The following are previews with betting tips for Round 16 of the 2018 AFL season.
Thursday, July 5
Sydney vs Geelong
7:20 pm AEST, SCG
The Swans battled gallantly and got themselves within arm’s reach of the Tigers early in the last quarter on Thursday night, but they just weren’t quite good enough to go the whole four quarters with the reigning champs. It wasn’t a bad performance by any means, but they’ve still got plenty of work to do if they hope to challenge the Tigers on the MCG in September, as does every other club in the competition.
This week they return home to the SCG to host the Cats in another big Thursday night clash, and there’s plenty on the line for both clubs. The Cats were sorely disappointing in their Friday night loss to the rejuvenated Western Bulldogs, and as impressive as the Dogs were, Geelong should still have been able to brush away their best efforts. They did in fact have the chance to do just that, with a Harry Taylor shot at goal after the siren sailing wide to leave the Cats two points short, but really, it should never have come to that. They’re now in danger of slipping out of the top eight, so they’ll need to grasp this tough opportunity for four points with both hands.
I feel like the Cats match up on the Swans fairly well — they’ve got multiple key defensive options to tackle Buddy, and their midfield stacks up against the Swans in the contested ball area — and expect it be to a close fought contest, but at the SCG, I’m sticking with the Swans to get the win and continue on their way to a top four spot after last week’s minor blip.
Betting tip: Sydney By 1-39 @ $2.16 (PalmerBet)
Friday, July 6
Richmond vs Adelaide
7:50 pm AEST, MCG
The Tigers once again proved that they’re still the best team in the competition with a 26 point victory over the Swans on Thursday evening. They just don’t lose at the MCG, and that means the Crows are in big trouble this weekend for the second Grand Final rematch of the season. The Crows kept their season alive with a gutsy come-from-behind victory over the Eagles last weekend, but much more will be required to challenge the Tigers in this one. The Eagles are a good side, but right now they don’t have great scoring capacity and weren’t able to make the Crows pay when they had the chance, but you can be certain the Tigers do, and will.
Taylor Walker was huge for the Crows last week, while Rory Laird was also straight back to his best. Rory Sloane understandably struggled in his first game back after a 10 week lay-off, but the Crows will be needing his output to lift quite quickly if they’re any chance of making an impact in September. Tom Lynch returns to the side this week to add some more polish, but Adelaide are still far from full guns blazing and with that as it is, they’re not much chance of stopping the steam train that is Richmond at the ‘G.
Betting tip: Richmond By 25+ @ $1.76 (Bet365)
Saturday, July 7
Brisbane vs Carlton
1:45 pm AEST, Gabba
The Lions caused a massive upset in the last game of round 15 when they crushed the Dockers by a whopping 55 points. The fact they beat Fremantle in Perth was surprise enough, but the margin was something not too many would have predicted. It helped that Aaron Sandilands was a late withdrawal and superstar midfielder Nat Fyfe hobbled off in the second quarter with a hamstring injury, but the Lions played some superb footy and thoroughly deserved the four points. Now they’ve got a rare opportunity to win two games in a row when they host the bottom-of-the-ladder Blues on Saturday afternoon at the Gabba.
Carlton were brave against Port Adelaide on Saturday but couldn’t manage to stay with the Power in the last quarter. It will give them plenty of confidence this week as they head to Brisbane looking for their second win of the year, although they’ll now be fully aware of what the Lions are capable of.
Brisbane have a dangerous midfield with plenty of experience, and a young, talent-laden forward line, whereas the Blues have a couple of super talented players, but perhaps not quite the same depth as the Lions. This, along with the Gabba factor, means I’m expecting the Lions to get over the line fairly comfortably in this one, but I’m looking forward to seeing what Carlton have to offer.
Betting tip: Brisbane (-19.5) @ $1.90 (Bet365)
Port Adelaide vs St Kilda
4:35 pm AEST, Adelaide Oval
In a round full of upsets, the Saints win over the Demons was probably the most surprising, particularly if you tuned in at the start of the game and watched as the Demons waltzed in and kicked the opening three goals. Things turned quickly from there as the Saints dug their heels in and produced 115 minutes of high intensity football that kept the Demons on the back foot all afternoon. The Saints have now won two in a row and will be looking for a third win when they head to Adelaide to take on the Power on Saturday afternoon, but it goes without saying that it’s not going to be easy. Port are a very good team on their home deck, capable of kicking big scores and defending well. The Saints at times this year have leaked scores too easily and if they’re not careful Port could have a field day, but we’ll give their improved form the benefit of the doubt for now. The loss of Jake Carlisle and Nathan Brown couldn’t have come at a worse time however; it’ll give Port spearhead Charlie Dixon every chance of kicking a bag.
Regardless of that, Port should get the points without too much issue, but it’ll be fascinating to see whether St Kilda can continue building on a decent month’s work; I’m thinking this week might be a mini let-down for them before finishing the year off strongly.
