Dusty Lines for Footy Inc.
For only the fourth time this season Home teams outperformed Away teams at the line (8 out of 9 Home teams won at the line in round 18).
On the team line ladder it is still the Tigers and Crows getting it done both having won 71% of their matches at the line.
ROUND 19 LINES
Hawthorn +14.5 / Sydney -14.5
The Swans have only lost one of their last 11 matches. That one loss was to the Hawks in round 10 at the SCG. Can Hawthorn beat Sydney for a second time this season?
Right now it is hard to see anything stopping the Swans who have stormed into the top 8 with almost a full strength team out on the park.
The Hawks on the other hand still have a nasty injury list but despite that they are on their best run of the season with three wins, a draw and a narrow loss to 2nd placed Geelong over their last five matches.
The Swans are 14.5 point favourites. I think they might continue their incredible run and cover the line here.
Hawthorn +14.5 points – Moose Dogs, Hollywood, Ding Dong
Sydney -14.5 points – Dusty, Big O, Shan, TRM
North Melbourne +15.5 / Melbourne -15.5
The Kangaroos are now only percentage off bottom spot on the ladder and the number one draft pick. How can you trust North Melbourne to win any match for the rest of the season (including their round 23 clash against fellow cellar dwellers Brisbane) while the carrot of the #1 pick is waving in front of their nose?
Despite significant outs due to injury and suspension, you have to go with the Demons at the -15.5 point line.
North Melbourne +15.5 points – none
Melbourne -15.5 points – Dusty, Big O, Moose Dogs, Hollywood, Shan, TRM, Ding Dong
GWS -40.5 / Fremantle +40.5
The Giants are coming off a really tough four week run drawing matches against Geelong and Hawthorn and then losing to Sydney and Richmond. Fremantle at Spotless Stadium should put an end to this bad run – they will start 40.5 point favourites.
With such a big line to cover, that long GWS injury list is still a concern although they look like getting a couple of guns back this week. They will lose Toby Green after his jumper punch on Alex Rance cost him two weeks.
Fremantle have been beaten soundly by West Coast and Hawthorn over the last two weeks and have generally been pretty bad since round 10 with a win/loss of 1-7.
There may be significant ins and outs for both of these teams so it might be best to hold fire on this selection until teams have been confirmed.
GWS -40.5 points – Big O
Fremantle +40.5 points – Dusty, Moose Dogs, Hollywood, Shan, TRM, Ding Dong
Port Adelaide -30.5 / St Kilda +30.5
This is a massive match for both clubs. For Port, a win here would have them right back in the top 4 mix while a loss would put them at risk of falling out of the top 8. That’s how tight it is at the top this season.
For St Kilda it is do or die. They’re in 11th but only out of the top 8 on percentage. Port Adelaide in Adelaide is probably their toughest match of the last five rounds so an upset win here will dramatically change their finals chances. If not, they’re pretty much out of the conversation.
Port are referred to by some as “flat track bullies” so this weekend on their home ground and with a healthy list to choose from, it is tempting to take them to cover the big -30.5 point line. But for me, the Saints are better than what they have put out on the field in the last two weeks so I think they’ll respond and take it up to Port.
Port Adelaide -30.5 points – Big O, Moose Dogs, Hollywood, Shan, TRM
St Kilda +30.5 points – Dusty, Ding Dong
Gold Coast +17.5 / Richmond -17.5
This is another example of a lot being at stake for one team and very little being at stake for the other. The Suns are just making up the numbers now while the Tigers have a top 4 position to defend.
For that reason and based on the form line of both teams (Suns have lost 5 of their last 6 games while the Tigers have won 4 of the last 5) you have to put your faith in Richmond at the -17.5 point line.
Gold Coast +17.5 points – Big O, Hollywood, Shan, Ding Dong
Richmond -17.5 points – Dusty, Moose Dogs, TRM
Carlton +30.5 / Geelong -30.5
At this time of year it is natural to start questioning the motivation of those teams at the bottom of the ladder with no finals hopes. Not that players would be directed to lose but teams can start resting players, sending them off for early surgery on ongoing injuries and experiment with players in different positions. One or two positions up or down in the draft order could make a huge difference. But Brendan Bolton doesn’t seem like the type of coach to play those types of games – he’s trying to teach his young team how to win.
Despite playing the 2nd placed Cats I like the Blues with the 30.5 point head start.
Carlton +30.5 points – Dusty, Big O, Shan, Ding Dong
Geelong -30.5 points – Moose Dogs, Hollywood, TRM
Western Bulldogs +1.5 / Essendon -1.5
Two teams on 36 points fighting it out for a spot in the finals – the Bombers are in 8th with the better percentage and the Dogs are in 10th position. This is a huge match. And the tight line (1.5 points) suggests it will be a cracker.
The Bombers have a relatively healthy list and are on a good run winning their last three matches. The Bulldogs still have a long list of injuries but they’ve won their last two matches (albeit to lowly opponents) to keep themselves in the finals race.
Unfortunately though I think this might be the beginning of the end for the Dogs in what has been a luckless season. Dons to cover the line.
Western Bulldogs +1.5 points – nil
Essendon -1.5 points – Dusty, Big O, Moose Dogs, Hollywood, Shan, TRM, Ding Dong
Collingwood +20.5 / Adelaide -20.5
The Pies managed a brave comeback win last week over the Eagles but this weekend they come up against the red hot Crows. The fitness and availability of key players such as Darcy Moore and Scott Pendlebury could be a key factor with the line at +20.5 points for Collingwood.
The Crows last three matches have been convincing wins over the Bulldogs, Demons and Cats. They seem to have regained their best form in the run up to the finals so I think the Crows will cover the -20.5 point line.
Collingwood +20.5 points – Ding Dong
Adelaide -20.5 points – Dusty, Big O, Moose Dogs, Hollywood, Shan, TRM
West Coast -45.5 / Brisbane +45.5
Expect to see an angry Eagles side take the field on Sunday after a terrible loss to Collingwood last weekend when they let a 24 point lead slip. They will start 45.5 point favourites against Brisbane which is a huge line to chase down. West Coast have won 6 matches at Domain Stadium so far this season at an average winning margin of 23 points – the biggest winning margin was 41 points against Fremantle in round 6.
The Lions have lost 13 matches this season at an average losing margin of 51 points. An angry West Coast in Perth is a tough ask so this could be a blowout.
West Coast -45.5 points – Dusty, Moose Dogs, Hollywood, TRM
Brisbane +45.5 points – Big O, Shan, Ding Dong
The line tipping table after round 18:
Round 19 results and an updated ladder will be published next week on Footy Inc..