The following are previews with betting tips for Round 19 of the 2016 AFL season.
Friday, July 29
Geelong v Western Bulldogs
7:50PM AEST, Simonds Stadium
What a horrible weekend it was for the Western Bulldogs. Mitch Wallis broke both bones in his leg in a horrific incident, and big man Jack Redpath ruptured an ACL for the third time in his footy career. It almost comes as an afterthought, but they also lost an incredibly important game of footy. That loss has made it difficult for them to make the top four from here. Their only chance is to beat the Cats on Friday night, which it goes without saying is no easy task. In fact, the Dogs haven’t beaten the Cats in their last nine encounters.
The Cats will be fired up, having two massive milestones to celebrate: Jimmy Bartel plays his 300th, while Corey Enright breaks the Cats’ games record, playing his 326th match in the hoops. For the Bulldogs, stand-in skipper Easton Wood plays his 100th game after overcoming an injury-riddled start to his career. So it’s a huge occasion for both clubs for multiple reasons. There’s milestones for both clubs, the Bulldogs will be keen to put last week behind them with a stirring win, and both clubs need the four points to boost their top four prospects.
Last time these clubs played the Cats dominated and won by 10 goals. I’m certain it will be closer this time. I’m expecting a big response from the Dogs, although I don’t think they’ll be quite good enough to steal a win down in Geelong.
Betting tip: Geelong at the line of -18.5 @ $1.65 (Ladbrokes)
Saturday, July 30
GWS Giants v Richmond
1:45PM AEST, StarTrack Oval
The Giants again showed that they’re becoming a strong, mature side by getting the job done against Port in Adelaide last weekend, ensuring that they keep their top four chances alive. They now face the much easier task of hosting the Tigers in Canberra. After a couple of really encouraging weeks, the Tigers dropped right off and were belted by the Hawks at the MCG. That sort of thing can happen when you’re playing some younger players, but it’s still very disappointing. You would’ve thought they’ve got enough leaders to stop it from getting out to that sort of margin.
The main point of interest left in the Tigers season is an individual one. Can Dustin Martin keep up his incredible form and take on Patrick Dangerfield in the race for the Brownlow? If he’s able to keep racking them up like he has over the last month or so, he’s every chance. We know he polls well, so if he’s getting 30+ possessions a game the umpires are bound to throw him some votes. But unfortunately for the Tigers, even if Dusty is BOG and gets the three votes the Giants will still win this one fairly comfortably.
Betting tip: GWS by 25+ @ $1.39 (Luxbet)
Hawthorn v Carlton
2:10PM AEST, Aurora Stadium
The Blues had their fair share of chances to steal an unlikely victory against the Swans last weekend, but they just couldn’t get their noses in front when it mattered. If it hadn’t have been for Josh Kennedy dragging the Swans home, the Blues would’ve notched up another stunning win, but it was a solid effort nonetheless. They’ve got another huge challenge this weekend, heading down to Tasmania to take on the best team in the competition in the Hawks. Hawthorn treated the Tigers with no respect at all, tossing them aside like rag dolls in a dominant fourth quarter assault.
That might be all the Blues can hope for as well – staying close for three quarters and then being beaten comfortably towards the finish. After some shaky signs in the first half of the season, the Hawks are building beautifully towards yet another premiership assault, and right now, they absolutely deserve to be favourites to make it four in a row. A win against the Blues will just about lock them in for a top two finish, and from there on in you wouldn’t be betting against them.
Betting tip: Hawthorn by 40+ @ $1.62 (Luxbet)
Collingwood v West Coast
4:35PM AEST, MCG
Getting out of jail is the perfect way to describe West Coast’s win over the Demons in Perth last weekend. The Demons dominated in all facets of the game, yet the Eagles found themselves in front on the scoreboard when the final siren sounded. It’s funny how the game works sometimes. You can talk about all the different stats under the sun, but the final score is ultimately all that matters. Still, it’s a game that the Eagles will know they were lucky to win, and they’ll be looking for a much better performance this week against the Pies.
You can almost guarantee that if we get the same output from the Eagles, the result will be vastly different. The Pies aren’t the best team in the competition, but they’re good enough to punish an Eagles outfit that doesn’t travel well and isn’t in the greatest form.
This will actually be a great test for the Eagles. For all their deficiencies, win on Saturday and they’re still right in the hunt for a top four finish. It would also give them some confidence in playing at the MCG, which they’ll obviously need to do if they’re planning on achieving anything significant this year. I still don’t trust the Eagles away from home and reckon the Pies are a chance to knock them off, but I’m backing the Eagles to get the points considering what is at stake for them.
