After having a nightmare Saturday last week, I managed to claw it back on Sunday and end up with a small profit. It was only +0.78 units, but I’ll take that considering it looked like being a really bad losing week. Hopefully this week manages a bigger profit as I offer my 2016 AFL Round 18 betting tips.
Collingwood Magpies vs North Melbourne Kangaroos (Friday, July 22 at 7:50pm AEST)
It wasn't long ago that North Melbourne were twelve spots ahead of Collingwood on the ladder and six wins clear. Now we head into Round 18 and North Melbourne have fallen from the top of the ladder to 8th and simply can't lose games like this.
Collingwood might be 12th on the ladder, but this is not a sure-thing for the Roos. The Magpies have won three of their last five and have certainly played their best footy in the second half of the 2016 AFL season. It was only two weeks ago that Collingwood defeated the Giants. It's clear that North Melbourne are out of form and lost a lot of confidence. They haven't scored more than 70 points over the last three weeks and that's a real problem.
North Melbourne's best players are out of form, including Todd Goldstein, and as such they are getting smashed in the midfield. Nick Dal Santo, Jarrad Waite and Daniel Wells are underdone, so they can be forgiven for struggling in their first game back last week. If they can fire up on Friday night and Todd Goldstein can be effective, despite clearly nursing an injury, the Roos should manage a victory. They will surely be desperate and frankly if they can't stand up and win this game, I really think they will struggle to play finals. They are ahead of Collingwood in plenty of key stat areas and considering the game is at Etihad where the Pies haven't played this season yet, you have to give the edge to the Roos. It will be tough with Collingwood's solid midfield, but betting on the Roos in a competitive game.
UPDATE: Jarrad Waite was not named on Thursday evening. I'm standing by pick - can get slightly better odds now.
Tip: North Melbourne by 1-39 points (under 39.5) - $2.20 at CrownBet (1 unit)
Sydney Swans vs Carlton Blues (Saturday, July 23 at 1:45pm AEST)
The Swans would have been devastated with their last-minute loss to the Hawks last week. They played great football, but were simply outclassed when it mattered. They will be looking forward to rebuilding some confidence this Saturday against Carlton.
Not surprisingly, there has been some commentary during the week about Sydney not being able to hold onto victory in the dying moments of games. They have lost three game by single figures when they should have won - against Richmond, the Bulldogs and now Hawthorn. Fortunately, that shouldn’t be a worry this weekend. They outmatch Carlton all over the ground, especially in the midfield and down forward. The Swans are also ranked first in contested possession in the comp, while Carlton are last. Sydney also average the most tackles per game in the comp and Carlton are second last in this area. Young Jacob Weitering is going to have a very tough task against Lance Franklin on Saturday and I think Buddy is a real threat to get a hold of the Blues.
I think it will be a convincing win for the Swans, but i'm not overly confident on the 50-point line. I'm going to go with a different angle here and take the Ladbrokes' 'Footy Freaks' special for Lance Franklin to kick 4 or more goals and Sydney to win at $3.50. I usually stay away from markets like this as they are usually awfully under the odds or impossible to hit, but I don't mind this price. Franklin has kicked 4 or more goals on nine occasions this season, including 4 against Carlton in Round 2. Buddy couldn't manage one goal against the Hawks last week, so you have to think he will be hungry to turn it around on Saturday. Going to be a tough task for the Blues to stop him.
Tip: Lance Franklin to kick 4+ goals + Sydney to win - $3.50 at Ladbrokes (1 unit)
Gold Coast Suns vs Fremantle Dockers (Saturday, July 23 at 2:10pm AEST)
One of the more interesting matchups in Round 18 is when the Dockers head to Metricon to take on Gold Coast. The Suns are warm favourites, but with their injury woes, this doesn't look like an easy win.
There were times during Gold Coast's loss against the Dogs last week that they looked okay. Ultimately, however, you just can't cover for the midfield losses the Suns have endured with Gary Ablett and Michael Rischitelli the most recent addition to a sideline that already included David Swallow and Jaeger O'Meara. Dion Prestia is also marked down on the injury as needing a test for a knee problem, which isn't a great sign, while Nick Malceski is looking like needing a rest very soon. Fremantle have their own woes, adding Michael Barlow to the long term injury list with Nat Fyfe and Aaron Sandilands. Despite this, I do think the Dockers are a chance with the home ground advantage for the Suns the only real indicator that they should win. The Dockers got within 17 points of the Cats last week and I think they can be competitive this Saturday afternoon. It's their last real chance for a victory this year and I'm leaning towards them getting it done at around the $2.60. However, i'm going to play it safe and take a look at the Sportsbet margin markets and take either team by 24 points or less as I really think this will be a tight game either way.
Tip: Either Team UNDER 24.5 points - $1.80 at Sportsbet (1.5 units)
West Coast Eagles vs Melbourne Demons (Saturday, July 23 at 2:35pm AWST)
After a relatively poor start to the season, West Coast currently sit in 6th on the ladder and are looking more like the the Eagles of last year. They play Melbourne in Perth in Round 18 and it will likely mark their fifth win in a row.
While it's true the Eagles are playing better footy in recent weeks, they didn't look overly impressive against Carlton. That game was in Melbourne and their performance further propagated their 'flat track bully' status. Unfortunately for Melbourne, they head to Domain this week where the Eagles dominate and where the Demons have lost their last 16 matches. The Eagles are ranked third in the comp for points per game and much of that comes from games at home. They have won six games at Domain by more than 60 points and while I think the Demons could be a little more competitive than that, I'm happy to take the Eagles at the big line, especially considering how poor the Demons were against St Kilda last week.
