The following are previews with betting tips for Round 3 of the 2017 AFL season.
Friday, April 7
Sydney v Collingwood
7:50PM AEST, SCG
For the first time in what feels like forever, the Swans haven’t been able to manage a win in either of their first two games of the season. Neither have their Round 3 opponent Collingwood, who are under rapidly mounting pressure to show signs of improvement. Considering the young team the Swans fielded on Friday night, they did remarkably well to push the Bulldogs until late in the game and nearly steal the points on the back of some Buddy Franklin magic.
The Pies were once again wasteful in front of goal and it cost them dearly. Who knows what the result may have been if they had converted some of their chances in the second quarter, but they didn’t, and it left the door open for the Tigers who were too good in the latter stages of the game.
Both clubs will be desperate to get their first win of the season on the board, and while the Swans are missing some key players, they still have the quality to match it with the Collingwood midfield – the only area the Magpies might be able to find an advantage. The Sydney forward line is looking ominous even with the loss of Kurt Tippett, with Sam Reid and Buddy Franklin both kicking plenty of goals to start the season.
This game could easily go either way. If the Pies convert their opportunities in front of goal, they’re a chance. If the Sydney midfield lift and play to the standard that we’ve come to expect from them, they probably win. They probably win anyway to be honest, considering the game is at the SCG and the Pies didn’t exactly set the world on fire against the Tigers. I reckon it will be a scrappy battle all night, but the Swans should run out comfortable victors in the end.
Betting tip: Sydney (-17.5) @ $1.72 (Bet365)
Saturday, April 8
North Melbourne v GWS
1:45PM AEST, Blundstone Arena
The Kangaroos were remarkably unlucky to lose to the Cats on the weekend. Geelong took the lead for the first time in the game with 90 seconds remaining, and even though they were the better side for the majority of the day, the Roos couldn’t quite hold on for long enough. They’ve got another tough assignment in front of them this week, heading down to Hobart to take on premiership favourites GWS, who recovered from their Round 1 hiccup to obliterate the Suns on the weekend. That was more like what we expected from them. The challenge for the Giants will be performing at that level consistently, and while the Kangaroos aren’t one of the strongest teams in the competition this season, playing them in Hobart does make things trickier.
The Kangaroos are set to lose Scott Thompson for a week due to suspension. This is probably the worst possible week for that to happen, considering the Giants have a host of key forwards who can all kick a bag on their day. You’d think at least one of Jon Patton, Jeremy Cameron and Rory Lobb will have a field day and lead the Giants to a substantial win. The Roos have been brave and showed plenty of effort and determination, but they lack the talent to go with the better sides.
Betting tip: GWS (-30.5) @ $1.95 (Marathon Bet)
Richmond v West Coast
2:10PM AEST, MCG
For the second week in a row the Tigers participated in a scrappy, unconvincing game of footy, but on both occasions have managed to get the win. It’s important to be able to grind those wins out, but we’ll find out a lot more about the Tigers this week against the Eagles. The Eagles were themselves unconvincing last week, struggling for most of the contest before storming home late against the Saints. They didn’t have their best day, but willed themselves home with some help from their home crowd. Oh, and maybe with a favourable call or two from the umpires as well if happen to have spoken to any Saints fans during the week.
I’m yet to be convinced by the Tigers and while I do think the Eagles are capable of being a top four team this season, they have generally struggled at the MCG over the past few years. It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out. I think the Eagles should win, but the Tigers aren’t without a chance. Either way, I expect it to go right down to the wire and turn out to be a really close contest.
Betting tip: Either side to win by less than 15.5 @ $2.88 (Sportsbet)
Geelong v Melbourne
4:35PM AEST, Etihad Stadium
If the Demons got out of jail against the Blues on Sunday, I’m not sure what you’d call what Geelong did against the Kangaroos. They really should have lost that game, but thanks to the usual suspects they clawed themselves to a one point victory. An upset was also brewing at the MCG on Sunday, but the Demons stood up when it mattered, dominating the Blues in the last quarter.
The win came at a cost however, with Jesse Hogan and Jordan Lewis both rubbed out for multiple games due to, well, punching blokes on the other team in the head. It’s hard to explain what they were thinking at the time, but they’ve copped their punishment and now the Demons have to try to cope without two of their most important players for a few weeks. Hogan in particular would have been very handy this week to try to stretch the Geelong backline, but they’ll have to do without. They still have plenty of options in front of goal, the main issue will be beating Geelong in the midfield. The inclusion of Bernie Vince will help with that, and I reckon if the Demons play like they did against the Saints at the same venue they’re every chance to topple the Cats. My only issue is that both these clubs vary considerably in their form from week to week, so I’m going to play it safe and back the Demons at the line.
Betting tip: Melbourne (+18.5) @ $1.93 (MadBookie)
Port Adelaide v Adelaide
7:40PM AEST, Adelaide Oval
The Adelaide Oval will reach fever pitch in the lead up to the opening bounce on Saturday night. A showdown is always cause for excitement, but when the Power and the Crows are undefeated and occupy the top two positions on the ladder the expectations go to another level. The Crows go in as warm favourites, which is slightly strange when you consider how well Port have played in their opening two games. I guess the reason is that the Power are playing well above expectation, and many people may be predicting for them to crash at some point. I think that’s more likely to occur next week against the Giants – rather than in a showdown that they’ll be geared up for – so I’m backing them in to push the Crows all the way.
