PUNTING SPECTATOR: Taking the plunge

Dr Turf reveals why the biggest AFL betting plunge of the season involves the worst game of the season. Plus all the usual AFL and NRL tips.

Only three rounds to go in the AFL home and away season, so let's get straight into the action. Here are the prices for this week's games from Betstar. As always, they will change over the weekend.


Team
Price
Essendon
2.15
Adelaide
1.73
Melbourne
1.77
West Coast
2.10
Brisbane
2.15
Western Bulldogs
1.73
Sydney
4.50
Geelong
1.21
Richmond
5.00
Hawthorn
1.19
Carlton
2.14
North Melbourne
1.72
Fremantle
1.62
St Kilda
2.35

It has taken until round 20 to see one of the biggest midweek plunges for the year. That’s not surprising in itself, but what is surprising is that it involves the Melbourne versus West Coast Eagles game on Saturday afternoon. Yep that’s right, the blockbuster between the bottom two teams who have won six games between them for the year.

Melbourne, who are coming off a 19-goal flogging from Geelong are taking on the Eagles, who are coming off a brave win over the in-form Bombers last Sunday. But amazingly it’s Melbourne who have been the subject of the plunge.

The Demons started the week at about $2.00 but were into as much as $1.77 today.

For my mind, this plunge is due to one theory and one theory alone: the Eagles will not try and win their fifth game of the year as it will exclude them from a priority pick in the second round of the November draft.

The ‘T’ word has raised its’ head again. Tanking is what it’s all about. Now, that is fine in theory but they are taking on Melbourne, worthy wooden spooners on form with a list that is crippled by injury to boot. If I could bet on AFL’s first ever scoreless draw here I would, but I can’t, so I’ll have to have something on the Eagles. But punters, please, something small only.

Essendon were OK against the Eagles last week, and I’m prepared to have something on them against the Crows on Saturday but I would like a touch better than the $2.15 on offer. The same applies to the disappointing Brisbane Lions, who take on the faltering Western Bulldogs in Brisbane on Saturday night. Neither team is playing well but the Lions are playing for a spot in the eight and are at home.

Geelong has to give Sydney 25½ point start in Sydney on Saturday night but they just keep putting on football clinics. I can’t see the Swans kicking any score to break the line so it's Geelong at the line for me.

The miserable Saints go to Perth on Sunday to play the disappointing Dockers. Fremantle have been going OK over the last month or so but they have a poor record as favourites. It’s very hard to recommend a bet on the Saints, but at $2.40 I’ll try and salvage some of the damage they’ve done to me this season.

Now to the NRL. Here are the prices for round 23.


Team
Price
New Zealand
1.70
Cronulla
2.20
North Queensland
1.42
Gold Coast
2.90
Penrith
1.17
Canterbury
5.00
Canberra
1.60
Newcastle
2.38
South Sydney
4.40
Manly
1.22
Parramatta
1.80
Wests Tigers
2.02


Haven’t Canberra been a wonderful team for we punters? I am genuinely considering moving there, but then again…

Honestly though, the Raiders have been fantastic. They have a list of no-names, and their free-flowing style of football has been entertaining to watch. They face the Newcastle Knights on Sunday, and whilst I know that there has been plenty of money around the country for Newcastle to beat the line, I will be sticking with Canberra again. Newcastle has lost Adam McDougall who has been the driving force behind most of their recent wins.

The Sydney Roosters are the NRL equivalent of Collingwood. Most people detest them, they lose when they shouldn’t, and win when they can’t. How they lost to Parramatta last week will go down as one of the world’s great mysteries, and on the back of that loss they have been given a 12 point start against the Melbourne Storm. The Roosters won the first encounter 10-6 back in March, and whilst I think that there will be more points around than that, the 12 point start is very appealing.

The best of the round is New Zealand to beat Cronulla. The Warriors have improved over the last month, and always seem to get the better end of the decisions from the whistle blowers when they play at home. On the flip side of that, the Sharks give away far too many penalties, and that will really matter in a match where points will be at a premium.

Have a profitable weekend punters but remember, let’s be careful out there.