Sydney Swans ($3) v Collingwood Magpies ($1.39)
Pies a cut above the Swans
The Swans are just starting to get going this season, stringing together two wins in a row. They will be hunting a third on the trot against a red-hot Pies side on Friday night footy at the SCG. Narrow wins against the Bombers and Roos has done little to help the Swans’ position on the ladder, but they are just two games out of the top eight in 14th spot. Tom Papley was a star in their five point win against North, booting four goals as the red and whites held on to win, despite a late North surge. Collingwood’s 41 point win against the Saints flatters the Pies, who kicked 6.6 to 1.0 in the final term to blow their opponents away. That was despite being without Darcy Moore and Jordan De Goey, who should line up on Friday night. The SCG hasn’t been a happy hunting ground in recent seasons for the Pies, who are just 1-3 at the venue. A lot of their recent success against the Swans has come at ANZ Stadium, where they are 5-1 this decade. Sydney won by two points in round 20 last season and haven’t played the Pies in Melbourne since way back in 2013. The Wolf sees Collingwood as far and away the better team and they have grown a leg in their past two final quarters. Look at them to march home with another easy win, with the early three goal line sure to grow closer to game time.
H2H: Pies -17.5 ($1.91)Value: Pies 40+ ($3.40)
Hawthorn Hawks ($1.75) v Port Adelaide Power ($2.08)
Hawks to salute at happy hunting ground
The Hawks are the most inconsistent team in the competition after nine rounds, with their six goal drubbing by Richmond the latest in a string of topsy turvy results. Hawthorn has gone WLWL in their past four games, so following that pattern, they are good things to beat Port this Saturday, right? Their forward line again struggled against Richmond, with Luke Breust’s three goals and Tom Scully’s two majors the only multiple goal kickers in an eight goal effort. They will welcome a trip south to Launceston, where they are 31-1-5 since 2009. After a tight first half, the Power kicked away against Gold Coast last Sunday, to win by 38 points. Port has lost its past two games in Launceston, by three points last season and 12 goals in 2012. Ben McEvoy, James Frawley and Mitchell Lewis are all in doubt for Saturday’s clash. Port is 1-4 against top eight teams, with the bulk of their wins coming against the competition’s lesser lights. The 11th placed Hawks fall into that category, but their home ground advantage in Tasmania is the most dominant of any in the competition and based on that and their up and down form, The Wolf thinks they should win a close match of two evenly matched sides.
H2H: Hawks ($1.75)Value: Hawks 1-24 ($3.20)
Western Bulldogs ($1.60) v North Melbourne Kangaroos ($2.35)
Dogs to have their day against North
The Dogs could be just percentage points outside the top eight with a win against the lowly Kangaroos on Saturday afternoon at Docklands. A 44-point loss to the Cats last time out wasn’t all bad news for the Dogs, who were down just 15 points at three quarter time, before a six goal to one final term blitz by the ladder leading Cats blew out the final margin, despite the visitors having 39 more touches than their opponents. An abysmal second term for the Kangas where they conceded seven goals hurt them massively, as they were always chasing in the second half and ran out of time, despite booting four goals to one in the final term. The Dogs have the ascendency in the recent head to head record, winning four of the past five against North, with the Roos’ only win in that time coming by two points in round 14 last season. North’s engine room has struggled to get going all season, ranking second last in clearances and far below the Dogs in inside 50s per game (58.3 v 50). Where they will have a chance to dominate is in the ruck, with the Dogs’ ruck stocks the worst in the competition, averaging just 23 hitouts per game. A four quarter effort is what the Roos need, but The Wolf has seen little in the first two months of the season to indicate the team from Arden Street can deliver that. The Dogs on the other hand have beaten the Lions and Tigers in the past month and will want continue their good recent form and should do so at a great price on Saturday.
H2H: Dogs -8.5 ($1.91)Value: Dogs 1-39 / Over 169.5 ($4.20)
Adelaide Crows ($1.68) v West Coast Eagles ($2.20)
Eagles to win close one in Adelaide
The Crows and Eagles play the first of two meetings this season at Adelaide Oval on Saturday afternoon in what is near enough a coin flip game. Adelaide fell down by as much as 27 points in the final term against Brisbane in round 9 before staging a thrilling comeback to lose by just a point. The Eagles were in trouble after three quarters against Melbourne, down by two goals at the final change. A six goal to one last quarter got them over the line though, with Josh Kennedy’s four goals a highlight. The Eagles wont’ have Lewis Jetta in the travelling party as the speedster was suspended for rough conduct. West Coast has a strong record at the Adelaide Oval, winning seven of its nine games at the ground. Despite not playing their best footy this season, they are 6-3 and have won three on the trot. None of their wins have been commanding though. The 5-4 Crows suffered their first loss in a month against the Lions, but haven’t played sides the calibre of West Coast in that span. The Wolf thinks the Crows are false favourites in this one, and the Eagles’ strong record in Adelaide will hold them in good stead to pull off an upset win.
H2H: Eagles ($2.20)
Value: Eagles 1-39 ($2.75)
Value: Eagles 1-39 ($2.75)
Gold Coast Suns ($5.50) v Geelong Cats ($1.15)
Cats to punish Suns despite injuries
An ankle injury to Patrick Dangerfield soured a 44-point win for the Cats against the Dogs last time out, their eighth victory of the year. They are sitting pretty at the top of the table after nine rounds and travel to the Gold Coast for a match against the slumping Suns. The 3-6 Suns have won one of their past five games and return home after a 38-point loss against Port. They have struggled all season for a tall marking forward after losing Tom Lynch to Richmond. Just four marks inside 50 against Port a week ago makes that evident. The Cats are 8-2 all time against the Suns, and Geelong has won four of the past five encounters. There have been some massive blowouts in those recent meetings, with the Cats drubbing the Suns by 102 points a season ago. Geelong has covered the handicap with ease all season and a trip up north shouldn’t pose them with too many challenges. The Cats injury list is growing by the week, but The Wolf has faith in the Cats to beat one of the league’s worst sides, given they have covered five in a row and won’t be jumping off them just yet.
