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AFL Preview: Collingwood v North Melbourne Friday 7.50pm at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne

AFL Preview: Round 18 Collingwood v North Melbourne 
Friday 7.50pm at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
Collingwood are proving a tough nut to crack now, but North need to find a way to get back in form.
Collingwood have played as well as they have all season in their last four week block, beating Fremantle and Carlton before their best win of the year, against GWS at Spotless. Last week they played well in Adelaide but found the Crows too good.
North are now officially in free-fall having lost their last five matches, against Geelong, Hawthorn, Adelaide, West Coast and Port Adelaide. None of the losses individually were catastrophic, but as a collective they suggest a team out of form.
Stats That Matter
Collingwood have won seven of their last nine against North, including three of the last four at Etihad. Nathan Buckley lead Brad Scott 3-2 in their coaching clashes.
The Pies have covered the line in their last four matches. They have played 12 games at Etihad under Nathan Buckley for six wins at -42% POT, 25% ATS and 75% at the over.
North are -1% POT overall this year, but +16% POT at Etihad. 78% of their Etihad games have gone under the total match score this season, as against 29% elsewhere.

Straight away, Steele Sidebottom stands out to me as instant value tonight. Paying $7 to have the most touches, he had 31 against the Roos last year and at juicy odds, he’s worth a look. Levi Greenwood will most likely run with the Kangaroo’s most dangerous player in Daniel Wells. Therefore, in the head to head market for disposals, take Nick Dal Santo ($1.88) to beat him hands down. Taylor Adams has returned from injury with back to back Fantasy 100’s and at $4.50, he’s every chance to take the chocolates tonight.
Betting Data
2016 Line: Collingwood 8-8, North 10-6
2016 Over/Under: Collingwood 6-10, North 7-9

Final Thoughts
North are struggling to get their hands on the ball in the middle of the ground, and failing to convert what chances they do create. Collingwood has been good in these areas over the last month.
With Waite and Petrie struggling badly up forward, too much is being left to Brown and Thomas. North got to where they did off the back of a team effort across the ground, but now too much is being left to too few. The Pies are spreading the load well, and have their pressure back, and those that were out of form are now back in it.
North will make a stand, and are certainly good enough, but if we stick with recent form, the Pies look over the odds.
How It’s Shaping Up
North Melbourne by 15 points
Best Bet
North Melbourne WIN ($2.35)

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