AFL Round 2 Preview & Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for Round 2 of the 2018 AFL season.

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Thursday, March 29


Adelaide vs Richmond

7:50 pm AEDT, Adelaide Oval
View a detailed form guide for Adelaide vs Richmond


The reigning premiers survived a big first quarter scare from the Blues on Thursday night to eventually run out 26 point victors. It wasn’t the greatest display of football, but the Tigers did what they had to after being challenged by a desperate Blues outfit. The Crows, on the other hand, looked like they were set for a good win despite missing key players, before the Bombers put on a scintillating last quarter display to steal the four points. The Bombers were probably the better side on the night anyway, but the Crows will be incredibly disappointed they let it slip from the position they were in at three quarter time.

This week they’re back at the Adelaide Oval hosting the team who beat them in last year’s grand final, which means the atmosphere is going to be through the roof. The Crows welcome back skipper Taylor Walker, but fellow forward Tom Lynch is set to spend another week on the sidelines, while the Tigers lose Nick Vlastuin due to concussion but regain premiership star Bachar Houli in his place.

It’s going to be an intriguing battle to say the least. The Crows rarely lose at the Adelaide Oval and they will be desperate for revenge, but the Tigers are obviously a very strong side and they travelled extremely well last season, winning four of their six interstate games. I expect the game to have plenty of momentum swings with both sides applying immense pressure on their opponent, but in the end I’m going with the Crows at home to win by a couple of goals.

Betting tip: Adelaide (-9.5) @ $2.02 (UniBet)

Friday, March 30


North Melbourne vs St Kilda

4:20 pm AEDT, Etihad Stadium
View a detailed form guide for North Melbourne vs St Kilda


The second ever Good Friday game of football is again hosted by North Melbourne, with the Roos set to take on the Saints in a twilight clash at Etihad Stadium. The Roos are coming off a slog in the wettest possible conditions in Cairns last weekend, while the Saints should be feeling fresh after playing in perfect conditions at home against the Lions. That could turn out to be a deciding factor in this game if the scores are tight heading into the last quarter.

It’s always hard to gauge form from a round 1 performance, but especially so when the conditions are as ridiculous as they were in Cairns, so we’ll wait and see how the Kangaroos perform this week before making judgement. The Saints were solid without being particularly impressive, but they should be better this week for the run.

The Saints are the stronger team and should win this one either way but if there was any doubt, the fact that North travelled last weekend and were forced to play in those conditions should mean the Saints grind out a win in the end. I don’t expect it will come to that; the Saints will be in front all day and should win by a comfortable margin.

Betting tip: St Kilda (-19.5) @ $1.99 (BetFair)

Saturday, March 31


Carlton vs Gold Coast

1:45 pm AEDT, Etihad Stadium
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Carlton fans will be hoping their team backs up the strong effort they put in against the Tigers last Thursday against a lesser opponent this week in the Gold Coast Suns. If they play the same way they did against the Tigers they’ll be good enough to beat the Suns, even if they do make the odd skill error or mistake taking the game on. They were exciting to watch and they applied tons of pressure when they didn’t have the ball, and that’s what their fans will be looking for again on Saturday.

The Suns will be sore and weary after their win over the Kangaroos in the extreme conditions in Cairns, which should be an advantage for the Blues, who will have had a 9 day break and should be fresh and raring to go. Matthew Kreuzer has been named to play despite having trouble with his groin against the Tigers but I’m not confident he’ll be right to play this week, and even if he does you’d think he’d be somewhat limited. The Suns don’t have a particularly strong midfield group however, so it might not have too much of a negative impact. I think it’ll be a close contest, but the Blues might just run out winners if they bring the pressure they did last week and sustain it for four quarters.

Betting tip: Carlton (-13.5) @ $1.92 (Ladbrokes)


Collingwood vs GWS

4:35 pm AEDT, MCG
View a detailed form guide for Collingwood vs GWS


The season didn’t get off to the start the Magpies were hoping for, and the pressure is already piling on. They needed to be better than that, but they essentially just produced more of the same as last year. There was no obvious improvement which is incredibly disappointing for a side that is expecting to play finals football this year. The Hawks played well on Saturday night, but Collingwood’s opponent this weekend is much stronger than Hawthorn are, so the Pies will need to be significantly better if they’re any chance to win.

The Giants really flexed their muscle in an opening round 82 point demolition of the Western Bulldogs. The Dogs were poor, but the Giants made them look completely second rate. It would’ve been a scary sight for the rest of the competition. Their main forwards all hit the scoreboard, and the midfield was dominant. If they keep that up all season they’ll be very difficult to stop, even for the very best teams in the competition. Collingwood aren’t close to that level so they might be in some strife this weekend. The only positive the Pies have is that the Giants haven’t played their best footy at the MCG. That might be enough to create a relatively close game, but I just can’t see the Giants losing this after their performance last week.

Betting tip: GWS By 25+ @ $2.10 (Ladbrokes)


Brisbane vs Melbourne

7:25 pm AEDT, Gabba
View a detailed form guide for Brisbane vs Melbourne


The Demons were so close to getting their year off to the perfect start with a win over the Cats, but they fell short right at the final hurdle. Max Gawn played a fantastic game of footy but he let his side down by missing a simple set shot that would’ve put the Demons in front with only 10 seconds remaining. Nevertheless, the Demons were pretty impressive on Sunday. They showed they’ve got what it takes to be a genuine top eight calibre team in 2018, but they’ll need to make sure they don’t let up this week against the Lions. It’s all well and good to play well at the MCG, but they need to do it at any venue, against any opposition.

