The following are previews with betting tips for Round 22 of the 2016 AFL season.
Friday, August 19
West Coast v Hawthorn
8:10PM AEST, Subiaco Oval
The Eagles amazing last-gasp victory over the Giants was one of the best come from behind wins you’ll witness in footy. It had it all, from the big comeback to the last second goal to win the game. The final siren blew just seconds after the last kick of the game, courtesy of Nic Naitanui, sailed through the big sticks. It was heartbreaking for the Giants, who were in front for 95% of the game, but obviously massive for the Eagles who’ve struggled away from home all year. The win keeps them in the hunt for a top four position, but they’d need to have a lot of luck and play some incredible football for that to eventuate. They’ve got a tough last two weeks: the Hawks, followed by the Crows in Adelaide. Win both of those and they’re a chance to finish top four, and at worst are guaranteed a home elimination final. It’s a tough task however, and in reality they’d do well to win just one of their next two games.
The Hawks made light work of the Kangaroos last weekend, and it’s safe to say they’re now locked into a top four finish. A loss to the Eagles would mean they’d probably finish third or fourth and have to travel in week one of the finals, and I’m sure they don’t want that, so it’s an important game all around. The Eagles are favourites to get the win, but I reckon the Hawks will prove themselves too good once again.
Betting tip: Hawthorn to win @ $2.32 (Pinnacle)
Saturday, August 20
North Melbourne v Sydney
1:45PM AEST, Blundstone Arena
The Swans did their top two chances absolutely no harm with a 70-point thumping of the Saints last weekend. The Crows are still hot on their heels, but a couple of solid wins from the next two weeks will guarantee they end up hosting a Qualifying Final.
The Kangaroos have won eight in a row at Blundstone Arena, but that record is in serious jeopardy. They don’t have anywhere near their best team on the park, and the Swans are hitting their strides. The Roos are most likely going to finish eighth and face an away elimination final, but there’s still a slight chance of dropping out of the eight if they don’t win either of their next two and the Demons can pull off something special. It’s unlikely, but still possible. They’ll be desperate for a win, but the Swans should be too good, even in Tasmania. The venue is an obvious advantage to the Roos, but everything else points toward the Swans.
Betting tip: Sydney to win @ $1.38 (Pinnacle)
Richmond v St Kilda
2:10PM AEST, MCG
Following a disastrous game – well, last quarter – where the Tigers choked away a match-winning lead over the Cats, Dion Prestia’s announcement that he wants to be at the Tigers next year will be met with open arms. It’s all about 2017 for the Tigers, and unfortunately it’s come to that point in the year where it’s almost better for them to not win either of their remaining games to make sure they’ve got the best draft pick possible. Though it may just be going to the Suns, in which case a couple of wins and a higher ladder position wouldn’t bother the Tigers at all.
The Saints are also now looking towards 2017, with their loss to the Swans extinguishing any hope of sneaking into this year’s final eight. They kept up with the Swans for the first half, but Sydney got right on top in the second half and were much too good in the end, running out 70-point victors. It’s a difficult game to pick a winner, with both teams good at their best but fairly shocking at their worst. The Saints have been the more consistent of the two, but I feel like the Tigers are up and about at the moment and might do enough to get the job done. It’ll be a tight one, but I’m backing the Tigers to narrowly get up over the Saints.
Betting tip: Richmond to win @ $2.20 (Marathon Bet)
GWS Giants v Fremantle
4:35PM AEST, Spotless Stadium
If the Giants win their last two games they’re still a chance of making the top four, but it’s likely that last week’s one point loss to the Eagles will cost them the double chance. Which ultimately means they’re not a genuine premiership contender. It’s unfortunate considering how good they’ve been all year, but it’s something they’ll learn from.
The Dockers were again beaten by over ten goals. And the news doesn’t get any better. Aaron Sandilands suffered a glute strain, and small forward Hayden Ballantyne has told the club he wants to be traded to the Eagles at the end of the year. Which, to be perfectly honest, isn’t the worst of news. He’s not going to be around for their next tilt, but he’s still worth something at the trade table. And the Dockers will need something of value to offer in order to bring Brad Hill and Cam McCarthy to Perth.
Fremantle have opted to rest retiring star Matthew Pavlich from the trip over to NSW, so the one last time we’ll be able to watch him play will be next weekend at Domain Stadium against the Dogs. It’ll be a massive occasion, and it’s possible that Freo will already be thinking about next week. Not that it’ll matter, the Giants should win by at least eight goals regardless.
