The following are previews with betting tips for Round 6 of the 2018 AFL season.
Friday, April 27
Western Bulldogs vs Carlton
7:45 pm AEST, Etihad Stadium
The Dogs were back to their lacklustre form from the opening two rounds of the season last weekend against the Dockers, eventually going down by 54 points, a margin which almost flattered them. They were out-numbered in defence and out-numbered in attack, which means they clearly weren’t working hard enough. They are a young side however, so we’ll allow them a poor performance in Perth, but they’ll need to fight back this week and make sure they don’t give the Blues a sniff or there could be an upset brewing.
Carlton are another young side who are having their ups and downs from week to week, and against West Coast it was definitely one of their better performances. They took it right up to the Eagles and with a bit of luck could’ve walked away with the four points. It wasn’t to be in the end, but they’ll back themselves to go one better against the Dogs. Unfortunately for Carlton, they’ll still be without ruckman Matthew Kreuzer, who really does leave a gaping hole in their midfield. It’s one area of the ground they probably would’ve had a real edge over the Dogs as well, but it’s not to be. I’m expecting this to be a scrappy, low-scoring contest that probably won’t feature in too many highlight reels, and I think that might suit the Dogs who should do just enough to get over the line.
Betting tip: Western Bulldogs By 1-39 @ $2.20 (BlueBet)
Saturday, April 28
Geelong vs Sydney
1:45 pm AEST, GMHBA Stadium
While the Swans have started 2018 in much better fashion compared to the beginning of last year’s campaign, they still haven’t been hugely convincing. They played some good footy against the Giants and have been solid at times in other matches, but at this stage they look too one-dimensional and they have too many players not pulling their weight. This week is going to provide them with a really tough challenge; the Cats in Geelong is never easy, but without Lance Franklin and Dan Hannebery the Swans will be hoping for a miracle to help them get over the line.
The Cats did get a miracle of sorts themselves this week, with Joel Selwood being cleared to play by the tribunal after being given a one week suspension by the MRP. He would’ve been a handy out to counter Franklin and Hannebery from Sydney’s perspective, but it looks like the Sydney midfield will just need to lift their game and take on two of the game’s best midfielders head-to-head. Every weekend there are multiple examples of how even the competition is, and how a team can win against the odds despite injuries and recent form, but I struggle to see the Swans doing enough in this one. It’ll be interesting to see how their forward line functions without Buddy; their unpredictability could provide Geelong with some headaches but will it be enough to kick a winning score? I’m not convinced, so I’m going with the Cats to get home by 3-4 goals.
Betting tip: Geelong (-15.5) @ $1.93 (Bet365)
North Melbourne vs Port Adelaide
2:10 pm AEST, Etihad Stadium
The Kangaroos are rapidly turning into this year’s surprise packet, out-performing any expectations even their biggest fans may have had for them this season, while Port Adelaide have let their great start to the season go to waste with a couple of poor performances. Both clubs are now sitting on 3 wins, along with a long host of others, which makes this game very important.
The North Melbourne tall forward line of Ben Brown and Jarrad Waite continues to be incredibly dangerous, while for Port big Charlie Dixon had a very disappointing night against the Cats despite having the opportunity to take the game by the scruff of the neck, but in fairness, he definitely wasn’t alone.
Horrible news coming out of the Port Adelaide camp this week is that Hamish Hartlett looks to have ruptured his ACL, and his loss will obviously be hard to cover for not only this match but the rest of the season. Sam Powell-Pepper will also miss another week, so the Power midfield is a little weaker than they would have liked, but the Roos will be missing Shaun Higgins due to concussion so in my view this a genuine 50/50 contest. The Kangaroos have the home ground advantage and the better form on their side, but Port are better than what they’ve produced in the last few weeks and will be looking to bounce back. I’m tipping a close contest but think North might just sneak in at home.
Betting tip: North Melbourne to win @ $2.50 (William Hill)
GWS vs Brisbane
4:35 pm AEST, Spotless Stadium
The Lions were awfully close to their first win of the season against the Suns last week but their last quarter comeback fell agonisingly short. In all honesty they probably didn’t deserve to beat the Suns as they trailed for the majority of the contest, but they showed some serious fight late in the game. Unfortunately, they’re probably not going to get another chance at a win this week, as they’re off to Sydney to take on the 3rd-placed Giants. GWS will also be disappointed from last weekend, not only by the result, but by their overall performance. They were lucky to get away with the draw against the Saints, and you’d expect them to be much better this week back at home. Which is bad news for Brisbane, who are still searching for their first win of the season. It’s not likely to come this week; in fact, if the Lions can keep the margin to below eight goals they will have done incredibly well.
Betting tip: GWS By 40+ @ $2.00 (BlueBet)
Hawthorn vs St Kilda
7:25 pm AEST, University of Tasmania Stadium
The Saints were much improved last week against the Giants and will be disappointed they didn’t get the four points, but they’ll know that if their effort stays at that sort of level they’ll win plenty of games over the course of the rest of the season. This week they’re set to take on the Hawks in Tasmania in what should be a telling contest. The Hawks are hard to beat in Tassie, but without Cyril Rioli and Paul Puopolo, and now Liam Shiels and James Sicily, they might be there for the taking if the Saints are switched on. They do welcome back star veteran Shaun Burgoyne, but they can’t expect game-changing performances from him anymore, so it’ll be up to the younger generation to cover the slack and lift the Hawks over the line.
