The following are previews with betting tips for Round 7 of the 2018 AFL season.
Friday, May 4
Geelong vs GWS
7:50 pm AEST, GMHBA Stadium
The Giants are yet to beat the Cats in Geelong in their short history to date, and it’s likely to be a tough ask for them to do it for the first time on Friday night considering the number of top line players they’re missing. They’re already missing Josh Kelly, Toby Greene and Rory Lobb, and now Brett Deledio and Jeremy Cameron will join them on the sidelines. That’s five of GWS’s most important players, so it’ll be an incredible effort if they topple the Cats on Friday night. Geelong are not without injury concerns of their own, with Brandon Parfitt and Dan Menzel both set to miss again, and while Gary Ablett was a possibility to return this week, he’ll sit it out again as well.
Even without Ablett, the Cats are more than capable through the middle of the ground, as are the Giants without Kelly. It should be an intriguing battle with plenty of heat, as the Cats will be keen to atone for their rare home loss to the Swans last week, while the Giants will want to prove their premiership credentials in one of the toughest tasks in footy. If the Giants were closer to full strength I’d be inclined to back them to get the job done, but I think they’re probably missing one too many of their absolute best players and that’s going to make this a really tough ask. The Cats should be strong enough to hold on in what should be an arm wrestle all night.
Betting tip: Geelong (-16.5) @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Saturday, May 5
Western Bulldogs vs Gold Coast
1:45 pm AEST, Mars Stadium, Ballarat
Gold Coast’s season is now interestingly poised; they sit at 3-3, but will be without superstar skipper Tom Lynch for the next month or so. Fellow captain Steven May is also set to miss this important clash against the Dogs in Ballarat, and that’s going to leave the inexperienced Suns with a big challenge on Saturday afternoon. The Dogs are also without their captain, Easton Wood, who has succumbed to a hamstring issue, but he’s not as big an out for the Dogs as Lynch is for the Suns. Because of the lack of key position players at either end of the ground for both teams, this game could turn into a running maul, or a free flowing contest that will see the side willing to work harder both ways take the points.
The Dogs weren’t overly impressive in their win over Carlton last weekend, but they did enough to hold off the Blues, and I expect to see a similar result in this contest. If Lynch was available he’d be a real handful for the Dogs and I’d be leaning the other way, but without him I have a feeling the Suns will struggle to get themselves in a winning position.
Betting tip: Western Bulldogs By 1-39 @ $2.35 (Bet365)
Essendon vs Hawthorn
2:10 pm AEST, MCG
After another poor performance by the Bombers where their opposition got an a roll that they weren’t able to stop, questions have been asked about John Worsfold and his coaching staff regarding their performance in 2018. The Bombers have plenty of talent on their list and they’re obviously capable of playing great footy, as witnessed in their wins over Adelaide and Port Adelaide, but they don’t do it often enough. Is it an issue with their desire, or is it that if they’re shut down, they don’t have a plan B? My biggest concern with the Bombers is still their midfield; it’s stacked with outside players but it doesn’t have enough grunt. You’re always going to struggle to win games of footy if you can’t win the contest. The Hawks don’t have a problem winning the footy; with Tom Mitchell and Jaeger O’Meara in the middle it’s the least of their concerns. They’ll be fairly happy with how they’re travelling right now — after a disappointing loss to the Kangaroos they bounced back to form in a solid win over the Saints on Saturday night, and they’ll be backing themselves to get over the Bombers in this one as well.
I reckon this will be closer than expected; the Bombers are due for a better performance, and the stage of Saturday afternoon at the MCG against their old foes might kick them into gear. I still think the Hawks get over the line due to their superior midfield, but the Bombers will make them earn it.
Betting tip: Hawthorn to win @ $1.63 (BetFair)
West Coast vs Port Adelaide
4:35 pm AEST, Perth Stadium
Saturday afternoon saw Port Adelaide put a horrible week behind them and come out with an intensity that never allowed the Kangaroos into the contest. It was an encouraging sign from the Power, and that form will have them feeling confident coming into this huge clash against the Eagles in Perth. The Eagles are one of the form teams in the competition at present, having only lost the one game so far to be sitting in equal first position along with the reigning premiers in Richmond. This is another game that they’ll expect to win, but it should be a tight contest; these two clubs have played some epic games in recent times, including last year’s elimination final which the Eagles won in extra time.
Port will be without star forward/midfielder Chad Wingard, but look set to regain gun ruckman Paddy Ryder, which would set up a mouth-watering duel between him and Eagles’ ruckman Nic Naitanui. If recent history is anything to go by, these clubs won’t be separated by much at the final siren, but I do think it’ll be the Eagles who prevail at home.
