The 2022 AFL season continues with a clash between two Victorian heavyweights on Saturday afternoon, Geelong and Essendon facing off at the MCG. Josh Nevett is here to dissect this Round 1 match and give his best bets below.
Remember, Before You Bet will be previewing every game of the 2022 AFL season, so be sure to check out our AFL Tips page for regular updates.
Geelong vs Essendon Betting Tips
MCG, Saturday 19th March, 2.10pm (AEDT)
Injuries: Jed Bews, Jonathan Ceglar, Sam Menegola, Gryan Miers, Mark O’Connor, Gary Rohan
The Cats have several first team players missing in Round 1, including key names Mitch Duncan, Sam Menegola and Gary Rohan. Considering the demographic of their list, this is almost to be expected.
This is the kind of game that gets the juices flowing for partisan fans and neutrals alike. Geelong enters the new season with experts beginning to doubt their premiership credentials, as their aging squad continues to get older and lose a yard of pace each year. However, Geelong will fancy themselves to beat Essendon and silence some of the media negativity, having gotten the better of the dons in the last three encounters between the sides.
Alongside the encouraging history, Geelong’s spine that has seen it go deep into the finals several times is healthy and intact. Tom Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron are a scary combination up forward and the midfield brigade is ready to redeem itself for an embarrassing preliminary final showing against the Demons.
Injuries: Michael Hurley, Harry Jones, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Jake Stringer, Zach Reid
Essendon will also miss key players including Jake Stringer, Michael Hurley and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti. The trio are key to the Dons structure and would have been expected to play key roles against Geelong. Harry Jones was an unfortunate loss on the eve of the season.
Essendon showed plenty of promise last year under Ben Rutton and it was the young brigade leading the way as they made it into the final eight before disappointingly losing out to the Bulldogs by 49 points in an elimination final.
While that result stung at the time, there is every reason to believe the Bombers will improve again this year and end their final-winning drought. The draft saw another talented youngster in Ben Hobbs enter the fold, while Jake Kelly will add experience and rigidity to the backline. Injury plagued midfielder Jye Caldwell is finally fully fit and Dylan Shiel has also showed shades of his former self in preseason.
I believe these teams will finish in a similar vicinity on the ladder come seasons end but picking a winner for this clash hasn’t been too painstaking for me.
Geelong start as favourites and given the gulf between sides’ finishes last year, as well as the recent history between the teams, that is fair enough. Both teams lost their AAMI Community Series games, although at least in Geelong’s case the match was more a training drill than a fiercely contested affair.
Indeed, I am siding with the bookies on this one. While the two sides may be evenly matched around the ground, Geelong has far greater scoring power and Essendon with struggle to kick a winning score without Jones, McDonald-Tipungwuti and Hooker (retired) in the line-up.
Geelong -6.5 (2 Units)
Hawkins has kicked 12 goals in his last three games against Essendon, including hauls of 6 and 4.
Tom Hawkins 3+ Goals ($2.25 at Sportsbet)
The last four matches between Geelong and Essendon have not exceeded this line, totalling 155, 150, 140 and 134, respectively. Essendon also enter this one with a depleted forward line, limiting their ability to kick a big score.
Total Points Under 160.5 ($1.88 at Sportsbet)
Dangerfield enters the new season fit and healthy, with the promise of continued significant midfield minutes. Last time out he had a field day against the Bombers with 37 disposals and a goal.
Patrick Dangerfield 25+ Disposals ($1.72 at Sportsbet)