The following are previews with betting tips for Round 6 of the 2017 AFL season.
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Friday, April 28
GWS v Western Bulldogs
7:50PM AEST, Manuka Oval
After an early onslaught by the Swans – who kicked four goals before GWS had even managed to get their hands on the footy – it could have easily turned into a long night for the Giants. Instead, they held firm and barely gave the Swans an inch for the remainder of the contest, showing their ever-growing class and maturity in another dominant display. They love playing against the Swans these days, but right now I’m sure there’s no one they’d rather beat than the reigning premiers, the side who ended their 2016 campaign in devastating fashion.
For the fourth time this season, the Dogs scraped through for a win despite only playing in patches. Their form within games has varied greatly, and if it happens this week against the Giants they could be in for a wake up call. I expect the challenge of playing against GWS to force the Dogs to lift; they have been happy to do just enough to get by, but will know they need to be at their absolute best this week.
I think this will be a ripping game which will get the best out of both sides.The Giants will be without co-captain Phil Davis but it isn’t likely to hurt them too much as the Dogs are light on for key forwards at the moment anyway. I’m thinking the Dogs will push the Giants in the first half but, over the course of the full four quarters, GWS will be too strong and should run out fairly comfortable victors in an entertaining battle.
Betting tip: GWS (-23.5) @ $1.94 (Pinnacle)
Saturday, April 29
Hawthorn v St Kilda
1:45PM AEST, University of Tasmania Stadium
The Hawks got themselves on the winners list in emphatic style at the MCG on Sunday, taking care of top four hopeful West Coast by a lazy 50-points. Granted, the Eagles can only play football in Perth and lose all of their ability the moment they step foot on the MCG, but it was still a mighty impressive performance by the Hawks. Their premiership stars once more looked like premiership stars, and their overall decision making and ball use was much better. Will we see that Hawthorn side again this week, or will they revert back to the slow, sloppy Hawks of the previous four weeks?
The Saints are bound to put more pressure on them than the Eagles did. That’s not because the Saints are playing great footy, it’s because they can’t be as bad as the Eagles were on Sunday. The Saints will be stinging from their last-quarter failure against the Cats after putting themselves in a winning position. I don’t think playing in Tasmania will worry them much, but it probably still works in Hawthorn’s favour. Still, it’s a tough one to pick and I would probably stay clear, but if forced to pick a winner I’d go with the Hawks after last weekend.
Betting tip: Hawthorn to win @ $1.80 (BetFair)
Carlton v Sydney
2:10PM AEST, MCG
The Swans will probably be the heaviest zip-and-five favourites of all time against the Blues on Saturday. It’s been a horror start to the season, but now the Swans finally have an easy target to beat up on. While they would love a comprehensive victory, in the end they won’t care whether it’s a one-point win or a 10 goal win as long as they get over the line.
The Blues are coming off a 90-point loss against Port in a game that really highlighted the lack of experience amongst the 22 players that ran out at the Adelaide Oval. Huge losses like that are bound to occur when you play so many kids. The Blues have opted for some more experience this week, bringing in Alex Silvagni and Billie Smedts in favour of Andrew Phillips, Jarrod Pickett and Cameron Polson, with Matthew Kreuzer also coming back into the side. It’s a good move from the Blues in my opinion. While it’s important to blood the youngsters and give them as much experience as possible, you don’t want them to get slaughtered every week. If those inclusions can make the Blues slightly more competitive for a few weeks they will have done their job and Carlton can then start rotating some more kids back in.
I think the Swans will be too strong for Carlton and will get their first win on the board, but I don’t think it’ll be a blow out this week. Sydney by four or five goals.
Betting tip: Sydney By 1-39 @ $2.27 (TopSport)
Brisbane v Port Adelaide
4:35PM AEST, Gabba
Port Adelaide could have been forgiven for being slightly off the boil following two tough losses to quality opposition, but they were back to their best on Friday night. They gave themselves a handy percentage boost with a 90-point thumping of the Blues and could be in for another one this week against the Lions. Unfortunately, they’ll have to do it without captain Travis Boak who is out with a hamstring, welcoming back Hamish Hartlett in his absence.
The Lions got themselves into an unbelievable position against the Dogs on the weekend, extending their lead to 38-points at one stage late in the second quarter. The Dogs were always going to come at them and while the Lions did their best, the weight of numbers meant they were heavily overrun in the last 10 minutes of the game. That’s happened to them a few times this year and is something they’ll be working on, trying to make sure they play out the full four quarters as best they can. Even if they manage that this week, Port are in really good form at the moment and I can’t see the Lions getting within five goals of them, even at home.
Betting tip: Port Adelaide (-29.5) @ $1.75 (Ladbrokes)
North Melbourne v Gold Coast
7:25PM AEST, Etihad Stadium
Surely the Kangaroos have to win one soon. They’ve had their hearts broken just about every second weekend and I fear that if they lose another game by less than a kick they might just not turn up the following week. But this has got to be their week. The Suns aren’t the worst team in the competition, but if the Kangaroos bring the intensity again they should be strong enough to beat the Suns at Etihad.
