Aussie Rules Football Odds and Betting Picks: North Melbourne Kangaroos vs. St. Kilda Saints (Saturday, March 21)
Daniel Pockett, Getty Images.
Aussie Rules Football Odds: North Melbourne Kangaroos vs. St. Kilda Saints
Spread: St. Kilda -1.5
Time: 10 p.m. ET
The final matchday of Round 1 kicks off Down Under at 10:05 p.m. ET with a contest between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the St. Kilda Saints. These two Melbourne-based clubs will be on seemingly equal footing, as this game will be played at their shared home venue of Marvel Stadium.
Along with sharing a home ground, these teams had similar seasons in that they both finished outside of the playoff picture at 12th (North Melbourne) and 14th (St Kilda), and both had fired their head coaches by Round 18. Both teams had an improved run of form with the interim coaches in charge and decided to remove the interim tag in the offseason.
In contrast to their off-field similarities, the Kangaroos have dominated this matchup on the field in recent history, winning nine of the last 11 meetings including the last three meetings. Since the beginning of 2018, the average Kangaroos-Saints clash has ended with the Roos as 38-point victors.
North has had the Saints’ number and posted a much better percentage than the Saints last year (99.5 to 83.9), so why are the Saints short favorites at -1.5? The optimism, from pundits and bettors alike, likely stems from the Saints dramatic roster reshaping over the past few months. They were the busiest team during the trade period, bringing in five new players, all of whom will be in their starting lineup in Round 1. They are also set to debut their 2018 first-round pick who was injured throughout 2019.
The stat ‘percentage’ as mentioned above is a simple calculation of points for divided by points against, with that result then multiplied by 100. This calculation is used as a tiebreaker in the standings, hence the importance of running up the score when ahead, and keeping losses close.
This game carries the highest total of Round 1 at 150.5 points. The high total is not due to either team being a prolific offense, but instead likely because of their abysmal defenses. North Melbourne was fifth in points against, while St Kilda was even worse placing third in that category.
Their three matchups in the past two years have yielded average totals of 178 points, which is above league average. But North had been the heavy lifters in those tilts, and they were a bit of an enigma after coach Rhyce Shaw took over. In Round 21 of 2019 they kicked a measly 1 goal, then followed that up with a massive 22-goal outburst in Round 22.
The key factor in the Kangaroos’ attack and the barometer for their team as a whole is forward Ben Brown. The curly-haired Tasmanian kicked a second-best 64 goals last year, and has had great recent success against the Saints, averaging 4 goals in their last three meetings. He’s also clearly comfortable playing in the closed confines of Marvel Stadium, having kicked 3+ goals in his last seven Sunday matches there.
In a game between two teams that most predict to be fairly even, take that team that has historically owned this matchup and is getting points.
The Pick: North Melbourne +1.5