Betting tip: GWS by 40+ @ $1.25 (Palmerbet)
Collingwood v Gold Coast
7:25PM AEST, Etihad Stadium
That’s twice now this year that the Pies have been right in with a shot to knock the Dogs off, but both chances have gone begging. The first due to the injury, the second due to bad luck and Marcus Bontempelli. Still, they’ll be encouraged by the effort and should be backing themselves in to comfortably beat the Suns at the ‘G.
The Suns have had a much better past month, but the fact they let the Bombers post only their second win of the season will hurt. They didn’t play well at all, but they still had 25 more inside 50’s and with those sort of figures you really should end up winning. They’ve got a lot to work with, even with the departure of Dion Prestia and possibly Jaeger O’Meara as well. They’re a sneaky chance this week against the Pies, but it’s more likely that they work hard and come up short against a slightly better side. The Pies will be keen to notch up another win, and with the Hawks next week, this might be their last chance for 2016.
Betting tip: Collingwood by 25+ @ $2.05 (William Hill)
Port Adelaide v Adelaide
7:40PM AEST, Adelaide Oval
The Crows are closing in on a top two finish, and they’re definitely not going to let their cross town rivals deny them of that opportunity. With another crushing win, this time over the Dockers, they’ve boosted their percentage once more, but the Swans still sit ahead of them. Another big win would do wonders, and it’s on the cards considering how poor Port have been recently. They’ve just about thrown in the towel for 2016, and with Charlie Dixon and Chad Wingard out this week they could be in for a big, big loss.
I can’t see Port getting within seven goals of the Crows. After another pre-season of hope and promise, the Power are back to the drawing board for 2017, while the Crows are a genuine chance of making 2016 their year. There’s still a lot to play out, but you can lock in a Crows victory on Saturday.
Betting tip: Adelaide by 25+ @ $1.50 (William Hill)
Sunday, August 21
Carlton v Melbourne
1:10PM AEST, MCG
The Demons are finishing off the year in great fashion, with their big win over the Power keeping them just in reach of the top eight. They’d need absolutely everything to go right, but they’re still a chance to see some September action. It goes without saying, but a big win over the Blues is imperative. After a bright start, the Blues are struggling to get through the long season. They don’t look like winning another game from here, and the Demons should make short work of them at the ‘G on Sunday.
The Blues face the Bombers in the last game of the year, and will back themselves to finish the year on a high note against the likely wooden spooners, but it’d take a big effort for them to get over the in-form Demons this week. Next week is much more likely. The Demons have had trouble winning when they’re favourites, but I’d surprised if they didn’t beat the Blues by at least four goals.
Betting tip: Melbourne by 25+ @ $2.00 (William Hill)
Brisbane v Geelong
3:20PM AEST, Gabba
The Lions did well to beat an exhausted Carlton outfit, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to be enough to save the career of coach Justin Leppitsch. It should however be enough to keep them from finishing on the bottom of the ladder, which is both a curse and a blessing. Let’s be honest, the Lions need the number one pick much more than the Bombers do, and you can’t help but feel sorry for them at the moment.
They’re not going to get close to the Cats; it’s likely to be yet another large loss for the Lions and one that could be the curtain call on Leppitsch’s coaching career in Brisbane. The Cats need to win to solidify their spot in the top four so there’s no chance they’ll be taking it easy on the Lions. The fact that it’s being played at the Gabba isn’t going to help the Lions all that much. If the Cats are a serious contender this year, then they’ll make sure they beat the Lions by ten goals.
Betting tip: Geelong by 40+ @ $1.45 (Pinnacle)
Essendon v Western Bulldogs
4:40PM AEST, Etihad Stadium
The Michael Hurley cup has been decided prematurely, with the Dons coming up trumps, signing him to a five year contract. There was much speculation that he was considering a move to the Dogs, but the Bombers have locked him in, and what a significant signing it was. If their banned players can get back to their best next year, they’ll be right in the mix. It’s possible the win against the Suns got Hurley over the line, but you’d think there’s much more to it than that.
Either way, it was an impressive win by the Bombers, and keeps them in with a chance of lifting themselves off the bottom of the ladder. They’re unlikely to beat the Dogs, but they’re definitely a chance against the Blues next weekend. If they manage to keep this week to a respectable loss, and can then beat the Blues by a couple of goals, they could avoid the wooden spoon depending on how the Lions go. The Dogs haven’t been great at putting sides away this year, so I wouldn’t expect the margin to blow out too much in this one. And when I say too much, I mean the 100 point margin level. The Dogs should still easily cover a seven or eight goal margin.
Betting tip: Western Bulldogs by 40+ @ $1.55 (Pinnacle)
Best Bets of the Round
Hawthorn to win @ $2.32 (Pinnacle)
Melbourne by 25+ @ $2.00 (William Hill)
All Bets: -2.84 units
Best Bets: +1.49 units