Essendon host Hawthorn in AFL Round 18 action. Despite sitting in 6th and 3rd places respectively the bookmakers have the Hawks as short priced favourites, with the current odds seeing Essendon priced between $4.25 up to $4.65 in the head to head market while Hawthorn are trading between $1.22 up to $1.235. The early line handicap has been set at Essendon +28.5 Hawthorn-28.5 with +/-27.5 also available.
Essendon: The Bombers are coming off a 67 point thumping by the Cats last week, in a game where Geelong won 32 more contested and 58 more uncontested possessions. Things won't get any easier this week as they meet a red hot Hawthorn side! Essendon are currently sitting in 6th spot with an 11-5 record having averaged 29.06 scoring shots per game while allowing an average of 22.75 for a differential of +6.31. In recent results the Bombers have lost to Geelong (67-134), defeated Port Adelaide (127-77), lost to St Kilda (62-133) and beaten Western Bulldogs (140-56). Betting results for Essendon see them with a 8-8 (-$40) record against the line handicap and against the head to head odds they are showing a profit of +$531.40 (for $100 bets each week).
Hawthorn: In stark contrast to Essendon the Hawks come into this game on a roll having defeated Collingwood by 47 points last week, giving them seven wins on the trot. Sitting in 3rd place Alastair Clarkson's Hawks have won 12 and lost 4 and have a scoring shots per game differential of +11.31. Their last four games have seen them prove too good for the Magpies (138-91), Bulldogs (116-44), Giants (193-31) and Blues (120-70). To date Hawthorn's 12-4 (+$740) record against the line handicap bet is the best in the league while against the money line odds they are showing a loss of -$72. A quick check with the leading bookmakers shows that Hawthorn are currently trading between $2.70 up to $2.80 to win the flag.
History between Essendon v Hawthorn: The last eight regular season games between these two rivals has seen Hawthorn get the better of it with 5 wins too Essendon's 3 wins. The home v away record is 5-3 and the starting favourite v underdog record is 4-4. The line handicap has not come into play as the outright winner has covered the line in all eight games. The average game total is 199.75 points and their last meeting saw Hawthorn get the win and cover the line with a (146-81) victory as $1.57 (-12.5) favourites.
The Prediction - BetonFoty.com.au we agree that Hawthorn are deserved of their favouritism and while it should be an interesting contest our handicapping numbers don't see enough value on either side to warrant a play at this stage. If the line handicap were to move to +/-32 or more we would take Essendon with the start.