Fremantle (-12.5 points) vs Richmond - 2 units @ 1.90
Geelong (-62.5 points) vs Western Bulldogs - 2 units @ 1.90
Port Adelaide to defeat West Coast - 1 unit @ 2.05
Fremantle/Brisbane/Hawthorn - 2 units @ 2.00
Fremantle/Geelong (over 39.5)/Brisbane/Hawthorn - 1 unit @ 2.70
GWS (+39.5 handicap)/Geelong (over 39.5)/Brisbane/Hawthorn - 1 unit @ 2.30
* No bet was suggestion for Essendon v Collingwood and Sydney TO WIN for multis was suggestion for the St Kilda v Sydney
* After four good weeks, I am being conservative this week. I'm not overly confident on a lot of the matches and there are a lot of favourites that don't represent any value.
Fremantle (1.52) vs Richmond (2.55) - Friday night @ Subiaco
I like Fremantle in this game. While the Dockers have lost their last two matches, I'm confident they will have Richmond's measure tonight. I believe Fremantle can suffocate Richmond's run through the midfield and can stifle their keys through the midfield in Deledio and Cotchin. Fremantle was able to do it twice last year and there is no reason to suggest the Dockers can't do it again, particularly at home. I was a little concerned by Fremantle's forward line, but without Morris and Chaplin in Richmond's defence, I'm now not so concerned. Richmond will struggle to hold Fremantle's small forwards. Ballantyne and Walters will be very dangerous. McPharlin returns to strengthen Fremantle's defence and can also go forward if required. Ultimately, I am backing Fremantle's game style to negate Richmond's strengths and Fremantle's contested brand of football over Richmond's. That's the fundamental reason why Fremantle will win.
Play: Fremantle (-12.5 points) @ 1.90 against Richmond [2 units]
GWS (2.75) vs Gold Coast (1.45) - Saturday @ Manuka Oval
I am really not sure about this game. You couldn't really back either team with confidence. I do expect this game to be close and I do believe the Giants are over the odds, but I'm not prepared to back them. The Giants played very well in patches against Melbourne last week. But that's the problem, there is no consistency to their football. They certainly tired towards the end of the game, but there was enough to like against Melbourne to suggest the Giants will be competitive against the Suns. And remember, the Giants did defeat the Suns in Canberra last year by 27 points. The Suns showed some very worrying signs last week. I thought it was a very poor performance. It showed how much the Suns rely on Bennell, who is missing again next week. And it also showed the forward line is still a major concern. It is not reliable, it's poorly structured and it's simply light on talent. It means the Suns have to manufacture a score. It's a very important game for the Suns who need to start showing progress. And showing progress means beating the Giants easily. But on the strength of last week, I'm just not sure they're capable. I'm completely sitting on the fence in this match. I can't pick the winner, but there is no doubt in my mind the Giants are over the odds.
Carlton (1.43) vs Adelaide (2.85) - Saturday twilight @ the MCG
Market move this week: Carlton has moved in from 1.50 to 1.43
I am leaning towards the Blues in this game, but I am certainly not confident. The fact the game is at the MCG certainly helps Carlton's chances along with the return of Betts, but the Crows can't be ruled out. Adelaide has won eight of the last ten games against Carlton, including last year's game at Etihad Stadium by 70 points. There is no doubt Adelaide isn't playing as well as it was at that point in last season, but the Crows would be going into this game confident against the opponent. The Blues showed some good signs against West Coast. They were much more consistent throughout the game and the small forwards were very dangerous. But I would like to see Carlton perform well again before I am prepared to take 1.45 on the Blues to win. I would like to see consistency of form over a few weeks before I am sold on the Blues. Adelaide is still the surprise for me this year. There is no reason why the Crows should be struggling for form. They don't have a lot of injuries and they have had a softish draw over the first month. There are a lot of players that are simply out of form and that was demonstrated at selection over the last couple of weeks with key personnel dropped. I have not given up on the Crows, but they need to start firing otherwise things will get away from them very quickly with the emergence of a couple of teams from outside the eight from last year. I really want to watch this game. It should tell us a lot about both teams.
