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AFL Sunday Specials: Saints can upset Cats

Sat, Apr 22, 8:00am by Senior Writer

The markets in Sunday’s two games of AFL have changed significantly over the course of this week, with both outsiders, St Kilda and Hawthorn, firming ahead of their clashes with Geelong and West Coast respectively.

St Kilda v Geelong, Etihad Stadium, Sunday April 23, 3:20pm AEST

There are plenty of AFL fans willing to tell you that Geelong are lucky to be top of the ladder after four rounds, and given that they could have/should have lost matches against North Melbourne and Melbourne at this venue, it’s a reasonable point.

The Saints caused one of the upsets of last season when they beat the Cats at Etihad in Round 14 and the money has been for them to do it again. At the start of the week, they were $2.80 with the line at 14.5. But that has gradually shortened as the week has gone on and on the eve of the match they are into $2.50 with the line at 13.5.

The Cats, who are $1.50, are 4-0 as mentioned, and are coming off a thumping 86-point win over Hawthorn on Easter Monday. However, they are off a six-day break, which is why some think they are vulnerable.

What is also interesting is that St Kilda have proven somewhat a bogey team for both Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood. Dangerfield’s disposal average against the Saints across his career is just 18, by far the worst of any team, while Selwood’s average against the Saints is 22, which is the second worst for him.

The Saints have also made a habit of causing upsets at Etihad. TAB informed us earlier this week that St Kilda have won five of their past seven matches at the ground when they have started as underdogs. They were $5.25 when they beat the Cats last year and $2.40 when they beat Collingwood last week.

The jury is still out over whether the Saints have improved this year, but we’re not convinced the Cats have either. We are happy to chance the value at $2.50.

Suggested Bet: St Kilda to win at $2.50

Hawthorn v West Coast, MCG, Sunday April 23, 4:40pm AEDT

The Hawks were $3.18 at the start of the week, but are now into $2.75 due to a couple of factors. Back-to-back 86-point losses created some hysteria about Hawthorn falling off a cliff, and I think the initial market reflected that. West Coast’s flat performance at this ground a few weeks ago against Richmond has come into more focus, and when the Eagles confirmed that former Hawk champ Sam Mitchell would not play in this game, they drifted out to $1.45 from their original quote at around $1.36.

The original line was 18.5, but is now into around 15.5, reflecting the fact that West Coast haven’t beaten Hawthorn outside Western Australia in over ten years. In five of their last six matches at the MCG they have performed below market expectation and failed to beat the line.

But after everything we have seen from Hawthorn this year, it’s hard to see them keeping the Eagles on their toes in this one. Despite Mitchell’s absence, the Eagles have a wealth of midfield talent, while their attack should make hay against an out-of-sorts Hawthorn defence, who have leaked 10 goals more this year than any other team.

The market that might be worth considering is the total goals over and under for the Eagles. At the moment, you can get $1.91 for the Eagles to kick more than 14.5 goals. That’s something they haven’t done the last six times they have been here, but the Hawks will struggle to stop them scoring.

Suggested Bet: Take the Eagles to kick more than 14.5 goals at $1.91

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