The following are previews with betting tips for Round 14 of the 2018 AFL season.
Thursday, June 21
West Coast vs Essendon
8:10 pm AEST, Perth Stadium
The Eagles lost their second game of the year last weekend when they went down to the Swans by 15 points at the SCG. Sydney are still the only team to beat the Eagles, and while they’ll most likely need to beat the Swans to go all the way in September, West Coast will still be very happy with how they’re tracking right now. The biggest issue the Eagles are facing at present is the injuries to key forwards Jack Darling and Josh Kennedy. When one of those two are missing they can get by, but how will their forward line function when they’re both out? It’s hard to say, because it hasn’t happened since 2011, but we’ll find out on Thursday night.
You’d expect they’ll beat the Bombers in Perth regardless, but we’ll have to wait and see who the major goal kickers are for the Eagles. I don’t expect this to be a great game of footy — Essendon might have a sneaky chance if they do absolutely everything right, but in all likelihood I expect the Eagles to run out 4-5 goal victors.
Betting tip: West Coast By 25+ @ $1.70 (Ladbrokes)
Friday, June 22
Port Adelaide vs Melbourne
7:50 pm AEST, Adelaide Oval
It would have been a long week off for the Demons following their lacklustre performance against the Pies in the annual Queen’s Birthday clash, which resulted in a 42 point loss — their first defeat in seven outings. It wasn’t the fact they lost that they’ll be most frustrated with, it was the manner in which they played. There was so much hype surrounding the game and the form of both teams, but the Demons didn’t seem to cope with the pressure at all. They can put all that behind them with a strong showing against Port Adelaide on Friday night in what is sure to be another high pressure contest. The Power are back to playing some pretty good footy after a mini-form slump, and are now sitting equal with the Demons on eight wins. It was slightly disappointing they dropped off after a commanding first quarter against the Dogs on Thursday night. They ended up winning by a healthy 57 points but it probably should have been closer to a 100 point victory, which would’ve been handy considering the roadblock of teams sitting on eight or nine wins right now. Regardless, what’s more important is a win this week against the Demons.
It should be a great contest — the Demons were the form team of the competition before their loss to the Pies, and Port are playing a strong, exciting brand of footy, particularly at the Adelaide Oval. I expect the result of this one to come down to whoever makes the most of their forward 50 opportunities; both clubs should be able to win their fair share of the ball, so whoever capitalises on that will take home the points, and while I think it’ll be fairly tight, I expect Port to get the job done at home.
Betting tip: Port Adelaide @ $1.63 (Bet365)
Saturday, June 23
Hawthorn vs Gold Coast
1:45 pm AEST, University of Tasmania Stadium
It looked as if the Suns were going to have a rare cause for celebration on Saturday afternoon when they were leading the Saints by 37 points late in the third quarter, but it instead turned into the stuff of nightmares. They couldn’t register a score in the final term, and watched as the Saints piled on 5.3 to snatch the much-needed four points from their grasp. The final quarter capitulation couldn’t have been any worse, and it’s becoming a pattern; the Suns have scored just two points from their last three final quarters combined. It’s a shocking record and one that they’ll want to rectify as soon as possible.
This week they travel down to Tasmania to take on the Hawks, which looms as a severe challenge for the underperforming Suns. The Hawks play good footy down there and don’t often lose to the best of teams, let alone a struggling club like Gold Coast. It’ll take something special from the young leaders of the Gold Coast footy club to keep the margin close this weekend, but are their leaders strong enough? Tom Lynch is a super player, as is David Swallow, but are they capable of putting the club on their back and dragging their team through a really rough patch? I’m not convinced, and I expect we’ll see the Hawks pile on the pain and submit them to another big loss in Tassie this weekend.
Betting tip: Hawthorn (-51.5) @ $1.92 (Ladbrokes)
Brisbane vs GWS
4:35 pm AEST, Gabba
The Giants got their faltering season back on track in the two weeks prior to the bye, following up a morale-boosting win over the Crows with a 100+ point thumping of the Suns. You would expect that form line to continue this week when they travel to Brisbane to take on the Lions, despite the Giants still missing some of their star players. I wouldn’t be getting too excited about the Giants’ form just yet however; the Crows are a shadow of their former selves and Gold Coast’s issues are well documented. Still, a win’s a win and the Giants should get another one here to set them up for an assault on the top eight as they regain their injured stars over the back half of the year. Stephen Coniglio is one of those guys and he’s back in the team this week, although Rory Lobb will be missing for at least a month after a hairline fracture in his back was discovered.
I’m yet to be convinced by the 2018 Giants, but I think they’ll enjoy a big victory over the Lions on Saturday afternoon.
Betting tip: GWS (-22.5) @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Western Bulldogs vs North Melbourne
7:25 pm AEST, Etihad Stadium
Things weren’t going well for the Dogs at quarter time of their clash against Port Adelaide on Thursday night. They had kicked a solitary behind to Port’s 5.5, but the worst was yet to come. Hamstring injuries to captain Easton Wood and gun midfielder Jack Macrae were followed by hand injuries to Tom Boyd and Lukas Webb, while Toby McLean and Marcus Bontempelli both had injury concerns of their own. The only positive to come from all of that is that the Dogs were much improved after quarter time, but that’s not much to hang your hat on. They’re in for a tough night this week against the Kangaroos without Wood and Macrae, although the backline will be bolstered by the return of Dale Morris and Marcus Adams.
There’s also been some bad news on the injury front for North Melbourne, with key forward Jarrad Waite having been ruled out until the back end of the season. That’ll be a relief for the Dogs and their undersized defence, but they’ll still have Ben Brown to deal with. I can’t see the Dogs getting anywhere near the Kangaroos considering their current form, and I think the Kangaroos will make the most of it and win comfortably.
Betting tip: Kangaroos By 25+ @ $1.57 (Sportsbet)
Sunday, June 24
Collingwood vs Carlton
3:20 pm AEST, MCG
It was always going to be another tough year for the Blues, but you still don’t expect to see performances as bad as the one they dished up in the first half on Saturday. The Dockers aren’t even close to being one of the stronger teams in the competition, yet Carlton made them look unstoppable. To make matters worse, Fremantle actually fielded a younger, less experienced side than Carlton did, so they can’t even play the ‘we’re a young, rebuilding team’ card. If you can take any positives away from the game it’s that they regrouped and won the second half, but it doesn’t mean much. What will be important is a strong showing against arch rival Collingwood this weekend.
The Pies will be refreshed after a well earned bye week following their demolition of Melbourne on the Queen’s Birthday Monday. They’re looking pretty good at the moment, and they’ve still got some really important players to welcome back into the team as they build into September. Daniel Wells is now one of those players they’ll be hoping to return later in the season now that he’s been ruled out indefinitely with a foot issue.
You can never tell what might happen in a game between these two clubs, but I think it’s fairly safe to say the Pies will win this one by a very healthy margin.
Betting tip: Collingwood By 40+ @ $1.62 (BlueBet)
Best Bets of the Round
Kangaroos By 25+ @ $1.57 (Sportsbet)
All Bets: -6.70 units
Best Bets: +0.52 units