AFL Round 23 Preview & Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for Round 23 of the 2018 AFL season.

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Friday, August 24


Port Adelaide vs Essendon

7:50 pm AEST, Adelaide Oval
View a detailed form guide for Port Adelaide vs Essendon


Port Adelaide are now relying on a miracle to scrape into the 2018 finals after their fourth loss in the past five weeks has left them stranded in ninth position. It wasn’t just the fact that they lost to Collingwood that was disappointing, it was the manner in which they capitulated in the final quarter when the Pies lifted a gear. Port won’t be much good in the finals if that’s their best effort, but it doesn’t look like they’ll get the chance anyway. They’d need to beat the Bombers on Friday night and then hope that the Cats lose to Gold Coast the next day, which would be one of the biggest upsets of the year if it were to occur.

The Bombers are also out of the finals race after their loss to the Tigers on Friday night, although they put in a pretty solid effort and can be proud of the second half of their 2018 season. Another win here to cap it all off would have Essendon fans very optimistic for what next year holds, and I reckon they might just do it. They’ll want to make sure Brendan Goddard gets the send-off he deserves, and their recent form is much better than Port’s. I know it’s a tough ask to beat the Power in Adelaide — and Port do still have a small possibility of making the eight so there’s something extra for them to play for — but I just get the feeling the Bombers will outplay them on Friday night and end up chalking up their final win of the season at the Adelaide Oval.

Betting tip: Essendon to win @ $2.35 (UniBet)

Saturday, August 25


Geelong vs Gold Coast

1:45 pm AEST, GMHBA Stadium
View a detailed form guide for Geelong vs Gold Coast


Geelong’s crushing 133 point victory over Fremantle last week has just about guaranteed them another finals berth in 2018. They still need to beat the Suns on Saturday, but you’d think that’s just about a given, and the percentage boost gained in last week’s win means that Port won’t be able to jump them on percentage even if the Power have a big win over Essendon on Friday night. And Geelong could be in for another 100+ point victory when they host the Suns on Saturday; while Gold Coast put in a respectable effort against the Lions in last weekend’s QClash and nearly got themselves another win, they have much less to play for this weekend and barely any chance of victory so they might just drop their heads if the Cats jump out to an early lead.

I don’t think the Cats are going to do much damage in September this year, but I do think they’ll smash the Suns this week which could potentially set up a massive elimination final against the Dees in the first week of the finals, and they’d back themselves to win if that was the case.

Betting tip: Geelong (-75.5) @ $1.92 (BetFair)


Richmond vs Western Bulldogs

2:10 pm AEST, MCG
View a detailed form guide for Richmond vs Western Bulldogs


The Dogs have now won three in a row after their scrappy 17 point victory over the Blues on Sunday afternoon, but that’s about to come to a sudden end when they take on the reigning champs at the MCG this weekend. The Tigers don’t have anything to play for, having already locked in the top spot on the ladder, but they’ll obviously want to continue their good form into the finals, not to mention keep their MCG record intact.

They got a bit of a scare from the Bombers on Friday night but were the better team for the majority of the night and deserved to come out on top. The Dogs aren’t likely to pose anywhere near as much as a problem, especially with Trent Cotchin and Dion Prestia back in the side; the Tigers should win this comfortably despite probably not getting close to their peak at any stage of the contest.

Betting tip: Richmond By 40+ @ $1.80 (Neds)


Fremantle vs Collingwood

4:35 pm AEST, perth Stadium
View a detailed form guide for Fremantle vs Collingwood


The Pies can book themselves a top four finish and a double chance this September with a win over the Dockers in Perth on Saturday afternoon, and judging by Freo’s efforts against the Cats last week, it’s not going to be a difficult assignment. Despite constant and continuous injury woes, Collingwood keep putting their best foot forward and beating teams that could potentially challenge them, with the latest victim being Port Adelaide. Port had so much to play for, but the Pies made them look second rate at the MCG on Saturday.

If they have any luck in the next month and get a few of their key players back from injury they’re as good a chance as anyone to challenge the Tigers for this year’s premiership, but at the moment the odds are stacked against them. Nevertheless, they’ll beat the Dockers in this one to guarantee themselves a top four finish and what looks likely to be another trip over to Perth to take on the Eagles in a few weeks’ time.

Betting tip: Collingwood By 25+ @ $1.58 (Neds)


Sydney Swans vs Hawthorn

7:25 pm AEST, SCG
View a detailed form guide for Sydney Swans vs Hawthorn


Despite the race to the 2018 finals series being one of the closest in recent memory, everything seems to have been just about settled after the end of the round 22, leaving this week full of meaningless clashes for the most part. This isn’t one of them. The winner of this game will finish in the top four and earn themselves a double chance, which history tells us is a key ingredient to premiership glory. The Swans seemed dead and buried a month ago, but three consecutive wins — all against other top eight clubs — has put them right back in the running. The Hawks have also had a good month despite a major scare from the Saints last weekend.