While I think they might struggle against other opponents and at other venues with their current injury list, the Hawks are just that good playing in Tasmania that I expect they’ll still be too strong for St Kilda. It might not be by all that much, but I just can’t go against the Hawks in Launceston.
Betting tip: Hawthorn By 1-39 @ $2.15 (BlueBet)
Adelaide vs Gold Coast
7:40 pm AEST, Adelaide Oval
After a hugely disappointing loss to the Magpies the previous week, the Crows bounced back in emphatic style on Friday night against a strong Sydney outfit. The Crows were up against it — they were missing multiple best 22 players, including a few of their genuine stars, and they were away from home, playing in a fairly hostile environment against a quality team that loves their home patch. The fact they outplayed the Swans all night and came away with the win shows what a great team they are, despite the poor showing the week before against the Pies. Every team has a bad game on occasion, and the way the Crows played against Sydney proved that their performance against Collingwood was exactly that: just a bad night.
This week they return home to host the Suns at the Adelaide Oval, and they’ll be over the moon to see the return of reigning best-and-fairest winner Matt Crouch. He comes in to bolster a midfield that performed admirably in his absence last week and should prove much too strong for the Suns this week. Gold Coast were fairly good all game against the Lions in last week’s Q-Clash, showing some real resilience when the game was in the balance late in the last quarter, but they’re likely to be in for a long evening on Saturday night. It’s tough for even the most experienced of teams to head to Adelaide and keep their composure in front of the large, one-eyed crowd, so you have to think the young Suns might wilt under the pressure. Similar to the Lions against GWS this week, if the Suns keep the margin below 10 goals they’ll be relatively happy.
Betting tip: Adelaide By 40+ @ $1.60 (Ladbrokes)
Sunday, April 29
Essendon vs Melbourne
1:10 pm AEST, Etihad Stadium
The awkward turnaround time for the Bombers and the Pies will first come under scrutiny when Essendon take on the Dees on Sunday afternoon under the roof at Etihad Stadium. The Bombers will be coming off a four day break, and they’ve made at least five changes in an attempt to get some fresh legs into the team. It’s not going to be much easier for the Demons either, as they’re coming off a five day break after playing the Tigers on Tuesday evening. They’ve made three definite changes of their own so far, and you’d expect that number to increase when the final teams are announced. Christian Petracca is a big loss due to a finger injury sustained from a dog bite, but they do at least look set to regain Jordan Lewis and Tom McDonald, the latter of which is going to play a very important role for them for the rest of the season.
Both clubs were disappointing in round 5, so it’s fortunate they don’t have to wait all that long to have another crack. It looks like being a really even match-up, but I have a feeling the Demons are going to respond really strongly from their rough patch over the last few weeks. They were slightly better for periods against the Tigers, and I expect them to build on that this week and earn themselves a morale-building win over the Bombers on Sunday.
Betting tip: Melbourne to win @ $1.91 (UniBet)
Collingwood vs Richmond
3:20 pm AEST, MCG
The Pies and the Tigers have gone the opposite route to Essendon and Melbourne, with the only definite out to either team so far being Collingwood’s Travis Varcoe, who the Magpies have decided to rest for the short turnaround. I’m sure there will be more changes once teams are announced, but both teams look to have pulled up fairly well from their respective hit-outs during the week. The Pies did it easily against the Bombers, while the Tigers overcame some early fight from the Demons to earn themselves another big victory, which sets this game up as a huge contest. The Pies have hit a really good patch of form, while the Tigers haven’t missed a beat so far in their premiership defence.
I’m really looking forward to watching this one and I think it could be an epic contest, but I have to back the Tigers at this stage. As good as the Pies have been recently, the Tigers have got more runs on the board, and Collingwood are yet to face a team who apply as much pressure as the Tigers do. If the Tigers get on top and the Pies start to doubt themselves, Richmond will heap on the pressure and make life very difficult for Collingwood, and I expect that might happen at some stage on Sunday.
Betting tip: Richmond (-12.5) @ $1.91 (UniBet)
Fremantle vs West Coast
4:40 pm AEST, Perth Stadium
The bickering during the week over the Ross Glendinning Medal has over-shadowed the fact that this is going to be an absolute belter of a contest that could go either way and should go right down to the death. The Dockers are looking good after an enormous win over the Dogs on Saturday night, while the Eagles did enough to take care of a plucky Carlton outfit last week at the MCG.
It’s a shame that Fremantle key forward Matt Taberner injured his leg during the game against the Dogs, because he was flying up to that point. He’d taken multiple contested marks and looked like tearing the game apart, but they’ve got plenty of other forward options to cover him. The Eagles will no doubt put lots of work into Fremantle superstar Nat Fyfe, who is coming of a vintage performance where he recorded his highest disposal tally in a game. If they can somewhat subdue Fyfe they should be able to beat the Dockers, but that’s no easy task. I do think overall the Eagles are the slightly stronger side, so I’m backing them to get the win, but it should be a ripping contest.
Betting tip: West Coast to win @ $1.68 (UniBet)
Best Bets of the Round
GWS By 40+ @ $2.00 (BlueBet)
Melbourne to win @ $1.91 (UniBet)
All Bets: -14.46 units
Best Bets: -1.12 units