Your Expert AFL Tips for 2018

The AFL Expert Tips team at Quant Sports is made up of two quantitative analysts with over 10 years of combined experience. They’ll be posting their AFL Tips each week for the entire 2018 AFL Season. We challenge you to find a fully documented tipster with better results. Check out the Betfair Hub and the Betfair Exchange for up to the minute AFL odds.


AFL Grand Final 2018

West Coast v Collingwood

Saturday 29th September, 2:30pm AEST, MCG

West Coast

What can we make of last week’s match? Our ratings system tells us it was as much a case of Melbourne playing absolutely appallingly as it was the Eagles playing well. Right from the word go, the Demons handed the game over vindicating their doubters and likely adding a further mental block to be worked through next season.

West Coast did what they needed to do, with JJK shaking off the rust and looking like the super star he is. For the Eagles to have any chance, both him and the famously flakey Jack Darling will need to bring their A games. The Pies midfield dominated their Eagles counterparts for three quarters (minus 10 minutes at the start) and the model agrees that they are seriously outclassed.

Despite McGovern and Hurn having career years, our model rates the Eagles D as only above average, however their ability to cover talls should assist with handling Cox, who was largely ineffectual when these two last met.

Collingwood

The Pies were simply irresistible last week, with Buckley’s plans coming together better than they have all season. Richmond were far from poor but were simply outclassed across the ground, with the exception of Riewoldt playing a lone hand up front.

With their forward structures providing ample room for Cox to exercise his newly discovered repeat leading capability, the normally rock solid Richmond unit was made to look positively soft. As expected Grundy gave Nankervis a towelling but he’ll have a slightly tougher assignment this week against a team with two true ruckmen.

The tag team of Lycett and Vardy wore Grundy down over in the West and when Grundy had a breather near the start of the fourth the Eagles looked the better team. Buckley should have learned from this and hopefully has devised a plan to keep his star ruck fresh for four quarters. Having not enjoyed the week off, fatigue may play a part in this and is one of the few areas the Eagles have the advantage.

If Howe gets up, we think the Pies can at least breakeven down back, their midfield is vastly superior and the forward line has really hit its straps.

Betting Strategy

If history has taught us anything, it’s the home ground advantage is worth a lot more in finals. Given the line is below what we’d normally give Collingwood the market is clearly rating West Coast the better team (at a neutral venue). The model simply does not agree.

The only play here is to back the home team at the much too generous odds of $1.70+.

 BACK – Collingwood to Win

Norm Smith Medal Prediction

Given we’re committed to Collingwood, our selection simply has to come from the black and white. It’s nearly impossible to win the Medal in a losing team (unless your name is Rioli, Ablett, Buckley or Judd).

Our player ratings model has Grundy as the clear best rated player in the contest, but unfortunately Ruckman just don’t seem to win the Medal, with Simon Madden the only ruck to win the Norm Smith since its inception in 1979. While Grundy has had a stellar year, he hasn’t quite reached the lofty heights of Madden so we’ll keep looking down our rankings.

The next Pie on the list is Adam Treloar, however, he has been largely ineffectual this series and we’ll write him off due to his average form. This leaves us with Adams, Sidebottom and Pendlebury. Let’s assume Sidebottom is going to get shadowed by Mark Hutchins after his big finals campaign already, leaving us with two influential mids, one of which already has a Norm Smith.

Betting strategy

Rather than splitting Adams and Pendlebury, we’ll back both at $15+.

 BACK – Adams to win the Norm Smith for 3 units

 BACK – Pendlebury to win the Norm Smith for 2 units

 


Extra Betting Resources

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West Coast v Melbourne

Saturday 22nd September, 3:20pm AEST, MCG

West Coast

Just like Richmond, the Eagles have put together an impressive season on paper that has failed to impress our model. The return of JJK gives a huge boost to their forward line and while he was rusty in the win over Collingwood he should be better for the run. Jack Darling has been good this year, but the model isn’t as excited as the media has been.

A defence led by the intercept marking prowess of McGovern and laser guided boot of Hurn has exceeded expectations this year but we feel they may struggle with Melbourne’s mobile forward line. The midfield is the real point of concern for the Eagles as the absence of Nic Nat and Gaff has left Shuey to shoulder an enormous load.

They were absolutely dominated by Collingwood until they inexplicably went missing in the last quarter a fortnight ago and we’re not sure Melbourne will suffer the same fate.

Melbourne

Our player model has absolutely loved Melbourne all year and watching their games it’s not hard to see why. When they are up and going, they are absolutely irresistible. They’ve let themselves down with mental failings at crucial moments and honestly we’ve been expecting them to choke at some stage over the last four weeks.

