2018 AFL: Round 23 Preview & Betting Tips

August 22nd 2018, 10:16am, By: PuntingInDanger

PuntingInDanger and fans hit on four out of eight bets last weekend to fall slightly back to earth after four great weekends in a row. The final round of the 2018 AFL season gets underway this Friday night with the Power taking on the Bombers and we’ll look to end the season on a high with another winning week. We take a look at every game in Round 23 and give our betting tips below.

AFL Round 23 Betting Tips

Port Adelaide vs Essendon (Friday 7.50pm AEST)

See our full preview and tips for the big Friday night clash between the Power and Bombers here!

Geelong vs Gold Coast (Saturday 1.45pm AEST)

Geelong solidified their chances of playing finals in 2018 with a massive 133 point win over the Dockers on Saturday. They now sit in eighth place on the ladder. They have the same amount of points as ninth placed Port Adelaide but boast an impressive 125.7 percentage, which is 16 points higher than the Power’s. This means that they’ll likely only need to win this weekend against Gold Coast to ensure their path into the top eight.

The Suns were admirable last weekend against the Lions, leading for parts of the game before ultimately going down by four points at home. Not much left to play for for the Suns this year as they currently sit 17th on the ladder and have the very difficult task of travelling to GMHBA Stadium this weekend. After two disappointing losses to Richmond and Hawthorn, the Cats will look to hit their straps after the massive Freo win at home and their injury list looks quite good at the moment. Key forward Esava Ratugolea could return through the VFL this weekend while Rhys Stanley is only a week or two away.

Geelong won’t lose this game. It’s just a matter of how much they’ll win by. The dominant 133-point win over the Dockers amazingly came after trailing nine points at quarter time. The line for this one is a massive 75.5 points in the Cats favour, which is the highest line I’ve seen in an AFL game. Wouldn’t be surprised if they covered the line but it’s too high for me. Staying away from this game until later in the week when I can check out the player props. Check back then.

TIP: Check back later in the week!

Richmond vs Western Bulldogs (Saturday 2.10pm AEST)

The Tiger train rolled on last weekend, picking up their fifth win in a row after defeating the Bombers by 8 points on Friday night. With an extensive list of rested players for the big game, the Tigers were favoured by only 9 points by Friday night but still managed to earn the win at the MCG. Where they are still undefeated since last season. Dustin Martin was fantastic in the win, racking up 26 touches and four goals while Josh Caddy also booted four goals. Cotchin, Astbury, Casagna and Prestia should all return this weekend against the Bulldogs, making the Tigers big 41 point favourites at the MCG.

The Dogs racked up their third win in a row on the weekend, downing the Blues in what was overall a pretty disappointing display. The 66-49 score line aptly defines the level of footy that was being played by both teams, with a few exceptions in the Western Bulldogs midfield who dragged them over the line.

The Western Bulldogs are actually one of the only teams in the league with a great record over the Tigers in recent history. They have won their last five games against them, the last of which coming in Round 7 of last season. It’ll be interesting to see how switched on the Tigers are on Saturday afternoon knowing that they already have top spot on the ladder locked up. I think their sole priority on the weekend will be to get the ball in Jack Riewoldt’s hands to ensure he wins the Coleman.

Fremantle vs Collingwood (Saturday 4.35pm AEST)

The Magpies secured a fantastic win over the Power last weekend to ensure that they’ll be playing finals in 2018 and advance to third on the AFL ladder. The midfield pair of Steele Sidebottom and Taylor Adams were once again fantastic in the 51-point win over the Power, racking up 63 touches and kicking 2 goals between them. Brodie Grundy also continued his dominant year, claiming 42 hit outs and accumulating 147 fantasy points.  

Injuries are still a big concern heading into the finals for the Pies. However, key defender Jeremy Howe could finally return this weekend after a corked thigh has kept him out for the last few games while Tyson Goldsack is set to return through the VFL this weekend. The Pies start as 33.5 point favourites here, a line that would be much higher if the teams were facing off at the MCG.

Skipper Nat Fyfe returned for the Dockers last weekend and had 37 touches but the Dockers were still smashed by 133 points. Their injury list is still pretty extensive and it’s doubtful that they bring Aaron Sandilands, Stephen Hill and Joel Hamling back in for the final game of the season even if they prove fitness. I think the Pies roll on here and cover the 33 point line.

Carlton vs Adelaide (Saturday 7.25pm AEST)

Not much to play for for either team here as Carlton host Adelaide at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night. The Crows were have been great of late, winning four of their last six games and capturing a good win over North Melbourne last weekend. If only they could have shown this form through the middle portion of the season, they would likely be using this weekend’s game as preparation for another finals campaign. Matt Crouch and Rory Laird continued their accumulative dominance on the weekend, racking up 87 touches between them while Josh Jenkins snagged another three goals to make it nine in the last three games.

