Who said the last few home and away rounds would be predictable and boring? Oh yeah, that was me; and many others. Five of nine games last weekend were decided by a goal or less and, if we get another round like that this week, not only will it be great for the game, it will be great for the pharmaceutical industry with an increase of people requiring heart medication.
Things do look a little more clear cut this week which means following the money trail is far more valuable. As is the ability to correctly call a line in those $1.01 type contests. I’m going to do something a little different this week too. At the end of the article, I’ll give my suggested bet for each game. If I completely bomb, this will be the first and last time I do that.
THE BIG FIVE
- $10k – Sydney (v North Melbourne) @ $1.36
- $7k – Adelaide (v Port Adelaide) @ $1.22
- $7k – Bulldogs -48.5 (v Essendon) @ $1.92
- $3k – Carlton (v Melbourne) @ $4
- $3k – Adelaide -30.5 @ $1.92
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
What a ripping match to kick of the penultimate round of the season and, while the Eagles win over the Giants last week means it has removed the prospect of Hawthorn finishing out of the top four, there is still plenty on the line for West Coast should they lose. The home ground factor has been huge, with the Eagles backed from $1.85 into $1.73 and the Hawks $1.95 out to $2.15, but expect that gap to close up a little closer to game time given the propensity of punters to back the champs when they push out beyond even money.
The line has obviously moved as well, out from -1.5 to -4.5, given that rally for the blue and gold mob from the wild west.
SWAN SONG IN THE DEEP SOUTH
North Melbourne has a very good record in its second home in Hobart but that isn’t reflected in this market as the freefalling Roos clash with the current premiership favourites, the Sydney Swans.
The market hasn’t moved all week with the Swannies a rock solid pick at $1.36 to the Kangaroos $3.25. The underdogs get local boy Ben Brown back, as well as Scott Thompson, which would usually mean a move in the market, except for the fact the Swans regain Kurt Tippet. I think this could be a bit tighter than what many are predicting.
TIGER (not so) TOUGH
As if the Richmond side hasn’t given its supporters enough to deal with this season – or the last 35 years for the matter – last week they lost the seemingly unlosable when surrendering a significant final quarter lead to the Cats. Here they face a St Kilda side whose finals dreams are officially dashed in one of the more interesting betting games of the weekend. The Saints, once seen as Etihad specialists, have won their last two at the MCG, while the Tigers have not lost to St Kilda in their past seven encounters (6 wins and a draw). So, what does that mean? Bugger all. It is a bloody tough game to pick. The money has certainly favoured the Saints who are $1.82 into $1.73 with the Tigers $2 out to $2.15 and the line 2.5 out to 4.5.
JUST LYON AROUND
Ross Lyon has a habit of resting players toward the end of a season but usually it is with finals around the corner. Here, he looks to be trying to keep Matthew Pavlich and Aaron Sandilands frequent flyer miles in check by leaving them at home rather than taking them to Sydney’s west. He is also probably trying to protect Pav, maybe both, to ensure a farewell match in Perth next week. Either way, he is declaring a complete lack of interest in this contest and for that reason, the Giants, who were already almost unbackable at $1.03 are now into $1.01. Lyon’s Dockers are $14 out to $19 but the line has blown out like Eddie Murphy in the Nutty Professor. Having opened 55.5, it was at 60.5 yesterday afternoon and then out to 70.5 once the teams were announced. I fear it could inflate further by the time we bounce the ball tomorrow.
ONE WAY SHOWDOWN
Port Adelaide, bar a few surprises here and there, has been poor again this season and with some key players sidelined tomorrow it is hard to mount a strong case for them knocking of the Crows, even if the lesser team tends to lift in a showdown. The market reflects exactly that with Adelaide $1.22 into $1.17 and the Power $5.25. After a smattering of support for Port at the line, that has also flipped in the Crows favour and is back out to 34.5 with all markets now one way traffic for the big boys in town.
A DEE-LIGHTFUL LITTLE DREAM
In case you haven’t heard, Melbourne can still make the finals. Having been a factory of sadness for more than a decade, a little action after the home and away season is complete remains a legitimate chance for the Demons, but first they must beat Carlton and do it reasonably well. They also need to beat Geelong next week and rely on the Kangaroos losing both their last two matches. The Blues have lost their last nine, including a horror show against the Lions last week, so it is no surprise to see all the support with the Dees. Melbourne is $1.30 into $1.28 with the Blues $3.40 out to $3.60 and the line 20.5 out to 22.5.
- Hawthorn (win)
- North Melbourne (+18.5 line)
- St Kilda (win)
- Giants (-70.5 line)
- Crows (-34.5 line)
- Collingwood (win)
- Melbourne (win)
- Geelong (-59.5 line)
- Bulldogs (-48.5 line)