The following are previews with betting tips for Round 11 of the 2018 AFL season.
Friday, June 1
Sydney vs Carlton
7:50 pm AEST, SCG
It’s been a few weeks since we had a decent game of footy on a Friday night, and with Sydney set to host the Blues this week it seems we’re in for another lacklustre Friday evening; fortunately, next week’s clash between Port Adelaide and the Tigers should provide some much-needed Friday night entertainment.
Neither team is in stellar form at present: the Blues went down to Geelong last week while attempting to make amends for the previous week’s 100+ point loss to the Demons, while the Swans got over the Lions by three goals in a game of wet-weather footy at the Gabba on Saturday.
The Swans are the better team in all areas, and while they’ve struggled on their home deck this year, a big win over the Blues should be the perfect way to continue building confidence at the SCG following their demolition of Fremantle a few weeks ago.
Betting tip: Sydney By 40+ @ $1.48 (MadBookie)
Saturday, June 2
Western Bulldogs vs Melbourne
1:45 pm AEST, Etihad Stadium
West Coast have won eight games in a row and haven’t put a foot wrong since their opening round loss to the Swans, but the Demons might just be the form team of the competition right now following their crushing win over the Crows in Alice Springs. The stage was set for an epic clash between the battle-hardened premiership contender and the up-and-coming Demons, but Melbourne had other ideas: they put the game to bed by half time, and then continued to pile on the pain in the second half to run out 91 point victors.
It was similar to their other games over the last month, in that not only have they won, but they’ve played out the full four quarters and absolutely crushed their opposition. The difference here was that it was against a superior team in Adelaide, although the Crows did have some significant players missing through injury. Nevertheless, the Demons made them pay, and the Dogs will no doubt be extremely nervous coming into this game.
The Dogs were super impressive in the first quarter against Collingwood last week, and then hugely disappointing in the second half, failing to kick a goal while the Pies ran all over them. This week, if they play like they did in the first quarter they might hold the margin to a somewhat respectable level, but if they play anything like they did in the second half against Collingwood, it’ll be another 100+ point win to the Demons. I expect it’s likely to get ugly for the Dogs.
Betting tip: Melbourne By 40+ @ $2.20 (BlueBet)
Hawthorn vs Port Adelaide
2:10 pm AEST, University of Tasmania Stadium
After a surprisingly strong start to the season that saw them claim a spot in the upper echelons of the ladder, the Hawks have lost their last three games to fall right back to the pack. They now sit with an even 5-5 win/loss record, and desperately need a win to build some momentum and get their season back on track. This week they face a Port Adelaide team fresh off the bye following their trip to Shanghai. Port’s last two weeks have been very different compared to a regular couple of weeks in the AFL system, so it’ll be interesting to see how they perform against the Hawks; I doubt it will affect them too much, but we might see them come out of the blocks a little slow before settling into the contest.
I expect this to be a hotly contested match between two good footy sides; if the game was being played anywhere else I’d probably lean towards the Power, as they’ve looked more convincing than Hawthorn over the previous month, but it’s hard to go past Hawthorn in Tasmania. I expect it to be close and fairly low scoring, with the Hawks to get over the line by a couple of goals.
Betting tip: Hawthorn to win @ $2.00 (Ladbrokes)
Gold Coast vs Geelong
4:35 pm AEST, Metricon Stadium
The only other team coming off the bye this week is the Gold Coast Suns, and on Saturday they finally return to their home ground of Metricon Stadium to host the Cats. The most interesting aspect of this game is likely to be Gary Ablett’s return to the Gold Coast for the first time as a Cat. There are mixed feelings about Ablett’s time as a Sun, but regardless of where you sit in that debate, he played some of his best footy at the Suns — winning a Brownlow medal — and captained the club, so he obviously has strong connections to the Gold Coast football club. From the outside, it’s hard to tell exactly how the Suns now feel about Ablett, but we’ll get an indication of that on Saturday. Will they attempt to verbally and physically unsettle him and make his afternoon really difficult, or will they just treat him as another opposition player and ignore him?
Ignoring all of that, I actually expect this to be a fairly close game and think the Suns might have a chance of upsetting the Cats. They regain star forward Tom Lynch as well as Sam Day and Jack Martin, making it the strongest team they’ve put out on the field in a number of weeks. If the Cats don’t lift their game from the previous few weeks they may just find themselves facing another embarrassing defeat.
Betting tip: Gold Coast (+21.5) @ $1.91 (William Hill)
Essendon vs Richmond
7:25 pm AEST, MCG
The Bombers winning their past two games has breathed some life into the annual Dreamtime clash between Essendon and Richmond, which is fortunate as just a few short weeks ago you would’ve pencilled it in as a 10 goal win to the Tigers. It may still turn out that way, but at least there’s some genuine hope for Essendon’s chances in the lead-up to what is always a huge night on the AFL calendar.
After a near-perfect start to their 2018 campaign, the Tigers are starting to have a few injury and form issues rear their heads. It’s no reason to stress just yet, as you’re never going to get through a whole season without a few rough patches, but they’ll want to make sure they keep the wins ticking along. Which is exactly what they did against the Saints on the weekend, despite losing a couple of key players to injury early in the game. Jack Riewoldt has been cleared to play against the Bombers despite a heavy hit last week, but Bachar Houli will miss due to a groin injury.