I like that the Roos have dropped underperforming veterans Andrew Swallow and Lindsay Thomas. I think it will make them a much better side as those guys have been really struggling to have an impact, and only survived for as long as they have due to their reputations. The Suns will miss midfielder David Swallow for this clash, and while they’ll back themselves to beat the Kangaroos, I think it’s highly unlikely. It’s time for the Kangaroos to put some tough times behind them.
Betting tip: North Melbourne (-13.5) @ $1.97 (Marathon Bet)
West Coast v Fremantle
8:10PM AEST, Domain Stadium
This Derby has had a bit of spice injected into it with the Dockers turning the corner and winning their last three games. The Eagles would’ve been sure things a few short weeks ago, but now the Dockers look capable of challenging them. The Dockers haven’t been super convincing in their last two wins, but the fact that they’ve managed to get over the line is still a massive confidence boost for them.
The Eagles have copped a few more injuries, with both Jamie Cripps and Jackson Nelson set to spend extended stints on the sidelines. They’ll be sweating on the fitness of star recruit Sam Mitchell who is still struggling to overcome his ankle issue, while the Dockers will have to do without key playmaker Stephen Hill who has done a hamstring. I’m expecting the Dockers to take it right up to them, but the Eagles should be good enough to bounce back from a poor performance last week. I’m not sure the Fremantle defence is strong enough to contain the Eagles’ forward line and that should prove the difference.
Betting tip: West Coast By 1-39 @ $2.21 (TopSport)
Sunday, April 30
Essendon v Melbourne
1:10PM AEST, Eithad Stadium
There seemed to be a weight lifted from the Bombers when they triumphed over Collingwood on ANZAC Day for the first time in four years. The win in Round 1 was significant, but this seemed even more important to the returning Bombers. They should be able to carry that momentum into this weekend when they face a depleted Melbourne outfit. After an unfortunate injury to backup ruckman Jake Spencer, the Demons are just about out of ruck options for this week. They’ve decided to bring in veteran Cameron Pedersen to fill the void, but it will no doubt be a major weakness for them that the Bombers will look to exploit. In further unfortunate news for the Demons, Jesse Hogan has sadly lost his father to cancer and will be given plenty of time to deal with an extremely difficult situation.
In slightly better news for the Demons, Jordan Lewis returns from his three game suspension, but I think the outs will make things too difficult for them to beat the Bombers. Essendon are coming off just a five day break but have been smart and rested a few players to try to lessen the impact. I think the missing players will be too telling for the Demons and the Bombers will get up by a couple of goals.
Betting tip: Essendon (-9.5) @ $2.15 (Bet365)
Geelong v Collingwood
3:20PM AEST, MCG
The pressure is now seriously mounting on Nathan Buckley and the rest of the Collingwood hierarchy, and it won’t get any easier this week. Coming off a five day break, the Pies have to face the undefeated Cats in a bid to save their season. They had their chances against the Bombers on ANZAC Day but weren’t polished enough to capitalise on their opportunities, as has been their problem all year.
Lynden Dunn looks set to come in for his first game in the black and white at the expense of Ben Reid – who is being ‘managed’ – and he’s set for a baptism of fire because he’ll be spending most of his time on the red hot Tom Hawkins.
The Cats are in a similar position to the Dogs in that they aren’t playing at their peak but are getting the job done. After the week the Pies have been forced to endure after falling to the Bombers on Tuesday you can absolutely bet they’ll come out firing, but I doubt it will be enough to get them over the line. The Cats are the better side, and while Collingwood are coming off a five day break, the Cats will have had seven days to recover. It makes this a really tough ask for the Pies, and might just spell the end for Buckley.
Betting tip: Geelong (-22.5) @ $1.76 (Ladbrokes)
Adelaide v Richmond
4:40PM AEST, Adelaide Oval
Lucky last comes the battle of the undefeated. The Tigers survived a major scare on Monday night to overcome the Demons, while the Crows just continue to play scintillating football. Adelaide will be hoping to bring big man Josh Jenkins back into side following a few weeks out with some rib issues, which would give the Richmond coaches, and backline, another big headache in their preparation for this match.
The buildup to this game will be massive and it should be an exciting contest considering the fast paced, high pressure footy these two teams play, but you can’t help but feel it’s going to turn out quite one-sided. The Tigers have been good this year, but the Crows are on another level at the moment. If the game was in Melbourne it might be a different story, but at the Adelaide Oval, with the Crows in the form they’re in, you just can’t imagine the Tigers beating them regardless of how well they play. In fact, I think the Tigers are in for a shellacking on Sunday. It might be close for most of the day, but once the Crows get a sniff nothing seems to be able to stop them at the moment.
Betting tip: Adelaide By 40+ @ $2.04 (Ladbrokes)
Best Bets of the Round
Sydney By 1-39 @ $2.27 (TopSport)
Essendon (-9.5) @ $2.15 (Bet365)
All Bets: -1.86 units
Best Bets: +3.47 units