AFL Round 3: Sunday Match Previews & Betting Tips
Western Bulldogs v Gold Coast - Marvel Stadium - 2:20pm
The undefeated Bulldogs have a great chance to begin a season 3-0 for the first time since 2015 when they host the Suns at Marvel Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Dogs are playing with a renewed confidence and spirit after two disappointing years and have had two heart-stopping victories to start the season with fans hoping for a far more comfortable watch against the visiting Suns.
From what we’ve seen so far from Stuart Dew’s men, that’s unlikely with another competitive performance likely, especially after their brilliant come from behind win against the Dockers last week. The teams met in the JLT series this pre-season with the Suns grinding out a narrow victory while they led at the end of every break, except the final siren in their clash in Ballarat last season, meaning the Bulldogs have won their last five against the Suns. That streak is likely to continue with the added motivation of sending out one of their favourite sons Liam Picken on a winning note after the premiership winner announced his retirement during the week after his ongoing battle with concussion.
Key Stat: Western Bulldogs have won the last five games against the Gold Coast by an average of 32.3 points
Tip: Western Bulldogs
Best bet: Western Bulldogs -30.5 @ $1.92*
Value bet: Billy Gowers First Goalscorer @ $12*
Hawthorn v North Melbourne - MCG - 3:20pm
The Hawks lost what seemed to be the unloveable last week and will be eager to make amends this weekend against a winless Kangaroos team also desperate for a win. Hawthorn led by five goals at three quarter time, only to be run over the top of by the Bulldogs who piled on nine goals to one in the final term, who were hurt by losing Liam Shiels and Shaun Burgoyne to hamstring injuries during the game, both of which will miss the contest against the Roos.
North Melbourne never got out to such a margin against the Lions, but certainly controlled the match for the majority only to be run over the top of, conceding six of the last seven goals, with the last three coming in a flurry to kill off the match. It was a disappointing response after their demolition in round 1, but certainly a marked improvement, something they will need again against the Hawks. They will take confidence from their big win over them in their only meeting last season where they led by 57-points at halftime, eventually winning by 28 and snapping a four-game losing streak against the Hawks. It shapes as an intriguing contest as the Hawks want to redeem themselves after their bad fade out, while the Roos are trying to avoid an 0-3 start, which makes it very difficult - as history suggests to make finals from.
Key Stat: North Melbourne is 9-6 against the line in matches at the MCG from 2011 onwards.
Tip: North Melbourne
Best bet: North Melbourne +15.5 @ $1.92
Value bet: North Melbourne 1-39 @ $3.50*
Fremantle v St Kilda - Optus Stadium - 5:20pm
Memories of the blistering round 1 win quickly faded after an ordinary performance on the Gold Coast, and the Dockers need to get back on the winners list to give themselves a buffer before a more challenging stretch of games to come. Their opponents are one of five undefeated teams heading into round 3 and will be high on confidence having also notched an undefeated pre-season campaign.
The fact the match is at Optus Stadium swings the pendulum heavily into Fremantle’s favour, although they won just half of there games at the venue last season. One of those wins was a 30-point win over the Saints in their only meeting last season where Nat Fyfe was utterly dominant. His output will again have a large bearing on this match and no doubt Jack Steele will go to him to try to negate his influence and hurt him going the other way - something sections of the media have been critical on the Brownlow Medalist.
If the Dockers are able to move the ball like they did at home against North Melbourne in the opening week, they will be hard to topple against a depleted Saints backline, which has managed to stand up so far in the opening two rounds but the wide expanses of Optus Stadium could bring them undone.
Key Stat: St Kilda has lost 18 of its last 19 interstate matches when starting as an underdog
Best bet: Fremantle -18.5 @ $1.92*
Value bet: Fremantle 40+ @ $3.40*