The following are previews with betting tips for Round 19 of the 2018 AFL season.
Friday, July 27
Essendon vs Sydney
7:50 pm AEST, Etihad Stadium
Sydney’s pitiful form at the SCG in 2018 continued last weekend when they went down to the Suns in one of the biggest upsets of the year. The Suns had lost their previous 11 games and hadn’t looked like troubling anyone, so what hope did they have against the finals-bound Swans? Well, they clearly had every chance, and they made the Swans pay for a very sloppy performance. That’s the type of slip-up that could cost Sydney a top four position; they’ll need to be much better this week against the Bombers when they attempt to make amends or they’ll be struggling to keep their spot in the eight come the end of the round. The Bombers are also fighting hard for a position in the finals and they did their chances no harm on the weekend with a hard-fought win over the Dockers at Etihad. It wasn’t the prettiest game of footy, but they got the job done, and I expect they’ll back themselves in this week with a fit Orazio Fantasia to go with the returning Jake Stringer.
I feel like Sydney’s loss last week was the type of loss that could just about derail a season and sap them of confidence going forward, and I reckon the Bombers might test them here. I think it’ll be a close game, but I’m backing the Bombers to rattle Sydney’s 2018 dreams.
Betting tip: Essendon to win @ $1.82 (Neds)
Saturday, July 28
Richmond vs Collingwood
1:45 pm AEST, MCG
Saturday afternoon at the MCG brings us the game of the round when the reigning champs take on the third-placed Magpies in front of a full capacity crowd. It’s set to be a beauty, with both clubs coming off a strong performance after their respective hiccups in round 17: the Tigers dismantled the Saints with ease, while the Pies surprisingly did the same to the Kangaroos. Collingwood match up fairly well against the Tigers and definitely play a similar brand of footy, so it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. If the Pies can get some ascendancy in the middle of the ground they’ll be every chance to cause an upset, but the loss of Jordan De Goey to a foot issue is really poorly timed — a few goals from him would be very handy against the Tigers. Darcy Moore comes back into the side to bolster the backline, while father-son Callum Brown is the other inclusion.
I feel the Pies are a genuine chance of beating the Tigers on Saturday, but find it hard to back them considering the loss of De Goey. I think it’ll be a great game of footy, but it’s always hard to go against the Tigers, especially at the MCG.
Betting tip: Richmond By 1-39 @ $2.15 (BlueBet)
Geelong vs Brisbane
2:10 pm AEST, GMHBA Stadium
The Cats got out of trouble in a big way against the Dees on Saturday night. They were gone for all money before a huge last quarter from some of their stars dragged them back within striking distance, and when the post-siren shot at goal from Zach Tuohy sailed through the middle the Cats had done just enough to claw home and keep themselves in the hunt for a finals berth. They’ll play in Geelong again this week, this time against a Lions outfit that is not to be underestimated — after three consecutive wins, they nearly brought home a fourth when they went down to the Crows by a mere five points on Saturday night. They’re clearly determined to finish the season with a bang, and a win over the Cats in Geelong would do just that. It’d be their best win of the year, but are they capable? Luke Hodge returns to give their backline plenty of experience, while Harris Andrews plays his first game after being knocked out a month ago.
I reckon the Lions a sneaky chance if everything goes their way; their form is arguably just as good if not better than Geelong’s recent form, but the home ground advantage is a big factor in this one. That should be enough to get the Cats over the line, regardless of how much of a fight the Lions can muster.
Betting tip: Geelong By 1-39 @ $2.30 (Sportsbet)
GWS vs St Kilda
4:35 pm AEST, Spotless Stadium
The Giants are looking very dangerous again after four wins from their previous five outings, to the point where you’d just about back them to claim a top four spot from here despite a fairly tough run home. This is one of their easier tasks — taking on the Saints at home — and they should be looking at it as a chance to bank another four points and boost their percentage. Even though percentage isn’t important to GWS right now because of the two points they got from the draw last time they played the Saints, you never know what could happen in the next few weeks.
The Saints were no match for the rampant Tigers last week, and I suspect this week will follow a similar path. The Giants are too good for them and will pressure them and make them pay when they turn the ball over. If they can keep it within eight goals it’ll be a fair effort, but I think it might blow out well over that margin.
Betting tip: GWS By 40+ @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Gold Coast vs Carlton
7:25 pm AEST, Metricon Stadium
This was set to be a exciting game before the Suns went and ruined it by beating the Swans last weekend — it would’ve been the team who had won just a single game up against a team that hadn’t won any of their last 11 games, but now it’s just another boring old game. And if the Suns were capable of beating the Swans away from home last weekend, you’d think they’re more than likely to take care of the Blues at home here, especially with the return of key midfielder David Swallow.