Betting tip: West Coast to win @ $1.71 (Pinnacle)
Brisbane v Port Adelaide
7:25PM AEST, Gabba
After an extremely long time between drinks, the Lions finally notched up win number two for season 2016. It was a long time coming, but they got the job done against the Bombers and have made it likely that they won’t earn this year’s wooden spoon. Which also means they won’t finish with the number one draft pick, but a loss against the the lowly Bombers could’ve potentially done much more damage than dropping down one spot in the draft order.
This week they return home to face the Power, who gave the Giants everything they had but weren’t quite good enough to get over the line. We can now safely say the Power won’t be playing finals this year, so like many other clubs at this stage of the year they’re all about steady improvement and finding some streaks of gold in the rough. They should be in for some fun against the Lions, who have been really poor for quite some time now, barring their win over the hapless Bombers last weekend. Port should win this one by plenty.
Betting tip: Port Adelaide by 25+ @ $1.53 (Sportsbet)
North Melbourne v St Kilda
7:25PM AEST, Etihad Stadium
The Saints took another big scalp in their 2016 campaign, this time getting the points against the Western Bulldogs in a fascinating struggle at Etihad Stadium. The Dogs had their injury woes late, but the Saints were the better team for the majority of the match and deserved to win regardless.
Can they do it again? The Kangaroos welcome back Jarrad Waite, but they’re still not at 100% and it’ll surely take Waite at least a week or two before he gets back to his pre-injury form. If the Saints pressure is as good as it was against the Dogs, the Kangaroos will struggle to create any free flowing ball moment.
The advantage the Kangaroos have that the Dogs didn’t is that they can kick it long and high to key forward targets, whereas the Dogs bombed it long to none when their ball movement was unstuck by the St Kilda pressure. This might be the difference in this one. Even if the Saints are on, the Kangaroos can still revert to old school footy and try to get it in as quickly as possible to their big marking forwards, who should be able to make enough of a contest to put a winning score on the board. The Saints have been great the last few weeks, but I reckon the Roos will get up in this one.
Betting tip: North Melbourne by 25+ @ $2.70 (William Hill)
Sunday, July 31
Melbourne v Gold Coast
1:10PM AEST, MCG
The Demons will return home kicking themselves for letting a win against the Eagles slip from their grasp. They should’ve won, but lacked the experience and composure to make it a reality. They’ll learn from it, and I expect they’ll be keen to make amends this week back at home against the Suns.
The Suns played quite well last week. They were only up against the Dockers, but their make-shift midfield stood up, and their tall forwards dominated – which are clearly some great signs for the future. If they can come to the MCG and give the same effort they’ll make the Demons really earn the win. I don’t expect the Suns to beat the Demons, but if the midfielders can get it into the forward fifty often enough, those tall forwards are sure to give Paul Roos some headaches.
Betting tip: Melbourne by 25+ @ $1.58 (Luxbet)
Fremantle v Sydney
3:20PM AEST, Subiaco Oval
The Swans were fortunate to get away with an unconvincing win over Carlton last weekend. They had too many passengers and relied on a couple of stars to get them over the line, which is not a strategy that will work against the better teams. But they did what was needed, and that’s all that’s required again this week against the Dockers. They’re back in the top four and will keep their position locked up as long as they keep winning.
You wouldn’t think there’s any chance that the Dockers will trouble them, so it’s just a matter of margin for the Swans this week. They’ll want to put Freo to sword and keep their percentage healthy considering they’re one of six teams on 48 points at the moment. The Dockers will be looking for a four quarter effort this week and would be pleased with keeping it to less than a five goal difference.
Betting tip: Sydney at the line of -18.5 @ $1.65 (William Hill)
Adelaide v Essendon
4:40PM AEST, Adelaide Oval
Adelaide’s winning streak was bound to end sooner or later, and there’s no shame in going down to the Cats in Geelong. The Cats kept them to only 55 points, but the Crows won’t be too worried as their scoring power is usually one of their biggest advantages. They’ll put it down to an off night and move on quickly.
They’ve got what is probably the easiest task in footy this week – with a chance to recalibrate against the bottom-of-the-ladder Bombers. But as mentioned countless times already, percentage will decide top eight positions this year. So the Crows need to make the most of this opportunity and win handsomely. And I’m sure they will. 10 goals at the very least, but I expect them to push it out to 100+ points.
Betting tip: Adelaide at the line of -65.5 @ $1.92 (Crownbet)
Best Bets of the Round
Melbourne by 25+ @ $1.58 (Luxbet)
North Melbourne by 25+ @ $2.70 (William Hill)
All Bets: +3.31 units
Best Bets: +1.65 units