AFL Rd 3 AFL Preview & Betting Tips
Some early season line in the sand games as some big teams have started 2018 slowly.
Carlton Blues v Collingwood Magpies
The loser will go to 0-3 and it is basically season over, but for the winner there will be a slight pulse.
Collingwood was workmanlike losing to premiership fancies Greater Western Sydney last week while Carlton was putrid going down to Gold Coast by 34 points in game where they started a short-priced favourite.
The injuries continue to stack up for Collingwood with Tim Broomhead breaking his leg and Darcy Moore doing his hamstring.
Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury showed a return to form last week racking up 30 disposals against the Giants with Ed Curnow from Carlton having game high 38 disposals against Gold Coast.
This will be a scrappy game with both teams taking a cautious approach and therefore taking the total game score under might be a good play.
Blues forward Charlie Curnow has made a great start to the season, he booted five goals in Round 1 against the reigning premiers Richmond and managed two last week against Gold Coast.
Curnow looks a good play to kick the most goals.
Carlton will be desperate to at least be competitive so in a game that should be hard fought and scrappy we are backing them at the line.
Best Bet: Carlton at the line +14.5 at $1.92
Value Bet: Charlie Curnow most goals at $6
Port Adelaide Power v Brisbane Lions
The lid is off for Port Adelaide who have been the most impressive side in the competition in the first two weeks and should register a comfortable home win against the Brisbane Lions.
Port dismantled Fremantle by 50 points in Round 1, but it was their come from behind 23-point victory over Sydney at the SCG last Sunday that sent an early statement that the Power are the real deal in 2018.
Port recruited heavily in the off season and Jack Watts has started the year strongly and will be instrumental against Brisbane. Watts kicked 3.3 and had 20 disposals against Fremantle and was a key link up player against Sydney.
Port has been a big firmer in premiership betting and the top odds is $7.
Brisbane has been competitive at times in the first two games this season but in both matches have lost touch with their opposition late on and we again expect that will be the case.
Port is a free anchor for multi bets at short odds and should be able to cover the line of 45.5 and over 39.5 also looks a nice play at shorter odds.
Keep an eye on the half-time score after one TAB punter parted with $97,000 at $1.16 on Port Adelaide leading at half-time.
Best Bet: Port Adelaide over 39.5 at $1.75*
Value Bet: Charlie Dixon 3+ goals @ $3.50*
Melbourne Demons v North Melbourne Kangaroos
North Melbourne has dominated Melbourne winning 17 straight games against the Demons.
The last time Melbourne beat North was way back in Round 20, 2006 and if they are to return to the finals in 2018 this is one game they simply must win.
Melbourne should be undefeated this year, they blew the Round 1 game against Geelong before eventually grinding out a 26-point win over Brisbane.
North caused a big upset on Good Friday defeating a lacklustre St Kilda by 52 points and the scoreline should have been much more with the wasteful Kangaroos booting 17 behinds.
Young midfielder Clayton Oliver has made a bright start to the season collecting 28 disposals and kicking a goal in the Round 1 loss and backed that up with a game high 35 against Brisbane.
He is a leading Brownlow medal candidate and is $34 at TAB and Ubet.
Punters are still struggling to get their heads around Melbourne being a genuine contender, and they are short odds here against North Melbourne, but they should simply have too much class.
Take the Demons winning by Under 39.5 points.
Best Bet: Melbourne Demons under 39.5 at $2.25*
Value Bet: Clayton Oliver most Group A disposals @ $3.50*
Gold Coast Suns v Fremantle Dockers
This game is played in unique circumstances - it is a home game for the Gold Coast Suns but it is being played at the Fremantle Dockers home ground of Optus Stadium.
The Suns home ground is out of action due to the Commonwealth Games which is shocking timing for the young squad on the back of starting the season with upset victories over North Melbourne and Carlton.
Fremantle bounced back well last week to topple the Bombers by 16 points largely thanks to the performance of Nat Fyfe who had 29 disposals and kicked a goal in a performance that almost guaranteed three Brownlow votes.
The biggest criticism of Fremantle is that they struggle to score, and that was a major factor in the Round 1 loss to Port Adelaide, but if they can reproduce that scoring from last week they will win plenty of games, especially in Perth.
If this game was in Queensland we would give the Suns a big chance of winning a third straight game for the season, but the venue must swing the pendulum back towards Fremantle.
Best Bet: Fremantle Dockers 1-39.5 at $2.20*
Value Bet: Lachie Neale most Group A disposals @ $3.50*
Sydney Swans v Greater Western Sydney Giants
The battle of the bridge is likely to see the winner shoot to the top of AFL premiership markets.
After bombing out the past two Preliminary Finals, Greater Western Sydney has hit the ground running this year and are sitting pretty on top of the ladder after two rounds.
Sydney on the other hand has again started the season slowly. The Swans were far from impressive defeating the West Coast Eagles in Round 1 before losing at home last week to Port Adelaide.
If not for Lance Franklin booting a game high eight goals against West Coast the Swans could be winless and he will again be a big factor in this result.