Port welcome back Hamish Hartlett, while the Crows bring in Jake Lever to replace the sore Josh Jenkins. Even without Jenkins, no one needs reminding of the strength of Adelaide’s forward line. Port have been dangerous themselves up forward, with Charlie Dixon taking his game to another level so far this year, along with plenty of help from the smaller forwards. Regardless of the result, I think this will be an absolute goal fest. I reckon the Crows will sneak home and both teams will top 100 points.
Betting tip: Total Match Points Over 202.50 @ $1.90 (UniBet)
Fremantle v Western Bulldogs
7:40PM AEST, Domain Stadium
The Dogs were much more impressive against the Swans than they were in the opening round against Collingwood. They were the better side for much of the night, and when Buddy Franklin threatened to derail their good work they dug in and kicked a couple of goals to ice the game, which is what good teams do. They still look like they’re working through a few cobwebs, but there are no signs of a premiership hangover whatsoever.
On a less positive note, the Dockers were smashed for the second consecutive week, and the signs aren’t good for Ross Lyon’s Dockers. They have experienced players playing like first gamers, they’re fumbly and poor with their decision making, and they don’t look like having any consistently viable avenues to goal. They’ve made the right call making six changes to their line-up; drastic change was definitely needed. Harley Balic and Griffin Logue will both debut in a much younger Dockers team. They lack experience, but they couldn’t play any worse than last week anyway so it’s worth seeing what the kids have got to offer.
The Dogs haven’t actually put a side away for quite a while, winning by a maximum of 7-8 goals over the past few years. In reality, the Dogs should pump the Dockers, but a injection of youth for the Dockers and the fact the Dogs seem to content to just get a win rather than go for the kill has me thinking it’ll be the Dogs by six goals or so.
Betting tip: Western Bulldogs By 1-39 @ $2.28 (UniBet)
Sunday, April 9
St Kilda v Brisbane
1:10PM AEST, Etihad Stadium
The Saints will be absolutely filthy they let the Eagles back into the game on Saturday night. They were in front until midway through the last quarter; couple that with their inaccuracy kicking for goal and it goes down as a huge opportunity gone begging. When the goal is to play finals, a 0-2 start is not what the Saints would’ve been hoping for, but they can make amends with a big win over the Lions on Sunday.
In the two games we’ve seen so far, Brisbane look like they’ve made some improvements on last year. They’ve already got a win on the board, and they came back from seven goals down to test the Bombers before running out of steam. So the Saints will need to ensure they’re switched on from the start because we’ve seen that the Lions can capitalise when their opposition gives them a chance.
The Saints are set to welcome back Nick Riewoldt but will lose key midfielder Jack Steven to a punctured lung, while number two draft pick Hugh McCluggage has been included in the extended squad for the Lions.
I’m expecting a really strong showing from the Saints this week, and think the Lions might be in for a let down following two strong efforts. While the Saints are coming back from Perth, once they sniff their first win I think they’ll be full of energy and will run all over the Lions.
Betting tip: St Kilda (-32.5) @ $1.92 (CrownBet)
Carlton v Essendon
3:20PM AEST, MCG
The Bombers must have thought they had the game in the bag midway through the second quarter, because they stopped in their tracks and let the Lions back into it. They were good enough to halt the momentum and kick away in the last quarter, but it’s not something they’d like to see repeated. Carlton are a fairly average side, but it seems they realise this and hence try to clog the game up and force the opposition into a scrap. It makes for poor quality games of footy, but it can make things tougher for the other team and frustrate them into making errors that they usually wouldn’t make. Just watch the game against Melbourne last weekend. The Demons were clearly the better team, but the Blues’ tactics had them right in it until the end.
So that’s something the Bombers will need to be wary of. Any game between these two rivals is high pressure and a little scrappy anyway, so while I expect the Bombers to win, I don’t think it’ll be by a huge amount, and I don’t think it’ll be a high scoring game considering the forecast for Melbourne on Sunday.
Betting tip: Total Match Points Under 172.50 @ $1.90 (Betting Club)
Gold Coast v Hawthorn
4:40PM AEST, Metricon Stadium
How long has it been since both Sydney and Hawthorn started the year without a win from the first two rounds? It’s exciting for footy that there’s some new blood occupying the pointy end of the ladder, but I wouldn’t be writing the Hawks off just yet. They clearly aren’t the team they once were, but they still went closing to defeating the Crows, who look likely to be a top four team this season. So all is not lost, and there could be a percentage boosting win on offer against the Suns to close out Round 3. Grant Birchall will miss with a jaw fracture, but it shouldn’t make much difference.
The Suns are under the pump. Gary Ablett is under serious pressure for the first time in, well, possibly for the first time ever, and Rodney Eade is coaching for his future. A little bit of pressure is healthy, but too much pressure can only weigh you down. The Suns are under the most extreme pressure they’ve ever had to cope with, and I’m not sure they’ll be able to deal with it. Ablett might bounce back and perform really well, but as a team I think they’re in for another big, big defeat. It’s already looking grim for the Suns.
Betting tip: Hawthorn (-25.5) @ $2.20 (Bet365)
Best Bets of the Round
PA V ADE – Total Match Points Over 202.50 @ $1.90 (UniBet)
Hawthorn (-25.5) @ $2.20 (Bet365)
All Bets: -2.71 units
Best Bets: +3.39 units