AFL Round 23: Saturday Afternoon Match Previews & Betting Tips
The football world will celebrate one of it’s greatest participants as Lance Franklin laces up his boots for the 300th time when the Swans host the Saints, the Demons end their miserable season in Hobart against the Roos, before the Cats aim to lock up a top two spot against the Blues.
Sydney v St Kilda - SCG - 1:45pm
With season 2019 set to come to a close for Sydney and St Kilda on Saturday afternoon, both sides will attempt to go out on a positive note when they face off at the SCG.
In a huge incentive for the home side, Lance Franklin will return to play his 300th AFL game and first since Round 14 against his former side. The legendary forward will no doubt draw a huge crowd who will also farewell premiership heroes Kieran Jack, Nick Smith and Jarrad McVeigh with the latter two unlikely to play. Across the previous 22 rounds there has been little to split these sides, with the Saints currently two wins ahead of their counterparts despite harbouring a markedly inferior percentage.
Despite it being the final weekend of the season, this will actually mark the first meeting between these clubs in 2019, with their most recent matchup going the way of Sydney at Marvel Stadium by a thumping 126-55 scoreline in June 2018. That marked the Swans’ seventh consecutive win over the Saints by a margin of 40+ points. Although it seems unlikely that trend will continue on Saturday, the Saints haven’t tasted victory at this venue since 2009.
Key Stat: Sydney has covered the line in 11 of its last 14 matches.
Best bet: Sydney -15.5
Value bet: Sydney -15.5/Under 167.5
North Melbourne v Melbourne - Blundstone Arena - 2:10pm
Looking to end 2019 with back-to-back victories, North Melbourne will welcome Melbourne to Blundstone Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Despite being out of finals contention and coming off their lowest score in history, the Kangaroos were exceptional against the Power last weekend, recording an absolutely dominant 144-58 scoreline. Todd Goldstein and Ben Brown were incredible during that encounter; the former accumulated 34 disposals, 28 hit outs, 17 score involvements and nine clearances while the latter put through a career-high 10 goals to all but secure the Coleman Medal, the club's first since John Longmire in 1990.
Meanwhile, a bad season became even worse for the Demons as it was officially confirmed they will finish 17th after a dismal 53-point loss to Sydney. Max Gawn left the field early during that result and it remains to be seen what kind of impact the influential ruckman will have against the Goldstein-led Roos in Hobart.
Key Stat: North Melbourne has won 17 of its last 18 matches against Melbourne
Tip: North Melbourne
Best bet: North Melbourne -25.5
Value bet: North Melbourne -25.5/Under 170.5
Geelong v Carlton - GMHBA Stadium - 4:35pm
The Cats enter this contest in their lowest position on the ladder since Round 1. Incredibly, that is still second and will be able to clinch a hoke final along with a double chance through victory on Saturday afternoon against an in-form Carlton outfit.
Despite the 14 places that separate these sides on the ladder, it is the Blues who hold a stronger record across the last nine matches, with five wins compared to the Cats’ four. Even so, in order to end its season on a high, Carlton will need to overcome a streak of 13 losses for Victorian sides against Geelong at this venue, dating back to 2015.
That record includes four results this season by an average margin of 51.5 points, the most recent of which saw Geelong hold North Melbourne to just one goal for the entire match. Geelong has won nine of their last 10 matches against the Blues, which includes a 28-point victory from when these sides last met in May 2018. Given Carlton is yet to lose by more than 28 points under David Teague, there could be a similar scoreline on Saturday.
Key Stat: Nine of Geelong's last 12 matches have gone UNDER the total match points line.
Best bet: Under 156.5 total match points
Value bet: Carlton +30.5/Under 156.5