Betting tip: West Coast to win @ $1.75 (CrownBet)
Sydney vs North Melbourne
7:25 pm AEST, SCG
The Swans seemed to be in trouble at three quarter time last Friday night against Geelong, but a seven-to-one goal last quarter saw them storm home to record a memorable victory. Beating the Cats in Geelong is always a great achievement, but to do it without Lance Franklin and Dan Hannebery was remarkable, especially considering they were almost four goals behind with a quarter to play, and had at that point kicked just five goals for the match.
This week they return home to take on the Kangaroos at the SCG which should be an easier task for them, but they’ll be without Franklin and Hannebery again. They haven’t played their best footy in their past few games at home either; so far this year they’re 1-2 at the SCG. You wouldn’t think that would continue for too long, and you’d expect them to be far too good for the Kangaroos this week. As good as North Melbourne have been, last week showed that without one of their best players in Shaun Higgins they’re much easier to shut down. Higgins looks set to play this week, but he might take a few weeks to get back to his best after a heavy concussion two weeks ago. They’ve also had to rest Jarrad Waite, which will drastically reduce their scoring capacity, so the Swans definitely shouldn’t have any issues here,
Betting tip: Sydney (-33.5) @ $2.03 (BetFair)
Adelaide vs Carlton
7:40 pm AEST, Adelaide Oval
Carlton’s start to 2018 is now officially their worst ever start to an AFL season, and things aren’t going to get any easier for them when they take on the Crows in Adelaide on Saturday evening. Their 21-point loss to the Dogs on Friday night was one of the few games you could potentially see them winning this season, but they just weren’t good enough in the end. It’s now becoming difficult to see where their wins will come from. They’ve got some top-end talent in Patrick Cripps and Charlie Curnow, but they leave far too much up to those guys. Cripps single-handedly kept them in the game against the Dogs, but they can’t expect him to constantly do everything.
They’re in for a tough night against Adelaide this week; the Crows will be without skipper Taylor Walker after he strained a hamstring against the Suns, but that won’t matter too much. The Crows are still one of the best teams in the competition and they love an easy kill at home. Expect this one to blow out to a really large margin.
Betting tip: Adelaide By 40+ @ $1.45 (BlueBet)
Sunday, May 6
Richmond vs Fremantle
1:10 pm AEST, MCG
The in-form Magpies really took it up to the Tigers at the MCG on Sunday afternoon, but the Tigers still managed to record a 43-point victory, which just goes to show how well they’re playing at the moment. It’s really difficult to see them being beaten at present, and you’d imagine it would take something really special from Fremantle for them to get anywhere near Richmond on Sunday. That’s not to say the Dockers aren’t playing some good footy because they are; they nearly got over the Eagles on Sunday afternoon and that would’ve put them in a really strong position for the rest of the season. Now that they’ve lost Michael Walters for an extended period they may struggle a little, but they’re still good enough to win their fair share of games over in Perth. Unfortunately for Fremantle, I think they’re in for a good old fashioned belting on Sunday — the Tigers are flying, and the Dockers aren’t the team to stop them right now.
Betting tip: Richmond By 40+ @ $2.00 (Bet365)
St Kilda vs Melbourne
3:20 pm AEST, Etihad Stadium
After an encouraging performance against GWS in round 5, the Saints let themselves down again on Saturday night against the Hawks, eventually falling short by 35 points after being fairly competitive for the first three quarters. Now they face the Demons at Etihad Stadium in a game that is a must win if they are to make anything of their 2018 season. The Demons are coming off a much-needed strong showing against the Bombers after a few off weeks, which positions this as an interesting game. The Saints will be desperate for a win, but are they good enough? They’re really struggling at the moment and while it may have looked like they were about to turn the corner after their draw with the Giants, the loss to Hawthorn showed they’ve still got a long way to go. The Demons on the other hand have been inconsistent, but have at least produced glimpses of their best footy. Because of that, it’s hard to back the Saints in this one, although I do expect it to be relatively close. The Demons are the better team at the moment and should be able to get home by at least three or four goals.
Betting tip: Melbourne to win @ $1.40 (BetFair)
Brisbane vs Collingwood
4:40 pm AEST, Gabba
Despite losing by 43-points — a margin generally considered to be a fairly big loss — the Pies will be relatively happy with their efforts against the Tigers last weekend. They were strong in the contest and really made the Tigers earn the win despite fading out late in the game. If they play like that every week they’ll come close to beating the majority of the other teams in the competition, and the Lions are no exception. In fact, despite Brisbane putting on a solid display against the Giants, the Pies would be backing themselves to have a percentage boosting win at the Gabba on Sunday. It’s not going to be one for the highlights reel and I don’t except it to be a high quality game, but Pies fans will no doubt enjoy it as they’re in for a very large win.
Betting tip: Collingwood (-18.5) @ $1.93 (BetFair)
Best Bets of the Round
Hawthorn to win @ $1.63 (BetFair)
Collingwood (-18.5) @ $1.93 (BetFair)
All Bets: -12.01 units
Best Bets: -1.19 units