The resurgent Bombers have played spoiler to a number of teams in finals contention lately and they’ll be extra keen for another win against their bitter rivals Collingwood on Sunday.
In what the market suggests will be a tight contest at the MCG, the strongest bet looks the over.
With nothing left to play for in 2022, the Dons are playing hell-for-leather footy, recording the most points of any team since Round 14 at 100 per game. The Pies are hitting the scoreboard as well, averaging 82 points in their last five even with two damp games in there against GWS and Gold Coast.
Four of Essendon’s last five games have gone over the total, as have three of Collingwood’s last five and the last three head to head between these sides. Remarkably, Essendon’s last seven day games at the ‘G have all gone over too.
In front of a bumper crowd on a sunny winter arvo in Melbourne, expect the goals to flow.
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Dylan Shiel’s output has significantly increased through Darcy Parish’s absence. The former Giant has had 25+ touches in each of the four games that his teammate has missed.
Nick Hind has had 20+ disposals in seven straight games.
Harrison Jones has kicked a snag in six of his last seven since returning from injury.
Both of these teams are in brilliant form, winning nine of their last ten combined. As such, the Pies are just 4.5 point favourites with money coming for the Bombers all week.
Much has been made of Collingwood’s remarkable form in close games. They’ve won their last eight by an average of just 12 points. In games decided by less than 12 points, they are 7-1 for the year.
While some will put this down to luck, experience and leadership counts for plenty in these matches and the Pies are a far more seasoned team than Essendon.
If this game is as tight as the market expects, Collingwood have to be favoured to win yet another close encounter.