AFL Round 18 Preview & Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for Round 18 of the 2018 AFL season.

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Friday, July 20


St Kilda vs Richmond

7:50 pm AEST, Etihad Stadium
View a detailed form guide for St Kilda vs Richmond


The reigning champs had another interstate hiccup on the weekend when they went down to the Giants by two points at Spotless Stadium. They’re still yet to win interstate in 2018, but again, it probably doesn’t matter all that much when you consider their form at the MCG and their current ladder position. They’re not playing at the ‘G this week, but taking on the Saints at Etihad shouldn’t pose too many problems for them. St Kilda have shown significant improvement over the past month, but I don’t think they’ve come quite far enough to challenge the Tigers.

The Saints did what was necessary against Carlton in the first half last weekend and then stepped it up a notch after half time to bury the Blues. Facing the bottom side one week and the top side the week after probably doesn’t happen too often, and I’m sure the jump in intensity will be a shock initially, but the Saints will need to adjust quickly if they want to avoid getting jumped. Despite losing key half back Bachar Houli to injury again, I expect the Tigers to lead all game and run out comfortable winners in this one to keep their incredible record in Melbourne.

Betting tip: Richmond By 40+ @ $2.10 (Sportsbet)

Saturday, July 21


Collingwood vs North Melbourne

1:45 pm AEST, MCG
View a detailed form guide for Collingwood vs North Melbourne


There were a number of finals aspirants that let golden opportunities go begging in round 17, and the Roos and the Pies were both major culprits. The Kangaroos had every chance to beat the Swans and propel themselves into the top eight, but fell agonisingly short. The Pies, on the other hand, fell well short and will be immensely disappointed in their efforts against a side that is known for playing poorly on the MCG. A win would have kept them safely entrenched in the top four, but now their spot is up for grabs once again.

This is a huge game in the context of the final eight. If the Pies win they continue to give themselves every chance to claim a top four spot, and if the Roos get up then a finals berth inches a little closer. I expect it to be a tense affair that goes right down to the wire, similar to the Swans v North game last weekend. If it was played at Etihad I might just back the Roos to get the points, but I reckon the Pies will bounce back strongly this week and should be able to eventually wear down and overpower the Kangaroos at the MCG.

Betting tip: Collingwood By 1-39 @ $2.20 (BlueBet)


Sydney vs Gold Coast

2:10 pm AEST, SCG
View a detailed form guide for Sydney vs Gold Coast


Sydney’s epic victory over the Kangaroos on Sunday afternoon was a very important one for their hopes in season 2018. They’ve struggled at home, but if they continue to beat other contenders away from home then they’ll be capable of doing serious damage come September. Of course, they need to improve their home form as soon as possible, starting this week against the Gold Coast. The issue is, no matter how poorly they play they’re likely to beat the Suns regardless, so this weekend isn’t going to be a great litmus test for them. Nevertheless, a win is a win and they need to bank another four points; they should do just that, as well as boost their percentage a little in the process — it doesn’t bode well for the Suns that they’ll be without two of their best players in David Swallow and Jack Martin. A big loss is on the way.

Betting tip: Sydney By 40+ @ $1.30 (UniBet)


Essendon vs Fremantle

4:35 pm AEST, Etihad Stadium
View a detailed form guide for Essendon vs Fremantle


There were a couple of upsets last weekend, but Fremantle caused one of the biggest when they knocked off Port Adelaide in the last game of the round. Port are a top four fancy and Fremantle have played some of the worst footy any club has played all year in the last few weeks. That poor form coincided with injuries to Nat Fyfe and Aaron Sandilands, but they turned things around against Port without the aid of their two injured stars. It wasn’t an attractive game of footy; definitely not the type of win you’d boast about for being full of skill and brilliant execution, but they outworked Port and held firm in the final stages to grind out a gutsy nine point victory.

This week they travel to Melbourne to take on the Bombers at Etihad Stadium, which looms as a tougher task for them. The Dockers are a young team at present and much prefer playing at home, so this will be a real challenge for them. Essendon aren’t the best team in the comp, but they’re doing enough and will be hard to beat this weekend with Orazio Fantasia and David Zaharakis back in the team. I reckon they’ll get over the line by at least four or five goals.

Betting tip: Essendon By 25+ @ $1.50 (Neds)


Brisbane vs Adelaide

7:25 pm AEST, Gabba
View a detailed form guide for Brisbane vs Adelaide


The Crows kept their slim finals hopes alive on Thursday night with an important victory over the Cats at the Adelaide Oval. The Cats killed them in the clearances, but Adelaide used the ball better and were too dangerous for the Cats to contain. That could be a theme going forward now that the Crows have regained a few of their important players from injury. The Lions are the next team to potentially fall victim to the rejuvenated Crows, although they’ll be feeling confident, having just won three games in a row for the first time since 2013. The latest win — against the Hawks in Tasmania — was easily the best of them. Eric Hipwood was good again and Cam Rayner showed why he was last year’s number one draft pick, while Dayne Beams continued to lead from the front.

