Fri, May 2, 12:28pm by Dominic Ciconte
Port Adelaide continued its impressive start to the season, dispatching first-placed Geelong by 40 points at Adelaide Oval to stamp itself as a genuine top four contender.
The Power, starting the season as a $34 premiership chance, is into $8 to win the flag, a $1.50 to make the top four and unbackable at $1.08 to make the finals.
It’s fair to say that the hype surrounding the young, exciting team is starting to catch on with punters. Port Adelaide started in a similar fashion in 2013 before falling away and just making finals – but punters believe that there’s a lot more in store for South Australia’s long-time underdog.
Not bad for a team that was a basket case with no apparent future in 2012.
Round 7 provides a number of juicy games for AFL purists and, more importantly, those keen on a cheeky punt.
There’s some great head-to-head odds, some interesting lines, exotic options and value bets to be had.
Collingwood and Carlton will renew a century-old rivalry that has gained momentum coming into 2014 with Carlton’s recruitment of ex-Magpie Dale Thomas, joining ex-Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse at Visy Park. Expect a vocal Collingwood crowd and a bumper Friday night contest.
Essendon and the Western Bulldogs, both sitting at 2-4, will both be desperate for a season-saving win. The loser simply has no chance of making finals.
Gold Coast and North Melbourne, both at 4-2, will provide interesting news regardless of the result. Is North Melbourne for real in 2014? Can Gold Coast finally take a big scalp away from home?
The round will finish with a beauty out west with Fremantle taking on West Coast in the derby. Both struggling of late, both sitting at 3-3 and both facing intense scrutiny if they should lose. Expect an absolute beauty at Paterson’s stadium.
As always, AustralianGambling has trawled through all of the odds and found you the best value between the bookies. It costs nothing to open up an online account, so make sure that when you’re betting, you get the best odds available and the biggest profits.
When: Friday, May 2, 7.40pm
The Magpie army is up and about. After giving the Bombers a six-goal head start on ANZAC Day last week, Collingwood responded in great fashion in front of a crowd of more than 91,000, clawing its way back into the contest before doing the business late in the game.
The Magpies, written off by many after a sluggish start, are progressing nicely in 2014 and playing the best football we’ve seen since coach Nathan Buckley took over in 2012. With a good run against some easier teams to come over the next six weeks, the $2.20 @ www.sportsbet.com.au you can get on them making the top four at season’s end is looking like value.
Expect all eyes to be on two men in this match. Former Collingwood premiership heroes Dale Thomas and coach Mick Malthouse – both now firmly entrenched in the Carlton camp. Expect no mercy from the Collingwood army should the Blues have a bad day.
The Collingwood midfield is the key to its success thus far. Captain Scott Pendlebury has lifted a gear and is getting ample support from Dane Swan, Dayne Beams and Steele Sidebottom. Look out if big forward Travis Cloke finds some form – he can turn this squad into a genuine premiership contender.
The Blues come into this match with some good form of their own. After starting the season at 0-4, Carlton has beaten Melbourne and enjoyed a dramatic come-from-behind thriller against West Coast last week. Things don’t look as bleak as they did a fortnight ago for the Blues, but we expect them to get found wanting here.
Best bets: Collingwood are in red-hot form and is now in a different class category to the Blues now. We think Carlton will have a red-hot go early, but the Magpie machine will prove too strong in what should be a comfortable win. Get on the Pies to cover the -26.5 line, paying $1.92 @ Sportsbet.com.au. That’s our bet of the week for your multis.
Prediction – Collingwood to win by 47 points
When: Saturday, May 3, 1.45pm
The Saints have been brave thus far in 2014, but bravery alone won’t help them against the all-conquering Hawks.
Many had St Kilda as favourites for the wooden spoon in 2014, but the Saints had ideas of their own. Besides a disappointing four-point loss last week to Brisbane, the men from Seaford have been the surprise packet of 2014. Captain Nick Riewoldt has wound back the clock and the kids, led by Luke Dunstan and Jack Billings, have given fans a future to look forward to.
While the Saints are playing impressive football under new coach Alan Richardson, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who gives them any hope against the Hawks.
Hawthorn bounced back from a loss to Geelong in round five by easily accounting for Richmond last week by 66 points. Cyril Rioli was in fine form and the Hawthorn midfield machine, led by milestone men Sam Mitchell and Shaun Burgoyne, hasn’t missed a beat.
