AFL Round 1 Preview & Betting Tips

Thursday, April 2


Carlton vs Richmond



A new AFL season brings with it a plethora of unknowns and hundreds of questions that will be slowly and steadily answered throughout the long and arduous season. Who knows what might happen? The endless number of scenarios is enough to boggle the mind. But, luckily for those who are prone to getting caught up in hours upon hours of fruitless thought, we all know how this one goes. Richmond will get out to a 10 goal lead only to let Carlton come storming back into the game and either steal it or at least give their fans some seriously worrying moments in the final minutes.

In all seriousness, Richmond should take care of Carlton in this one. The Tigers have their sights firmly set on playing finals, and should be aiming for a spot in the top four. While Mick Malthouse apparently can’t see the Blues losing a game, I’d say even the most zealous of Blues fans could probably help him out. If they can manage to scrape into the finals this year that would be an outstanding result for the Blues. 

Betting tip: Tigers to win @ $1.55 (

Saturday, April 4


Melbourne vs Gold Coast



This is the year the Gold Coast Suns are expected to start really scaring the competition, showing off the ridiculous amount of talent and depth they have at their disposal, who are all starting to come into the prime of their careers together as a group. As if a fit Gary Ablett on his own wasn’t frightening enough for most teams! 

Melbourne will continue to play a dour, defensive brand of football, as is the Paul Roos way. Last year, they managed to bring down the average scores of opposition teams against them; it will be interesting to see if they make any progress on the offensive part of the game this season. That will depend heavily on the success and fitness of young prodigy Jesse Hogan, who could set the AFL world alight if he manages to play 15+ games. 

The Dees will make it hard for the Suns, but will find it difficult to put a winning score on the board. Gold Coast to be too strong over the ground.

Betting tip: Melbourne – Round Lowest Scoring Team @ $5.50 (William Hill)


Sydney vs Essendon

4:35PM AEDT, ANZ Stadium


The game that has been the biggest talking point leading up to the start of the new season. With the League’s Anti-Doping Tribunal recently clearing the 34 Essendon players of all charges, we will luckily get to see a proper game of footy here now. That being said, you would expect the Bombers to be quite severely underdone, with many of their players having had no proper AFL standard match practice to speak of. It doesn’t help that they’re coming up against the Swans in Sydney, either.

The Bombers will no doubt come out firing, fuelled by the positive energy of recent ASADA-related events but, unfortunately for the Bombers, the fuel will run out at around about the three quarter time mark and the Swans will get home by a couple of goals.

Betting tip: Essendon at the line (+24.5) @ $1.92 (Palmer Bet)


Brisbane vs Collingwood

7:20PM AEDT, The Gabba


This will be a very interesting game of footy. One side many people expect to climb up the AFL ladder this year, and the other to drop down quite a few notches. Brisbane have added some really nice midfield talents to their list over the offseason, and it will be exciting to see how they blend together in a midfield that now has to be considered one of the strongest in the league. 

On the other hand, the Pies haven’t had the greatest time in the last 6 months. The loss of recruit Levi Greenwood for a few months to an ankle injury, and the positive drugs test of two young players has seen things just keep getting continually worse for the Pies, after a disappointing 2014 season followed by the departure of star midfielder Dayne Beams.

The pressure will be heaped on coach Nathan Buckley after 7 or 8 rounds if the Pies get off to a poor start to the season and I don’t see this game helping very much. The Lions to have a big win here and start their season off with a bang.

Betting tip: Brisbane By 21+ @ $2.60 (bet365)


Western Bulldogs vs West Coast

7:20PM AEDT, Etihad Stadium


The Eagles have been dominant against the Dogs in recent times, having won 5 of their past 6 matches, thanks in no small part to their healthy supply of talls up forward, and the Dog’s lack of them in the defensive half of the ground. 

However, with the retirements of Darren Glass and Beau Waters, and the season ending knee injury to key defender Eric Mackenzie, this time it’s the Eagles who could be looking a little shaky in defence.

