The following are previews with betting tips for Round 14 of the 2017 AFL season.
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Thursday, June 22
Adelaide v Hawthorn
7:50PM AEST, Adelaide Oval
The bye rounds are done and dusted but we still have Thursday night footy in round 14, with the Crows set to host the Hawks at the Adelaide Oval. Both clubs had the bye last week, so they are on a level playing field and should be feeling refreshed and ready to go. The Hawks are set to welcome back a number of big names, with Grant Birchall, Luke Hodge, Luke Breust, and Ryan Schoenmakers all back in the side. They played poorly against the Suns a few weeks back, but those four inclusions make them a significantly stronger side. Josh Gibson is out due to a groin injury, so Schoenmakers will have his work cut out dealing with one of Taylor Walker or Josh Jenkins.
After their dominant early season form, the Crows have had their ups and downs over the past month or two, but playing in Adelaide they are still almost unbeatable. The Hawks will need to be at their very best just to keep in touch with the Crows, but I suspect it will be too much for them and the Crows will bust the game open at some stage. They have such a dangerous attack that even if there’s only four goals in it at three-quarter time, they’re capable of putting on a six goal burst in no time to make it a blow out, and I expect that’s what will happen in this one.
Betting tip: Adelaide By 40+ @ $1.64 (TopSport)
Friday, June 23
Sydney v Essendon
7:50PM AEST, SCG
The Swans kept their season alive with a come-from-behind win over the Tigers at the MCG on Saturday afternoon. It looked like they were in trouble when the Tigers got out to a six goal lead in the second quarter, but the Swans lifted after half time and pegged the margin back, before hitting the front in the last 10 minutes of the game. They’re now one game out of the eight, and they have a better percentage than the five clubs directly above them. History says a club that starts 0 – 6 can’t make the eight, but that was six weeks ago; from their current position the Swans are every chance of forcing their way in. They just simply can’t afford to drop too many chances, and that starts against the Bombers on Friday night. Essendon are a very good side when firing but they’ve been inconsistent, and at the SCG the Swans should have a significant advantage. Zak Jones will miss with a one week suspension, and while he’s been really good this year, the Swans’ midfield can cover him now that they are back in form.
I expect this to be a close, tightly fought contest, but I’m going with the Swans by about three goals.
Betting tip: Sydney (-16.5) @ $1.84 (William Hill)
Saturday, June 24
Collingwood v Port Adelaide
1:45PM AEST, MCG
While they played fairly good footy and can’t be too disappointed in their efforts, the 4-point loss to the Demons in the Queen’s Birthday clash has made things awkward for Nathan Buckley and his charges. It means their next three weeks will define their season and possibly Buckley’s coaching career. They face Port Adelaide, Hawthorn, and the Essendon. All three are winnable games, but they’re certainly not opponents that’d see Eddie McGuire reaching for his fixture to pencil in a win against either. Port look to be the best of that bunch, but that doesn’t necessarily mean this week will be the most difficult to snatch a win—the Power haven’t played at the MCG this year, and have appeared to be slightly down on form over the past few weeks.
There are still a few question marks over Ken Hinkley’s team, but a big win over the Pies at the ‘G would answer most of them. For obvious reasons, it’s imperative for any interstate club to travel well and perform at their best on the MCG, which sounds simpler than it would appear to be. I won’t name names, but some clubs clearly struggle with it, so it’ll be interesting to see how Port cope. They didn’t have any troubles last time they went deep into the finals so I don’t expect it to be an issue, but you never know.
Collingwood have a very good midfield and are sure to match it with the Power in that area, but they’ll have their work cut out up forward and down back. If they can get on top in the midfield they’re every chance of beating Port, and I reckon they’ll go close. The Power have a dangerous forward set-up, but if the Pies can limit their opportunities it will set them up for an important upset win.
Betting tip: Collingwood to win @ $2.13 (Marathon Bet)
Brisbane v GWS
4:35PM AEST, Gabba
The Cats left the door wide open for the Giants to cement their top two position when they lost to the Eagles last weekend. The Giants are now a game clear in second, and with a match-up against the Cats at Spotless Stadium awaiting them next weekend, have the chance to put some significant ground between them and the pack chasing behind them. They’re still having rotten luck on the injury front, but if they keep winning then all that matters is having a fit list in September.
They shouldn’t have any issues against the Lions this week, who have been slightly better in recent weeks but are still no threat to a top side like the Giants. I doubt the Giants will be going flat out—all GWS will want to do is get through with a win and a clean bill of health. So I’m expecting a comfortable win for the Giants, but not an absolute thrashing. Five goals sounds about right to me.
Betting tip: GWS By 1-39 @ $2.40 (Sportsbet)
Western Bulldogs v North Melbourne
7:25PM AEST, Etihad Stadium
The last time these two teams played the Bulldogs managed to win by 3-points, but it was an unconvincing win that they probably didn’t deserve. That’s when they were playing some decent footy. Not great, but good enough to get to a 5-2 win/loss record. Now they’re playing some genuinely bad footy. The past two weeks they’ve looked more like a bottom four team than the reigning premiers. Their best players are down on form, and the team as a whole isn’t functioning at all. They need to turn things around, and quickly.
