The following are previews with betting tips for Round 13 of the 2017 AFL season.
Thursday, June 15
West Coast v Geelong
8:10PM AEST, Domain Stadium
Prior to the week off the Eagles and the Cats recently enjoyed, these two clubs couldn’t have been further apart in terms of current form and future potential. The Eagles were sputtering along, losing to the Gold Coast, and in the process, giving up any hope of finishing in the top four in 2017. The Cats, on the other hand, were revving up and playing some outstanding footy against quality opposition. If you look at this game solely on current form, the Cats win in a landslide. There are a few other factors to consider, however. The first, and most obvious, is that the Eagles are a totally different side when playing in Perth. They’ve only lost one game at home so far this season, and that was when spearhead Josh Kennedy went down with a calf injury mid-game against premiership favourites GWS. Not a bad record.
Unfortunately, they’ll be without Kennedy again this week, and there are massive question marks over their scoring abilities without him. The other issue to consider is that the Cats have never won following a bye week. Over the past five years, they’ve struggled to come back switched on and have lost each and every encounter after the week’s rest. Chris Scott and the Geelong players will be well aware of this and will make sure they’re ready to go from the first bounce, so I don’t expect this to be a massive concern.
I expect this will be a fiery contest. The Eagles will be desperate to prove themselves against one of the competition’s best, and the Cats will want to rid themselves of the ‘post-bye hoodoo’. The stage is set for both teams to make a statement and get the second half of the year off to a positive start. Even with the home ground advantage, I just can’t see the Eagles being good enough to beat the Cats without Josh Kennedy up forward. The Cats are also without their spearhead, with Tom Hawkins missing due to a one week suspension, but Kennedy leaves a much more sizeable hole than Hawkins does. The Cats are the much better team at the moment, and despite some of the issues facing both clubs this week, they should get home by a few goals.
Betting tip: Geelong to win @ $1.82 (CrownBet)
Friday, June 16
North Melbourne v St Kilda
7:50PM AEST, Etihad Stadium
There are a host of other candidates, but St Kilda have been perhaps the biggest disappointment of the season to date. After a fast finish to last year that saw them threatening to do some finals damage, only to finish just short in ninth position, the Saints set themselves to go one better this year. Like a number of other clubs, anything other than finals would be a failure, and at this stage of the year, they don’t look likely. Remarkably, they’re only one game behind fifth placed Port Adelaide, but there’s a logjam of about eight clubs that are vying for the last four spots in the top eight, so it’s going to be tough work trying to sneak in.
It starts here on Friday night against the Kangaroos. If the Saints are to be a finals contender, they should beat the Kangaroos comfortably. The Roos have been solid all year and are no easy beats, but if the Saints bring their absolute best they’re good enough to win by at least five goals. I think we’ll see a tight, arm-wrestle type contest in the first half before the Saints pull away in the latter stages of the game. The Kangaroos are looking to bounce back from what was probably their worst half of footy for the year against the Tigers pre-bye week, but it’s all or nothing for St Kilda on Friday night, and I expect them to stand up and breathe some life into their 2017 campaign.
Betting tip: St Kilda to win @ $1.92 (CrownBet)
Saturday, June 17
Richmond v Sydney
1:45PM AEST, MCG
The Tigers will be a whole lot more nervous going into this game after watching the Swans dismantle the Western Bulldogs last Thursday night. Timing is everything in footy, and the clubs that were lucky enough to get the Swans in the first half of the season will be thanking their lucky stars, because Sydney are now a completely different outfit–back to their absolute best if Thursday night was anything to go by. The Tigers aren’t too shabby themselves at the moment, so the stage is set for this to be an outstanding game of footy.
The midfield battle should be fascinating, with some of the competition’s very best competing against each other, but the most exciting part of this one is no doubt the match-up of Lance Franklin and Alex Rance. In all likelihood, the outcome of that battle probably won’t determine the result; Franklin will kick a few goals, and Rance will do his share of rebounding and intercept marking. It’ll be great to watch, but we know what we’re getting from those two. What we don’t yet know is which midfield will get on top, and that is what’s likely to decide this contest. Can the Swans back up last week and run all over the Tigers, or will Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin continue their rich vein of form? I can see it going either way, but after last week I really think the Swans have turned the corner and will prove themselves difficult opponents for the Tigers on Saturday afternoon.