Having said all that, this is probably Carlton’s last chance for a win in 2018, and they’ll be desperate to get one so you’d expect them to give it everything. I just don’t think they’re good enough. Maybe they’ll force a close contest and push the Suns all the way, but I expect Gold Coast will probably end up winning by at least four goals.
Betting tip: Gold Coast to win @ $1.36 (BetFair)
Adelaide vs Melbourne
7:40 pm AEST, Adelaide Oval
This is another huge clash that will determine the structure of the final eight come September. The Demons will be shattered that they let the four points slip last Saturday night, but they need to move on quickly and focus on the Crows because it’s not going to be a simple task to beat them over there. The Crows now have a sniff of contending for some finals action after another win last weekend against the Lions. They only just got the points, but it was a decent effort when you consider how well Brisbane have been playing. They know their season is on the line this week when they take on Melbourne, and they won’t want their hopes to drown at the Adelaide Oval in front of their adoring fans. Taylor Walker comes back to lead the side, but unfortunately promising defender Tom Doedee is out which could put some strain on the Adelaide defence.
I like the way the Crows are building at the moment and still have no faith in the Demons when there is significant pressure on them to perform, so I’m going with the Crows to get home and keep their season alive for at least another week.
Betting tip: Adelaide to win @ $1.72 (BetFair)
Sunday, July 29
North Melbourne vs West Coast
1:10 pm AEST, Blundstone Arena
Saturday’s 11 goal loss to the Pies was just about the first time in 2018 when the Kangaroos have really let themselves down, which is a good effort considering it’s now round 18, but the loss has taken a toll on their finals chances. They’re now faced to take on the second-placed Eagles in a must-win clash in Tasmania to keep their season alive which is not ideal, but I think they’re a genuine chance to get up. The Roos match up well against the Eagles on paper: Robbie Tarrant, Scott Thompson and Majak Daw are capable of looking after Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling, while Ben Brown will keep Jeremy McGovern busy all day so he doesn’t get the chance to peel off too often. The duel between Todd Goldstein and Scott Lycett should be fairly even, as should the midfield battle. Mason Wood has been named on the extended bench and would be a huge inclusion if he’s right to go.
I think this will be a really good game of footy that could go either way, but I have the feeling the Roos will cause an upset and knock the Eagles off their perch; it won’t be by much, but I think they’re definitely capable of doing it down in Tassie.
Betting tip: North Melbourne to win @ $2.15 (Neds)
Western Bulldogs vs Port Adelaide
3:20 pm AEST, Mars Stadium, Ballarat
The Power will be ruing their performances in the last two weeks: a disappointing loss to Fremantle was followed up by a home loss to the Giants which has them now sitting in fifth position, whereas a win in either one would have them a game clear in fourth spot. They need a win here to get themselves back on track, and they should get one: the Dogs haven’t been too crash hot in the past month, struggling to run out a full game of footy. Port won last year’s clash between the two clubs in Ballarat, and you wouldn’t think the result this week will be any different.
The Dogs are struggling, they look tired, and they’re coming off a trip to Perth. Marcus Bontempelli is back following appendix surgery, but Luke Dahlhaus, Tom Boyd and Billy Gowers will all miss in further injury woes for the Dogs. Meanwhile, Port receive a welcome boost with the earlier-than-expected return of Paddy Ryder and Tom Jonas. All in all, it should be a fairly easy win for Port, and boy do they need it after the past two weeks.
Betting tip: Port Adelaide (-18.5) @ $1.92 (CrownBet)
Fremantle vs Hawthorn
4:40 pm AEST, Perth Stadium
A percentage-boosting win against the Blues last weekend — along with their easy run home — has the Hawks on track for a top eight finish, but there’s still plenty of work to be done. The Dockers shouldn’t pose the Hawks too many issues, but if taken lightly they can cause plenty of hassle on their home deck, as Port Adelaide found out a couple of weeks back. The Dockers are still missing Nat Fyfe and Aaron Sandilands, but Stephen Hill and Andrew Bradshaw come back into the side this week to bolster their running capacity. The Hawks also look set to regain a couple of key players in Jaegar O’Meara and Shaun Burgoyne, and if those two can stay healthy and perform well it will do them the world of good in the run home.
I wouldn’t be underestimating the Dockers in this one; they’re not a great team at the moment, but you need to be wary of them in Perth. The Hawks have been inconsistent at times and if they’re not entirely switched on Freo will make them pay, but considering the stakes, I’m expecting Hawthorn to do everything they can to will themselves over the line.
Betting tip: Hawthorn to win @ $1.48 (CrownBet)
Best Bets of the Round
Port Adelaide (-18.5) @ $1.92 (CrownBet)
All Bets: -14.12 units
Best Bets: -1.60 units