If they can keep that up this week they’re sure to make life very difficult for the Crows, but you’d expect Adelaide are probably good enough to get over the line despite Brisbane’s best efforts. I think it’ll be fairly close for most of the contest, but the Crows should run away with it in the final quarter.

Betting tip: Adelaide to win @ $1.63 (William Hill)


Geelong vs Melbourne

7:25 pm AEST, GMHBA Stadium
View a detailed form guide for Geelong vs Melbourne


There’s been a recurrent theme in Geelong’s football in recent weeks: they are dominating clearances and contested ball, but it’s not necessarily translating to winning games of footy. They were close enough against the Crows on Thursday night but fell short, which really shouldn’t happen when you almost double your opponent in clearances. It means there’s something wrong with their ball use, which probably comes down to the fact that their midfield blazes away too often and they don’t have a reliable backup to Tom Hawkins up forward. This week they take on the Demons in Geelong, and it should be a great chance for them to work on their deficiencies; Melbourne are a good contested side, but they also have the ability to spread well and use the ball dangerously, as demonstrated by their third quarter blitz against the Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon.

If the Cats don’t make the most of their opportunities when they have the advantage they’ll regret it, as you can be sure that the Dees will make Geelong pay when they get the chance. I’m expecting this to be a great game of footy but think the Cats may just edge out the Demons at home. It won’t be by much though.

Betting tip: Geelong to win @ $1.62 (Ladbrokes)

Sunday, July 22


Carlton vs Hawthorn

1:10 pm AEST, Etihad Stadium
View a detailed form guide for Carlton vs Hawthorn


The Hawks let themselves down immensely on the weekend when they suffered a rare loss in Tasmania. They rarely lose to anyone down there let alone one of the bottom teams, but the Lions completely outplayed them all day. The Hawks have a relatively easy run home so should still be well in contention to finish in the top eight, but that loss definitely makes things a little trickier for them. They can’t afford to drop another game against a bottom team, and they face one of those this week in Carlton.

Unfortunately for the Blues, I still can’t see them getting close to anyone except the Gold Coast at present. They’ve now had two players leave the field with heart issues in two weeks, which is strange and terribly concerning; let’s hope Matthew Kreuzer is ready to go as soon as possible because they desperately need the big guy. Matthew Lobbe replaces him for his Carlton debut, while Jacob Weitering and Levi Casboult also come into the team. The biggest change in either team is Hawthorn’s loss of James Sicily for what is likely to be the rest of the year. They’ll need to find a replacement for him as soon as possible if they’re to win enough games to make the eight, but they should get over Carlton this week regardless.

Betting tip: Hawthorn By 40+ @ $2.05 (Neds)


West Coast vs Western Bulldogs

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


The Eagles were super impressive in their win over the Pies on Sunday afternoon, but in the most unfortunate circumstances their genuine premiership hopes may have gone down on the same day they showed they’re the real deal. The season ending knee injury to star ruckman Nic Naitanui is heartbreaking for him, and heartbreaking for his team, who might have been able to challenge the Tigers and anyone else come September if he was up and firing. They didn’t need him to beat the Pies with ease, but you’d expect his long term absence will hurt.

Not this week though, as they take on a Western Bulldogs team that is currently only able to play a half of footy before running out of steam. Once again, the Dogs were solid up until half time before capitulating horribly against the Demons. This week they welcome the return of Tom Boyd and Hayden Crozier, but I suspect the young Dogs are just about cooked for season 2018. Expect the Eagles to make a meal of them on Sunday.

Betting tip: West Coast By 40+ @ $1.83 (Sportsbet)


Port Adelaide vs GWS

4:40 pm AEST, Adelaide Oval
View a detailed form guide for Port Adelaide vs GWS


Port Adelaide will once again close out the round, but this time they’ll be looking for a very different result when they return home to host the Giants. Their loss to Freo was a missed opportunity and there’s no guarantees they’ll make up for it this week, as the Giants look to have hit some form. Their win over the Tigers on Saturday night was just what they needed to boost themselves up the ladder and give them the confidence to believe they can match it with anyone. I still believe the Giants have too many injuries and aren’t good enough away from home to be a serious contender, but they’re sure to cause some chaos over the remainder of the season if they continue playing like that.

Brett Deledio is back in for GWS but Ryan Griffen has pulled up sore, while Paddy Ryder’s injury issues continue for Port. I’m expecting this to be a really exciting, fast-paced game of footy and I wouldn’t be surprised if either team finishes on top, but at home, I think the Power should be able to do enough to bounce back and get themselves back on track.

Betting tip: Port Adelaide By 1-39 @ $2.32 (BlueBet)


Best Bets of the Round

Collingwood By 1-39 @ $2.20 (BlueBet)

West Coast By 40+ @ $1.83 (Sportsbet)


Season Tally

All Bets:        -15.85 units

Best Bets:     -1.43 units

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