Etihad Stadium is the venue for Friday night’s Round 7 opener between the Essendon Bombers and the North Melbourne Kangaroos.
North Melbourne is coming off a strong win against the Richmond Tigers while Essendon are returning from Perth where they were convincingly beaten by the Fremantle Dockers.
Both clubs have 3 wins and 3 losses and a win on Friday night could be vital for their Top 8 aspirations as there is a good chance that only one of these two clubs will make it to the finals this season.
What The Bookies Think
The bookies have opened the markets and installed North Melbourne as the $1.60 favorite with Essendon paying $2.50
The line is currently sitting at -10.5 points North Melbourne and +10.5 points Essendon.
North Melbourne to lead at the end of all four quarters $3.20
Essendon to lead at the end of all four quarters $4.60
The total match line is currently sitting at 176.5 – 181.5 points depending on the bookie.
What We Think
North Melbourne is inconsistent again this season. The Kangaroos have a loss/win/loss/win/loss/win record which is a nightmare for punters. They have notched up good wins against Brisbane, Geelong and Richmond but were humiliated by Adelaide and Hawthorn.
They also lost to Port Adelaide in a close match.
The Kangaroos were excellent last week in Tassie against Richmond. It was a close match until half time but they exploded away in the 3RD term with excellent ball movement, fast pace and direct football. They have plenty of firepower up-front with Brown, Petrie, Waite and Thomas.
These two sides last clashed in the 2014 Elimination Final where the Kangaroos came from behind to win by 12 points. Brown and Thomas booted 7 between them on that occasion and both were in great form last week against the Tigers.
Essendon have also had an indifferent start to the season. They went down in a close match to Sydney in Round 1 before beating Hawthorn in Round 2 and Carlton in Round 3. However, they were very lucky to beat Saint Kilda and have lost to Collingwood and Fremantle.
The biggest concern for the Bombers is their ability to kick a winning score. They are currently ranked 16th for points per game, averaging only 71 points while the Kangaroos are ranked 4th, with 94 per match.
North Melbourne has the wood over Essendon at Etihad Stadium, winning 9 from the last 13 including 4 out of the last 5 on Friday night football.
Todd Goldstein is the key to this match. He was excellent last week against the Tigers and changed the match for them in the second half.
We expect the Bombers to be more competitive this week as they have a couple of good players returning but on current form, we cannot go past the Kangaroos. We did land our biggest bet of the Round last week on them so we are going to stick with them again this Round.
The match Over/Under line at 176.5 points looks to be around fair value as there are forecasts of scattered showers for Friday night. If it stays dry, we would be on the Over line.
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