Betting tip: Sydney to win @ $1.92 (Marathon Bet)
Port Adelaide v Brisbane
4:35PM AEST, Adelaide Oval
Saturday afternoon showed us what the Lions are capable of when Dayne Beams and Tom Rockliff play in the same team. A midfield of Beams, Rockliff, Dayne Zorko and Stefan Martin is more than capable, but unfortunately the Lions have had trouble getting them all out on the park at the same time. More importantly, it wasn’t just those guys running the show on the weekend. They had some help from younger players such as Lewis Taylor, Sam Mayes and Jake Barrett, all of whom played significant roles. Their opposition from last weekend, Fremantle, are clearly struggling at the moment, but when you haven’t won a game since round 1, any win is massive, let alone a 57-point belting.
Port Adelaide were on the other side of the spectrum last weekend, having themselves been belted after playing great footy for the majority of the year. We’ll call it an aberration for now, but their response will be important, and due to that, the Lions could be in for some pain this weekend. Brisbane are always going to be more competitive with a fully fit midfield, but they’re still going to struggle against the better teams in the competition, especially outside of Brisbane. Port should get it done with ease.
Betting tip: Port Adelaide (-49.5) @ $1.62 (UniBet)
Gold Coast v Carlton
7:25PM AEST, Metricon Stadium
If they have another win against the Blues on Sunday, the Suns are all of a sudden putting themselves into finals calculations. They took care of the Hawks for the second time this year on the weekend, and are now sitting just a game outside of the eight. They’re probably not quite good enough to play finals this year, but it would do them the world of good to get as close as possible and then build on that next year.
This week they take on a Carlton side full of confidence after a one point win over GWS, which was easily their best performance of the year. Both of these clubs have been very up and down, playing great footy one week and being disappointing the next, but they each currently contain some key players in red hot form. Gary Ablett is back to his best for the Suns, while Marc Murphy, Bryce Gibbs and Matthew Kreuzer are all producing the goods for Carlton.
The injury to Alex Silvagni on the weekend leaves turned-around key defender Liam Jones with the big task of curtailing Suns’ star forward Tom Lynch all on his own. He might be offered a new contract the second the final siren sounds if he can manage to keep Lynch quiet. It’s a big ask though, and you’ve got to suspect the Suns might be too good at home. If they can get the ball down to Lynch often enough, he’s bound to kick a few. I’m looking forward to an entertaining game of footy, but can’t go past the Suns at Metricon.
Betting tip: Gold Coast (-18.5) @ $1.93 (Marathon Bet)
Sunday, June 18
Western Bulldogs v Melbourne
3:20PM AEST, Etihad Stadium
The Demons need to make sure they prepare themselves for this contest, because it’s critically important in the context of their season. They’ve struggled to back up great wins with effort and intensity in the past, and that’s something they really need to stamp out of their DNA. They will also be aware that the Dogs should be breathing fire after being embarrassed by the Swans on Thursday night.
The Dogs are set to welcome back key duo Tom Boyd and Dale Morris, while the Demons will be happy to finally have a ruckman back in the team in Jake Spencer. The Demons haven’t cared much for winning the hit-outs since their two rucks went down with injury, and the Dogs haven’t cared for the ruck contest all year, so there’s an interesting aspect of the contest to keep an eye on. The Dogs have been smashed in the clearances and contested ball over the past few weeks and that will be an area of focus for them this week. If they can match the Demons in that area they’ll probably win the game, but Melbourne have a quality midfield that’s not easy to get on top of.
I’m really torn picking a winner for this one, as the Dogs are easily the better side at their best, but they just haven’t looked like it. Apart from a select few, they appeared genuinely disinterested and were unwilling to work hard against the Swans. If that continues, the Demons will make them pay, but if Luke Beveridge can inspire his troops to return to something resembling their best footy, the Dogs should be too good. I’m giving them one last chance.
Betting tip: Western Bulldogs to win @ $1.60 (Pinnacle)
Best Bets of the Round
St Kilda to win @ $1.92 (CrownBet)
Sydney to win @ $1.92 (Marathon Bet)
All Bets: -12.22 units
Best Bets: +1.18 units