AFL round 7 betting (for May 5): Saints finally back on footy’s biggest stage

Updated: May 5, 2017

After a crushing win over Hawthorn in Tasmania last week, the St Kilda Saints have the GWS in their sights as round 7 of the AFL kicks-off tonight at Etihad Stadium. But the Giants will be keen to make it six wins on the trot after holding off the reigning premiers in Canberra last week; overall record: 25-3-16, +16.52 units

AFL round 7: St Kilda (3-3) v GWS Giants (5-1)
Where: Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, Vic
When: Friday, May 5, 7.50pm (AET)
Lines: GWS Giants -12.5, O/U +189.5

Confirmed bet: GWS Giants -12.5 (two units @ $1.92)

TIW says: There’s a fascinating set-up to tonight’s round 7 opener between the Giants and Saints that you won’t have heard discussed during the week, which cuts to the core of the value (or otherwise) of AFL statistical analysis. The majority of “experts” tout data simply to fill space in their broadcasts or newspapers. Even the handful that do have some sort of understanding of the stats that matter are mostly caught out comparing apples with oranges. Take the games in which tonight’s combatants featured last week. The Giants prevailed an absolute war against the Bulldogs in Canberra – a game that ended with a total of 312 contested possessions, which represented more 41.1 per cent of the total possessions.

Meanwhile down in Launceston, the Saints cruised to a 75-point over Hawthorn in a mostly bruise-free affair. St Kilda gathered 146 contested possessions – just eight fewer than GWS – but the contested possession tally accounted for just 30 per cent of total possession. That 10 per cent differential is, coincidentally, almost the exact difference in the average number of contested possessions that the Giants (ranked second) and Saints (ranked 13th) have amassed so far in 2017. And we’ve watched the relevance of contested possession rise significantly over the past 12 months – seven of the sides in the top eight also rank top eight for contested possession.


One could argue that the impact of such a ferocious contest will play against the Giants tonight – maybe that would be the case if this was round 17, but not round 7. This is a pretty classy GWS outfit, which has tallied five successive wins since that round 1 upset loss to Adelaide. They’re getting the job done at both ends of the park too. Leon Cameron’s side boast the second-most effective defence in the competition while they have scored the fourth-highest number of points. GWS have not conceded more than 81 points in those five straight wins.

The Giants are also the no. 1 clearance team in 2017 with 43.2 per game, while the Saints are ranked last at 33.5 per game. St Kilda return to the Friday night spotlight for the first time in more than two years here (they were thumped by Collingwood by 74 points that night). St Kilda’s expectations will be high after that comprehensive win over Hawthorn last week but it’s hard to take much away due to the tepid display from the once-great Hawks. Both sides having notched up three wins in this fixture. The Saints won the first three, the Giants the most recent three. GWS have won their past three at the Docklands-based venue and represent decent value at the line tonight.


Other round 7 games

Saturday, May 6: North Melbourne v Adelaide
Saturday, May 6: Collingwood v Carlton
Saturday, May 6: Port Adelaide v West Coast
Saturday, May 6: Gold Coast v Geelong
Saturday, May 6: Western Bulldogs v Richmond
Sunday, May 7: Sydney v Brisbane
Sunday, May 7: Melbourne v Hawthorn
Sunday, May 7: Fremantle v Essendon


Round 6 results update: 5-0-2, +6.41 units

Three-unit bets: 7-1-1, +16.23 units
Two-unit bets: 6-2-5, +1.04 units
One-unit bets: 11-11, -0.75 units

West Coast -20.5 v Fremantle (three units @ $1.91) WIN (103-62)
Essendon v Melbourne WIN (three units @ $1.98) WIN (74-112)
North Melbourne v Gold Coast +14.5 (two units @ $1.92) WIN (107-94)
Geelong -25.5 v Collingwood (two units @ $1.92) LOSE (78-107)
Hawthorn v St Kilda WIN (one unit @ $2.00) WIN (55-130)
Essendon v Melbourne -194.5 (one unit @ $1.90) WIN (74-112)
Adelaide v Richmond +39.5 (one unit @ $1.92) LOSE (140-64)


• Selections are listed in three categories – 1) Suggested (likely bet but yet to be finalised); 2) Confirmed (locked in at the price listed); and 3) Leans (tips, but not recommended bets); all times quoted are Australian Eastern Time (AET); prices with thanks to Ladbrokes (except where markets are not available), correct at time of publication. Results/comments on today’s games/races will follow in the next post.

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