Thursday, 21 May 2015

AFL Round 8 Preview

Another week, another preview of AFL fixtures from the smart blokes at @aflratings.

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AFL Round 8 Preview by aflratings.com.au via @aflratings

Last week 7 favourites were successful from 9 games in the AFL, here are our thoughts for Round 8.

Geelong 3-4 v Carlton 1-6

If you thought the Blues were at an all-time low, then be prepared for some more pain over their remaining 15 games of the 2015 Home & Away season. Carlton are Ranked 15th scoring 74.6pts per game and at the same time are conceding 108.7pts per game (Ranked 18th) whilst only managing 333 Disposals per game which is Ranked 17th, basically the Blues can’t get hold of the footy and are being punished as a result on the defensive end. Geelong last week were very good until the mid-way point during the 3rd when Mitch Duncan left the ground via injury, he is missing long term and the Cats are going to miss him putting undue pressure on a midfield lacking quality depth. Should be no surprises in this one, Carlton are 0-5 when starting as Underdog this year and have lost their last 6 Qtrs played. The Blues are also coming off back to back 6 day breaks.

St Kilda 2-5 v West Coast 5-2

The Saints have shown a great deal more than what the popular opinion was during the pre-season, they have improved through the midfield averaging 362.9 Disposals per game which is ranked 11th in the AFL (Ranked 17th in 2014: 343.7). St Kilda has competed well in this year and could have won at least 2 more games, defensively they will need to be better against the high scoring Eagles this week at Etihad Stadium. The Saints have conceded 101.7pts per game in 2015, in the last 5 weeks that number is 109.8pts per game having conceded 100pts or more in 3 of 5 those games. West Coast are a scoring machine in 2015, 4 times they have hit the 100pt mark which is equal best in the AFL. The Eagles are Ranked 2nd scoring 107.1pts per game this season and are Ranked 1st in the last 4 weeks conceding just 52.3pts per game. West Coast are 4-1 when starting favourite in 2015, their record for defeating non-Final 8 teams is very good dating back to the start of last year.

GWS Giants 5-2 v Adelaide 5-2

The Giants are emerging as a serious contender for the Final 8 this year, their midfield is doing some serious damage against inferior opposition and face Adelaide when they are struggling with major injuries to their midfield. The Giants are also getting it done offensively, they are Ranked 4th scoring 96.1pts per game which includes a 33pt effort against West Coast 2 weeks ago. Remove the 33pts and GWS are scoring at 106.7pts per game which is pretty scary for a team in their 4th season, Cameron & McCarthy have complimented each other well up forward. Adelaide are up against it in this one, yes their midfield group is shorthanded but their 5 wins have come against opponents that for the most part have struggled in 2015. It is hard to see the Crows getting up against the Giants, if they do it would be a terrific result considering their injury circumstances. GWS Giants are 4-0 when starting favourite this season.

Gold Coast 1-6 v Collingwood 4-3

The Suns will need to keep it close early as they have won only 1 of 7 1st Qtrs in 2015, decimated by injuries all season to arguably their top 3 midfielders Gold Coast has really failed to keep games close enough to generate an extra couple of wins. The hopes for the Suns have now faded, this is a gap year with a new coach setting new standards for this playing group so expect some more blowouts against them for the remainder of the season. Collingwood have their own problems losing 2 in a row, they have conceded 102.5pts in both losses and are struggling to cope with teams moving the ball very quickly in to scoring areas. The Magpies should be good enough considering the Suns form line this year, but only hold a 2-2 record when starting favourite in 2015.

Hawthorn 4-3 v Sydney 5-2

Quite obviously the match of the Round, the Grand Final replay from last September will be a heavy match-up. Hawthorn are nearing full strength along with Sydney so there are not too many excuses for either team, this will be a good indicator of how both teams measure up against each in the chase for another AFL Premiership. Hawthorn are Ranked No.1 scoring 114.3pts per game and Sydney are Ranked No.2 conceding 67.4pts per game, the Hawks have prevailed in the last 2 games against the Swans. In each of the last 3 games between these two teams, the Total Points score has not fallen below 195pts. This is likely to be a close contest with what could be some major swings within it, the Hawks are ok when starting at favourite and the Swans have a great travelling record. Buckle up for a great contest.

Fremantle 7-0 v Nth Melbourne 4-3

Not really expecting a major upset at Domain Stadium in Perth on Saturday night, Fremantle should be able to contain a Nth Melbourne team without arguably some their better players. In comparing both teams the Dockers are so much the better team, but they did struggle to get over the line for a win against the Bulldogs last week after holding a commanding near 5 goal lead. Major winning streaks are a rarity in the AFL, the Dockers are well and truly on their way to a big one looking at their schedule over the next few weeks. Nth Melbourne are 0-2 when starting as Underdog this season, this one could be ugly for the Kangaroos. No upset here, here no upset!

Essendon 3-4 v Brisbane 2-5

If the Lions can put a fair bit of pressure against the Bombers moving the ball from out of defence then this could be one of the upsets for Round 8, Essendon when under pressure in recent weeks have just hack kicked the ball blindly out of deep defence straight back to their waiting opponents. Brisbane have found confidence in the last 2 weeks with a couple of good wins, their team discipline was outstanding last week shutting down Port Adelaide at the GABBA. Brisbane are +2 vs the betting line in the last 2 weeks, the +26.5 Brisbane might be appealing to some and especially if the Lions can bring high quality pressure that will trouble the Bombers.

Melbourne 2-5 v Western Bulldogs 4-3

The Bulldogs have let slip a couple of good opportunities go to waste with narrow losses in the last 2 weeks, they were almost able to knock over Fremantle last week and are playing fear free football. If the Bulldogs continue with the fast moving attack game style then they should be able to slice through the Demons at will, Melbourne have struggled since Round 1 scoring only 57.3pts per game. The Bulldogs have multiple forward options now and could threaten the -20.5 betting line in what is forecast dry conditions at the MCG on Sunday.

Port Adelaide 3-4 v Richmond 3-4

This one is all about the coin toss for Richmond!
No seriously this game is for keeps, both teams that had ambitions of going deep in to September and are each at 3-4 with varied results in 2015. Richmond finally showed a little more than just kicking it sideways against the Magpies last week and were able to secure a much needed win, they do lack consistency and can let themselves down in recent history following a big win. Port Adelaide put in a shocker last Sunday in Brisbane and have been under the microscope in the media all week, the Power have scored only 66.5pts average in their last 2 games and need to regain some form immediately otherwise risk not being able to finish Top 4. A must win for both teams, unlikely the Power can lose 3 in a row.

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