Betting tip: Port Adelaide By 40+ @ $1.83 (Sportsbet)
Western Bulldogs vs Hawthorn
7:25 pm AEST, Etihad Stadium
After a heartbreaking loss to North Melbourne in round 14, the Bulldogs narrowly avoided the same fate against the Cats on Friday night to get home by two points. It was a massive upset, but the Dogs were the better team all night and thoroughly deserved the win, despite doing their best to throw it away in the final minute. This week they take on a Hawks outfit who were disappointing in their loss to the Giants last weekend and are now sitting outside the top eight. In a further blow to Hawthorn, the shock retirement of star forward Cyril Rioli will not only leave Hawthorn fans with heavy hearts, it will drastically impact any chance of them making a fairy tale charge at another flag come September.
While he won’t be out there, this week will be a farewell of sorts to Rioli, and I expect the Hawks to do him justice. The Dogs have been good for a few weeks now, but I can’t see them keeping it up for too much longer; they’re a young side, and young players are inconsistent. If the Dogs can keep within four or five goals of the Hawks this weekend it’ll be a decent effort.
Betting tip: Hawthorn By 1-39 @ $2.15 (BlueBet)
Melbourne vs Fremantle
7:40 pm AEST, TIO Stadium, Darwin
Despite a bright start to the year that had them talked about as premiership contenders, the Demons continue to find ways to disappoint, having now lost their previous three games to fall back down to seventh position. You’d think they’ll still make the finals from here, but they do have a couple of difficult matches awaiting them in the run home. This one against the Dockers is a win they need to they lock in, and they should be able to do it fairly easily; Fremantle are without Nat Fyfe and Aaron Sandilands and showed last week that without those guys they’re not much chop. In better news, Brad Hill returns to the team, but you wouldn’t think his return will have much bearing on the outcome of this; the Demons are going to bounce back, and they’re going to bounce back hard. Last time the Demons played in the Northern Territory they won by 91 points, and I get the feeling the margin here could be something similar.
Betting tip: Melbourne By 40+ @ $1.90 (Bet365)
Sunday, July 8
North Melbourne vs Gold Coast
1:10 pm AEST, Etihad Stadium
North Melbourne’s finals hopes took a hit on Sunday when they became the latest victim to go down to the reinvigorated Bombers. It was a fascinating game to watch: an old-fashioned shootout that neither coach would’ve been too impressed with, but great to watch. North weren’t bad, but the Bombers were too dangerous for them and they fell just short.
Fortunately for the Roos, this week looms as a nice percentage booster for them, as they host the Suns at Etihad Stadium. The Gold Coast haven’t been absolutely crushed in any of their past three games, but they still haven’t looked like winning, bar the game against St Kilda. I expect this might be the week the margin blows out and they’re dealt a 15 goal loss. North Melbourne tagger Ben Jacobs looks set to finally return to the team following a concussion issue, but the Suns don’t really have anyone he’ll need to play a hard shutdown role on. Let’s hope they do have a player or two that gives the Roos a headache, because otherwise the Suns are headed for a big, big loss.
Betting tip: Kangaroos By 40+ @ $1.63 (UniBet)
Essendon vs Collingwood
3:20 pm AEST, MCG
It’s been a while since an Essendon and Collingwood clash held as much weight as this one; both teams have had their struggles over the past few years, but right now they’re both looking the goods: the Pies are sitting in second position on the ladder and are gunning for a top four spot, while the Bombers have turned their season around with five consecutive wins, and while it’s still probably unlikely they’ll sneak into the finals, they can be influential in shaping the final eight. It’ll be a massive crowd at the ‘G, and they should be in for a great game of footy. The Bombers are playing an attacking, contested style of footy, as are the Pies, and both clubs have dangerous forwards to contend with. If the Bombers can manage to get a run on we’ve seen what they’re capable of, but you’d back the Collingwood midfield to stop that from happening. The loss of full back Lynden Dunn for the rest of the season will no doubt hurt the Pies, but it might not be such an issue this week as the Bombers don’t have a standout tall forward with Joe Daniher out injured.
I think it’s going to be ripping game of footy that could go either way, but the Pies have the runs on the board right now and look to be the stronger, more consistent team, so I’m backing them to get home in an arm-wrestle.
Betting tip: Collingwood to win @ $1.65 (UniBet)
West Coast vs GWS
4:40 pm AEST, Perth Stadium
The Eagles have really started to let their brilliant start to the season go to waste, with another loss—this time to Adelaide—dropping them right back down into the pack of top eight aspirants. This week’s game is now absolutely crucial; they need to stop the rot and get a win on the board, particularly as they’re up against one of those other finals aspirants in GWS.
The Giants have done what the Eagles are now faced with: after a number of losses, they turned things around and have now notched up four wins on the trot. The best of those might have been their tightly fought 11 point win over the Hawks on Saturday evening, and it looks like they’re getting stronger each week, although the injury curse continues: big man Jon Patton has been struck down with another serious knee injury, this time unfortunately sustained at training. The injury to Patton makes Jeremy Cameron’s suspension even more painful, and something that will probably cause GWS’s season to end prematurely. Without Cameron they can cope, but without Cameron and Patton—not to mention Toby Greene—I’m not sure they’re good enough to beat the Eagles in Perth, even when you consider the injuries the Eagles are also dealing with. It’ll be close, but I can’t see the Giants getting up again.
Betting tip: West Coast to win @ $1.55 (William Hill)
Best Bets of the Round
Hawthorn By 1-39 @ $2.15 (BlueBet)
All Bets: -16.22 units
Best Bets: -1.48 units