We have a third premiership favourite in four weeks yet the side which remained undefeated until last week (North Melbourne) has never been top of the market. The side which was at the market summit until last week (Geelong) has fallen to lowly ranked opposition two weeks in succession and all of a sudden, there are sides outside the eight who look as if they could challenge when many pundits felt we had a clear breakaway group. 2016 has been nothing if not unpredictable and a clear front runner is no clearer as we reach the halfway point of the season. There are some genuinely great betting matches this round but whether any give us a clearer indication of what might lay ahead, is anyone’s guess.
THE BIG FIVE
- $10k on Carlton (v Brisbane) @ $1.27
- $5k on Adelaide (v St Kilda) @ 1.20
- $3k on North Melbourne (v Richmond) @ $1.50
- $2k on North Melbourne -14.5 (v Richmond) @ $1.92
- $2k on Port Adelaide (v Collingwood) @ $2.05
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
For the first time in history the AFL’s ‘Friday night lights’ will be beaming down on the beautiful Bellerive Oval in Hobart. Look for two things, long sleeve jumpers in large numbers and Jack Riewoldt playing a big game on his childhood home ground. I watched Jack as a teenager sitting on heads for Clarence at this venue and I am sure he’ll be keen to turn it on back in Tassie tonight.
Both teams have had a good deal of support which has seen the market stay very solid near its opening position. The Tigers appear to be in some reasonable form, while the Roos will be determined not to drop two in a row after winning their opening nine matches.
Will no clear money trail to follow, I’ll impart my ‘wisdom’ instead; I think Richmond is terrific value pushing the $3 mark while Jumping Jack to kick most goals at $4 or Ladbrokes ‘Footy Freaks’ special of Jack to kick three or more and Tigers to win at $4.50 are both tasty propositions.
STRAY CAT RETURNS HOME
I suspect Stevie J will be applauded by the Geelong crowd in a similar way as when he was wowing them for over a decade delivering premierships to the Cattery … unless the Giants inflict a third successive loss on the premiership favourites of a week or so ago (now, 2nd elect).
Back on their home ground and a week after the Giants were made to look mortal by the Crows, Geelong has been all the rage this week, backed from $1.75 into $1.50 with the line ballooning from 5.5 to 14.5. The Giants are $2.10 out to $2.65 and, while I know there were ordinary last week, Geelong has lost its past two matches to Collingwood and Carlton and, for that reason, I think GWS now represents pretty good value.
Port Adelaide was the subject of a plunge last week and saluted, so punters are against coming for the Power, backing them from underdog into stand out favourite.
Port was a $2.10 (+4.5 line) outsider on Monday but when the extent of the Magpies injury concerns became clear, the market produced the kind of flip Nadia Comaneci would have been proud of.
Collingwood is now $1.70 out to $2.05 while the Power are $1.80 with a -3.5 line.
While it isn’t always the case, the undying love for the Power (best backed team of the round) has been magnified by the fact the Magpies are the least supported. Remarkable given the parochial punting nature of their supporters.
NO SUN SHINING ON THE GOLD COAST
Okay, so being a night game, of course the sun won’t be shining, but what I am alluding to with my headline is the Armageddon weather forecast for the south east of Queensland over the next few days, because it has had a monumental impact on the market.
In fine conditions, the flag favourite Swans would be not only be near unbackable odds in the head to head but, on form, the line would be pushing triple figures.
Instead, having gone up a conservative 53.5 to start, the money has ‘flooded’ in for the Suns at the plus given the wild weather could well turn this game into an old school suburban scrap.
In the head to head, Sydney is $1.03 out to $1.08 with the Suns $11 into $8.50, but Gold Coast at the line has been absolutely smashed firming from that 53.5 point mark to 40.5. And I doubt it is done with yet.
BATTLE OF THE CELLAR DWELLERS
When you looked at this round in the pre-season, you would have seen a potential battle for the wooden spoon in round 11, but it was supposed to be Carlton and Brisbane rather than Fremantle and Essendon.
The Bombers were expected to struggle but the Dockers slide has been the biggest in VFL/AFL history and punters simply don’t trust Freo to break their season duck against the depleted Dons.
While a clear favourite given the personal available, the Dockers have been friendless in the head to head, with punters happy to part with a little hard earned on the Bombers causing an upset. They’ve been $4 into $3.75 and have also had some support at the line which has firmed slightly from 25.5 to 23.5. The Dockers have eased from $1.25 to $1.29.
One of the games of the round with the question mark obviously over the Eagles ability to travel. Markets have not changed all week with the Bulldogs favourite back in the comforting surround of Etihad Stadium. $1.80 (Bulldogs) to $2.05 (West Coast).
Melbourne has an awful record against the Hawks – although most clubs do in recent times – but punters believe the Dees will struggle yet again. They’ve been $4.35 out to $5, the Hawks $1.22 into $1.19 plenty of support at the line for premiers. That market has been 28.5 out to 34.5.
Carlton will be licking its lips here. Expected to have another shocker of a season, the Blues can take their win loss record into the positive (6-5) with victory over the lowly Lions and punters fancy they will do just that. They’re $1.33 to the Lions $1.75 with a line of 24.5. One punter with $10k on Carlton at $1.27
No Sam Fisher will hurt the Saints and with Adelaide in form, the Crows have been well back for this one. They’re $1.20 into $1.18 with the line 28.5 out to 32.5. St Kilda is $4.60 out to $5.15.