Thursday 7:50pm AEDT
The first of a series of Thursday night matches kicks off with a less than inspiring clash between Port Adelaide and Western Bulldogs.
Other than the Gold Coast Suns, there wasn’t a team that needed the bye more than the Bulldogs.
The ‘sons of the west’ have fielded the youngest team in the competition in almost every round this season and with so many young bodies, the long season was starting to take its toll on the side, unable to win or score more than 55 points in the past three weeks.
The week off should freshen Luke Beveridge’s men up and they should put in a competitive performance here so we like +37.5 line for a start.
Port Adelaide defeated the premiership favourites last week but there is still something not convincing about the Power.
Expect Robbie Gray to play exclusively as a forward again while Chad Wingard plays on ball so keep that in mind for most goals and most disposals markets.
With $6.50 available for a team still featuring 11 premiership players, it is tremendous value so if you are looking for a roughie to include in your multis, have something on the Dogs.
Best Bet: Western Bulldogs +37.5 @ $1.91
Value Bet: Western Bulldogs to win at $7
West Coast have achieved a lot this season and deserve to be sitting on top of the ladder but we think beating Sydney in Sydney might be beyond on them.
The Eagles have won 10 in a row and are due to drop one soon.
Our reasons for backing the Swans to win are simple - West Coast haven’t won at this ground since 1999!
They have only played there six times but the differences in ground dimensions from the SCG to Subiaco and now Optus Stadium couldn’t be starker.
And teams don’t play well coming off the bye these days. Port and Gold Coast both lost this season while last year only seven of the 18 teams won.
In the Eagles’ favour is Sydney’s average record at home this season that has seen them lose half their matches there.
The Swans players will all be full of confidence after the training run they had against St Kilda last week and we think they will carry that form into Friday night where they will record a comfortable victory against the ladder leaders to reaffirm themselves as a premiership threat.
Best Bet: Sydney to win @ $1.56
Value Bet: Sydney to win by 20-29 points at $7
The young Dockers would have gained a lot of confidence from their victory over Adelaide last Sunday with several players producing career best performances.
Number five pick Adam Cerra, who may have gone number one if it wasn’t for injuries last season, Andrew Brayshaw, Stefan Giro, Bailey Banfield and Brennan Cox all put together their best games in their debut seasons and with Nat Fyfe and possibly Aaron Sandilands to come back into the side, Fremantle should be too good for Carlton.
The issue is the Dockers’ poor record away from Optus Stadium this season, which has seen them lose all their matches and not get within 31 points of the opposition.
The Blues have another couple of wins in them at some stage this season and this is one game that they will fancy their chances in.
We think the Blues will match it with the Dockers for the first three quarters before Ross Lyon’s men extend the margin late in the game.
Best Bet: Fremantle -10.5 @ $1.91
Value Bet: Carlton to lead by 7-12 points at $9
This could be the most talked about match of the round but not for reasons that will please Gold Coast or St Kilda fans.
Both teams put in pitiful performances last weekend with St Kilda down by nine goals at quarter time against Sydney and the Suns only registering six shots at goal in their clash against GWS.
If the Saints lost to Gold Coast, not even another two-year contract will save Alan Richardson.
It could be the loss that forces the St Kilda board to make a change as the Saints only have one win to their name in a season they hoped to make finals.
With that in mind, Richardson will be desperate to win this match and expect to see him bring Jack Billings, Josh Bruce and David Armitage back in the side after all impressing in the reserves.
The game could also see the debut of Nathan Freeman finally after a good game for Sandringham.
The $1.85 for the Saints to win is pretty good value given what it is on the line if they lose.
If the Saints kick straight, the over 39.5 margin could come into play.
Best Bet: St Kilda to win @ $1.85
Value Bet: St Kilda to win by 40+ points at $7
This is getting close to must win territory for Adelaide after three consecutive losses and a tough draw to come.
The Crows have a terrible record in Victoria when they are the underdog though, which they will be here, so the Hawks in the Head-to-Head market should be a good anchor leg in multis.
Hawthorn also has a fantastic record against Don Pyke’s side, winning eight of the last nine against the Crows, though they did lose their last match at the MCG in Round 2 last season.
The Crows’ season has been largely ruined with injury and they will be sweating on the availability of Luke Brown who rolled his ankle against the Dockers.
They are hopeful of welcoming back Rory Laird and Tom Lynch to the side who you could make a case for being the two most important players in the Crows side.
If they both play, it could swing the game almost back in Adelaide’s favour.
We’re still tipping the Hawks to win in a close one and put the first nail in the coffin of Adelaide’s finals aspirations.
The 1-39 for Hawthorn at $2.26 looks a safe bet.
Best Bet: Hawthorn to win @ $1.72
Value Bet: Adelaide/Hawthorn Half/Full Time Double at $7
What a game to round out the weekend!
The Cats, who are purring again after a comfortable victory against North Melbourne, face the premiers back at their favourite ground, the home of football.
Richmond’s memorable victory in the qualifying final last season ended a 13-game winning streak the Cats had over the Tigers dating back to 2007.
The premiership favourites will be sweating on the return of Dustin Martin to match up against the Geelong midfield of Gary Ablett, Patrick Dangerfield, Joel Selwood, Mitch Duncan and Tim Kelly.
The Tigers coaching staff were adamant that Martin would be right to go last week and they will need him at his best if they are to win.
There’s no doubt that Richmond plays this ground better than anyone else and Geelong have to change their game plan slightly due to the wider expanses compared to their home ground.
It takes a brave person to tip against the Tigers at the MCG, where they have won the past 15 matches, but that’s exactly what we are doing here.
Geelong to win an epic match.
Best Bet: Geelong +13.5 @ $1.90
Value Bet: Geelong by 1-19 points at $4.60