H2H: Cats -35.5 ($1.91)
Value: Cats 40-59 ($$4.20)
Value: Cats 40-59 ($$4.20)
Richmond Tigers ($1.43) v Essendon Bombers ($2.85)
Dons could pull off upset against Tigers
It wasn’t pretty but Essendon snuck home by seven points against Freo last Saturday night to end a three game winless streak. In a dour affair, Essendon kicked eight goals to the Dockers’ seven, with the teams combining for just six goals to half time. They play their now annual Dreamtime at the G match against the Tigers on Saturday night in front of what is sure to be one of the biggest crowds of the season. Richmond has won three of its past four games, with the only blemish in that span being a shock 47-point loss against the Dogs. The Tigers led at every change against the Hawks in round 9, with Josh Caddy and Tom Lynch leading the way with three goals each. Dustin Martin was unstoppable with 37 touches and the Bombers will need to lock down on the Brownlow Medallist if they are any chance of an upset. Richmond has been poor in contested possession this season, ranking 17th in the competition, while they are last in clearances. They are potent inside 50 though and are in the top five in the league for inside 50s and points per game. They have won eight in a row against the Bombers dating back to 2014, with their most recent win the narrowest in that span, an eight point victory in round 22 last season that ended the Dons’ slim finals hopes. The Wolf has fancied the Bombers as underdogs a few times this season and they have come close to pulling off the win, namely against the Pies. They will be up for this one and should keep it interesting down to the final siren.
H2H: Bombers +15.5 ($1.91)Value: Bombers 1-24 ($4.50)
Melbourne Demons ($2.55) v GWS Giants ($1.52)
Giants to end MCG hoodoo
The Giants will have to put behind them a terrible record at the MCG if they are to topple the Dees on Sunday. GWS is a miserable 2-15 at the MCG all time, including a heavy loss to the Hawks at the home of footy just a couple of weeks ago. They responded from that with their biggest win of the season, a 93-point hammering of Carlton. Leading by 12 goals at the break, the Giants barely had to get out of first gear in the second half, with Jeremy Finlayson kicking a career best five goals. While the Giants looking to cement a position in the top four, the Dees will be looking to break out of the bottom four. A two goal lead at three quarter time against the Eagles wasn’t enough to see them home last Friday, as they were dominated in the final quarter, managing just one goal to the Eagles’ six in another crushing defeat for last season’s preliminary finalists, who are now 3-6 and slipping out of finals contention. One of the Giants’ wins at the MCG came against Melbourne in 2014. Since then, the home team has won all of the matches between the two, including Melbourne’s 55 point win in round 23 last season. The Wolf thinks that surely the Giants’ horror run at the G has to end soon. They are just two goal favourites for in one and they are the only team in the league to beat the Cats this season. Melbourne don’t score enough goals and rarely kick away to match winning leads in 2019.
H2H: Giants -12.5 ($1.91)Value: Giants 1-39 / Under 165.5 ($4)
St Kilda Saints ($1.43) v Carlton Blues ($2.85)
Saints to prevail against unbackable Blues
It’s panic stations at Carlton after yet another loss, this time a 93-point domination by GWS has coach Brendan Bolton’s job called into question in the press this week. The Blues can bounce back in a big way with a win against St Kilda on Saturday afternoon, in a match between two struggling teams. Both sides have lost four on the trot, but Carlton is 1-8 on the season, with their only win coming in round five against the Bulldogs. The Saints are 4-1 in the last five against the Blues, with a 64-point win last season in their only meeting in round 17. The Saints were well and truly in the contest up until three quarter time against the Pies, before collapsing in the final term conceding 6.6 to 1.0. Both sides are at the bottom end of the competition in scoring, with Carlton ranking 16th and the Saints ranked 15th for points per game, which points to a low scoring game. The Wolf is all too aware of the bounce back factor for sides that have been walloped a week ago, but simply can’t back the Blues in any circumstance at the moment. They have some promising young players, but their lack of defensive intensity in Sydney a week ago was concerning.
H2H: Saints 1-39 ($2)Value: Saints 1-39 / Under 165.5 ($3.90)
Fremantle Dockers ($1.75) v Brisbane Lions ($2.05)
Home ground enough for the Dockers
The closest contest on paper this round comes from Perth, with the Dockers hosting the Lions on Sunday afternoon. Both teams played close games a week ago, with the Dockers falling by seven points against Essendon, while the Lions crept over the line by a point against Adelaide. Brisbane has only played at Optus Stadium once, thrashing the Dockers in round 15 last season by 55 points.. Their away form has been poor in 2019, with only one of their wins coming outside of Queensland, and that was against 17th placed North Melbourne. On the other hand, the Dockers’ home form has been mixed, with three wins and two losses. Last season they were 7-6 at Optus Stadium. Luke Hodge was a late out against the Crows with some calf problems, so will be one to keep an eye on for in regards to late team news. The Wolf is going to back the Dockers to push back into the top eight with a win, as the Lions aren’t proven travellers yet this season, in what will be one of the better games this round.
H2H: Dockers ($1.75)Value: Dockers 1-24 ($3.20)