Regardless, the Tigers have some genuine depth and should be too strong for the Bombers, who have clearly lifted over the past two weeks but are still no world-beaters, especially when facing a club like Richmond who play a highly contested brand of footy. The Tigers should get the job done by four or five goals.
Betting tip: Richmond (-22.5) @ $2.10 (BetFair)
West Coast vs St Kilda
8:10 pm AEST, Perth Stadium
The Eagles won their eighth consecutive game on Sunday, and considering it was in Melbourne against a fellow top eight contender in Hawthorn, it was probably one of their best wins to date. They may have played a better game of footy when they beat the Tigers the previous week, but the type of game they played against Hawthorn — a scrappy win away from home — is going to hold them in much better stead come September.
This week they return home to host the Saints in Perth, which will be a much more favourable task for them to feast on. It’s been a long while since the Saints have won a game, and while they’ve been more competitive over the past month, they still don’t look all that flash. They were never going to be a chance against the Eagles, but now that their best defender in Jake Carlisle is out due to suspension, the Eagles are going to have an absolute field day kicking the ball long to Jack Darling and Josh Kennedy; if those two don’t combine for 10 goals this weekend I’ll be very surprised.
This is almost certainly going to be a percentage-boosting win for the Eagles that will see them keep their tight grip on the top position on the ladder before having a well-deserved rest next weekend.
Betting tip: West Coast (+51.5) @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Sunday, June 3
North Melbourne vs Brisbane
1:10 pm AEST, Etihad Stadium
The Lions backed up their huge win over the Hawks with a persistent effort against the Swans, but in the end they were out-classed by a more experienced outfit in the wet conditions. They have another tough assignment this week when they travel to Melbourne to take on the fifth-placed Kangaroos at Etihad Stadium. North continue to play a strong brand of footy and their consistency and competitiveness means they’re likely to beat the majority of teams that aren’t finals-bound. Brisbane are one of those teams, so you’d expect to see North Melbourne record another comfortable win on Sunday.
The Lions have some great young key position players, but they’ll have their hands full against the Kangaroos this week, specifically the Coleman Medal-leading Ben Brown and his trusty sidekick Jarrad Waite. If the Lions can be competitive in the midfield and restrict North Melbourne to a relatively low number of forward 50 entries they’ll remain in the contest, but if not, they’re in for a long afternoon. I’m going with the Roos by about seven goals.
Betting tip: Kangaroos (-30.5) @ $2.00 (UniBet)
Collingwood vs Fremantle
3:20 pm AEST, MCG
Following their disappointing five goal loss to the Kangaroos at home on Sunday afternoon, the Dockers have now lost four of their last five games, stagnating badly after a bright start to the season. They’re not playing like a cohesive footy team at the moment, and there’s obviously an issue when they’re being beaten in Perth with ease. They’ll need to try to get some momentum back in Melbourne this week when they take on the Pies, who are still travelling quite well despite a couple of bad quarters in recent weeks.
Collingwood were flat at the start of their game against the Dogs last Friday night; they were dominated in the first quarter and were lucky the margin was only four goals at the first break. They found a way to work back into the game and eventually overpowered the Dogs, producing a great defensive effort to hold the Dogs goalless in the second half.
They should be able to produce a similar result against the Dockers this week; while Fremantle have slightly more offensive Power than the Dogs, they’re definitely not a team that scores heavily on the regular. Both teams have some huge outs which just about cancel each other out: the Pies lose Travis Varcoe, Ben Reid and Jeremy Howe to injury, while Fremantle lose Aaron Sandilands and Stephen Hill. Let’s call it even. Considering it’s at the ‘G, the Pies really should be winning this one by at least six goals, and I expect they will.
Betting tip: Collingwood (-30.5) @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Adelaide vs GWS
4:40 pm AEST, Adelaide Oval
GWS’s struggles continue for another week, with the Giants this time being beaten at home by the Bombers. They were right in the game until a last-quarter fade out cost them any chance of taking home four points for the first time in a month. Life isn’t going to get any easier this week when they travel to Adelaide to take on the Crows, a proud club who are coming off an embarrassing 91 point belting at the hands of the Demons. Due to the circumstances, this should be a hotly contested game of footy with plenty to prove for both clubs. It’s not often a premiership contender gets beaten by close to 100 points; the Crows need to perform strongly here to prove it was an aberration. It’s also not often a premiership contender loses five consecutive matches, and the Giants need to win here to avoid that from occurring.
Both clubs have been severely hampered by serious injuries to some of their most important players, so there are reasons for their patchy form, but at some stage they need to stand up and stop the rot. It’s still early in the season but if GWS lose this, their premiership hopes are effectively shot, as they won’t be able to make up enough ground to challenge for a top four spot. Despite last week’s shocking performance, the Crows are in a much better position and if they can move on with a win over the Giants, everything will be just fine once again. I do think this will be a really close game of footy but expect the Crows to sneak home in front of their home crowd.
Betting tip: Adelaide By 1-39 @ $2.20 (BlueBet)
Best Bets of the Round
Melbourne By 40+ @ $2.20 (BlueBet)
All Bets: -15.27 units
Best Bets: -2.54 units