The byes are finally over and it's back to a normal week of nine games of footy! In Round 15 I managed a slight profit, while overall I went +3.05 units during the byes. Hopefully there are plenty more profits for my AFL tips during the final stretch of the 2016 season, starting with my AFL Round 16 betting tips.
Port Adelaide Power vs Hawthorn Hawks (Thursday, July 7 at 7:20pm AEST)
When will the Hawthorn era end? Some thought it was over before last season and they ended up winning the flag. Now here we are going into Round 16 of the 2016 AFL season and the Hawks are on top of the ladder. Can they be stopped? That remains to be seen, but they certainly aren't dominating like they have in the past and will find this game against the Power at Adelaide Oval very challenging.
Despite being ninth, Port Adelaide aren't as close to sliding into the top eight as they seem. They are two games short of West Coast in 8th and could easily be three games short by the end of the weekend. This Thursday night really is the sort of challenge they need to stand up and take head on. One factor in their favour is their record against the Hawks. They have won three of the last four and over the last couple of years have sort of been a 'bogey' team for the Hawks. They will believe they can win this game. It’s at home, they got a confidence-building win against the Tigers last week and if they are any chance to make the finals, this is where it all begins. They are number one tackling team in the comp and absolutely used that to their advantage last week. If they can bring that kind of pressure, an unsuspecting Hawthorn coming off the bye could be shocked. This certainly isn't my most confident play of the week, but I don't think the Power should be two-goal underdogs.
Tip: Port Adelaide at the line (+11.5) - $1.92 at CrownBet (1 unit)
Geelong Cats vs Sydney Swans (Friday, July 8 at 7:50pm AEST)
The Swans head down to Simonds Stadium on Friday night with the challenge of facing Geelong on their home ground fortress. It's two of the best midfields in the comp and two teams I rate as the most dangerous premiership threats. There is no doubt this is shaping up to be the game of the round.
A big factor in this game will be how the Swans respond to their heartbreaking last-minute loss to the Bulldogs last week. Will it ignite them or deflate them? I tend to think it ignites champion teams like the Swans. The next question is what sort of toll did that game take. On the injury front the Swans are close to full strength, with the only key change being talks that Ted Richards will come in to help take care of Tom Hawkins and Geelong's forward line. Like the Hawks' game, this is a case of one team coming off a bye and while you can assume that means Geelong will be well-rested, it also means they could be a little rusty. For that reason, I think it's very fortunate this game is at Simonds Stadium. They don't lose many games down in Geelong.
The Cats also have a great record against the best teams in the comp, winning six of seven clashes with top eight sides. The Cats are the best centre clearance side, while the Swans are surprisingly ranked 14th. The Cats should get the ball out of the middle enough to really worry the Swans defensive stocks. This really is a situation where two teams are jockeying for spots in the top four and I give the edge to Geelong in a competitive game.
Tip: Geelong by 1-39 points (under 39.5) - $2.10 at Ladbrokes (1.5 units)
GWS Giants vs Collingwood Magpies (Saturday, July 9 at 1:40pm AEST)
The fact of the matter going into Round 16 is that the top eight is so tight that the 3rd-placed Giants could fall to 7th in a flash. That's why they can't drop games like this one at Spotless against the Magpies.
The Pies come into this game on the back of rare back-to-back wins. That would have instilled some confidence in them, but what a daunting task to have to head to Sydney to take on the Giants. They are simply outmatched in almost every facet of the game here. The Giants are the best clearance team in the comp, while the Pies are ranked last. The Giants are one of the best scoring teams, averaging 109 points per game and Pies are 14th with 81 points per game. The only factor in Collingwood's favour is that they have a great record against the Giants, winning the last five. But this isn't the same Giants as the last few years. They should win this one convincingly, but the 45-point line scares me. What I don't mind the look of is the over 170 total game points. The Pies have conceded over 100 points eight times this year and on four of those occasions they conceded over 115 points. The Giants, meanwhile, have put up some huge scores at home, with bags of 158, 149 and 128. The I'm not sure the Magpies will think they have the defensive prowess to totally counter this, so will instead have to play some attacking football themselves. There is a chance of rain in Sydney on Saturday, but it should only be light and at this stage it doesn't look like it will affect the game too much. Small play on the over.
Tip: Total Game Points OVER 170.5 - $1.90 at CrownBet (1 unit)
Gold Coast Suns vs Brisbane Lions (Saturday, July 9 at 4:35pm AEST)
The last remaining 'Q-Clash' is probably the only game the Suns and Lions have left to look forward to in the 2016 AFL season. Both teams NEED to win for a little bit of morale., but ultimately the Lions surely would be concerned of their chances even in this one.
The last couple of meetings by these two teams have been tight contests, including a 13-point win for the Lions back in Round 4 of this season. I'm not sure that will be the case this time around. The Lions are the worst defense in the league, conceding more points than even the Bombers. The Suns, meanwhile, have an extremely damaging forward line when it fires up and this could cause huge headaches for the Lions. The Suns don't have the best defence themselves, but the Lions don't have damaging players in front of goal like Tom Lynch. The Suns are quite comfortable at Metricon and I think all signs point to a convincing win. It's a big line for the a team like the Suns to cover, but they played some excellent footy last week and clearly the Lions are struggling.
