Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge says a 19-point win over AFL premiership contenders Port Adelaide will build belief in his players.
Last week was tough for me and (to a lesser extent) the ELO-Following Football rating system.
That said, despite our five count in picking winners, we also picked five winning wagers and ended the weekend exactly a dollar to the good on our nine hypothetical $2 wagers, making our weekly total $10.16 profit on $108 from 54 games so far this season.
The ELO-FF rating system also outperformed the bookmakers in five out of nine games last week, meaning that, except for a 5-4 loss in Round 3, it has gone a perfect five-for-five in outpredicting the oddsmakers every week this season.
But, as always, the wisdom of the Persian prince stands true. In ancient times such a man asked his wisest adviser for something he could have engraved in metal – a ring, the cap piece to a walking stick, that sort of thing – which would keep him grounded in both the best of times and the worst of times. It would be something to keep him from getting too high when things went well and from getting too low when they went poorly. He was smart enough to know that both situations happened to everyone, and he did not want them to overtake his good judgment when they did.
A week or so later the adviser brought the Persian prince a beautiful gold ring with four words inscribed on it. Those four words made the prince smile with appreciation for his wisdom, and he made the adviser his right-hand man until his death: this too shall pass.
Let’s look at Round 7 together.
Richmond Tigers (3-3, rating of 65.3) versus Western Bulldogs (6-0, ELO-Following Football rating of 75.4), MCG
Poor Richmond gets both remaining undefeated teams back to back. It’s great for us of course because it will allow us to compare the two on a fairly equal playing field – against a Tiger team more fragile than expected and trying to hang on until the reinforcements come back.
Last week I said that as long as the Bulldogs were not only winning every week but beating the spread every week I’d keep picking them. Well, they’ve held up their end of the bargain, so since we have them favoured by nine points and the line is 11.5 I’ll say Doggies will win by at least 12 – $3.80 potential return on a hypothetical $2 wager.
In reality this has the makings of a 40-point blowout, but I refuse to disregard the Richmond will to keep it close during this championship run, even without Dustin Martin or Kane Lambert on the field.
Collingwood Magpies (1-5, 41.4 rating) versus Gold Coast Suns (2-4, 45.3 rating), MCG
Take a moment to let those records and ratings soak in for a second. That’s right – much-maligned Gold Coast has both a better record and a better rating than the 16-time champion Magpies. Even with the home-ground advantage of the vaunted MCG we have Gold Coast winning by a full point. And if there’s a momentum component to add into this, Collingwood’s at a disadvantage here too given their loss on the scoreboard, at the coalface and in the trainer’s room following the Anzac Day loss to fellow also-rans Essendon.
At least there are glimmers of hope on the coast. The Suns will win outright – potentially $6.10 on a $2 wager.
Adelaide Crows (3-3, 38.5 rating) versus Greater Western Sydney Giants (2-4, 48.0 rating), Adelaide Oval
This is our third among eight close games expected this weekend – only North hosting Melbourne will reside outside of a two-goal margin. We have the Giants as a 6.5-point favourite here (the line is 4.5), but after watching the Crows notch 15 straight goals against Hawthorn, I’ve began to doubt my own system!
The claim in the broadcast of Sunday’s game was that the 15-straight goals without a blemish was the longest such streak to start a game in league history. I can’t yet find evidence to refute that. The Crows really should have won Sunday in Tasmania, and at home I like them to get over the line against Toby Greene and the remnants of the Giants’ ‘Ferrari’. That’s $4.24 on $2.
St Kilda Saints (2-4, 36.3 rating) versus Hawthorn Hawks (2-4, 38.0 rating), Marvel Stadium
The sum total of the Hawks’ victories are a one-point win against two-win Essendon and a three-point win in Tasmania against last season’s spoon-winners Adelaide, both requiring massive comebacks to achieve. St Kilda somehow has wins against GWS and West Coast, but they also lost to Richmond by 86, Essendon by 75 and Port by 54.
Can we just cancel this game for lack of interest?
Amazingly, it might be a ‘good’ game in the sense of it being competitive. With the slight home-ground advantage the Saints get at Marvel this is virtually a draw in our projections – it’s St Kilda by three-tenths of a point. And while Hawthorn has a little momentum on its side, at least compared to a Saints team coming off a rout at Port’s hands Sunday night, for some reason they’re a significant betting underdog.
