Fremantle Dockers v Geelong Cats
The Dockers were utterly woeful in the first half in their limp loss to Melbourne last Saturday night, and things just get worse this week. The bad news for Freo is they are facing a Cats outfit on the rebound after being outclassed by Sydney to the tune of 38 points in round 16. Fremantle’s injury list still includes the likes of Aaron Sandilands, Nat Fyfe, Michael Johnson and Harley Bennell. There is no way they will win at Subi on Friday night. We are on Geelong to win by at least six goals, which is paying $2.05 with Luxbet, and the Cats to kick a goal in the first five minutes of the match ($1.85 with bet365).
Richmond Tigers v Essendon Bombers
It was a case of close, but not close enough for these two teams in round 16. The Bombers came agonisingly close to claiming their second win of the season but came up just short against St Kilda, while Richmond were brave but eventually fell to the Western Bulldogs by 10 points. Richmond's season has been a disastrous disappointment and they simply must beat the Essendon at the 'G on Saturday arvo to salvage any remaining shreds of credibility. We think they will. Go for the Tigers to win by at least 40 points ($2.10 with bet365) and Dustin Martin to have at least 30 touches.
North Melbourne Kangaroos v Port Adelaide Power
How far can the Kangaroos fall? We will find out this weekend. After winning their first nine games, the Roos have lost five of their past six to tumble to eighth. They are three games clear inside the top-eight and host Port - the only real threat to their place in the finals - this Saturday afternoon at Docklands. If the Roos win, they can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing their place in September is all but assured. If they lose, the gap narrows to only eight points and the calculators could come out at Arden Street. We think they will bounce back and win by at least three goals this week, which is the line with most corporates. We are also on the Kangas to score first and win ($2.38 with Unibet).
Adelaide Crows v Collingwood Magpies
This clash at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night is all about veteran Crows midfielder Scott Thompson’s 300th game. Adelaide are on a seven-match winning streak but cannot afford to take Collingwood lightly. While the Magpies are not in finals contention, they made a statement with a surprise 32-point victory over high-flying Greater Western Sydney away from home last week. Still, we think the Crows will be too good, despite the absence of defender Luke Brown, who will miss a second straight game with a groin injury. Most bookies have the line as Adelaide to win by at least 32.5 points and we reckon that is good value. We also like Thompson to get at least 30 touches in his milestone game.
Western Bulldogs v Gold Coast Suns
Both the Doggies and Suns have injury concerns going into Saturday night’s stoush at Cazaly’s Stadium in Cairns. The Bulldogs will be without 2014 club champion Tom Liberatore, who sustained a cracked rib and lung bruising in his side’s tough victory over Richmond. Meanwhile, Gold Coast’s injury curse continued at the weekend, with skipper Gary Ablett damaging his troublesome shoulder in the Q-Clash, which also claimed Michael Rischitelli with a season-ending knee injury. We are on the Doggies to win by at least 40 points, which is paying $2.25 with Luxbet, and one team to score less than 66 points ($1.95 with bet365). The slippery, humid conditions in far north Queensland could make goals hard to come by as the game goes on.
Carlton Blues v West Coast Eagles
The Eagles claimed their first top-eight scalp on Sunday when they thumped North Melbourne, now they need to prove they can win at the home of footy. Sunday’s clash against Carlton is a big opportunity for West Coast to continue their march towards the top four. They’re currently fifth – one win off the double chance places – and getting results against teams like the Blues is a non-negotiable. Carlton have lost their past four games and will not be good enough this week, particularly without the suspended Levi Casboult. Back West Coast to lead by less than 18 points at half-time but win by at least 37 points ($7 with bet365) and the first scoring play to be an Eagles goal ($2.88 with bet365).
St Kilda Saints v Melbourne Demons
On form, Melbourne should win this game. But the Dees are playing their bogey team, at their bogey ground. Melbourne have won only one of their past 24 games at Docklands (yes, 24 games) and lost their past 13 clashes against the Saints, including a 36-point loss in round six this season. Those stats make it hard for us to bet against the Saints, even though emerging key forward Paddy McCartin will miss with concussion. Although they only just got past lowly Essendon last week, we still like the Saints in this one. Back St Kilda to win, which is paying about $2 with the corporates, but in-form Demon Jesse Hogan to kick the first snagger. He booted seven goals last time these two sides met.
Sunday’s twilight fixture is a good opportunity for the Giants to get back on the board after a shock loss to Sydney last week. Brissy could get a few back for this one; Darcy Gardiner (ankle), Daniel Rich (concussion), Daniel Merrett (knee) and Mitch Robinson (shoulder) are all expected to play, while the Giants will be without midfielder Ryan Griffen (hamstring) and emerging defender Nathan Wilson (groin). Those injuries are irrelevant though because the Lions are awful and won’t win. Brisbane have lost their past four matches at the Gabba by an average of about 65 points, so go for the Giants to get up by at least 10 goals ($2.15 with Luxbet). We are also on GWS to score at least 121 points ($1.72 with Sportsbet).