Matty Primus.

One thing that North can boast under the Brad Scott reign is that they are rarely down two weeks in a row. Plenty of lads got a rocket after last week and I expect the Roos to bounce back. – one unit on North at the minus.


The finals aspirations of the Kangaroos copped a major dent when they were comprehensively outplayed by the Bulldogs last Sunday. The three-goal margin flattered them significantly – they were belted in most aspects of the game and looked a lot more like a bottom-six team than a top-eight team.

The Power seem to have regressed after a promising opening five weeks – 101 points scored in their last two games combined is a telling a statistic as any.

North Melbourne have won three of the last four between these sides at AAMI Stadium (including the corresponding 2011 match by 45 points), albeit that two of those wins came by less than a kick.

The Power have gone back onto my ‘wouldn’t trust them to successfully take out my garbage, let alone cover a spread’ list, while the Kangaroos are on double secret probation right now. If Drew Petrie starts the game in a toga, I won’t be betting North again for the remainder of the season. As it stands, I won’t be betting here full stop.


Hawthorn v Fremantle, Aurora Stadium, 2.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Hawthorn –28.5 to -30.5


Five goals has proven to be a lot to beat in Tassie. Freo are struggling a bit on the road this year but all in all their performances have been pretty good. They match up well against the Hawks and will likely play an extra ruckman to try and stretch the Hawks defence.

Franklin has been averaging nine shots on goal a game thus far (including 11 last time at Aurora), so god help the Dockers if he gets his aim straight.

Initial lean is towards the plus given Ross Lyon’s defensive nature, but I think I’ll stay away from the Hawks all together.


I adore this line for the Dockers. Yes, they rarely travel well and yes, their forward line can look anywhere between disjointed and shambolic at times. The following facts remain: (1) they’re conceding an average of just 73 points per game; (2) they are 5-2 on the season; (3) they are 2-2 against sides with a winning record this season; and (4) their biggest loss to date was by just 13 points to the Swans.

Hawthorn are 3-3 themselves against sides with a winning record to date, losing the three games so far this season where they’ve failed to reach 100 points.

The Hawks are 22-11 overall at Aurora Stadium while the Dockers’ travelling woes have extended to the Apple Isle, winning in only one of seven previous visits. The most recent clash between these teams at Aurora occurred in 2010 when Mark Harvey rested several key Dockers in the second last round of the season and his side were trounced by 116 points.

At the end of the day though, I simply struggle to see the Hawks running up a big score on a defensively-oriented side at a ground which is rarely conducive to big scores. The more likely option is a tense, low-scoring contest where a line of almost five goals is a luxury – 1.5 units on the Dockers at the plus for mine.



Sydney v Melbourne, SCG, 4.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Sydney –40.5 to -42.5


Sydney will need a big win here coming off two straight losses. A top six side playing a bottom three side at home may be the catalyst for such a win.

Melbourne are desperate but that hasn’t seemed to translate into desperation for the contest. Sydney really should win this by 10 goals, however without Goodes and with Sam Reid really struggling to have an impact, it’s hard to see where the Swans can muster 18-20 goals from.

The SCG is a good ground for midfield attack so we’ll trust that Kennedy and Co can put the runs on the board – play one unit on Sydney to cover.


Sydney have dropped off a little bit in the past two weeks but it’s nigh on impossible to see anything other than a comfortable victory for them this week.

The MCC Members’ stand must be a disconsolate place to be this season. After Mark Neeld came out and seemingly said all the right things in the offseason, the reality check that lay in wait (seven straight losses, five of which were by over 40 points) must have been excruciating. They could learn a thing or two about preparing for the worst from Richmond fans – I reckon the Tigers could win four straight flags and their fan base would still be waiting for the ‘inevitable’ sucker punch.

The Swans and Demons haven’t met at the SCG since 2007, with Sydney winning three consecutive games at Manuka Oval before Melbourne picked up a 2010 win and 2011 opening round draw at the MCG.

I can’t in good conscience tip the Dees with the start and whilst I have a slight lean to the minus, these big lines always feel like a bit of a lottery to me. I’ll sit it out.


Western Bulldogs v Gold Coast, TIO Stadium, 7.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Western Bulldogs –32 to -34.5


I don’t have too many rules when it comes to punting but one rule I do have is not to bet on two really bad teams in a game played in otherworld conditions. Far too many variables in this game. Dogs will win but picking a margin is folly.


Last week I said “if you think the Dogs are 50 points better than the Suns, I have some magic beans you may be interested in purchasing.” Did the Suns subsequently lose by over four goals to the $1.12 preseason wooden spoon favourite (GWS) before the Dogs convincingly beat a team with finals aspirations (North)? Of course they did. You can’t script prognostication of such poor quality; it’s simply a natural gift I was bestowed with. Too much more of that and I’ll lose my spot in this column to Punxsutawney Phil – I’m not too sure how groundhogs fare at tipping the footy, but the bar has been set extremely low.

The Bulldogs won both matchups last year – by 71 points at Etihad and subsequently by 22 points at Metricon. As for this match, I’d have gladly taken a six goal start had they played last week but in light of subsequent events, I’ve got no freakin’ idea.


Essendon v Richmond, MCG, 7.45pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Essendon -12.5


Initially I liked the Tigers here, but whether that is because I have bet into the Dons most weeks on the premise that “this can’t last” or because I actually think the Tigers are good chance is bugging me.

There are great matchups across the field and I think this one could go down to the wire. Both sides are in great form – they are well led and young hungry outfits.

It will be very close so I’ll have a half unit on the Tigers with the start.


