Essendon vs Sydney

Friday 27th July, 7:50pm AEST, Etihad Stadium

Essendon

Despite dominating the game on the field against the Dockers last week, they will be disappointed with the final margin of 29 despite registering almost double the inside 50’s and kicking 19 more scoring shots. They can’t afford to be wasteful against the Swans and for them to keep their finals hopes alive, a win here is a must. They haven’t enjoyed the best record against the Swans having lost their last 5 but given the relative forms of the two teams they will feel good about their chances here. Moving the ball quickly and aggressively will be key to the Bomber’s chances of winning and will want to get the ball into the hands of their small forwards before the usually formidable defense of Sydney has time to set-up. The return of Stringer in this game should help with the big-bodied forward in good form before his injury.

Sydney

The Swans finals and premiership equity took a huge hit last week after they experienced an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the 17th placed Suns last week in what was the biggest upset in about a decade of AFL. In an unusual game, the Swans seemed to have no answers to the Suns with the visitors keeping them goalless for 2 quarters. They will need to put the loss in the back of their mind and focus on this task at hand against the Bombers who have been in good form recently. Their midfield has been down on output recently and captain Kennedy will need to rally his troops for them to prove they are still genuine contenders for the flag.

Betting Strategy

In what should be a close game, the model doesn’t see the Swans bouncing back seeing value in the Bombers at $1.85.

 BACK – Essendon to win


Richmond vs Collingwood

Saturday 28th July, 1:45pm AEST, MCG

Richmond

The Tigers easily dispatched of the Saints last week and have continued their perfect form in Melbourne this year. There’s not many teams that look likely to challenge the Tigers come finals, probably with the exception of their opponents this week. Although they beat them by 43 points in Round 6, the Pies have quickly established themselves as one of the teams to beat and this will be the Tiger’s final test in the Home and Away season. If the Tigers are at their best, it’s hard to see them losing this one but the Pies have shown a similar style to the Tigers where they are capable of punishing teams on the counterattack and if they can replicate their best footy, this may be a closer game than most would think.

Collingwood

The Pies are gunning for a top 4 spot and winning this game against the top of the ladder Tigers would make that prospect an almost certainty of happening. The loss of De Goey will make the task significantly harder for them but they still have plenty of forward firepower in the likes of Hoskin-Elliott, Cox and Stephenson to keep the Rance-led Tiger’s defense honest. Versatile ruckman Grundy will be playing his 100th game and he will need to play that duel role of an extra midfielder for the Pies to win as the Tiger’s midfield has been in red-hot form this season.

Betting Strategy

It’s hard to see the Tiger’s losing at the G but the model sees the big odds on offer of $3.60+ on the 3rd placed Pies as too good to pass up.

 BACK – Collingwood to win


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