The win over Collingwood came at a price for GWS who lost two of their elite midfielders Dylan Shield and Tom Scully to injury.
Last week ball magnet Josh Kennedy collected 33 disposals and, in a game where the midfield will be won and lost, he again looks a good bet for most touches.
We anticipate this game being closely contested so we are taking the Giants at the line where they are given a 7.5-point start and for some value either team winning by under 15.5 points.
Best Bet: GWS at the line
Value Bet: Josh Kennedy most Group A disposals @ $3.50
St Kilda Saints v Adelaide Crows
They say a week is a long time in football.
In Round 1 the Saints got the win over Brisbane while Adelaide coughed up a near four-goal lead in the fourth quarter to lose to Essendon.
Last week both teams had a contrasting result with Adelaide back to their brilliant best in toppling the premiers Richmond by 36 points with St Kilda simply horrendous on Good Friday against North Melbourne losing by 52 points.
St Kilda has a tough month coming up with games against Adelaide, Geelong, Hawthorn and Melbourne so they simply must win this game to avoid losing touch with the finals even this early in the season.
The biggest criticism of St Kilda so far is that they have no star player, so expect to see big performances from their midfielders Seb Ross and Jack Billings who were both held to just 23 touches last week.
The win over Richmond last week was even more impressive for the Crows considering they did it without Brad Crouch and lost Matt Crouch during the game with a hamstring injury after he collected 13 disposals in the blink of an eye and was on track for 50.
The Saints are worth a small bet to win and a bigger bet on the line.
Best Bet: St Kilda Saints at the line +22.5
Value Bet: St Kilda the win @ $3.50*
Richmond Tigers v Hawthorn Hawks
Never write off a champion.
That is the message footy fans received clearly after Alistair Clarkson has once again transformed his Hawthorn side into a contender.
The Hawks, who won three straight premierships before the Western Bulldogs and Richmond lifted the cup, have started the year impressively with wins over Collingwood and Geelong, both times starting as a betting outsider.
Richmond started the season by overcoming a five-goal deficit to defeat Carlton, but looked poor.
Tom Mitchell has made a brilliant start to the season, he is averaging an incredible 47 disposals from two games this year and it will be paramount for Richmond to nullify his impact if they are to return to the winners list.
Dustin Martin won the Brownlow Medal last year and has started this season just as strongly. Martin kicked equal high five goals against Adelaide last week to go with his 25 possessions.
Martin is still $4.50 for the Brownlow and should he play well, and the Tigers win this week and next week against struggling Brisbane, that price could crunch right in.
This should be a good clash, but we are leaning to Richmond who will be fresh having not played for 10 days while Hawthorn is on the six-day backup after a cracking game on Easter Monday against Geelong.
Best Bet: Richmond Tigers to win at $1.65.
Value Bet: Jack Riewoldt most goals @ $4
Western Bulldogs v Essendon Bombers
Watching the Western Bulldogs getting belted by 82 points in Round 1 and 51 points in Round 2, it seems a lifetime ago that they won the premiership.
The Bulldogs have simply looked awful in the first two games of the season and if they do not hit back with a vengeance this week the season will already be on the verge of gone.
Essendon has come into the year with big wraps and started the season well with a big Round 1 win over Adelaide thanks to a 35-disposal game from Dyson Heppell, although they came back to earth last week going down to Fremantle.
Both teams have struggled to stop opponents scoring this season.
The Bulldogs have conceded scores of 133 and 121 with the Bombers conceding 87 and 106.
If this trend does continue then the total game score going Over 189.5 looks appealing.
We are going to give the Bulldogs one final chance, with a small play on them winning and more on them covering the line.
Best Bet: Western Bulldogs at the line +16.5
Value Bet: Jake Stringer first goal @ $13
West Coast Eagles v Geelong Cats
The most intriguing game of the weekend could be the final match with two teams that have divided opinion in the football world doing battle.
Geelong started the season with a tight win over Melbourne before losing by a single point on Easter Monday against Hawthorn.
West Coast nearly caused a big upset in Round 1 before going down to the Sydney Swans and then bounced back with an emphatic 51-point win away from home against the Western Bulldogs last week when they slammed home 123 points.
The problem for Geelong is that they have a massive lack of depth.
They possess three superstars, clearly the most dangerous trio in the competent in Patrick Dangerfield, Gary Ablett and Joel Selwood, however footy is a team game and the fact that their big guns played so well last week and they still lost is a blight on the rest of the team.
In Round 2, Dangerfield had 31 disposals and kicked two goals, Selwood had 29 disposals and kicked a goal and Ablett had 35 touches and kicked a goal.
It is worrying the superstars can produce these numbers and yet the team still loses and that is what will happen against the top teams. Against West Coast though we anticipate performances like that will see the Cats get the four points and they look one of the best bets for the weekend.
Best Bet: Geelong Cats winning at $1.85*
Value Bet: Dangerfield having 25+ disposals and kicking 2+ goals @ $4*