They tried very hard to give it away over in Perth in round 22 but eventually held on and seem to have erased some mental demons (sorry) in the process. Richmond and the Bulldogs have shown us what a little bit of belief can do for a team of battlers so it’s scary to think what a team with Melbourne’s insane talent can do with it.

West Coast are going to need to make the most of their forward forays as it’s hard to see the ball making it down there very often against the deepest midfield in the league. About the only knock on Melbourne is the inexplicable decision to drop Fritsch for Smith, who we have rated as the second worst player on Melbourne’s list. Maybe Goodwin is the sporting type?

Betting Strategy

It took a shocking turnover and a flukey kick from the league’s most inconsistent player to get West Coast across the line against the Pies and if Melbourne can keep it together between the ears we don’t see how they lose this one – even in the West. Back the Demons at $2.14.

 BACK – Melbourne to Win


Richmond vs Collingwood

Friday 21st September, 7:50pm AEST, MCG

Richmond

The premiers never really needed to get out of second gear to topple the Hawks a fortnight ago and that’s really been the story of their season. Despite their continued dominance on the scoreboard, they’ve failed to impress the model, with their wins coming without dominance in key statistical categories that usually determine the match winner. We say usually as there is something intangible in the air down at Punt Rd, something the model can’t quite figure out.

Whether you want to call it spirit, mojo or the Dustin Martin effect, it’s resulted in the Tigers putting together a quite unbelievable season from a statistical perspective for all the wrong reasons. They rank dead last in clearance differential and fourth last in contested possession differential. We can’t find a single example of an eventual premier ranking this low in those measures for a season but we suppose records are made to be broken.

Collingwood

With the return of Treloar, Howe and Goldsack, the Pies have something close to their best 22 on the park. Brody Grundy has posted a career year that his seen him rise up the ranks in our player model to 6th best player in the league. His work when the ball hits the deck is up there with pure midfielders and his athleticism should see him dominate the solid but unremarkable Nankervis.

Feeding a midfield surpassed only by Melbourne’s we don’t expect Richmond to be turning around their clearance deficit any time soon. Collingwood’s undersized defense should match up reasonably well against Richmond who rely on Riewoldt as their main tall. Richmond’s Rance-led unit has the edge at the other end of the park.

Betting strategy

Last time these two sides met Richmond dominated both clearances and contested possession. Given the Magpies ranked 1st and 2nd in these areas across the rest of the season we’re willing to write that game off as an anomaly.

In a battle of model versus mojo we’re backing the model and think the Pies are a great chance at $3.35.

 BACK – Collingwood to Win

Hawthorn vs Melbourne

Friday 14th September, 7:50pm AEST, MCG

Hawthorn

The Hawks were outclassed by the reigning premiers last week in the second half where they were dominated in all aspects of the game. The final stat sheet showed a -29 inside 50 discrepancy and a score line that actually flattered the Hawks. They will have another tall task this week when they face the in-form demons in what will arguably be a tougher game for them given the injuries to Stratton and O’Meara. With the loss of O’Meara, Mitchell’s influence will be even more pivotal to their chances of winning and he will need to find a way to shake the likely tag of Harmes.

If the Brownlow medal favourite isn’t able to assert himself on the game then it’s hard to see how the Hawks midfield can stand up to the speed and hand skills of the Demons mids who have been in outstanding form recently. Although the Hawks have had the best of the Demons in their last two outings, this is a vastly different Demons outfit to 5 months ago, so much so that the Hawks find themselves as significant underdogs this match.

Melbourne

The Dees pulled off a convincing 29-point win against the Cats last week to keep their premiership dreams alive. For a team that hasn’t played finals since 2006, they have quickly established themselves as one of the most likely teams to be able to challenge the reigning premiers at the G. They seem to have sorted out their weak mental game that plagued them in some heartbreaking losses in the early parts of the season and with the amount of talent they have on their list, the fairytale story of 2018 may not be too farfetched.

They won’t really have to do anything out of the ordinary to beat the Hawks this week except for play the same style of game they’ve played for the last 5 weeks and not fall into the trap of trying to play possession type footy with the Hawks.

Betting strategy

The model and the market both agree that the Demons shouldn’t have too much trouble getting the win against the Hawks. There isn’t a whole lot of value at $1.45, but if you need to have a bet, side with the Demons.

 BACK – Melbourne to Win


Collingwood v Greater Western Sydney

Saturday 15th September, 7:25pm AEST, MCG

Collingwood

Despite losing to the Eagles last week, the Pies looked solid for the majority of the game and it was only the last quarter where their midfield seemed to run out of steam. The good news for them and to the surprise of everyone, no one did their hammy and they will be facing the Giants with an unchanged line-up. The importance of Howe and Goldsack to their defensive line-up was evident last week with both playing pivotal roles in repelling the Eagles’ attack in their first game back.

