2017 AFL: Round 2 Preview & Betting Tips

March 28th 2017, 8:37pm, By: Drop Punta

2017 AFL: Round 2 Preview & Betting Tips

The opening round of footy is always tough, but it's safe to say the 2017 AFL season brought that to new level as highly-fancied teams were being defeated by big margins all weekend. While my AFL betting tips only managed a couple of winners, hopefully we gained a lot of valuable information and perhaps can find some extra value if the bookies over-correct after last week's results. Let's see how we go with my 2017 AFL Round 2 Preview & Betting Tips. 

2017 AFL Round 2 Betting Tips

Richmond Tigers vs Collingwood Magpies (Thursday, March 30th at 7:20pm AEST)

Richmond fans were up and about after their Thursday night victory over Carlton last week and will no doubt be keen to raise the curtain in Round 2 against the Magpies. I think it's fair to say this game won't be so easy. 

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Despite losing to the Bulldogs last week, the Magpies were extremely competitive and looked very dangerous for long periods of the game. Their work in the middle of the ground was the most damaging, dominating the hit-outs and winning the centre clearances 17 to 9. The Bulldogs were, however, without a true ruckman, so these kind of numbers are a little skewed. Perhaps the most pleasing for Collingwood was the winning of the contested possessions 161-135. They also won overall clearances 43-25. It's going to be very hard for Richmond if the Pies can play this kind of football around the ground while converting more of their scoring opportunities.

Where Richmond prospered in their victory over Carlton was with their ferocious tackling and quality of possession from their small forwards. Oh, and a player named Dustin Martin absolutely dominated. He kicked four goals and was arguably being directly responsible for another three or four in a certain 3-vote game that sees him at the top of our 2017 Brownlow Medal predicted leaderboard. Without Dusty, Richmond didn't look overly scary. They lost some key stat areas and only just scraped through in others. We have to remember Carlton fielded a very inexperienced side and I don't think Richmond will find it so easy against Collingwood - especially if Dusty is contained even a little. Happy to take the classier Pies at the small line.

Tip: Collingwood at the line (-3.5) - $1.92 at Ladbrokes (1.5 units) 

Western Bulldogs vs Sydney Swans (Friday, March 31st at 7:50pm AEST)

Round 2 of the 2017 AFL season sees a Friday night premiership rematch as the Western Bulldogs will have their flag unveiled in front of a home crowd against the Sydney Swans.

The Bulldogs got the job done against the Pies, but it wasn't a very balanced performance. As mentioned in Collingwood's Thursday night preview, the Dogs were crushed in clearances and contested possessions which will have to be addressed this week. Getting a victory when losing key stat areas is, however, what teams like Hawthorn have managed to do the last few years, so perhaps we are over-reacting. Regardless, the Dogs will be taking on another team with a very talented midfield and I think they will have to improve on last week's effort to get the win - especially considering they will be without the pillar of their backline for almost the last decade in Dale Morris. Fortunately for the Dogs, the Swans will also be without a defender as All Australian Dane Rampe broke his arm when he tripped on a chain during the week.

It's hard to know what happened to the Swans last week, but no doubt if they play that way again, it will be an 0-2 start to the season. I think it's more likely that result will be an early wake-up call. Dan Hannebery had a rare off-day last week and will be looking to bounce back, while Sydney's general midfield unit will be looking to win the centre clearances after being dominated in the middle by a lacklustre and relatively inexperienced Port Adelaide midfield. I actually lean slightly towards the Swans getting a win here, but there are solid odds for the game to kept close either way. I can't see a blowout in a passionate Grand Final rematch, while the last three outings between these two teams has seen a margin under 24.5 points.

Tip: Either Team by Under 24.5 Points - $1.83 at Sportsbet (2 unit)

 

Hawthorn Hawks vs Adelaide Crows (Saturday, April 1st at 1:45pm AEST)

Like the Swans, alarm bells were ringing for the Hawks after their opening round loss to the Bombers. I think we probably have to steady up and realise there were some unique factors in play and judge them more on their Round 2 effort. Unfortunately, they will be facing a tough Adelaide that looked very slick in their victory against the Giants last week.

