AFL Betting: Don't give up on Doggies yet
Little separates the Magpies and the Bulldogs on the ladder at the moment
With the Western Bulldogs finding a little form after back-to-back victories, David Murdoch urges you not to completely write them off even though they meet a Magpies team regaining some big guns in their Friday night AFL match-up.
After dropping their opening three matches without so much as a whimper, the AFL world were lining-up to eulogise the Western Bulldogs' hopes of playing finals footy in 2012.
But upon closer inspection, those three losses were against teams that have since cemented themselves in the top eight: West Coast, Adelaide and St Kilda.
Since then, the Dogs have run themselves into a bit of form, with back-to-back wins against competition whipping boys Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney, so the chance of an upset against the once mighty Magpies, although remote, is not beyond the realms of possibility.
What will concern the Bulldogs coaching staff is the fact they were kept goal-less in the first term against GWS. If they get off to a similar start against Collingwood, this one will be over by quarter time.
• Western Bulldogs have lost their last four matches against Collingwood by an average of 39 points
• Collingwood have won their last seven matches at Etihad Stadium by an average of 49 points
• The Dogs have lost their last four matches at the line against Collingwood by an average of 26 points
Expect Collingwood's Travis Cloke, recently priced at a million bucks a season, to put his hand up and justify his worth on the transfer market. The best contested mark in the game after five rounds should get plenty of leather coming his way, particularly under the Etihad Stadium roof, and could end up with a bag if Dane Swan and Scott Pendlebury get the better of the Bulldogs midfield and gritty tagger Liam Picken around the stoppages.
Collingwood's injury list has been a major hurdle for Nathan Buckley in his first year as coach, but as that gets shorter, so to will the gap between the Pies and the top four. The Magpies are expected to welcome back Heath Shaw and Dale Thomas, adding some vital run-and-carry to their game.
Little separates the Magpies and the Bulldogs on the ladder at the moment, but you get the sense that after the pressure cooker of their AZAC day clash with the Bombers and the associated nine-day break, Collingwood are just about ready to let off some steam.
The best way to extract some value out of the Pies may be in the 10 Point Margin Splits between 20-29 and 30-39.