All that makes our decision easy: we’re taking Hawthorn to win ($4.90 on $2). If you’d prefer to just take the 7.5-point line advantage and bet the Hawks’ side of it – that they won’t lose by eight or more – that’s a smart bet too. I like a little risk with my non-existent money.
Brisbane Lions (3-3, 63.9 rating) versus Port Adelaide Power (5-1, 67.8 rating), Gabba
Only six teams have ratings above the mean of 50, but all six are well above 50 – in fact all six are above 62 while the other 12 dwell below 50. Two of them are here: Port Adelaide and Brisbane, competitors in the classic 2004 grand final when the Power finally ended the string of consecutive premierships for the Lions.
With the travel difficulties and the short week the Power face, ELO-FF see Brisbane as a one-point favourite in this match-up. Regardless, we like the roll Port is on right now and we’ll take the Power to win. It won’t necessarily cover the one-goal line – it’s too easy to imagine a Robbie Gray after-the-siren shot winning this – but it’s just a ‘win’ at $3.32 for a $2 bet.
Sydney Swans (4-2, 49.2 rating) versus Geelong Cats(4-2, 62.9 rating), SCG
Maybe all they needed was a healthy Jeremy Cameron alongside the Tom Hawkins. Cameron must think life in the blue hoops is easy given he now has a personal record of 1-0 with a percentage of 349 per cent as a Cat. He might have a rude awakening against Sydney Saturday night – or perhaps it’ll be Sydney that has the rude awakening after being routed by (of all teams) Gold Coast last week.
The line is just one and a half goals in Geelong’s favour, and if the Cats are going to win this, history says it’ll be a runaway. Geelong wins and covers ($3.80 on $2).
North Melbourne Kangaroos (0-6, 9.6 rating) versus Melbourne Demons (6-0, 67.7 rating), Blundstone Arena
This is the one game we can guarantee won’t be close. The margin for this game on our rating numbers is 56.5 points, exactly the current betting line, which is too high to make constructive use of. Long before the Demons go up by 56 they’ll start experimenting or relaxing or selectively moving players around to rest them. But they should at least make it past 40.
I’d ignore this game monetarily, but that’s not the gimmick here. We put $2 on every game. So we’re taking Melbourne to win by more than 39.5 points at $2.80 on a $2 bet. It’s not much of a return, but there’s not much suspense either.
Essendon Bombers (2-4, 45.8 rating) versus Carlton Blues (2-4, 48.3 rating), MCG
One team is coming off a famous victory at Anzac Day in front of about 80,000 in this very building; the other lost to a sub-0.500 team and spent the second quarter in particular looking like tourists rather than players as Brisbane ran rampant over them more easily than if they’d been traffic cones.
Sure, Carlton’s rating suggests they have a 2.5-point advantage in this game – and the betting line is 8.5 in their favour – but seriously, which team do you actually trust right at this moment? With Darcy Parish looking legendary in the midfield, Essendon at $4.34 to win on a $2 bet looks like a gift.
West Coast Eagles (3-3, 49.5 rating) versus Fremantle Dockers (4-2, 47.8 rating), Optus Stadium
Here’s praying that Western Australia is under conditions more conducive to filling Optus Stadium for the Western Derby than they had last weekend. It would be tragic not to have a reasonable crowd for it.
Is there anyone who thinks Fremantle’s record being a game better than West Coast implies that the Dockers are therefore better than the Eagles? No, I didn’t think so. Even our ratings give the Eagles only a four-point edge, which seems more of a function of who they’ve played rather than the quality of their performances.
The ten-point line in West Coast’s favour is more aligned with reality. They fared better against the Bulldogs than any opponent so far and they gave Port their only loss. Were it not for their no-show against a Geelong team that got on a roll Saturday in the way that only the Cats can, this wouldn’t be a question. We’ll take West Coast by 11 or more to cover the spread.
We are currently 37 of 54 for the season picking winners – not stellar by our standards but better than average. As always, take our betting suggestions as a tool to predict the games, not as investment strategies to increase your checking balance. If I don’t have enough confidence to actually bet money on my own forecasts, you probably shouldn’t either.
But since I’m not your mum: do what you want, folks. Just don’t be stupid with your money, okay?