Fri, May 23, 3:53pm by Dominic Ciconte
Match: Port Adelaide ($1.45) vs. Hawthorn ($2.85)
Where: Adelaide Oval
When: Saturday, May 23, 7.40pm AEST
Are Port Adelaide for real in 2014?
And every week the Power respond with a performance worthy of a true top four contender.
Despite the fact Port Adelaide sit a game clear on top of the ladder with eight wins after nine rounds, we can’t help but ask that same question again this week as it faces reigning 2013 premier, Hawthorn.
Are Port for real?
A win in this match would put that question to bed for some time.
The Power could go two games clear ahead of the second-placed Hawks on top of the AFL ladder and completely cement their top four spot, guaranteeing a home final in 2014. It doesn’t get any more real than that.
Ken Hinkley’s men have no serious injury concerns at this time of year and appear to be the fittest team in the competition, regularly over-running their competition in the fourth quarter. To top things off, the Power have taken to its new home at Adelaide Oval like a duck to water – they are yet to lose there after four games this season.
While the Power are surging, the Hawks are experience some turbulence in their pursuit of back-to-back flags.
Injuries to Josh Gibson (three months), Cyril Rioli (five weeks) and Sam Mitchell (two months) have placed significant pressure on Hawthorn’s depth and there is no greater test of that depth than playing Port Adelaide right now.
The Hawks had a tough loss to Sydney away from home at ANZ Stadium in round 8, but like Port, should be fresh coming off the bye and ready to make a statement here.
If the Hawks are going to win this game, they will have to cover for the loss of vital midfield cog Sam Mitchell and go with Port Adelaide’s hard-running midfield.
Our focus for the game from a punting perspective will go towards the most disposals market.
In most disposals betting markets, online bookmakers will have two separate groups to bet on.
Group A will be made up of the best ball-winners in the match – the cream of the crop from each team and those in the best form.
Group B will be made up of the ‘second tier’ players – providing an opportunity to gain value away from the usual favourites.
The player you decide to bet on must get the most possessions from just their group of players, not necessarily the most of all the players on the ground.
So, when gambling on this market, it’s always imperative to factor in your competition within the group and not get too down when you see the usual suspects dominating – you only have to get more than who’s in your group.
In this preview, we will cover your best options in both groups.
The groups for this match are as followed:
Kane Cornes (Port) – $4
Travis Boak (Port) – $6
Shaun Burgoyne (Haw) – $6
Luke Hodge (Haw) – $6
Grant Birchall (Haw) – $6
Oliver Wines (Port) – $7
Brad Ebert (Port) – $9
Jordan Lewis (Haw) – $10
Robbie Gray (Port) – $3.75
Jared Polec (Port) – $4.50
Hamish Hartlett (Port) – $4.50
Matthew Suckling (Haw) – $6
Isaac Smith (Haw) – $6.50
Brad Hill (Haw) – $8
Matthew Broadbent (Port) – $15
Luke Breust (Haw) – $21
Jordan Lewis – $10
With Sam Mitchell out of the Hawthorn midfield, the burden of leadership in the centre will turn to Hawks veteran Jordan Lewis.
Lewis is third on Hawthorn’s disposal count after nine matches this season, averaging 24.8 per game. We expect teammate Shaun Burgoyne to be pushed on to a back flank in Mitchell’s absence, leaving Lewis the opportunity to go one-out with a Port Adelaide runner.
Lewis has proven he can rack up the big numbers in 2014. In round 3 he terrorised a top opponent in Fremantle, gathering 37 disposals. If his form against top sides holds true, he represents brilliant value here at $10 with Sportsbet.com.au (better than $8 at Sportingbet).
Brad Ebert – $8
Port Adelaide’s hard-running midfield has been the true secret to its success over the past two seasons. It’s really simple – they run harder and longer than every other team.
It’s said that Brad Ebert is among the top three runners at the club and that’s saying something in a team that could also pass as an Olympic cross-country squad.
Ebert may not be able to use the ball as well as some of his more polished teammates, but we couldn’t care less if he has 30-plus clangers, as long as he’s racking up those disposals.
With the attention focused squarely on Port captain Travis Boak, youngster Ollie Wines and the mercurial Chad Wingard, we think Ebert could be let off the chain.
Ebert averages 23 disposals per game and has a season high of 35. If he plays close to his best football, he’s a bargain at $8 in this field.
Suckling is no stranger to getting a lot of the footy in 2014 – three times he has topped the 30-disposal mark and he averages 23 touches a game.
One of Suckling’s traits which makes him an appealing choice in this market is his tendency to kick the ball to himself from a kick-in. With his powerful left foot, the Hawks use Suckling often coming out of the back half. If the Power are pushing forward like we expect them to, that means more opportunities for Suckling to hit the stat sheet.
He’s our best tip for Group B and at $6 with Sportsbet.com.au, you can’t go wrong.
Jared Polec – $4.50
The emergence of Brisbane recruit Jared Polec is one of Port Adelaide’s true success stories in 2014.
Polec has gone from an unhappy fringe player at the Lions to one of the most-improved players in the competition at the Power.
Using his pace and raking left foot to great effect, Polec is averaging over 23 disposals a game and has season-high of 30 touches in round seven.
In the weaker Group B, Polec is more than capable of taking home the biscuits here.
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