Hasn’t this game picked up a little (in terms of its stature from a finals perspective) over the past few weeks? Essendon have gone from missing the eight in the preseason predictions of many to second on the ladder with only a one-point loss preventing them from being unbeaten. Richmond have weathered an evil early season draw to be only one win outside the eight – with slightly better luck, they could have been 5-2 and battling for a top four spot.

Neither team has reached any great ascendency in recent times, with the last six head to head matches split evenly. Interestingly though, the three Bombers wins have all been by 35 or more points, while the Tigers’ wins have come by 25 points combined. If you like Richmond in this one, recent history says you should back them to win by only a small margin. If you like the Bombers, back them to cover the spread handsomely.

As for yours truly, I’d feel much better about this game if it were at Etihad. For one reason or another, my beloved Bombers seem to play that ground better. As it is, we’re at the ‘G and I’ll be leaving this game alone.



Brisbane v GWS, Gabba, 1.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Brisbane –30.5 to -33.5


GWS have made a habit of covering this year, only being blown away once by the Roos. I’m still dirty I didn’t get on them last week so that could be pushing me to get on them again this week.

Brisbane have been struggling and really need to take this opportunity so I think they will get the job done.

Five goals isn’t much in modern footy  so the minus is in play, but with the GWS up and about and having a taste of success I can’t commit to that, so I’ll sit it out.


There is a scene in the movie ‘Old School’ where Frank ‘The Tank’ Ricard is in a debate and after reeling off a word-perfect spiel that gives his side the win, turns around and asks “What happened? I blacked out”. Wouldn’t you have needed a moment like that to predict that the only two sides with a 6-1 record against the spread at this point of the season would be GWS and Richmond? Or would you just need Rainman-like savant qualities?

At any rate, Brisbane have been smacked by five sides in the finals race (by an average of 57 points) but beaten Melbourne and Gold Coast comfortably. GWS beat the Gold Coast but have lost their other six games by an average of 71 points.

I could go on, but the bottom line here is that these are two poor sides and thus my wallet will be staying in the pocket for this match.


Carlton v Adelaide, Etihad Stadium, 3.15pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Carlton –17.5 to -19.5


Carlton were disappointing to say the lease at the weekend. Ratten seems very rigid and completely unable to cope with any change to their structure. “Fuck plan B” is not a good ethos for a footy coach unless you are playing in the Murray League.

Adelaide need to continue taking big scalps to keep the knockers at bay. I like the Crows but with Walker suspended my fear is that they will become too one dimensional and as such could find it hard to kick a score. Three goals seems about right so I’ll stay clear.


The story seems to go that Carlton are much more effective at the MCG than at Etihad. To confirm or refute this, I checked the recent records – since 2010, the Blues are 13-7-1 at the ‘G but only 9-11 at Etihad, including four losses in their last six. Hmmm…..

Brenton Sanderson seems to be bringing plenty of the Geelong structure and work ethic to his new club and it is bearing fruit on the scoreboard, with the Crows particularly impressive in the last two weeks. Now, here’s where it gets tricky – they’ve lost their last eight matches at Etihad Stadium. But before you put the pen through them, bear in mind that those losses have come in years where Adelaide have comfortably missed the finals. In the ten years prior, they won 20 of 35 games at Etihad. Good Crows sides can win here. Hmmm….. 

Carlton have won the last two matches head to head but in the years immediately prior to 2010 it was all the Crows (primarily during a period where the Blues were rebuilding, though a pair of Adelaide wins in 2009 are worth remembering). The corresponding game last went to Carlton but by only six points, after a spirited performance from the visitors nearly pinched it. Hmmm….. 

Throw in the fact that Adelaide have an eight-day break coming into this game whilst Carlton only have five and a half days rest and I think the plus is a great bet here –  and I’ll be taking it for 1.5 units.


West Coast v St Kilda, Patersons Stadium, 4.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  West Coast –17.5 to -18.5


The Saints will be up and about coming off a good win last week and they’ll need it against and Eagles outfit that will welcome back Schofield and Natinui.

The Eagles have been a bit flat the last couple of weeks but generally have been good and are a 5 goal better team at home. Cox and Nic Nat should dominate given the ruck woes at St Kilda. Waters, Hurn and the like will need to be on their game to shut down the Saints small forwards who give them run and create.

West Coast at home are the business and will get it done comfortably, so I’ll play one unit on the minus.


Last week the Eagles submitted their worst performance of the season to date while the Saints submitted their best. In situations like that, it’s easy to overreact to the most recent week and forget that there will naturally be variability in performances from one match to the next.

To my mind the Eagles remain one of the competition benchmarks, especially at home and especially if they get Nic Nat back from injury. While St Kilda were terrific on Monday night against the Blues, their form prior to that point was that of a team who would finish no higher than the edge of the top eight.

The Saints won both of their last matches against West Coast at Patersons, but they came in a period (2009 and 2010) where the Eagles were battling. A more telling comparison can be made suing the 2005-08 era when both sides were of more comparable strength; the Eagles won three of four, with all of their wins coming by three goals or more.

I think the Eagles are simply the better of the two sides. When you add both significant home ground advantage and a longer rest (almost eight days to almost six), I’ve got a slight lean to the minus and will be betting it for 0.5 units.


Recommended bet summary


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

1 unit on Sydney -40.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)

0.5 units on Richmond +12.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet, Sportsbet)

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


1.5 units on Fremantle +30.5 at $1.91 (Flemington Sportsbet)

1.5 units on Adelaide +18.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet) (the +19.5 offered by TAB Sportsbet was at odds of $1.80, so I’m taking the extra 12 cents in exchange for a point)

0.5 units on West Coast -17.5 at $1.92 (Sportsbet)


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


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