The following are previews with betting tips for Round 16 of the 2017 AFL season.
Friday, July 7
Adelaide v Western Bulldogs
7:50PM AEST, Adelaide Oval
It’s just about season over for the reigning premiers. After a patchy start to the year in which they were highly inconsistent but at least showed glimpses of their best footy, the past few weeks they’ve barely given a yelp. They are playing like a bottom four side at the moment, which surely indicates there are some serious problems at the club, as they should be much, much better than that. Coach Luke Beveridge has been patiently waiting for the team to turn the corner, but things are just getting worse, and now they’re just about out of time. A loss to the Crows on Friday night—which appears almost certain, given their form—and their finals hopes are over. It’s a disappointing follow up to what was an amazing year in 2016, but it just goes to show how difficult it is to stay a contender.
The Crows have had their own form issues in recent times but have managed to keep the wins ticking along and are well placed for a top four finish. The Dogs have struggled to contain their opposition lately, so the Crows forward line are likely to have a field day and kick bags of goals in front of their home crowd.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Dogs choose to tag Rory Sloane. His impact has been sharply reduced by a hard tag so far this season, but the Dogs have been loathe to use a tagger. Surely it’s time for them to try a few new things, and what better time to give the tag a go considering how effective it has been against Sloane. Regardless of that, with the way the Dogs are currently playing they won’t get within seven goals of the Crows in Adelaide. They’ll be looking for small signs of improvement, but I can’t see any major light at the end of the tunnel just yet.
Betting tip: Adelaide (-25.5) @ $1.98 (Marathon Bet)
Saturday, July 8
Hawthorn v GWS
1:45PM AEST, University of Tasmania Stadium
While you’d have to say it’s still incredibly unlikely, the Hawks have put themselves back in finals contention. They followed up an impressive win over the Crows with a four goal victory over the Pies, taking clear control of the game when it was on the line in the last quarter. Their young kids are stepping up and showing some great signs, and the old guys keep providing steady heads and more than the odd bit of brilliance. It’s going to be tough for them this week however, taking on the top-of-the-table Giants in Tasmania. The Giants weren’t great last week, and will yet again be without key players due to injury, with Steve Johnson a definite out and Toby Greene unlikely to get up in time. They were lucky to snatch the two points against the Cats to be fair, as Geelong were the better team for the majority of the night, and while it’s nothing to seriously worry about just yet, there are definitely some flaws appearing in the premiership favourites.
The Hawks would need to be at their best and the Giants slightly off the boil for an upset to occur, but if there’s anything to take away from the season we’ve had so far, it’s that anything is possible. The Hawks have proven they’re still a fairly good footy club, but I expect the Giants to bounce back and be too good for them on Saturday.
Betting tip: GWS (-11.5) @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Collingwood v Essendon
2:10PM AEST, MCG
There’s always pressure in a clash between the Bombers and the Pies, but there’s a whole lot of extra heat on both clubs heading into this game. The Pies would need to do something extraordinary to make the top eight from here, while the Bombers did their finals chances no favours on the weekend, losing to the bottom placed Lions after being five goals up early in the last quarter. Despite it still being mathematically possible, I’d say it’s officially season over for Collingwood, making it four consecutive years without a finals appearance. It’s a bitter pill for such a proud club to swallow, but to look on the bright side of things, this weekend they have a chance to effectively end Essendon’s season as well and there’s surely nothing that would make the Pies happier right now.
They’ll be hoping Jordan De Goey can reproduce the form he displayed on the weekend as he transitions from a half forward to a more permanent midfielder. He was terrific against the Hawks, giving Collingwood fans something to get excited about on what was an otherwise dark day. The Bombers have their own share of exciting young players, and that’s probably where this game is won and lost. The two clubs are fairly evenly matched, so whoever gets the most of their lesser players is probably going to take the points. It’s a difficult one to pick, but I’m backing the Bombers to rub further salt into the Magpies’ wounds.
Betting tip: Essendon to win @ $1.95 (Palmerbet)
Sydney v Gold Coast
4:35PM AEST, SCG
While last weekend’s result have shut the door on a top eight finish for a few clubs, the Swans continue on their amazing comeback trail after taking care of the Demons with ease. They still can’t afford to drop many games if they’re to make the finals, and while they do have a fairly tough run home, this game shouldn’t trouble them.
The Suns were solid against the Kangaroos on the weekend, running out 19-point victors after being challenged by the Roos in the last quarter. The Suns’ midfielders were very good, but more importantly, key forward and co-captain Tom Lynch found some form and managed to slot five goals. If the Suns are any chance of keeping their slim finals hopes alive they need Lynch firing, but he’ll have a tough task against the Swans’ defenders this weekend.
Sydney are in such good form at the moment that I can’t see them losing to the Suns, especially not at the SCG. It hasn’t necessarily been the fortress it usually is, but the Swans still play their home ground incredibly well, and I expect they’ll make life very difficult for a Suns team without star midfielders Gary Ablett and Pearce Hanley.
Betting tip: Sydney (-43.5) @ $1.95 (Marathon Bet)
Brisbane v Geelong
7:25PM AEST, Gabba
They’ll be incredibly disappointed they let the Giants back in the game and in the end could only manage the draw, but at the same time the Cats will be immensely pleased with their performance against on the weekend. They were without skipper Joel Selwood, as well as a couple of other senior players, and yet they had the better of GWS for much of the contest. Not only were they missing those senior players, but they were replaced with three debutants—who all managed to hold their own. Those kids will no doubt get further chances in 2017 after making the most of the opportunity they were given.