All the talk since the Hawks loss last weekend is that they looked slow. I want to remind everyone that Hawthorn won three premierships in a row being relatively slow - though they could have used some of Bradley Hill's pace last week. I'm not sure pace was the real problem anyway, it was more in decision making and ball movement - two of the most notable aspects in the absence of Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis. Luckily for Hawks supporters Tom Mitchell looked great and while it might take him a few weeks to get going, Jaegar O'Meara still looks like a future weapon. The biggest area the Hawks will need to work on this week is their scoring conversion. They kicked 12 goals, 19 behinds in Round 1 (the same amount of scoring shots as their opponent) which is not good enough.

The Crows were the talk of the town in Round 1, dominating the premiership favourite Giants and looking unstoppable along the way. If they play like that every week, they will win a lot of games. Adelaide captain Taylor Walker is back this week which will aid what was already a damaging forward line which scored 22 goals, 15 behinds. Interestingly, the Crows haven’t defeated the Hawks since 2011, while the Hawks haven't lost the first two games of a season 2009 - the last time they missed the finals. Both these records are in a with a real chance of being broken on Saturday, but I'm not confident betting on this game. The Hawks get Luke Hodge back and I want to see how they respond to get a better feel for where they are at. Similarly, I want to see another week of Adelaide (and how they go on the road) before I start getting on their bandwagon.

Tip: No Bet.

 

GWS Giants vs Gold Coast Suns (Saturday, April 1st at 4:35pm AEST)

The 2017 AFL season couldn't have started any worse for the Suns, losing to the previous wooden spoon favourites, while the Giants will be disappointed with a very poor performance on the road against Adelaide, getting smashed by 56 points.

I wouldn't be excited about this game if I were a Suns supporter. If the Giants are really premiership favourites, they are surely going to come out and make a statement in front of their home crowd. They were clearly not at their best when they were smashed by the Crows last week, but the game was in Adelaide and historically you can often forgive Round 1 performances. I'm not riding the Giants off after one game like some in the media, that's for sure. The Giants love to play at Spotless, winning six of nine games here last year including four by more than 60 points. I think if they play their best football, they could add to that plus 60 stat. However, they need to address some issues from last week, including their ball usage, especially through the middle of the ground. They went inside 50 18 less times than Adelaide last week which is damning.

The Suns should have won last week as they had more scoring shots and 32 more inside 50s than Brisbane. That's a huge amount of lost opportunities and not what you would expect of a forward line that includes the highly rated Tom Lynch. Gold Coast recruited well in the off-season and need to start showing some fruits for that labour. Unfortunately, that won't be happening this week as I expect the Giants to get a relatively easy win. Will be taking the Giants at the line.

Tip: GWS Giants at the line (-36.5) - $1.92 at CrownBet (1 unit) 

Brisbane Lions vs Essendon Bombers (Saturday, April 1st at 6:25pm AEST)

Regardless of your stance on the matter, the Bombers being able to come out and get a Round 1 win over the Hawks was the feel-good story of last week. There was a lot of emotion in their victory and it was great for their returning players to get the monkey off their back so early in the season. Now they have to back it up with a win against the Lions - a team that started the season with an unexpected victory themselves.

It surprises me that the Bombers are only 16-point favourites. Not because I necessarily think they will smash the Lions, I just thought there would be more of an over-reaction to their win over the Hawks. If the Lions ended up losing by a couple of points last week instead of winning I'm sure the Bombers would have been favoured by a little more. I think we can reap the benefits by only having to see the Bombers win by 3 goals because I think they should win this easily. On paper, the Lions shouldn’t have won last week. The Suns dominated them in moving the ball inside 50, but couldn't capitalise. I think the Bombers showed us enough last week to be able to get a solid win in Brisbane - especially with Zach Merrett now helped in the midfield by Heppel and Watson who both looked great last week. I would be making this a stronger play if there wasn't at least a little bit of a concern that the Bombers will have a bit of second-week hangover after much of their list has been out of the game for so long.