The Lions are a bottom four team, but they showed some grit last weekend against the Saints. If they can do that consistently they may just upset a few teams, but after last week’s display you’d expect the Demons be too strong here. One of the areas Brisbane had the advantage in over the Saints was in the ruck duel, but Max Gawn is a much better ruckman than Billy Longer, so the midfield battle should prove more difficult against the Demons this week. A good result for Brisbane would be a competitive loss, but I have a feeling it might blow out to six or seven goals.

Betting tip: Melbourne By 25+ @ $2.10 (Ladbrokes)


Fremantle vs Essendon

7:40 pm AEDT, Perth Stadium
View a detailed form guide for Fremantle vs Essendon


The Bombers exploded in a last quarter frenzy against the Crows that has Essendon fans all over the country just as excited as they were after last year’s round 1 win over the Hawks. It’ll be interesting to see how they back it up this weekend over in Perth; in general the Bombers have no issues travelling, but they do have a problem with consistency.

The Dockers were fairly average against Port last weekend, but they’re a different beast over in Perth, so the Bombers will need to be on their game to take away the four points. The issue for Freo is that they don’t have a huge amount of scoring power — they had 49 inside 50’s against Port but managed just 15 scoring shots. That will be the area they struggle in all year, and on the flipside, the Bombers can be extremely potent when going inside forward 50. That’ll be a big factor in determining how this game plays out. If it’s a free-flowing affair with plenty of scoring opportunities, the Bombers will have a field day. But if Freo can shut the game down and turn it into a slog, they might just be a chance. I expect them to somewhat succeed — I think it’ll be low scoring, but the Bombers should edge them out for a tight win in tough conditions.

Betting tip: Essendon By 1-39 @ $2.24 (MadBookie)

Sunday, April 1


Western Bulldogs vs West Coast

3:20 pm AEST, Etihad Stadium
View a detailed form guide for Western Bulldogs vs West Coast


The Dogs were dismal against the Giants last weekend, putting in the sort of round 1 performance that makes you scratch your head and wonder what they’ve been up to all preseason. On the other hand, the Eagles performed much better than expected, taking it right up to the Swans and only really being bested due to the brilliance of Buddy Franklin. If the Eagles can back it up this week they’re every chance of beating the Dogs, but their troubles with playing outside of Perth last season are very well documented, so that could be a factor as well. The Eagles will still be missing star forward Josh Kennedy who usually loves playing against the Dogs’ smaller defence. He’ll be a big loss again, but the real positive from last weekend was the comeback of Nic Naitanui, and he’s sure to trouble the Dogs’ ruck division with his speed and athleticism under the roof at Etihad.

I’m tipping this to be a great game of footy that could go either way, but I expect the Dogs to lift after their poor display last weekend, and I’m still not confident backing the Eagles away from Perth so I’m tipping the Dogs in a close one.

Betting tip: Western Bulldogs By 1-39 @ $2.32 (UniBet)


Sydney vs Port Adelaide

4:40 pm AEST, SCG
View a detailed form guide for Sydney vs Port Adelaide


The Swans hard-fought 29 point victory over the Eagles on Sunday ensured they avoided repeating last year’s lacklustre start to the new season. The Eagles were plucky, but Port Adelaide should provide more of a challenge this weekend, although the Swans are back playing in the comfort of the SCG. There are some big in’s for both clubs, with Dan Hannebery set to return for the Swans, while Robbie Gray has been named to play for the Power.

Port would’ve had a huge advantage over the Swans in the ruck before big man Paddy Ryder went down with an achilles problem, which is going to challenge them not only this week, but for the next few months. He’s probably their most important player, so if they can manage to keep playing some decent footy without him it’ll provide a great launching pad for them to attack the rest of the season upon his return.

Are the new-look Power good enough to beat the Swans in Sydney? Probably not, but it should be an interesting contest to watch. I reckon it might be an arm-wrestle for three quarters before the Swans run away with it in the last quarter

Betting tip: Sydney (-16.5) @ $1.91 (UniBet)

Monday, April 2


Geelong vs Hawthorn

3:20 pm AEST, MCG
View a detailed form guide for Geelong vs Hawthorn


Round 2 finishes off with the usual Easter Monday clash between the Cats and the Hawks, and what a game this looks like being. Gary Ablett made a triumphant return to Geelong last weekend, racking up 39 disposals against the Demons and showing that if he stays injury free, he’s still more than capable of playing at his brilliant best. Joel Selwood also finished with 39 touches of his own, proving that the midfield trio of Ablett, Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield, who is set to return this week, could be every bit as good as Geelong fans might’ve hoped for.

That trio will be up against another pretty good midfield this weekend, with the Hawks’ duo of Tom Mitchell and Jaeger O’Meara starting the season off in fine fashion against the Pies on Saturday night. Mitchell had an absolute field day, so much so that he recorded the highest ever possession count in a single game of footy. He’s a ball magnet, but his game on Saturday night wasn’t just about racking up the ball, he also used it well and really hurt the Pies. The Cats will need to have a plan for him, but then again, the Hawks will need to have a plan to cover Ablett, Selwood, and Dangerfield. It’s going to be a great game to watch, and while I was mightily impressed with the Hawks last weekend, I think the Geelong midfield might be a little too strong for them on Monday, so I’m going with the Cats to get home by a couple of goals.

Betting tip: Geelong (-8.5) @ $1.91 (TopBetta)


Best Bets of the Round

Melbourne By 25+ @ $2.10 (Ladbrokes)

Season Tally

All Bets:        +0.88 units

Best Bets:     +1.78 units


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