Speaking of talented, young players, the Brisbane Lions have plenty of them, and they came to the party against the Bombers on Sunday afternoon. The Lions were almost five goals behind early in the last quarter, but they didn’t give up and somehow took total control of the game to overrun the Bombers by 8-points. They were led by Dayne Zorko, who bounced back from a disappointing game last week to notch up 30 touches and two goals, but they had solid contributors all over the ground. It was a great team performance which also included plenty of individual brilliance, painting a bright picture of the future for the young Lions.
The Lions aren’t likely to seriously challenge the Cats this weekend, but they’ll be keen to build some consistency in their performances, and if they can play as they did against the Bombers I think they should be able to keep it from being too much of a blowout.
Betting tip: Geelong By 1-39 @ $2.35 (UniBet)
St Kilda v Richmond
7:25PM AEST, Etihad Stadium
What a huge game this is. The eighth-placed Saints host the fourth-placed Tigers in a Etihad Stadium showdown, in what could be a season-defining contest for both clubs. The Tigers are fighting for a top four position, while the Saints are desperate to hold on to their current spot in the top eight. Both clubs got the four points last weekend in games that were probably 50/50 contests, so they come in on the back of some good form.
The Tigers and their small forwards love to apply heat to their opponents, and the Saints are a good pressure side on their day as well, so we could be in for a real pressure-cooker contest under the roof at Etihad. The Saints have said they’re prepared for Dustin Martin, but other sides have said the same thing this year, and he has almost always found a way to have a major influence on the result. The Saints have got some big bodies that rotate through the midfield, so it’ll be interesting to see whether they decide to apply a hard tag or just try to quell Dusty via a team effort.
Both clubs have multiple goal kicking options, but the result is most likely to come down to which club can better defend the opposition. The Tigers have been great at it all year, and while I think it will be a tight contest, I expect them to continue their strong form and get the job done again.
Betting tip: Richmond By 1-39 @ $2.30 (BlueBet)
Sunday, July 9
North Melbourne v Fremantle
1:10PM AEST, Etihad Stadium
It’s been quite a while since the Kangaroos have been blown out of the water by an opposition team—which is encouraging for a side currently sitting second last—but it’s also been a long while since they’ve had a win. They are a team capable of kicking goals quickly and piling on a big score, but they let their opposition do the same thing to them. Once they learn to match their offensive power with a strong defensive mindset they’ll start to win more games than they lose. Fortunately for the Kangaroos, they face the Dockers this weekend, a side that isn’t known for it’s forward-half firepower.
Both clubs have lost key players due to injury, with Freo big man Aaron Sandilands done for the year after re-injuring his hamstring, while Kangaroos’ spearhead Jarrad Waite was injured late after kicking four goals against the Suns. The most notable inclusion for this one is the return of Roos’ midfielder Ben Cunnington from his one match suspension.
Neither club has been able to play consistent footy over the course of the year so this could easily go either way, but it’s hard to look past the Kangaroos at Etihad; even without Waite, I think they’ll get over the struggling Dockers by a couple of goals.
Betting tip: North Melbourne (-11.5) @ $1.92 (Ladbrokes)
Carlton v Melbourne
3:20PM AEST, MCG
The Demons train was brought to an abrupt halt at the MCG on Friday night, when the Swans proved to be the stronger of the two in-form teams. It’s no cause for panic as the Demons were missing six of their best 22, but it was still a tad disappointing. To make matters worse, co-captain Jack Viney will join the other skipper, Nathan Jones, on the sidelines, as will key midfielder Dom Tyson, and Tom Bugg will enjoy a six week holiday after his crude hit on Sydney youngster Callum Mills. Which almost makes this clash against the Blues a danger game. The Dees are set to recall Jesse Hogan and Jeff Garlett, which obviously makes their forward line a hell of a lot better, but they’re starting to look seriously light on in the midfield. They’ll be forced to give significant midfield time to Christian Petracca, Bernie Vince and Jordan Lewis, all of whom are players that they like to rotate through various areas of the ground.
So can the Blues pull off an upset? I still think the Demons probably win, but it has to be a chance. If they can match it with the Crows, they should be able to take it up to a half-strength Demons’ outfit, so I’m backing them in at the line.
Betting tip: Carlton (+8.5) @ $1.95 (Mad Bookie)
West Coast v Port Adelaide
4:40PM AEST, Domain Stadium
So it seems like the Eagles don’t necessarily have a problem playing in Melbourne, rather, they have a problem playing at the MCG. They went into the clash against the Dogs with a severely weakened team due to injury issues, and despite that, outplayed the Dogs for the best part of three quarters. They deserved to win by more than just 7-points; it would have been absolute highway robbery if the Dogs had snatched it from them. I’m not sure what happened in that last quarter; whether they got nervous, or whether they simply ran out of steam, but they played so well the rest of the game and they got the result in the end so we’ll forgive them for that.
After going down to the Tigers in a fascinating Saturday night battle, the Power still haven’t managed a win over a fellow top eight team, but they get another crack here. As they probably know better than anyone, no clash against a finals contender is easy, but this one could be very difficult if the Eagles are able to recall some of their injured guns. While I’m still cautious, West Coast look to have turned the corner somewhat, and I expect them to be close to their best against the Power. If that’s the case, I’m not sure Port will cope with the pressure. I reckon it’ll be an entertaining game of footy, but I expect the Eagles to run out the game strongly and beat the Power by a handful of goals.
Betting tip: West Coast (-4.5) @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Best Bets of the Round
Richmond By 1-39 @ $2.30 (BlueBet)
West Coast (-4.5) @ $1.93 (Bet365)
All Bets: -22.53 units
Best Bets: +2.11 units