Injuries have been a big factor of the Crow’s disappointing season this year, with Brad Crouch, Taylor Walker, Mitch McGovern and Eddie Betts all spending extensive time on the sidelines. They’ll likely reload with the same team again next year and I expect them to be much better. They start as 42 point favourites against the Blues, who were competitive but ultimately not good enough against the Dogs last weekend.

It’s been a season to forget for the Blues. They’ll look to improve over the off season and get some key pieces in Sam Docherty and Matty Kreuzer back from injury. I expect them to be better as well next year, but can’t see them being competitive with Adelaide on the weekend given their extensive injury list heading into Round 23.

Sydney vs Hawthorn (Saturday 7.25pm AEST)

The game of the round sees Sydney taking on Hawthorn at the SCG on Saturday night. The two teams currently sit in fourth and fifth place, locked on 56 points. Assuming Collingwood defeat Fremantle on Saturday afternoon, the winner of this will likely claim the coveted fourth spot on the ladder while the loser could fall as low as sixth place. The double chance that comes with fourth place makes this game massively important for both players.

The Hawks have played like the best team in the league over the past month. They have won their last five games in a row and while they looked shaky at times against the Saints on the weekend, they were able to do what they do best and clutch up in the tight game. Jack Gunston was fantastic in the win, racking up 24 touches and booting 4 goals.  Skipper Jarryd Roughead should return to the line-up this weekend while James Sicily remains a few weeks away.

Sydney will have their own injury concerns to deal with as they pray that Lance Franklin will be right to go after suffering a slight groin injury in the Swans win over GWS on the weekend. At the moment I’m leaning slightly towards the Swans at home but the fitness level of Buddy here is a massive factor and one that will keep me from making a tip until later in the week.

TIP: Check back later in the week!

Brisbane vs West Coast (Sunday 1.10pm AEST)

The Lions captured their fifth win of the season on the weekend to propel them into 15th place on the ladder. So many analysts and fans are excited about the future at Brisbane and they have reason to be as they have curated a fantastic young list that should continue to improve. Dayne Beams was the standout on the weekend, accumulating 38 touches and kicking a goal to lead the Lions to victory. They’ll get another home game to round out the season against what should be a fired-up West Coast team.

West Coast suffered a tough home loss to Melbourne on the weekend. They currently sit 2nd on the ladder but could fall as low as fourth this weekend if both Hawthorn and Collingwood capture wins and they lose. They Eagles have the equal worst record over the last ten games of any team in the top eight at just 5-5 and will be without star full forward Josh Kennedy once again this weekend. They’ll be praying that Jack Darling will be right after suffering a concussion on the weekend.

The Eagles start as just 11.5 point favourites here which we think is about right at the Gabba with no Kennedy and potentially no Darling. They’ll be desperate to capture a win here to ensure they play in Perth in the finals. I expect them to come out and do the job in a close-ish game.

Melbourne vs Greater Western Sydney (Sunday 3.20pm AEST)

Another great game here between two top eight sides sees Melbourne hosting GWS at the MCG. The Giants currently sit two points ahead of the Demons due to their draw with St Kilda earlier in the year and they can climb as high as fourth if they win and other results go their way. Due to their fantastic percentage, the Demons can also climb to fourth on the ladder but will too need unlikely results to go their way.

GWS squandered their real chance at claiming a top four spot as they went down to the Swans last weekend in a heartbreaking loss. Dylan Shiel was fantastic in the win but didn’t have enough help in the midfield as Josh Kelly missed through injury and other players went missing. The Giants will still be without some key players this weekend but should get a host of players back in the first two weeks of finals should they survive for that long.

Really tough game to call here. Surprised that GWS have started as high as $2.80. I expect that to come in by Sunday afternoon so at that price I think they are value.

St Kilda vs North Melbourne (Sunday 4.40pm AEST)

The final game of the 2018 home and away season likely won’t be breaking any attendance records as the Saints and Roos do battle at Etihad Stadium. Two losses in a row for North Melbourne means that they are now out of the finals race and will be looking to finish their season on a high with a second win of the season against the Saints.

The Saints were impressive against the Hawks on the weekend, going down by just 4 points after dominating the last 12 minutes of the game but failing to kick the match winning goal. It was a much better performance than they had trotted out in the four previous weeks, where they were beaten by an average of almost 40 points. They’ll look to finish their season with a win before regrouping and getting some key players in the likes of Dylan Roberton, Josh Bruce, Shane Savage and Paddy McCartin back in the off season.

The Roos will know by Sunday afternoon if it is mathematically possible for them to make the final. If Geelong win on Saturday then it won’t be possible, so their attention will likely turn to getting Ben Brown over the line in the Coleman. Can see them looking for him at every opportunity on Sunday. Back him to score the most goals with full confidence here. I also like the Saints at +23.5 after a solid display against the Hawks last weekend.


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