The Kangaroos will also be looking to bounce back from a poor game, with a flurry of late goals masking the fact they were completely outplayed by St Kilda on Friday night. The issue for the Kangaroos is that their senior players through the midfield all did their bit, but there wasn’t enough support from the lesser players to help them out. They are too heavily reliant on Jarrad Waite and Ben Brown to kick their goals, and they could only manage the two against the Saints. Having said that, the Dogs aren’t known for their key defenders, so it might work out for the Roos this week. They’ve opted to bring in big Majak Daw as well, so it seems like they’re really trying to stretch the Dogs. If they can get enough supply, they’re sure to kick a few against an undersized Bulldogs’ defence.
I find it really difficult to back the Dogs after what they’ve dished up in the last two weeks, so I’m going with the Kangaroos at the line. The Dogs could turn it on after the media bashing they’ve copped all week, but they look nowhere near it at the moment and I just can’t see it happening.
Betting tip: Kangaroos (+11.5) @ $1.95 (UniBet)
West Coast Eagles v Melbourne
7:40PM AEST, Domain Stadium
This is the game I’m most looking forward to seeing this weekend. The Demons are playing the best footy they’ve played in years, and are set to be bolstered by the return of star ruckman Max Gawn, while the Eagles took care of the Cats last weekend in a very impressive display after pledging to come back from the bye with a renewed hunger and ferociousness. They did just that against Geelong, and if they bring the heat again this week, we’re in for a treat. The Demons are the number one pressure team in the competition, so it’s shaping up to be a high intensity game, with both teams sure to score plenty of goals from turnovers. As in last week’s Eagles and Cats clash, both clubs will be without their spearhead, with Josh Kennedy and Jesse Hogan both missing at least another week.
I’ve loved the way the Demons have played recently, especially last week against the Dogs, but I still have question marks over their consistency. I have a feeling that a trip over to Perth might be an occasion where they drop off a touch, and if the Eagles are switched on, that’s all it will take for the result to be a five goal Eagles’ victory. And while Max Gawn is a massive inclusion, having Nathan Jones and Jack Watts both out really hurts their chances of a fourth consecutive victory.
Betting tip: West Coast (-11.5) @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Sunday, June 25
Geelong v Fremantle
1:10PM AEST, Simonds Stadium
The week off couldn’t have come at a better time for Fremantle, because they were playing a really ordinary standard of footy. The positive is they’ve had a week off to reset, the negative is that during that week off, the game they’ve had to look forward to is a contest against the Cats down in Geelong. The Cats weren’t great against the Eagles last weekend, but they’re a different kettle of fish when playing at home.
Tom Hawkins is back in the side and they really missed him last week. He totally changes their structure and brings the other forwards into the game, making the whole forward line more dangerous. I’m looking forward to seeing how Fremantle come back after the week off. If they can recapture their earlier good form, they’re still in the mix to play finals. If they’ve run their race and continue where they left off pre-bye then they might be headed for the bottom four. Only time will tell, but I think they’re in for a fairly sizeable loss this week regardless.
Betting tip: Geelong By 40+ @ $1.87 (Ladbrokes)
Richmond v Carlton
3:20PM AEST, MCG
I’m not sure which club to mention first here. Should I go with the outstanding efforts of the Blues or the Tigers’ ability to yet again blow a big lead and lose a close game? Tough decision, but let’s start with the good news story. After knocking the Giants off by a solitary point, you could forgive Carlton for patting themselves on the back and not necessarily bringing the same effort and intensity the next week against the Suns. But that’s not what they did. They travelled up to the Gold Coast and led the Suns for the majority of the contest, giving up the lead only once—midway through the final term—before fighting back to ensure victory. Their senior players stood up again; this time led by Bryce Gibbs, who put in a stunning performance that will probably go down as the best of his career.
Now for the Tigers. They were good for the first half, they really were. Midway through the second quarter they were six goals in front. But then it happened again. They fell apart, as they’ve done multiple times this year, and let the Swans back in the game. To be fair to the Tigers, Sydney did lift and were much better in the second half, but even so, theres’ still no way they should have lost that game of footy.
I expect they’re going to try to make a statement and come out really fired up on Sunday. They know that the Blues can be troublesome if you give them a chance, so I think the Tigers will look to dominate them from the get-go. It’ll be a great atmosphere and an exciting day at the footy, but I think the Tigers will look to put their foot down early and then keep the Blues at arms length in what will likely be a scrappy game of footy.
Betting tip: Richmond (-13.5) @ $1.95 (Marathon Bet)
St Kilda v Gold Coast
4:40PM AEST, Etihad Stadium
Without being great, the Saints did what was necessary against the Kangaroos last week to get their season back on track. If they can take care of the Suns on Sunday afternoon they’ll be very pleased with their post-bye work, and happy to take a 7-6 record into the second half of the season. They’ll need to contend with a disappointed Suns outfit looking to make amends for last week’s poor loss to Carlton, but that’s not all: it’s also Gary Ablett’s 300th game of footy, and the Suns will be desperate to do everything in their power to get their superstar a win on his milestone day.
I’m not sure that a big milestone actually makes any difference to a team’s performance these days, but it’s an interesting thing to keep an eye on. Either way, you’d expect the Suns to be much better than last week, but is that enough to trouble the Saints? At Metricon, maybe, but at Etihad I suspect the Saints will be far too good.
Betting tip: St Kilda (-24.5) @ $1.95 (Marathon Bet)
Best Bets of the Round
Collingwood to win @ $2.13 (Marathon Bet)
Kangaroos (+11.5) @ $1.95 (UniBet)
West Coast (-11.5) @ $1.93 (Bet365)
All Bets: -14.38 units
Best Bets: +3.02 units