Last week's AFL betting tips were a step in the right direction to finish the 2017 AFL season off strong. We managed 5/8 winners and just under +4 units. That was a relief after a tough few weeks on the punt. Hopefully we can do even better in the last two rounds and into the finals, starting with my AFL Round 22 preview and betting tips.
Adelaide Crows vs Sydney Swans (Friday, August 18th at 7:20pm ACST)
Round 22 kicks off with a massive Friday night blockbuster as the Swans travel to Adelaide to take on the Crows. Could this be a Grand Final preview?
The Swans and Crows are no doubt the two 'in form' teams of the competition. Adelaide have won 6 of the last 8 and have locked up a spot in the top two on the ladder, while the Swans have won 12 of the last 14 and are looking to burst into the top 4 to secure a double chance in the finals. That's going to be very tough if they don't beat the Crows and unfortunately I don't like their chances. The Swans head to Adelaide on the back of a six-day break and will likely be without Nic Newman who has become a genuine halfback star. They will likely welcome Josh P Kennedy back which is a huge plus, but I think they will be outclassed at Adelaide Oval. The Crows are so damaging moving the ball inside 50 where they are ranked 1st for entries and marks. They are the highest scoring team in the comp and while the Swans don't allow a huge amount of points, they are going to have their hands full on Friday night. Backing the Crows in a competitive game.
Western Bulldogs vs Port Adelaide (Saturday, August 19th at 1:45pm AEST)
The Western Bulldogs host the Power at Mars Stadium (formerly Eureka) in Ballarat on Saturday afternoon. This one will tell us a lot about the chances these teams have in September.
If the Bulldogs lose this week, they will struggle to make the finals - depending on other results of course. Regardless of those results, however, they would have a cut-throat Friday night game next week against Hawthorn who will be farewelling champion Luke Hodge. So to say this one is important is an understatement. Despite sitting in 6th place, Port Adelaide have actually been very inconsistent this season. Fortunately for them they meet a Bulldog outfit that has plenty of injuries, along with some key players who have struggled for form. It will be interesting to see if Luke Beveridge drops Jake Stringer and Tom Liberatore who have been nothing like their best from last season. I think there is a good chance they are dropped, so the Dogs depth will be tested with Tom Boyd, Dale Morris and Easton Wood all still on the sidelines. Jason Johannisen, meanwhile, should be welcomed back into the side. Bulldog hero Bob Murphy announced his retirement this week and the Ballarat contingent of fans will no doubt be out in full force to say goodbye. The Dogs have won four of their last five and while they were dismantled by the Giants last week, their best football is better than Port Adelaide. As long as they come out with the intensity of a team who is playing for their season, they should win in Ballarat. Small play.
Tip: Western Bulldogs to win Head-to-Head - $1.95 at CrownBet (1 units)
Collingwood Magpies vs Geelong Cats (Saturday, August 19th at 2:10pm AEST)
The Cats proved the doubters wrong last week with a massive win over Richmond without some of their best players, but that would have been all for nothing if they lose to the Magpies in Round 22.
The Cats are currently in 3rd place, but aren't yet guaranteed a spot in the top four. They can't afford to lose games like this against the Magpies if they want to lock up that double chance which might come in handy if Joel Selwood is to make a clutch return from injury this year. They take on a Collingwood side who will also be skipper-less with Scott Pendlebury watching on the sidelines with Geelong captain in Selwood. The Pies will also be without the ever-important Brodie Grundy who will be serving his 2nd week of suspension. Collingwood will take some confidence in their recent record against the Cats which includes a victory in Round 6 of this year, but I think the Cats showed us enough last week to think they win this - especially considering they get Mitch Duncan back into the side.
Tip: Geelong at the line (-12.5) - $1.92 at Ladbrokes (2 units)
GWS Giants vs West Coast Eagles (Saturday, August 19th at 4:35pm AEST)
The Giants continued to prove they are the real deal after dismantling the reigning premiers last week and will be confident going into Round 22 against an Eagle side who are fighting to secure a spot in the finals.
We know how poor West Coast have been anywhere other than Domain Stadium this year, so they won't be too excited to take on the talented GWS Giants at Spotless Stadium. I really think this is going to be an easy Giants win. Their midfield is too strong for the one-paced Eagles and while Josh J Kennedy will prove a handful in the forward line, the Giants have a solid backline who should be able to keep him relatively quiet. The Giants defeated the Eagles out in the west back in Round 10 and there aren't many reasons to think they won't be able to do the same at their home ground. There is a reason the Giants are such heavy favourites and while I think the line is relatively high, I'm happy to have a small play on them to cover.
