The following are previews with betting tips for Round 6 of the 2016 AFL season.
Friday, April 29
North Melbourne v Western Bulldogs
7:50PM AEST, Etihad Stadium
This rare Friday night appearance couldn’t be more perfectly set up for these two clubs, who are both playing brilliant footy and occupying the top two positions on the ladder. It’s a great opportunity to put on a really entertaining contest and collectively put their hands up for the coveted Good Friday fixture for next year.
It’s also going to be a fascinating collision between two styles of footy. The Kangaroos have been the highest scoring team in the competition so far, while the Dogs have been the best defensively, conceding only 283 points against. The worrying thing for the Kangaroos is that while they’ve scored heavily, they’ve also been scored against quite heavily, conceding 493 points – the most of any current top eight club.
If it turns into a shootout, the Kangaroos have the form to suggest they’ll be good enough to get the win, but if the Dogs can put enough pressure on them – limiting the opportunities to Petrie, Waite and Brown – and then run hard the other way to expose the Kangaroos’ relatively slow midfield, then the Dogs will win. And I think this might be just what we’ll see happen.
Betting tip: Bulldogs to win @ $2.20 (Marathon Bet)
Saturday, April 30
Melbourne v St Kilda
1:45PM AEST, Etihad Stadium
The Dees have finally won back-to-back games for the first time in five years, and are ready to build on that and make it three in a row here. It’s an extremely winnable game, and considering their form over the past couple of weeks the Demons will go in as warm favourites.
But make no mistake, it’s an absolute danger game for them. They’ve had the glaring problem of not being able to back up good wins, which they’ve now partly put behind them by winning two in a row – but let’s hope they don’t pat themselves on the back too much just yet. If this was at the MCG I’d have no issues backing the Demons, but it worries me being at Etihad, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes either way.
Betting tip: St Kilda to win @ $2.49 (Marathon Bet)
Adelaide v Fremantle
2:10PM AEST, Adelaide Oval
The Dockers are officially in free fall. They managed the unthinkable – losing to the Blues in Perth – and will potentially be without reigning Brownlow medalist Nat Fyfe for the remainder of the season. Things honestly couldn’t get much worse. And then there’s the fact that another key recruiting target, Cale Hooker, has during the week turned down their big contract offer. Who can blame him, after watching the Dockers in the first five games of the year.
If they can’t beat Carlton – in Perth no less – who are they realistically going to beat this season? It’s astonishing, but as the weeks go by it’s becoming more and more apparent that – unless there’s some sort of radical shift internally – they’re going to finish in the bottom four.
This will no doubt be an easy win to the Crows, who were incredibly unlucky not to take the scalp of the Hawks last Friday night.
Betting tip: Adelaide by 40+ @ $1.64 (PalmerBet)
GWS Giants v Hawthorn
4:35PM AEST, Spotless Stadium
Somehow, the Hawks managed to do it again. Three wins by three points. It’s getting a bit silly now. Surely this game couldn’t follow suit and come down to the last couple of kicks – though it does have the potential to be a close contest. The Giants knocked the Hawks off at this very venue at a similar stage last season, so they’ll give themselves a huge chance. While they haven’t played anyone of significance, they’ve built some form with big wins over the past two weeks and are primed to have a crack at the Hawks.
In standard circumstances I’d be backing the Hawks fairly comfortably, but I am slightly concerned about the cumulative effect that playing three tight games in a row may have on them. Still, I reckon they’ll probably be slightly too good for the Giants and should get the four points regardless.
Betting tip: Hawthorn to win @ $1.86 (LuxBet)
Richmond v Port Adelaide
7:25PM AEST, MCG
The battle of the (current) battlers. One club will have their season bolstered by a win, the other plunged deeper into the mire – although a draw would be quite fitting. I don’t give either of these clubs any chance in hell of making the finals from here, but you can write off the losing club without any doubts.