The big talking point leading up to this game will be whether Lance Franklin is fit to take his place in the side. If he is, I reckon the Swans get up despite their average 2018 record at the SCG, but if Buddy isn’t out there, I’m not sure the Swans will have the firepower to beat the Hawks. Either way, it’s set to be the most intriguing game of round 23 and one that will have large implications going forward. I have a feeling Buddy will be a late withdrawal so I’m backing the Hawks to edge out the Swans in this one.

Betting tip: Hawthorn to win @ $2.35 (BlueBet)


Carlton vs Adelaide

7:25 pm AEST, Etihad Stadium
View a detailed form guide for Carlton vs Adelaide


This is one of those games that won’t hold a lot of interest this weekend: the Blues are hosting the Crows at Etihad Stadium, and neither club has much to gain from the hit-out. The Blues are guaranteed to finish on the bottom of the ladder and gain the number one draft pick, while the Crows can’t make the top eight no matter what happens in the weekend’s other games. Last week was Carlton’s best chance at winning another game in 2018, and while they were in touch with the Dogs all game, they just weren’t good enough in the end to make up the three goal difference. I doubt they’ll have any chance against the Crows, who will be stronger, faster, and more experienced. If the Blues can keep it less than 10 goals, they’ll have done a good job, but I expect the margin will blow out to well past that figure.

Betting tip: Adelaide (-42.5) @ $2.03 (BetFair)


Sunday, August 26


Brisbane Lions vs West Coast

1:10 pm AEST, Gabba
View a detailed form guide for Brisbane Lions vs West Coast


Brisbane continued their strong second half of the year last Saturday night to beat the Suns by four points in what was a fiery contest, while the Eagles were disappointing in their loss to the Demons on Sunday afternoon, and now need to win this game to ensure they finish in the top two. That shouldn’t be too difficult for them, although if they play like they did last week the Lions could trouble them at the Gabba.

The Eagles will be hoping to get through this one unscathed, to bank the four points, and to then pray on the fitness of spearhead Josh Kennedy for the first week of finals in a few weeks’ time. If Kennedy isn’t ready to go, they may struggle against a genuine top four opponent, but I guess we shouldn’t read too much into last week’s effort considering Jack Darling was out of the contest early with concussion.

I don’t expect this one to be all that exciting; the Eagles should lead all day and win by at least eight goals.

Betting tip: West Coast By 25+ @ $2.75 (Bet365)


Melbourne vs GWS

3:20 pm AEST, MCG
View a detailed form guide for Melbourne vs GWS


This is another one of the more interesting games set to take place this weekend. While the Giants and the Dees are both locked into September action and neither can finish in the top four granted Collingwood beat Fremantle on Saturday, there’s still much to play for. The winner of this game guarantees themselves a home elimination final, while the loser may have to travel interstate in the first week of the finals series. And while the Giants and the Dees currently occupy 6th and 7th position respectively, there’s almost no chance they face each other again in the first week of finals due to the way this week is set to play out. Nevertheless, it will be a great chance to have a crack at another premiership contender and a win will do wonders for either club’s confidence heading into September.

The Giants welcome Josh Kelly back into the team after sorely missing him in their loss to the Swans last week, and I reckon his inclusion might be the difference this week. The Giants are a different kettle of fish with him out there, and I think they’ll get the better of the Dees this week, who may have spent a few too many petrol tickets in last week’s win over the Eagles in Perth — not that that’s a bad thing, considering it locked them into a top eight finish.

Betting tip: GWS to win @ $2.80 (Sportsbet)


St Kilda vs North Melbourne

4:40 pm AEST, Etihad Stadium
View a detailed form guide for St Kilda vs North Melbourne


The final game of the home and away season sees the Saints taking on North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium. The biggest point of interest in this game is likely to be Ben Brown and his race for the Coleman Medal. Every other contender will have already finished playing by the time this gets under way, so Brown will know how many goals he needs, and North have made it pretty clear that they’re happy to feed the ball to him this weekend considering their finals chances are gone.

Meanwhile, the Saints will be hungry for one more win in 2018 after their best efforts saw them fall four points short of Hawthorn last Saturday night. They were every chance to snatch the game and while they weren’t able to get over the line, it’ll give them plenty of confidence to beat the Roos this week. I’m not sure they’ll be quite good enough, but I do expect this to be a close game.

I reckon the Roos get over the line by less than six goals, and will use every opportunity going forward to look for Ben Brown which will ultimately see him win the Coleman Medal.

Betting tip: North Melbourne to win @ $1.33 (BetFair)



Best Bets of the Round

West Coast By 25+ @ $2.75 (Bet365)

GWS to win @ $2.80 (Sportsbet)


Season Tally

All Bets:        -15.42 units

Best Bets:     -3.68 units

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