AFL Betting: Pies and Cats out to prove
The Cats have won six of the last nine matches between these teams.
Below-par performances last round by Geelong and Collingwood will act as extra encouragement for both sides to create what Cliff Bingham expects to be a ripper of a game when the two meet in this weekend's AFL.
GEELONG v Collingwood
0.5 units to win with10.5 points start @ Betfair odds of (1.90) or better
It's rare that a 9-5 side can play an 11-3 side with both having failed to meet pre-season expectations, and yet that's the scenario facing Geelong and Collingwood on Saturday night.
Incredibly, Collingwood are 4-10 against the line thus far in 2012 and the Cats 3-11, meaning they are a combined 20-8 straight-up, but only 7-21 against the line.
The ability to 'win ugly' has certainly been an integral part of both teams' seasons to date.
Both teams will be looking to bounce back from sub-par performances last week - the Magpies beaten convincingly by Carlton; the Cats unconvincing winners over Gold Coast.
The Cats have won six of the last nine matches between these teams (including last year's Grand Final), but inaccurate kicking cost them dearly when losing to the Magpies by 12 points earlier this year. That result was one of only two of the last 10 matches between the sides that have finished with a margin of 20 points or less.
Geelong seems to find a way to lift for the big occasions, so I have a slight lean to them with the start.
BRISBANE v St Kilda
0.5 units to win with 12.5 points start @ Betfair odds of (1.90) or better
Brisbane will be looking to build upon a solid 2012 home record and threaten those teams on the fringes of the top-eight with a win over the visiting St Kilda outfit.
The Lions were well-beaten last weekend in Sydney, continuing a trend where they now have a 5-0 record in 2012 against teams below them on the ladder, but only a 1-8 record against teams above them.
The Saints, on the other hand, were terrific against Essendon, but overall their performances have fluctuated from week to week this season (they were very disappointing the week prior against the Kangaroos), and they have won only one of four interstate matches (against the Gold Coast).
St Kilda has won both of their last two matches at the GABBA, albeit by margins of only 13 and 14 points.
I think the handicap on offer is a reasonably accurate reflection of this match-up, but do have a slight leaning to the underdog Lions at home.
Greater Western Sydney v ADELAIDE
One unit to win by more than 70.5 points @ Betfair odds of (1.90) or better
Greater Western Sydney will be looking to restore some pride at home against Adelaide in what looms as another lopsided encounter.
The Giants appear to have run out of steam, averaging only 42 points scored to 153 conceded over the past three weeks. Elite teams have stopped viewing games against them as an opportunity to rest players and started focusing on the benefits of a significant percentage boost.
The Crows appear to have gotten over a minor mid-season slump (if you can call a loss and two narrow wins at home a minor slump), emphatically dispatching Port Adelaide last week. Earlier this season they defeated the Suns by 69 points on the Gold Coast and the Giants by 46 points in the wet at home.
Barring poor weather, it's hard to envisage the Giants keeping this game from blowing out in a similar manner to their last three -it's all about the Crows and laying the big start.
Western Bulldogs v HAWTHORN
Two units to win by more than 49.5 points @ Betfair odds of $1.90 or better
The Western Bulldogs are struggling with both form and injuries, making this a really poor time to run into a rampant Hawthorn.
The Bulldogs' attack in particular has been a cause for concern - they are averaging only 72 points for per game this season, and have broken 75 points only once in their last six matches. In recent weeks they've lost to Sydney by 92 points, Essendon by 84 and, perhaps most disappointingly of all, Brisbane by 58 points at home.
The Hawks have rounded into very strong form via a series of massive victories. Six of their last seven wins have come by 50 points or more, while the seventh came by 46 points when playing interstate. In those seven wins they've conceded an average of just 58 points, while four of those wins have come against sides placed above the Bulldogs on the ladder.
Head-to-head, the Hawks have won their last three against the Bulldogs, including wins by 29 and 46 points (at Etihad Stadium and the MCG respectively) last year.
Despite the absence of Lance Franklin, I can't see the Bulldogs stifling the Hawks' scoring power, nor can I see them kicking a decent score of their own - the Hawks to win by plenty.