Adelaide Crows v Geelong Cats
Friday night blockbusters do not come much bigger than this. Patrick Dangerfield is back in Adelaide to take on his old club, who are on the rebound from a nail-biting loss to the Bulldogs in round seven. Geelong, meanwhile, extended their record to 6-1 with a straightforward victory over the Eagles and they look in ominous touch ahead of their trip to the City of Churches. The Crows are unbeaten at home this season and we think they will sneak home against Geelong in the prime-time spotlight. Back Adelaide to win ($1.98 with Luxbet) but Dangerfield to relish the challenge against his old club and get 30 disposals or more ($2 with Sportsbet).
Essendon Bombers v North Melbourne Kangaroos
This game comes at a perfect time for the unbeaten Kangaroos, who just snuck home against a committed St Kilda in round seven. North are going to have to drop one at some point and if they copped a better side on Saturday afternoon, it would have been a danger game. Unfortunately, the Dons just do not have the firepower to get the job done at Docklands. Essendon had their moments against the Swans at the weekend, but eventually fell by 81 points. To get a bit of value, we are going for the Roos by more than 54.5 points with Sportsbet, which is paying $1.92, and Jarrad Waite to kick the first snagger ($7 with Sportsbet).
Hawthorn Hawks v Fremantle Dockers
There are some hard games to pick in round eight. This clash in Tasmania, however, is not one of them. It’s hard to believe this is a match between last season’s premiers and minor premiers. The winless Dockers may as well forfeit this one. They have not beaten the Hawks away since 2001 and have tasted victory only once in 10 visits to Launceston’s Aurora Stadium. Finding value in this contest is a challenge so you had better stick with us. Back the Hawks to win by at least 45 points ($1.92 with Luxbet), and a ‘no’ in Centrebet’s both teams to score 60 points market, which is $1.74. Fremantle have averaged only 60 points in their past three visits to this ground.
Greater Western Sydney Giants v Gold Coast Suns
Gold Coast are standing on the edge of a cliff. A disastrous four-match losing run has derailed their 2016 campaign but it's the way that the Suns have lost that has been worrying. They did not fire a shot in their past two games, which were a 120-point defeat to Geelong and a 73-point home humiliation by Melbourne. To make matters worse, Gold Coast's Alex Sexton (arm) and Matt Rosa (hamstring) were injured in round seven and will miss the next month. Back GWS to score first and win on Saturday ($1.54 with Unibet), while bet365 are offering a juicy $8 for either side to win by 100 points or more. It's not crazy.
Brisbane Lions v Collingwood Magpies
The Pies have gone cold. They were already room temp, and long-in-the-tooth, but last Saturday's defeat by Carlton ensured the festering roadhouse bain-marie they had been languishing in was turned off for 2016. The Lions were disappointing in their 77-point defeat to Port in round seven, but they have shown plenty in the past month and we think they will bounce back. These teams are neck-and-neck for Saturday night's clash at the Gabba, so we are going for the $1.92 on offer with Centrebet for the Lions to get up. We're also backing Brisbane's Dayne Beams to have at least 30 touches against his former club ($1.90 with Sportsbet).
Richmond Tigers v Sydney Swans
Memo to the Tigers, you cannot play three reasonable quarters of football and win. Richmond stuck with the Hawks for much of their round-seven tussle but were eventually blown out of the water when the brown-and-gold machine kicked 12 of the last 15 goals. Sydney defender Ted Richards (fractured eye socket) returns for the first time since round five for Saturday night's clash at the home of footy. Back the Swans to lead at the end of every quarter ($1.79 with Sportsbet). However, we also think the Tigers will boot at least 11.5 goals, which is paying about $1.90 with most corporates. Their round-four loss to West Coast aside, the Tigers have kicked at least 13 goals in all their other games.
Carlton Blues v Port Adelaide Power
We wrote the Blues off against Collingwood last week and that was a mistake, so we are wary of doing it again as they strive for an unprecedented fourth successive victory this Sunday. The Power have steadied their season with back-to-back wins and looked impressive in their big triumph over Brisbane at the weekend. Carlton's Dale Thomas, who was reported for striking in Saturday's victory over the Magpies, will be free to take on Port. However, we think the Power will be a class above at Docklands. Go for a Port/Port half-time/full-time double, paying $1.78 with Sportsbet and Unibet, but Andrejs Everitt to boot the first goal ($12 with Sportsbet).
Melbourne Demons v Western Bulldogs
The Bulldogs continued their impressive start to the season when they held off Adelaide in an arm-wrestle in round seven. That win took them to 5-2 and they will start favourites against the Demons this Sunday at the G. However, Melbourne will not be pushovers. The Dees' form has been erratic this season. They lost to Essendon and St Kilda but have also beaten the Giants and pantsed Gold Coast last week. The last time Melbourne took on a top-four grade opponent, they fell less than a kick short of North. Bulldogs defender Marcus Adams will miss the clash after having finger surgery. Go for a Bulldogs/Bulldogs half-time/full-time double ($1.89 with Sportsbet), but Demon Bernie Vince to have at least 30 touches ($3.70 with Sportsbet).
West Coast Eagles v St Kilda Saints
West Coast are downhill skiers at home against ordinary teams. In round one they flogged Brisbane by 64 points at Subi and in round three they beat Freo by 33. They have also scored thumping victories over Richmond (68 points, round four) and Collingwood (62 points, round six). So, on that logic, St Kilda are in for a long Sunday. The Saints are not that bad. They took the game right up to North Melbourne at the weekend, but nothing sorts a young side out like a road trip to Perth. We are going for the Eagles to win by at least 39 points, which is around $1.90 with most bookies, and West Coast to win the race to 10 points in the first quarter ($1.52 with Hills and Centrebet).