Tip: GWS Giants at the line (-27.5) - $1.92 at CrownBet (1 unit)
Gold Coast Suns vs Essendon Bombers (Saturday, August 19th at 7:25pm AEST)
Essendon are one game outside of the top 8 as they head to the Gold Coast in a must-win clash against the Suns.
The Bombers were solid at times during their loss to the Crows last week, but they showed they are a tier below the elite teams at the moment. They can still make the finals if they win the next two games which is a likely scenario considering they have the Dockers at Etihad next week. They will still need some other results to go their way to lock up a spot in September, but the first step is winning these games. I have no doubts they can easily take care of the Suns - even at Metricon. It just seems like Gold Coast have checked out for the season and who can blame them considering their best player Gary Ablett doesn't look committed and their coach was sacked a fortnight ago. They were demolished by the Lions last week and I can see them getting a similar beating this week. The Suns are ranked 16th for scoring compared to the Bombers who are ranked 4th and even more damning is that the Suns have conceded 100 points or more on 10 occasions this year. Happy to back the Bombers at the line here.
Tip: Essendon at the line (-19.5) - $1.92 at Ladbrokes (2 units)
Carlton Blues vs Hawthorn Haws (Saturday, August 19th at 7:25pm AEST)
Although unlikely, the Hawks can still mathematically make the finals, so will be happy to have a relatively easy game against the Blues in Round 22.
The Blues have struggled for wins at the best of times in recent years, but that is even more true when it comes to Hawthorn. They last time they managed a win against the brown and gold was in 2005 and I can't see that changing this week. The Blues simply can't score enough to threaten teams like the Hawks. Yes, the Hawks haven't been massive scorers themselves this year, but the Blues have averaged a competition low of just 73 points. They actually concede less points per game than the Hawks which is a positive, but not enough to think they can win. It hasn't been often the Blues have been completely blown out this year. I'm getting on the Hawks at the margin.
Tip: Hawthorn by 1-39 Points (Under 39.5) - $2.15 at CrownBet (1.5 units)
Melbourne Demons vs Brisbane Lions (Sunday, August 20th at 1:10pm AEST)
Of the handful of teams fighting to make the finals, the Demons are probably the most likely to make it after they took care of the Saints last week. Now they have an 'easy' game against the Lions in Round 22 and simply need to make sure they don't lose focus.
Despite their position holding up the ladder in 18th place, the Lions have played some solid football at times and I think are the most promising of the lesser sides. However, that doesn't mean I think they can defeat the Demons at the MCG. Melbourne were impressive against St Kilda last week and just need a repeat performance to ensure a win here. Their contested ball is elite and this is where the Lions struggle. I do think the line is a little big and will be backing the Demons at the margin. I'm just not sure the Demons have the firepower to really put up a massive score, even against a side like the Lions.
St Kilda Saints vs North Melbourne Kangaroos (Sunday, August 20th at 3:20pm AEST)
With a poor percentage, the Saints will be relying on the results of other teams to make the top 8. Regardless, they must first win their last two games including this Sunday against the Kangaroos.
Nick Riewoldt will likely be back in the side this week after missing with concussion and no doubt St Kilda fans will be out in full force to start farewelling their champion before the season is over - whenever that may be. Although he hasn't been at his best, they were lacking his presence last week and will be a welcomed return against the Roos. St Kilda's confidence will be a bit shaken after last week, but they are a better side than the Roos and should win this one easily. North Melbourne have conceded an average of 105 points since Round 11 and have managed just one victory in that period. Happy to take the Saints to cover the line here.
Tip: St Kilda at the line (-17.5) - $1.92 at Sportsbet (2.5 units)
Fremantle Dockers vs Richmond Tigers (Sunday, August 20th at 2:40pm AWST)
The Tigers will be looking to bounce back against the Dockers in Round 22 after a disappointing loss to an undermanned Cats last week.
Fremantle were smashed by 104 points last week in Sydney and will be happy to get back to Domain and try and finish their season with some dignity. This is the Dockers' last game of the season at their home venue and they will no doubt be looking to make it count. The talented Harley Bennell may finally get his debut for the club this week, but I can't see him being the difference between a win and a loss. The Dockers managed one of their few wins of the season against the Tigers in Round 8. Can they do it again? I don't think so. The Tigers are a much better side and apart from last week, are one of the most in-form teams in the comp. The Dockers can be competitive at home, but Richmond win this.
Tip: Richmond by 1-39 Points (Under 39.5) - $2.05 at CrownBet (1.5 units)
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