Round 9 ends with the biggest shift of the season as Melbourne heads west to take on the Eagles in Sunday Sunset Football. It’s first against last at Optus Stadium from 5:20 p.m., can the west coast cause an all-powerful upset?
Jack Tobin is here to preview Round Nine’s final match, and be sure to check out our AFL tips page where the BeforeYouBet team covers all matches this season.
West Coast vs Melbourne Preview and Betting Tips
Optus Stadium, Sunday, May 15, 5:20 p.m. AEST
Injured: Oscar Allen, Campbell Chesser, Tom Cole, Tom Joyce, Zac Langdon, Nic Naitanui, Xavier O’Neill, Willie Rioli, Dom Sheed, Luke Shuey, Connor West, Elliot Yeo
The Eagles’ long injury list has been well publicized, but they will reunite with Bailey Williams this week after a hamstring injury, which will add some desperately needed height to the West Coast. Jackson Nelson, Alex Witherden and Greg Clark were named to the extended squad after going missing last week under health and safety protocols.
It’s been a month of horror for the West Coast which has suffered losses of 63, 84, 109 and 75 points in its last four games and now faces the reigning Premiers who are on a fifteen-game winning streak. The Eagles are the worst performing team in the AFL averaging just 56 points per game, and they are also the worst defensive team, conceding 108 points per game. Over the past four weeks they have conceded scores of 121, 117, 165 and 105.
It will be interesting to see what adjustments Adam Simpson makes to the Eagles style of play. He showed a reluctance to stray from the Eagles’ style of high kicks and slow ball movements. If the West Coast continues this way, Melbourne’s defensive system will have a field day and the Demons will dominate the territory battle.
Injured: Michael Hibberd, Blake Howes, Andy Moniz-Wakefield, Christian Salem, Joel Smith, Taj Woewodin
The Demons are missing defensemen Michael Hibberd, Christian Salem and Joel Smith, but their depth has been proven with an 8-0 start to the season. Melbourne will not be forced into any changes this weekend, with Jake Melksham, Adam Tomlinson, Kade Chandler and Mitch Brown added to the extended squad. Last week’s unused medi-sub Toby Bedford is the only omission.
It took just a quarter and a half for the Demons to get rid of St Kilda last week, with the game ending in the fourteenth minute of the second term as Melbourne led by 47 points. The Demons have built their mark on an elite defense, ranking second in the AFL in fewest points conceded this season, allowing just 68 points per game.
While their defense gets much of the credit, Melbourne’s midfield allows them to control games week in and week out. The Demons rank 2nd in eliminations and 2nd in 50s, with their midfield dominating football against St Kilda as Ed Langdon (39 eliminations), Clayton Oliver (38), Christian Petracca (36) and Angus Brayshaw (31) had a field day.
Clearly, there is no value in the H2H and wire-to-wire markets in this matchup, so the two markets bettors should look at are line or total runs. The line is set at -59.5 for the Demons, but Melbourne aren’t used to dominating teams this season. Melbourne has won one win this season by 67 points, but its other seven wins have come by an average margin of 24 points.
They’re clearly capable of covering the line, but the smart play here is for Melbourne to score 110 points or more. The Eagles have conceded an average of 127 points in their last four games and it’s hard to see that trend stopping against the AFL’s best team.
Melbourne over 109.5 points
$1.70 (3 units)
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Angus Brayshaw has had a great campaign so far in 2022 and is one of the AFL’s most underrated players. Brayshaw has been spending time on the wing and back half this year, and is averaging 25 takedowns per game. Brayshaw has 25, 26 and 31 eliminations in his last three games and ranks second in the AFL in ratings, highlighting his work rate to win possessions.
Angus Brayshaw 25+ Assignments, $1.80 with Ladbrokes
Alex Witherden has been a shining light in a dismal season for the Eagles, with the 23-year-old averaging 25 eliminations per game in 2022. Witherden has seen an increase in his kicking this season, and with the ball alive in the West Coast 50 defensive end this season, Witherden will have no trouble finding the ball.
Alex Witherden 25+ Assignments, $1.82 with Ladbrokes
To complete our prop bets, we go with Christian Petracca to score over 2 goals. The Norm Smith medalist scored the two-goal mark nine times last season and had ten shots in the last four games. West Coast have conceded midfield goals over the past month, with Hugh McCluggage (4), Kamdyn McIntosh (3), Luke Parker (2), Chad Warner (2) all hitting the scoreboard the last month against the Eagles. Petracca has consistently gotten shots on goal this season and could be in for a big day against West Coast.
Christian Petracca 2+ goals, $2.10 with Ladbrokes