Welcome! Essendon and Fremantle got across the line in the first week and the second week of round one provides an interesting mix of games, with a number of tight games highlighted by Carlton vs Richmond on the Thursday night and Hawthorn vs Geelong on the Easter Monday.
It is a very tough round to tip, but there is plenty of value getting around.
Brisbane to win by 40+ points @ $3.20
Geelong to win @ $2.30
CARLTON ($1.84) vs RICHMOND ($2.18)
MCG, THURSDAY 28/03/2013, 19:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Carlton 14.11 (95) defeated Richmond 13.13 (91) at the MCG, R18, 28/07/2012
Line: Carlton -4.5
The now traditional Carlton vs Richmond Thursday night round one game is always met with huge hype and expectation. But the Blues have dominated Richmond ever since the tradition began, having won all nine encounters.
Plenty will be made of Mick Malthouse coaching his first game for the Blues. He managed to take them to a NAB Cup Grand Final, but Brisbane were able to expose structural weaknesses, the biggest concern being forward. Richmond has had an underrated preseason, winning 4 of their 5 games without creating too much fanfare. They showed signs of taking the next step last year in defeating both Grand Finalists convincingly, but they now have to show consistency. Troy Chaplin is a great addition and will test the inexperienced Carlton tall forwards further, especially with Jarrad Waite out injured.
The Tigers have far more depth across the ground compared to last year and nearly knocked the Blues off in round 18 last year. As Chris Judd said, they now have a group of players that are at the age where they can produce more consistent football. They look great value.
RICHMOND TO WIN BY 15 POINTS
WESTERN BULLDOGS ($3.45) vs BRISBANE ($1.33)
ETIHAD STADIUM, SATURDAY 30/03/2013, 13:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Brisbane 19.14 (128) defeated Western Bulldogs 9.7 (61) at the Gabba, R23, 02/09/2012
Line: Brisbane -19.5
Brisbane has had a brilliant preseason and was good enough to win the NAB Cup in convincing style against Carlton. While the Dogs had a confidence building one point win against the Hawks in round 2 of the NAB Cup, they struggled to be competitive for the rest of the tournament.
Brisbane were convincing against the Western Bulldogs in 2012, beating them by 58 points at the Gabba in round 13 and again by 67 points at Etihad in round 23. The loss of captain Matthew Boyd for 2-3 weeks is a massive blow for the Dogs, while Adam Cooney is in doubt with a knee infection after a promising NAB Cup, making their chances even less likely.
The Lions look great odds at the line and 40+ points, offering $3.20.
BRISBANE TO WIN BY 53 POINTS
GWS ($13.50) vs SYDNEY ($1.07)
ANZ STADIUM, SATURDAY 30/03/2013, 16:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Sydney 19.18 (132) defeated GWS 5.8 (38) at ANZ Stadium, R14, 30/06/2012
Line: Sydney -44.5
The Sydney derby is now being marketed as “The Battle of the Bridge”, but expect the slogan to be the only thing that has changed from the two previous matches between these two clubs.
The reigning Premier treated the NAB Cup with contempt, as it usually does, just getting the right amount of minutes into its players to be in prime condition for round one. GWS played some solid games during the NAB Cup, even defeating Sydney during the first week three team round robin. But expect the Swans to step up for the real points.
The line certainly looks low. The only odds of interest here.
SYDNEY TO WIN BY 69 POINTS
GOLD COAST ($3.85) vs ST KILDA ($1.34)
METRICON STADIUM, SATURDAY 30/03/2013, 19:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: St Kilda 21.18 (144) defeated Gold Coast 7.7 (49) at Metricon Stadium, R12, 09/06/2012
Line: St Kilda -22.5
This is a very interesting game. The Saints appear to be far too short away from home. While they managed to give the Gold Coast a decent touch up round 12 last year at Metricon, they are coming off a bizarre loss to GWS in Blacktown where they put a relatively strong squad on the park.
Gold Coast haven’t had the most successful preseason, but found some nice form against Melbourne at Southport during the fourth week of the NAB Cup. Ablett decided to was time to step it up with a best on ground performance and looks in peak condition
I’m not quite game enough to back the Suns yet, but the line does look a little tempting at 22.5 points. I’d probably still pass for the time being.