The Tigers will finally welcome back Brett Deledio, who is arguably their most important player considering their recent record without him. Can one player significantly alter their fortunes? Potentially, but some of the other guys need to lift as well. Considering it’s at the MCG, I reckon they’ll do enough to beat the lowly Power and keep a glimmer of hope alive for season 2016, but it’s not likely to be a fantastic game of footy.
Betting tip: Richmond by 1-39 @ $2.38 (UniBet)
Geelong v Gold Coast
7:25PM AEST, Simonds Stadium
It’s starting to look a little like 2015 all over again for the Suns. They’ve been disappointing the last two weeks, while injuries to key midfielders are building to precarious levels yet again. Vice-captain Michael Rischitelli is out indefinitely, while Dion Prestia also has a shoulder issue. We know they’re already missing Swallow and O’Meara, and while they’ve got lots of young talent, it’s going to be extremely difficult for them to cover those type of guys.
The Cats are going pretty well through the middle at the moment, so you’d expect them to dominate in this area of the ground and give their forwards plenty of opportunities to post a big total. Cats to win by plenty.
Betting tip: Geelong by 40+ @ $1.87 (UniBet)
Sunday, May 1
Brisbane v Sydney
1:10PM AEST, Gabba
The Swans got back on the winners list in round 5 with an impressive home victory over the Eagles, while the Lions were brought back down to Earth by a miserly Bulldogs outfit, following their impressive win over the Suns. Ben Keays, who seems a likely type, will make his debut for the Lions after impressing in the NEAFL – he’s been averaging 30 touches and a goal. They’ll be hoping he can bring some extra grunt to the middle, as they were smashed in the clearances and contested ball by the Dogs.
The Swans will continue on their merry way and should notch up a solid win against the Lions on Sunday afternoon, it’s just a matter of margin – and it’s likely to be a large one.
Betting tip: Sydney by 25+ @ $1.56 (Sportsbet)
Carlton v Essendon
3:20PM AEST, MCG
Let’s hope this blockbuster turns out to be a more competitive contest than Monday’s ANZAC day clash, which was over at approximately the 20-minute mark of the opening quarter. The Bombers were better in the second half, but the damage was well and truly done.
But let’s not dwell on the negatives – prior to the season you would have been institutionalised for predicting that Carlton would knock the Dockers off in Perth. Granted, it’s probably got more to do with how Freo are travelling than how the Blues are doing, but it’s still a massive achievement for a club that isn’t expected to win more than a handful of games for the year. And now they’ve got the perfect opportunity to notch up a couple on the trot.
Both clubs will be completely aware that their opponent on Sunday presents one of the best chances of winning a game of footy they’ll get this year. It’s plausible – perhaps even probable – that these two clubs will occupy the bottom two ladder positions come season’s end, which means a win here would go a long way towards avoiding the wooden spoon.
It’s hard to back a winner here, so instead I’ll back a loser. I watched the whole ANZAC day game – you read that right, the whole game – and the Bombers were sorely lacking in players who were able to win the footy and distribute it to team mates in better positions. I think they’ll have similar troubles against the Blues, who are equipped with a pretty decent midfield, so I’m going with the Bombers to go down by a couple of goals.
Betting tip: Carlton to win @ $1.43 (Marathon Bet)
West Coast v Collingwood
4:40PM AEST, Subiaco Oval
The Pies released the pressure valve on ANZAC day with a gigantic win over the hapless Bombers, but that relief won’t last for long if they can’t back it up. They’re probably not going to beat the Eagles in Perth, but they do need to put up a fight and show that they’re capable of more than just dominating the easy beats of the competition.
You’d expect the Eagles will be ready for the challenge as well, having been beaten soundly by the Swans. They need to find some extra tricks when playing away from home, which will obviously have to wait for now, this week they just need to do what they do best: punish clubs that make the long journey over to Perth. And they will, without too much stress. The bigger challenges await.
Betting tip: West Coast by 40+ @ $1.83 (UniBet)
Best Bets of the Round
Bulldogs to win @ $2.20 (Marathon Bet)
Richmond by 1-39 @ $2.38 (UniBet)
All Bets: +6.12 units
Best Bets: +0.58 units
(Assuming 1 unit per bet)