St Kilda has been competitive in almost all its matches so far, but after losing in a close game last week, traveling back all the way from New Zealand and having some of its enthusiasm dented, we fear its first absolute hiding of 2014 could be on the cards.
Best bets: The punt we like for your multi is for Hawthorn to cover its -51.5 line, paying $1.91 with www.sportingbet.com.au. We’re tipping the Hawks by plenty.
Prediction – Hawthorn to win by 71 points
Where: Startrack Oval, Canberra
When: Saturday, May 3, 2.10pm
Top-of-the-table Port Adelaide will look to improve its percentage and continue its pursuit of a top four position when it comes up against the Giants in the nation’s capital.
The Power have continued on from its surprise 2013 season and look to have taken the next step in 2014. No team runs harder or longer than the Power and football purists are in awe at the way a young side has developed so quickly under coach Ken Hinkley.
The Giants started 2014 in promising fashion, but have dropped off in recent weeks. They have two wins after six games and despite recruiting strongly over summer, still show signs that they are one or two years away from being a competitive unit on a consistent basis.
Gun Giants forward Jeremy Cameron will play this week despite an ear complaint, while Port will be taking no chances. The Power have included Angus Monfries in what is their strongest side of the season to date.
Best bets: We like the Power by plenty in this one. If Port Adelaide can beat the first-placed Cats by 40 points, what will they do to the Giants? Sportsbet.com.au is offering a -44.5 line (better than the -46.5 at Sportingbet) and we strongly advise you jump on.
Prediction – Port Adelaide to win by 74 points
Where: Adelaide Oval
When: Saturday, May 2, 4.10pm
The Crows got their season back on track after a win against the Bulldogs last week and will look to sneak into the top eight when they face the lowly Demons at Adelaide Oval.
In years gone by, a game against Melbourne was comically referred to as ‘the bye’. That humiliation was suppose to end under new coach Paul Roos, but it looks as though the tag may stick around a little longer. The Demons have won just the one game in 2014 and while they’ve shown small signs of improvement, they are still a very, very long way away from being a team that even thinks about finals.
Adelaide has selected a settled, unchanged side after its win and resisted the urge to play key forward Taylor Walker, who is on the mend from a knee reconstruction.
Adelaide by how much in this one.
Best bets: In Adelaide Oval’s brief history there’s been a trend towards high-scoring games. We’re expecting the same here. Back the game to go over 173.5 points, paying $1.88 at Sportsbet.com.au
When: Saturday, May 3, 7.40pm
Brisbane finally joined the winners’ list with a gutsy ANZAC Day victory over St Kilda in New Zealand. The Lions have been hit hard by injury and the big emphasis is going to be on development for Justin Leppitsch’s young list.
James Aish was nominated for the Rising Star during the week and it’s these small steps forward the Lions must enjoy as they rebuild the list that was left in disrepair by former coach Michael Voss.
At a contrasting phase is the Lions opposition this week – Sydney. The Swans are traditionally slow starters and haven’t done anything to change that perception this year, although they have looked better in the last fortnight in their wins over Fremantle and Melbourne.
They have opted to rest star recruit Lance Franklin for this clash they are expected to win. Adam Goodes returned in the victory over Melbourne is likely to be given more game time as he ramps up his return from a serious knee problem. Sam Reid will return from injury and is likely to be the focal point of the Swans attack in the absence of Franklin and Kurt Tippett.
Best bets: Sydney should be far too good for the Lions, even away from home. The Swans won a low-scoring affair against Melbourne last round and it’s likely to be more of the same against the Lions. They should still beat the Lions by more than 32.5 points which is paying $2.10 with online bookmaker Sportsbet.
The $18 that Sportsbet is offering on Tom Rockliff leading the Lions’ goal-scorers looks generous and might be worth considering.
Prediction: Sydney by 49 points.
Last year it was North Melbourne’s inability to close out games that cost the club a spot in the finals. Fast forward 12 months and its inconsistency which threatens to derail the Kangaroos’ campaign.
North Melbourne is poised at 4-2, equal with Gold Coast, to set up the second half of the season with victory on Sunday.
But the Suns, who defeated North Melbourne in driving rain at Metricon Stadium last year, can’t be taken lightly. Gary Ablett is head and shoulders above every other player as the best in the game right now, Jaeger O’Meara keeps finding his way, while Dion Prestia remains one of the most underrated midfielders in the competition. Add the return of excitement machine Harley Bennell and versatile big man Charlie Dixon, the Suns look every bit a knockout chance.