Tip: Gold Coast at the line (-31.5) - $1.92 at Sportsbet (1 unit)
Western Bulldogs vs Richmond Tigers (Saturday, July 9 at 7:25pm AEST)
The Bulldogs come into this game against Richmond on Saturday night on the back of a clutch win against the Swans. It was riveting stuff, but with the top eight so tight, it's back to business as usual. They can't afford to drop danger games like this.
It's dire times for the Tigers. It's finally sunk into the fans that they have absolutely no chance of salvaging their season. It's been talked about in the media too, along with much discussion about rebuilding and trading some of their older players. That sort of talk will weigh heavily on these player's minds. With the Dogs' clearances, inside 50s, contested possessions and tackling all superior to the Tigers, they should be too strong. I don't think it will be a blowout, however, as the Dogs simply haven't put up many big scores this year and apart from last week's effort at Adelaide Oval, the Tigers have lost by big margins on very rare occasions. Small play on Dogs under 39.5.
Tip: Western Bulldogs by 1-39 points (under 39.5) - $2.15 at Sportsbet (1 unit)
Melbourne Demons vs Fremantle Dockers (Saturday, July 9 at 7:10pm AEST)
The Demons and Dockers head to TIO Stadium in the Northern Territory to help celebrate multicultural round. Despite neither team having a chance at making the finals (though statistically possible for Melbourne), this should be a hard-fought contest.
I'm not sure the Demons should be such heavy favourites. At times, they certainly played solid during the first half of the season, but they have only managed one victory in the last five games. Yes, they are only playing Fremantle, but the Dockers have shown they can bob up and play some okay footy at times. I'm not saying Freo will win this game, but it might be more competitive than some think - especially if Michael Barlow makes it on the pitch like Ross Lyon has been suggesting this week despite breaking a finger.
Tip: Melbourne by 1-39 points (under 39.5) - $2.10 at Sportsbet (1 unit)
Carlton Blues vs Adelaide Crows (Sunday, July 10 at 1:10pm AEST)
It wasn't too long ago that hopes were extremely high for the Blues. They had a bit of a mid-year winning streak and some hopeful fans were even talking about the off-chance of making the top eight. Unfortunately, the bubble was burst in recent times as they have lost the last three on the trot, including a disappointing defeat at the hands of the Pies last week. Adelaide, meanwhile, or on the opposite end of the spectrum and it looks like this will be their seventh win a row.
The Crows continue to be the talk of the town. Some commentators have them as one of the biggest premiership threats in the league and during the second half of the season they haven't put a foot wrong. Where plenty of interstate teams struggle on the road, the Crows have excelled, winning the last three away games in a row. There aren't too many reasons to think the Blues can win this game. They are simply outclassed in many key stat areas, especially in contested possessions where they are ranked last compared to the Crows who are the second best contested ball side. The Blues also don't score enough to think they can threaten in this game, averaging just 72 points per game compared to the Crows with 113 which is the best in the league. What I'm not confident with is the six-goal line and so this will be another under 39.5 play. The Blues have only conceded more than 100 points four times this season and while I don't think the MCG worries the Crows, I can see Carlton being somewhat competitive and not allowing a blowout.
Tip: Adelaide by 1-39 points (under 39.5) - $2.20 at CrownBet (1.5 units)
West Coast Eagles vs North Melbourne Kangaroos (Sunday, July 10 at 1:20pm AEST)
After starting the season so strongly, it's been a nightmare five weeks for North Melbourne with just the one victory. What was once a convincing lead at the top of the ladder is now 7th place and a real danger of falling out of the eight. It's games like this on the road that they have to win now and it's not going to be easy against so-called 'flat-track bullies' the Eagles on Sunday.
This is one of the tougher games to pick in Round 16, but every part of me says there is no chance the Roos can't win at Domain in their current state. They really struggled on the road right before the byes, putting up only 67 points against the Crows and actually ended u lucky to lose by only 33 points with Adelaide kicking 12.28. For the Roos to win this something had to change during the byes. They are struggling and are desperate for Daniel Wells and Jarrad Waite to get back in the side. Both trained this week and if they play, North could be competitive. Ultimately, however, I still think this will be too tough on the road. The Eagles have won 13 of 18 contests at Domain and this year alone have averaged 122 points at the stadium. I just can't see North getting too close to a win.
Tip: West Coast at the line (-16.5) - $1.92 at CrownBet (1 unit)
Essendon Bombers vs St Kilda Saints (Sunday, July 10 at 4:40pm AEST)
The Saints have been one of the more disappointing teams for me this year. They are very inconsistent and continue to underperform when least expected. They need to take advantage of a confidence-boosting opportunity against the Bombers this Sunday.
St Kilda are an interesting team this year. They can put up huge performances where they defeat the Cats and then they can play woeful footy and lose to teams like the Suns in Round 15. They won't let this one slip, but I will be sitting out the betting on this game. If you think Essendon will win another game this year, it could be this one. I don't think so, but with such a weird line, I'm not comfortable betting on the Saints to cover and it's a brave punter that tries to guess how the Bombers will play any game in 2016.
Tip: No Bet.
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