Tip: West Coast at the line (-38.5) - $1.92 at Sportsbet (1.5 units)
Western Bulldogs vs St Kilda Saints (Saturday, July 23 at 7:25pm AEST)
The Western Bulldogs are knocking on the door of a top four finish, but before they can make that happen they need to win games like this against the Saints on Saturday night.
Both teams favour the quick surface at Etihad, but it's the Dogs who have won four of the last five against the Saints at this ground - including a 57-point win earlier this season. However, the Saints are likely to be far more competitive this time around, playing some solid footy of late with their latest of four of five wins coming against the Demons last week. But can they win? I don't think so. The Dogs will be without Jake Stringer, but they have shown they can cover their losses and with Tom Boyd being solid on his return last week, I think they can still scare the Saints on the attack, while their defence should be too strong. The midfield battle will be interesting with Jack Steven taking on Marcus Bontempelli and co. If the Saints can win in the middle convincingly, they might be in with a chance, but the Dogs should be too classy in a competitive game.
Tip: Western Bulldogs by 1-39 points (under 39.5) - $2.10 at Sportsbet (1.5 units)
Geelong Cats vs Adelaide Crows (Saturday, July 23 at 7:25pm AEST)
The Cats will be happy to get back to Simonds Stadium in Round 18 after a very tough three weeks saw them come out with just the one win - and only against the inept Dockers. Unfortunately, however, they will have tough competition in genuine premiership contenders the Adelaide Crows.
These two clubs played back in Round 8 and it was the Cats who managed the win and made it a homecoming to remember for former Crow Patrick Dangerfield. The Cats played close to perfect that night, but since then haven't really strung together much consistent footy. Adelaide, meanwhile, have been the opposite. They have won every single game since their loss to Geelong and if they win this weekend it will be nine in a row. History says the Crows won't win as they have lost the past eight games at Simonds Stadium. I think that changes this week. The Crows are a scoring powerhouse and the Cats simply need too much to go right to win against the best teams. You can never write off a team that has Dangerfield and Selwood in the middle - especially at home - but I think Adelaide are superior in quite a few areas - especially up forward. They also have a very good back half and with Luke Brown and Rory Laird returning, Geelong will struggle to score just as they have the last few weeks. Should be a cracking game, but liking the Crows here at the current price being offered.
Tip: Adelaide by 1-39 points (under 39.5) - $2.85 at CrownBet (1 unit)
Essendon Bombers vs Brisbane Lions (Sunday, July 24 at 1:10pm AEST)
The battle for the wooden spoon is this Sunday at Etihad Stadium as the 17th-placed Lions take on the 18th-placed Bombers. Interestingly, both teams are on the precipice of the longest losing streak of their respective club's history. Both need to win to regain a little bit of dignity. The loser, meanwhile, will very likely be the recipient of the No.1 draft pick. Let's not even discuss tanking. I'm hopeful both teams will fight hard for a win and that's how I'll look at this game.
This is a really tough game to look at. Essendon played really good football against Richmond last week with guys like Zach Merrett tearing games apart. The Lions have their own superstar midfielders in Dayne Zorko and Tom Rockliff, but there is clearly disharmony both on the field and off with this playing group. Ultimately, it's amazing to think the Bombers are the favourites here and I guess they deserve to be. I actually think you have to give the edge to Brisbane at this price. This is still a proud team and I expect them to come out and do everything they can to beat Essendon. If the Lions were the favourites, I would be fading this game, but any team paying $2.75 to beat Essendon is good value. Halving my 1 unit play between the line and head-to-head markets. Hopefully I'm not overrating the Lions too much here.
Tip: Brisbane to win head-to-head - $2.75 at Sportsbet (0.5 units)
+ Brisbane at the line (+12.5) - $1.92 at Sportsbet (0.5 units)
Hawthorn Hawks vs Richmond Tigers (Sunday, July 24 at 3:20pm AEST)
Geelong coach Chris Scott said that teams no longer fear Hawthorn like they have in the past. Something tells me that isn't exactly true for the Tigers this weekend. Interestingly, the Hawks return to Melbourne for a game for the first time in 50 days with Tasmania, Adelaide, Sydney and the bye keeping them away from the MCG.
The last time these two teams met was back in Round 7 of this season with the Hawks winning by 46 points. The Hawks needed that win for the confidence against Richmond as they have proven to be a 'bogey' team for the Hawks, winning three of the previous four before that victory. That's part of the reason I'm going to fade this game. Initially I actually liked the look of Richmond covering the 37-point line. I think they can be competitive on the back of the Hawks having a tough travelling few weeks, but with word that Brett Deledio is going to be on the sidelines, I think it's just safer to sit the betting out for this one.
Tip: No Bet.
Port Adelaide Power vs GWS Giants (Sunday, July 24 at 4:10pm ACST)
They saved the best for last in Round 18 with Port Adelaide continuing their quest for a top eight finish with a tough game against GWS on Sunday.
The Power will be trying to forget the last time they played GWS. It was back in Round 4 of this season and the Giants won by a massive 86 points. That game was in Canberra and the Power will be happy to be playing at Adelaide Oval this time around. GWS don't have a great record at Adelaide Oval, losing the last three, one of which was against the Power. However, this current GWS team looks like a powerhouse and will be very hard for the Power to get the win. They will have to play with desperation and apply the kind of tackling pressure we know they can. That's the only way to stop the outside run of the Giants. This is a different Port Adelaide than the last time they played the Giants and this should be a cracking game. If the odds were even money I would be on the Giants, but I think there is too much value on Port Adelaide plus the points. GWS are a great team, but Collingwood proved they aren’t indestructible a few weeks ago.
Tip: Port Adelaide at the line (+10.5) - $1.92 at CrownBet (1 unit)
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