Western Bulldogs (13) vs Geelong (1.02) - Saturday night @ Etihad Stadium
I expect this to be a smashing. I can't see the Bulldogs getting within 12 goals of Geelong. The line has increased throughout the week and currently sits at -62.5 points for the Cats to cover. If think they will cover it. The Bulldogs have been hit extremely hard with injuries. And the injuries have come to very important players. Experienced players, but also players who used the ball well and make good decisions. The Bulldogs don't have many of them, so when Griffen, Murphy, Higgins, Giansiracusa and Wood are all out of the team at the same time, it makes it very difficult for the Bulldogs to be competitive. Geelong on the other hand is flying. They are playing a very confident, attacking style of football, which the Bulldogs will not be able to combat. And because they can score so quickly, the Dogs will find it impossible to compete on the scoreboard.
Play: Geelong (-62.5 points) @ 1.90 against the Bulldogs [2 units]
Port Adelaide (2.00) vs West Coast (1.80) - Saturday night @ AAMI Stadium
Market move this week: Port Adelaide has moved in from 2.15 to 2.00
This is a very interesting game. Is Port Adelaide legitimate? Do the Eagles really have the wobbles? We will find out the answers tomorrow night. This is such an important game for West Coast. The Eagles struggled through the preseason with form and injury and it has now spilled over into the first month of the season. The Eagles are playing without confidence or consistency through a match and look slow and are poorly skilled through the midfield as a consequence. The Eagles still have a potent forward line which will worry Port Adelaide, but if West Coast's midfield continues to play the way it is, there will not be enough supply for them to be damaging on the scoreboard. Port Adelaide continues to impress. But because of a very good draw, the Adelaide victory is the only one you would mark down as a surprise. Wins over Melbourne, GWS and the Gold Coast are hardly reasons to be getting too excited. But it's more the way Port Adelaide has been playing that has been impressive. The Power have a good simple game plan, a healthy playing list and a team that is riding the crest of a confidence wave. I am going with the confident team. While the Eagles have clearly got the personnel to defeat Port Adelaide, I've seen enough from the Eagles to be concerned. It will be tough for Port Adelaide, but I am tipping the Power at a good price.
Play: Port Adelaide to defeat West Coast @ 2.05 [1 unit]
Brisbane (1.16) vs Melbourne (5.25) - Sunday @ the Gabba
Market move this week: Melbourne has gone out from 5.00 to 5.25
It's hard to back Brisbane at such a short price, or even look at margin betting on this game considering Brisbane's start to the home-and-away season. The Lions have been horrible in two trips to Melbourne, but have gone 1-1 in Queensland. But while the form is poor and the Lions have lost two very important players this week in Hanley, I do expect Brisbane to far too strong for Melbourne. The Lions are a significantly better team at the Gabba. They have only played there once this year. While they lost narrowly to Adelaide, it was their best performance of the season. This is a mini-final for the Lions. They simply can't afford to drop the match and I don't see it happening. Melbourne did kick 12 goals in the final quarter against a tiring Giants, but for three quarters they were average. The Demons were 19 points down to GWS at the last break. Against every other team in the AFL you would double that margin as a minimum. And there would've been no coming back. The Demons still look very light for options in the forward line, particularly with Clark out of the team, the defence is down on confidence and the middle is thin on talent and shows no accountability of respect for the opposition. Brisbane defeated Melbourne twice by an average of 50 points last year. While it might not be quite as high on Sunday, it should still be a comfortable win for the Lions. I'm not taking any margin bets, but I will throw the Lions into a few multis.
Hawthorn (1.20) vs North Melbourne (5.10) - Sunday twilight @ the MCG
Market move this week: North Melbourne has gone out from 4.40 to 5.10
North Melbourne is a very difficult team to assess. It comes into this game with a 1-3 record, but the Kangaroos could very easily be 4-0 with a tough draw. But you could also look at the Kangaroos and think they can't compete against the good teams for long enough, but can put away the average teams. It's hard to know. I do think Hawthorn will be too strong. The Hawks have been very impressive over the first month and did belt the Kangaroos by 20 goals last time the two teams met. But Hawthorn will have to play well to win. The Kangaroos can't be taken lightly. To be in winning positions against Geelong and Sydney over the last three weeks can't be ignored. But Hawthorn's recent record over North Melbourne and it's current form is unquestionable. The Hawks have also been strengthen this week at selection with Lake and Guerra strengthening the defence. Hawthorn's inside midfielders and forward line will give North Melbourne a lot of problems and should be the difference. Again, I'm reluctant to go with margins in this match, but I'll take Hawthorn to win in a couple of multis. But I won't be getting too heavily involved.