ST KILDA TO WIN BY 9 POINTS
MELBOURNE ($1.94) vs PORT ADELAIDE ($2.06)
MCG, SUNDAY 31/03/2013, 13:10
Port Adelaide 12.12 (84) defeated Melbourne 8.8 (56) at TIO Stadium, R17, 21/07/2012
Line: Melbourne -2.5
This is an extremely tight game to predict, so close that favouritism has changed multiple times depending on which agency you go through. Melbourne comes into the match with question marks hanging over a number of key players. Mitch Clark, Chris Dawes and Jack Trengove are all under done and it would be an obvious risk to play all three. In fact, Clark and Dawes have never played together as a forward combination and will surely need time to gel. Port goes into the game with only John Butcher missing.
Port Adelaide hasn’t played Melbourne at the MCG since 2009 but have a poor record, having lost 7 of their 8 games against the Dees at the venue. In saying that, Port has won the last two encounters against Melbourne.
The Port Adelaide preseason has been very solid and they have a slightly clearer injury list. In saying that, I wouldn’t be touching this game with any of my hard earned.
PORT ADELAIDE TO WIN BY 6 POINTS
NORTH MELBOURNE ($2.74) vs COLLINGWOOD ($1.56)
ETIHAD STADIUM, SUNDAY 31/03/2013, 16:40
North Melbourne 13.13 (91) defeated Collingwood 8.13 (61) at Etihad Stadium, R21, 18/08/2012
Line: Collingwood -13.5
This is the underrated game of the round. These two teams met for premiership points only 7 months ago and North were able to give the Pies a pre finals shock. It was a massive turnaround from the year before when Collingwood embarrassed North Melbourne with a 117 point win at the MCG.
Collingwood come into the game with a large injury list. Dale Thomas, Luke Ball, Alex Fasolo and Andrew Krakouer are all likely to miss, while Ben Reid is in a race against time to be fit in time. Brent Harvey will miss the first 6 weeks but North have a clear injury list. The form of Todd Goldstein throughout the preseason will be a worry, with Daniel Currie arguably outperforming the perceived number one ruck.
Both clubs showed good preseason form, but had comprehensive losses in the fourth week against Hawthorn and Geelong. Apart from the last start, Collingwood have a good recent record against the Roos and should be too strong.
COLLINGWOOD TO WIN BY 20 POINTS
HAWTHORN ($1.70) vs GEELONG ($2.40)
MCG, MONDAY 01/04/2013, 15:20
Geelong 18.10 (118) defeated Hawthorn 17.14 (116) at the MCG, R19, 03/08/2012
Line: Hawthorn -12.5
Will the Kennett curse continue? Geelong has now racked up 9 consecutive wins against the Hawks after it capitulated in the 2008 Grand Final, but it hasn’t been easy going with an average winning margin of only 8.78 points.
Geelong has enjoyed one of the more impressive preseason campaigns, perhaps only second to the Lions on form. Hawthorn failed to win a game during the qualifying rounds of the NAB Cup, but stepped it up in the fourth week against North Melbourne with a big win against North at Craigieburn.
Both teams go into the match with key injuries. Geelong will miss two of its best clearance players in Steve Johnson and James Kelly due to suspension. All of the Cat’s recognised ruckmen are ruled out with injury meaning former steeplechaser Mark Blicavs will fill the void after a surprisingly impressive preseason. Matthew Suckling and Brendan Whitecross are out with long term knee injuries, while skipper Luke Hodge has already ruled himself out. New recruit Brian Lake is unlikely having barely been seen during the preseason and Josh Gibson has been declared fit after suffering a rib injury during the last practice game. 2012 All-Australian Cyril Rioli is expected to play.
Geelong has had nearly a month longer on the training track than Hawthorn and have hit peak form early to counter a tough start.
GEELONG TO WIN BY 21 POINTS
I’ve been a passionate supporter and follower of AFL for as long as I can remember. Having been born into a family with deep football history and tradition on both sides, you can say it runs through my blood. I’ve got a keen interest in the stats and analysis of the game, which helped me finish in the top 100 of fantasy competitions DreamTeam and Supercoach last year. While my own local football career was cut short due to injury at 22, it has created an opportunity for me to frequently watch and build a deep knowledge of the sport at its highest level. I look forward to sharing my thoughts and views throughout the season.
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. The author may not be taking every bet listed above. Bet at your own risk.
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