To add to that, big man Jack Darling is out with a foot injury, meaning the Dogs can focus new coach Luke Beveridge’s ‘team defence’ solely on stopping Josh Kennedy and Mark LeCras.

The Dogs have looked relatively good in their pre-season hit-outs, and with the club seemingly excited by the change of coach and fresh faces brought in over a tumultuous offseason, I like them in an upset over an Eagles side struggling with some pre-season niggles.

Betting tip: Bulldogs to win @ $2.75 (Sportsbet)

Sunday, April 5


St Kilda vs GWS Giants

1:10PM AEDT, Etihad Stadium


The Giants have recruited well and added some much needed experience to some crucial parts of the ground, with ex-Western Bulldogs skipper Ryan Griffen coming in to bolster a talented young midfield, and Joel Patfull doing the same to the backline. This, along with an another preseason of work put into the kids, means the Giants are looking at some significant improvement on their output from 2014. 

Meanwhile, the Saints have been going about their rebuild, continuing to build up a stockpile of top end talent from the draft. It’s a slow and painful process, but a necessary one for a club in their position. I don’t think the Saints are going to have too many wins in season 2015, however, their fans should be looking at the positives and getting a lot out of watching some of their kids show glimpses of what they’ll be  capable of in the future. 

The Giants’ midfield will be too strong for the Saints, and their forwards will take advantage. Jeremy Cameron to kick a bag.

Betting tip: GWS By 21+ @ $2.00 (bet365)


Adelaide vs North Melbourne

3:20PM AEDT, Adelaide Oval


The game of the round for me. Should be a really tight contest, as well as being a great game to watch since both these teams play a good brand of footy. I’m not as bullish on the Kangaroos prospects for season 2015 as some are, however, I don’t expect them to slide too much either; they should slot in around that 4-6 mark again. The Crows should be pushing for a spot in the bottom half of the top 8, and a win here would be a huge boost for their confidence as well as being a priceless win against a side that will end up in a similar range on the ladder to them.

Both sides are strong all over the ground, and both have star players that can be counted on. The result of this game will come down to which side gets the best output from it’s fringe players.

I see this as a 50/50 game and can’t pick a winner, but there’s some real value in the Kangaroos at $2.32 for the win.

Betting tip: Kangaroos to win @ $2.32 (Pinnacle)


Fremantle vs Port Adelaide

6:40PM AEDT, Patersons Stadium


Another tough game to pick. The Power start 2015 as one of the premiership favourites, but they may not go into this game as favourites. The Dockers have been extremely tough to beat over in Perth during the Ross Lyon tenure and most people don’t expect that to change any time soon, even with their ageing list. Their search continues for a tall forward to help out Matthew Pavlich, and maybe this could be the year someone like Matt Taberner stands up and gives the Dockers an extra pathway to goal.

Late last year, the Power were as close as you can get to playing off in the Grand Final and they will be itching to get back into September to have another crack. First of all, however, they’ve got to take care of business and stitch up enough regular season wins to guarantee a top four spot. 

Port have started the last two seasons in sparkling form, and I expect this year will follow the same trend, with a tough win over the Dockers.

Betting tip: Power to win @ $2.11 (Pinnacle)

Monday, April 6


Hawthorn vs Geelong



The great rivalry of the last decade continues on Easter Monday to wrap up the opening round. The Hawks are coming into the season in a strong position to take out a third consecutive premiership, having adding James Frawley and Jono O’Rourke to it’s 2014 premiership side. The Cats have some notable additions of their own, namely key forward Mitch Clark. If he stays fit, and can play somewhere near his best footy consistently throughout 2015, then talk of Geelong’s demise will once again be premature. 

Hawthorn are the better side at this stage but that doesn’t particularly mean a whole lot for this match. We know from the past couple of years that anything can happen in games between these two clubs. I would expect this contest to be no different. 

I love the value in the Cats at $3.17 for a win, if you’re up for a risk.

Betting tip: Cats to win @ $3.17 (Pinnacle)

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