Tip: Essendon at the line (-15.5) - $1.92 at Ladbrokes (1 unit)

 

West Coast Eagles vs St Kilda Saints (Saturday, April 1st at 4:40pm AWST)

For a punter who rates them very highly, St Kilda were the most disappointing team of last week.  During the first quarter against Melbourne I felt completely validated as they looked dominating. But then they plummeted from there, ultimately losing by 30 points. The Demons are certainly a quality team, but the Saints will need to do better if they are any chance in games such as their Round 2 clash with the Eagles at Domain Stadium.

The Saints will still have the memory of losing by 93 points in Perth against the Eagles last season and while I don't think the margin will be quite so high this time around, I do have worries about St Kilda's ability to stop the Eagles from scoring. West Coast were at it again last week, scoring 136 points against the Roos at Etihad. This game, meanwhile, is at Domain, where the Eagles love to put up huge scores. The Saints will also be without Nick Riewoldt (luckily only for a few weeks in what looked like it was going to be an ACL) which is obviously a huge loss. I still rate the Saints, but the line looks a little too high for my liking. I do, however, think the Eagles will continue their high scoring ways and considering the game style the Saints played last week (and most of the competition actually), I would be surprised if the Eagles don't cover their total line.

Tip: Eagles Total Score OVER 112.5 - $1.90 at Bet365 (1 unit)

 

Geelong Cats vs North Melbourne Kangaroos (Sunday, April 2nd at 1:10pm AEST)

The Cats getting a win over the Dockers last week was probably as predictable as the Roos losing to the Eagles. In a week of surprise results, these two teams were some of the few who played as expected. I think that will probably be the case again when the Cats take on the Roos at Etihad in Round 2.

North Melbourne actually played played some solid football at times last week, but were ultimately inaccurate in front of the goals and lacked class at times. Geelong, meanwhile, were quite impressive in most facets of the game, but especially through the middle and in their attacking rebounding. Once again I think this will be a cut and dry result with the Cats simply outclassing the Roos. Andrew Swallow and Jack Ziebell were ferocious in their pressure in the middle last week, but they just didn't get enough help. I'm expecting Danger and co to win this one quite easily.

Tip: Geelong at the line (-28.5) - $1.91 at Bet365 (1 unit)    

 

Melbourne Demons vs Carlton Blues (Sunday, April 2nd at 3:20pm AEST)

Only time will tell if I slightly underrated the Demons before the season kicked off, but what they showed last week suggested that might be the case. I think Carlton fans might be in for a little bit of pain this Sunday at the MCG.

The Blues simply look like they are really going to struggle this year. I think they know it too considering how many inexperienced players they named in Round 1 - including guys who didn't have a preseason hitout. You have to think the Blues are clearly using this season to blood new players and therefore they aren't going to win many games. The Demons, meanwhile, will take huge confidence from the way they played last week. Their young midfielders have taken it to another level and Jesse Hogan continues to look very dangerous down forward. It would be very disappointing if the Demons didn't capitalise on their current form. This is another situation where I'm taking the favourite to cover the line.

Tip: Melbourne at the line (-29.5) - $1.92 at Ladbrokes (1 unit)

 

Port Adelaide vs Fremantle Dockers (Sunday, April 2nd at 4:10pm AEST)

Port Adelaide surprised us all by defeating the Swans by 28 points last week, but it will mean close to nothing if they don't defeat the Dockers at Adelaide Oval in Round 2.

The Dockers were once again under scrutiny for their low-scoring game plan after their loss to Geelong last week. They managed 73 points on their home turf and never looked truly damaging in the way they moved the ball forward. Nat Fyfe wasn't quite back to his best, but he looked solid and will no doubt soon enough be challenging Dangerfield for the title of best player in the game. I think Port Adelaide no doubt over-performed last week, with their veterans like Travis Boak and Brad Ebert playing one of their blinders that were very rare last season. If this game was played at Domain Stadium I do think they would be a chance, and while I still lean towards the Dockers to cover a four-goal line, I'm going to sit this one out and get another good look at these two teams.

Tip: No Bet. 

 

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