AFL ROUND 16
Sydney Swans v Geelong Cats
Quite the rarity when you have both the Swans and the Cats fronting up after both losing the week before but that's exactly what we have here to open up round fifteen on Thursday night football. The Swans went toe to toe with the reigning premiers last week and inevitably fell short while the Cats took their matchup against the Western Bulldogs to a shootout and lost in an upset, missing the match winning goal after the siren.
The Swans will be keen to return to their confines of the SCG for this clash after their disappointing loss to the Tigers last weekend. OTP followers were left pondering what could've been as Isaac Heeney was concussed in the early stages of the match and never took further part throughout. The Swans have looked the most likely to challenging the Tigers in a bid to dethrone them as the reigning premiers but will need other players to stand up around their core group. Dan Hannerbery has looked a shell of himself since the 2016 Grand Final and is now flirting on whether he is a regular first team pick for the Swans. Gary Rohan who has since been omitted through 'injury' has also had a lacklustre year and it is the difference between these players and the second tier players of the Tigers that separates them. The Cats welcome back Scott Selwood from a head injury sustained earlier this year and will be vital in shutting down the prime moves of the Swans midfield. Mark Blicavs has come under an injury cloud throughout the week, however, as of writing was available and will be playing for the Cats backline. Blicavs has recreated himself as a defender after having the third man rule wiped at the beginning of last year. Blicavs will put his name up for contention for All-Australian defender and will also be vital for the Cats chances tonight against the Swans forward line, if healthy.
The Cats are returning to full strength and having lost last week, are now in contention of not winning enough games to not only miss the top 4, but top 8 as well. The money has come for the Swans throughout the week and before that, had no value. The Swans are now at a price where they'll be our best for the week. The Swans will win this game and continue their strong record against the Cats in recent time as they march towards September action.
Sydney Swans To Win4.0u at 1.72-4
Sydney Swans -6.52.0u at 1.92-2
Melbourne Demons v Fremantle Dockers
Melbourne and Fremantle will both head to the Northern Territory to do battle under the northern heat and lights of TIO stadium. When the Demons last visited the NT, they handed the Adelaide Crows their biggest loss of the season and really kick started their fanfare for a premiership tilt. The Dockers are coming off a dismal performance against the Brisbane Lions last week, being belted off their own park by 55 points.
Melbourne copped their third consecutive defeat and the alarm bells are now ringing for the red and blue faithful as their finals aspirations are under serious threat. Melbourne went down to the Saints last week as 41.5 point favourites and had serious questions asked of their defense. Melbourne are now ranked 18th in defense efficiency when allowing an opponent to enter their own forward half 50. This stat speaks volumes of how important Jake Lever was to the Melbourne back line since his season ending knee injury. Fremantle were more than just shocking last week and continue to show that they may not be on the right track under Ross Lyon, after all. Brisbane become the third team this season to go to Optus Stadium and beat one of the home town teams, doing it in style to the tune of 55-points. The Dockers were rocked with the loss of Nat Fyfe, who looks to miss another month's worth of football, with a hamstring injury while Aaron Sandilands was also struck with injury just minutes after the bounce with his own calf injury. The Dockers will have read replacements for these two superstars as Sean Darcy and Bradley Hill will come into the Fremantle lineup to face the Demons.
There is no way to measure how far the Demons will drop now and I believe the 40 points to an albeit, depleted Fremantle team, may just be too many points. Fremantle have responded after poor performances earlier this year and will give a spirited effort in the territory as they cover this more than generous line. Take the plus line for Fremantle as we get a gauge on where Melbourne are truly at.
Fremantle Dockers +49.51.5u at 1.92-1.5
Essendon Bombers v Collingwood Magpies
This week's matchup of the round and in true fashion, OTP has done their best to handicap the game and find us the winners. The Pies are coming off a training run up in the Gold Coast last week, easily dispatching the Suns. The Bombers were able to stave off a determined Kangaroos outfit that really took it to them last week under the roof of Etihad Stadium.
The Pies continued their winning ways last week by easily accounting for the Gold Coast Suns up on the Gold Coast. The final siren margin was more flattering for the Suns as the Pies had this game locked up and won at half time. The real news out of the Collingwood camp were the two injury blows the backline has taken since the final siren has sounded. Ben Reid and Lyndon Dunn have since had surgeries for their injuries that will see them miss a significant amount of time. As of writing, the Pies were still awaiting news on whether they'd be getting the services of Varcoe, Moore, Elliott, Blair and James Aish but all could spend time in the VFL in their preparation to returning to first level football. Essendon found themselves in a good ol' fashion shoot out last week, surpassing the expected total of their matchup against North Melbourne by approximately 50-points. The Bombers have no won four of the last five games and have not put in a bad performance since they were embarrassed in their dream time of the 'G matchup over a month against the reigning premiers. The Bombers have found a real avenue to breaking lines with their potent half back line which is causing other teams some serious trouble.
Our initial play was the Bombers to win this game, however, with the late omission of Orazio Fantasia to the Bombers lineup, we're going to side back with the favourites and see if the Pies can end the run of Bombers hot streak. Fantasia has been pivotal for the Bombers forward line in terms of being dynamic and his ability move defenders off their mark. Take the Pies to win here and the Pies to win well to round out our Sunday.
Collingwood Magpies To Win2.5u at 1.62+1.55
Collingwood Magpies -9.52.0u at 1.92+1.84
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI Finals Week Two +7.53 7.5 100% Finals Week One +8.45 13 65% Round Twenty-Two -4.7 13.25 -35% Round Twenty-One -4 13 -31% Round Twenty +3.76 10 38% Round Nineteen -9.5 9.5 -100% Round Eighteen -7.75 14 -55% Round Seventeen +0.68 7 10% Round Sixteen -4.11 12 -34% Round Fifteen -8.5 8.5 -100% Round Fourteen +6.5 8 81% Round Thirteen -7 7 -100% Round Twelve -0.72 5.5 -13% Round Eleven -2.93 7.5 -39% Round Ten +1.5 8 19% Round Nine +7.84 8.5 92% Round Eight +3.5 8 44% Round Seven +2.35 7.25 32% Round Six +1.15 5.5 21% Round Five +5.32 9 59% Round Four -2.1 6.5 -32% Round Three -0.35 5.5 -6% Round Two -1.5 6 -25% Round One +2.56 6 43% Total -2.02 206 -1%