But all things considered, we expect North’s class to prevail. North welcomes back Scott Thompson from suspension, while Daniel Wells is a game-time decision nursing a sore foot.
The Kangaroos boast too much firepower with Drew Petrie, Aaron Black and Majak Daw sharing the load up forward. Lindsay Thomas remains a threat at their feet, while evergreen Brent Harvey must have installed the Fountain of Youth at his place during the off-season.
Best Bets: North to win by 1-39 points looks better than bank interest at $2.20 with IASbet.com. We expect a close contest early, with the Kangaroos to pull away in the final quarter.
Prediction – North Melbourne by 31 points
Where: Etihad Stadium
It’s gone from chocolates to boiled lollies very quickly for Mark Thompson’s Bombers in 2014. After round 3 they looked every bit a top four contender after a narrow loss to Hawthorn. But their latest loss to Collingwood on ANZAC Day dented even the most ardent of Bombers fans confidence. The good news is they will regain star utility Brendon Goddard from a groin injury, ruckman Tom Bell Chambers for his first game of the season and tagger Heath Hocking.
The Bulldogs under-sized backline has been savaged by the opposition’s tall forwards in the last fortnight and they will be hoping Dale Morris can overcome an ankle injury as they try and combat the Bombers tall timber.
Hard-at-it midfielder Clay Smith could also be included after recently returning from a serious knee injury. This is the type of match Brendan McCarthy’s team needs to win if it is to play finals in 2014.
Best bets: The $1.33 on offer with Sportsbet for a Bombers victory is an ideal leg in a multi. They have too much firepower up front for the under-siege Dogs backline.
If you’re looking for something with a bit more value for a multi leg, the game is being played at Etihad Stadium and should be a high-scoring affair. Back the teams to score more than 182.5 points between them at $1.88 with Sportsbet.
Prediction: Essendon by 45 points.
When: Sunday, May 4, 3.20pm
Geelong’s undefeated streak was brutally snapped by an impressive Port Adelaide outfit at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday. Cats coach Chris Scott says the blame mainly rests on the coaching staff – but it was an uncharacteristic showing from some of the Cats best players. Even the supremely gifted Steve Johnson made several blunders.
The Cats should be bolstered by star defender Andrew Mackie and ruckman Dawson Simpson for the clash against the Tigers and several other youngsters may come into consideration.
Richmond is struggling – there is no doubt about that. Whenever they have come up against good teams this year – Collingwood and Hawthorn the most recent examples – they have been beaten up on.
This clash against Geelong is an opportunity for the Tigers to make a stand against one of the league’s heavyweights.
It will be slightly easier with Brett Deledio set to return after missing a fortnight through injury. Ty Vickery kicked three second half goals in the VFL and youngster Ben Lennon impressed and will come into the selection frame.
Best bets: Geelong is a very good team, but I think they are too short at $1.19 to beat the Tigers. Of better value is the $2.25 on offer for a Cats victory between 1-39 points. The Tigers must respond to criticism and a big loss would see the blowtorch turned onto coach Damien Hardwick.
Prediction: Geelong by 15 points.
Where: Patersons Stadium
When: Sunday, May 3, 3.20pm
West Coast will be bitterly disappointed after having Carlton beaten with 10 minutes to go, before the Blues slammed on five unanswered goals to snatch a dramatic victory.
The Eagles 3-3 record is not a true reflection of their talent. The lack of output from Nic Natanui is worrying for new coach Adam Simpson and he must be considering giving the excitement machine a spell to give his body time to repair.
The Eagles will regain fullback Darren Glass from suspension while Shannon Hurn is in the mix and training strongly after missing a month with a knee injury.
Fremantle began the season on fire with a huge win over Collingwood, but it has become a struggle for Ross Lyon’s men since then. They have struggled to kick goals and their famed discipline has not been there in the past fortnight.
Hayden Ballantyne will give them some more firepower after serving his one match suspension while Garrick Ibbotson could also earn a recall. The Dockers may look to youngster Matt Taberner to strengthen their forward line while ruckman Jack Hannath could help combat Natanui and Dean Cox, the Eagles powerful ruck division.
Best bets: Both teams are at 3-3, but it feels like the Dockers are in better form. The $1.52 on offer with Sportsbet is well worth your time in head-to-head betting or in a multi.
If you want more value, It’s hard seeing the Dockers thrash the Eagles in what should be a high-octane affair. Back the Dockers to win between 1-39 at $2.10 with Sportsbet.com.au.
Prediction: Fremantle by 22 points.
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