AFL betting preview: St Kilda v Essendon

Tonight St Kilda and Essendon are set to take the field at Etihad Stadium. Both teams are coming off very strong victories in Round 16 and are both very much in the hunt to be relevant come the final series in September.

Essendon

Close to full strength, only missing veteran Jobe Watson who has been rested for this weekend. Essendon have been inconsistent at times this year, but when they turn up to play they can be devastating, as they showed last week against the Pies. They are fully aware of how close they are to earning a spot in the Top 8 and so they will be very hungry to get the job done tonight.

St Kilda

Are still missing a few big names, including Tim Membrey (suspension), Billy Longer (hamstring), David Armitage (groin) and Maverick Weller (ankle), however they have been playing great footy in previous weeks, winning their last 4 games such that now they find themselves in the Top 8 of the competition.

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The Analysis

Going to the numbers, these teams couldn’t be too much closer in terms of ability on paper. While each side has an advantage in several of the categories below, the overall impact is such that our aggregated player rating for each team is practically the same, with St Kilda having the slightest edge.

Saints, Bombers, AFL, Grades

This equality is further exemplified in the graph below; comparing player quality across different areas of the park. Essendon boast a slight advantage in the forward line, with the likes of Joe Daniher and Orazio Fantasia more than capable of racking up a big bag of goals in any one week. This advantage is made up by St Kilda in the midfield and in the defensive end of the ground, where they have a slight advantage. Sebastian Ross and Jack Steven continue to rack up possessions and cause havoc around the stoppages, which will more than likely be the case again this evening.

Saints, Bombers, AFL, Player comparison

The stage is set for a very interesting Friday night match-up, considering both the equality between these sides and the fact that they will be both be playing with the utmost intent to solidify their chances of earning a spot in the Top 8. At the moment there isn’t enough value in the market to have a bet on either team, but we will be monitoring the market movements throughout the day to see if there are any significant moves to offer some value.

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Prediction: St Kilda by 2 points

Best of luck for the weekend ahead

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