Their defense will have another tough task this week against the Greene and Cameron led Giants attack with Greene being the player they will need to contain as his versatility in the forward-line is responsible for a lot of the Giants’ goal opportunities. On the other end of the ground, De Goey will need to impose himself more on the game than he did last week as he will be the most likely source of goals for the Pies.

Greater Western Sydney

The Giants obliterated the Swans last week to keep their premiership hopes alive but unfortunately it came at a high price with the loss of arguably their best player Kelly. Luckily for them they have plenty of talent and depth in the midfield to cover the loss with the model suggesting that their midfield group still holding a slight edge over their Pies counterparts.

However, the big mismatch will be in the ruck – although Lobb has been improving as the Giants tall stocks have dwindled, he is unlikely to be able to hold much influence against Grundy who’s had the best season of his career. The Giants have gotten used to having to cover their ruck deficiency and if they can do the same this game they have the talent across the field to best the Pies at the G.

Betting strategy

Similar to the Demons game, there isn’t a whole lot of value in this game with the $1.65 on the Pies being about right. They probably still represent slight value so side with them if you need to have a bet.

 BACK – Collingwood to Win

Melbourne vs Geelong

Friday 7th September, 7:50pm AEST, MCG

Melbourne

The Dees first finals game in 12 years is set to be a cracker as they come against the Cats at the MCG. After finishing the season strongly, they will be entering this game as slight favourites with close to their best 22 lining up for this game. The Dees strength has always been their forward-line, but what has let them down this season has been their total breakdown in structure, particularly in the latter stages of games.

They will need to play their aggressive attacking style of footy for 4 quarters to win against the Cats and avoid going into their shell once they’ve got a decent lead which is something we’ve seen far too often this season. They’ve lost the last two games to the Cats by a goal and will need to ensure that it doesn’t get that close again or else the experience and class of the Cats may make it a third.

Geelong

The Cats were lucky to scrape into the finals this year in 8th position in what has been a season where they have underperformed compared to expectation. The Cats big 3 will need to be at the top of their game to overcome the big mismatch in the ruck with rookie ruckman Abbott coming up against All-Australian ruckman Gawn.

It will be an almost certainty that Gawn will decide where the ball goes at stoppages but the Cats midfield have more than enough talent to overcome this obvious deficiency. Expect Dangerfield to join Menzel and Hawkins up forward on occasion which will make things tough for the Dees defenders which has already shown this season that they are susceptible to breaking down for long periods of the game.

Betting strategy

The model sees value in the Demons winning their first finals game in 12 years at odds of $1.85+.

 BACK – Melbourne to Win


West Coast v Collingwood

Saturday 8th September, 8:10pm AEST, Optus Stadium

West Coast

The Eagles will be hosting the Pies on Saturday night in Perth in what should be a close game. The Eagles will be welcoming back spearhead Josh Kennedy after a long absence and he will be joining Darling in the forward line which will be tough job for any defense to repel. Expect Darling to return to his usual role of the link-up transition from half-forward to forward with Kennedy spending the majority of his time in the deep forward position.

The smalls of Rioli and Ryan who have been in good form will bring the Pies defenders more headaches and they will have no shortage of goal kicking options as long as they can get the ball inside 50. The midfield is where they will likely struggle with the suspension of Gaff creating a big hole for them and with the return of Treloar, they may struggle to get clean ball inside 50.

Collingwood

No one thought the Pies would finish top 4 at the beginning of the season, and what has been a huge credit to them is that they’ve done it despite a horror injury run in the back half of the season. Luckily for them, they get back gun midfielder Treloar and defenders Howe and Goldsack back this game which will give provide a big boost to their chances of winning. The midfield advantage is the area that the Pies will need to exploit with the likes of Treloar, Pendlebury and Sidebottom being far superior on paper to their Eagles’ counterparts.

Grundy will also have a big role to play in what has been a stellar season for him – he should hold the advantage in terms of skill and speed over Lycett and he will be a huge factor in the Pies locking the ball in their forward 50. The big question mark is how the defense of the Pies will hold up with Howe and Goldsack returning from long injury spells as they will be coming up against one of the most dangerous forward lines in the competition

Betting strategy

The model sees value in the Pies taking out the Eagles in Perth and securing a spot in the preliminary finals at odds of $2.36+

 BACK – Collingwood to Win

Melbourne vs Greater Western Sydney

Sunday 26th August, 3:20pm AEST, MCG

Melbourne

The Dees finally defeated a team in the top 8 last week in the Eagles, albeit an undermanned Eagles side. We were almost in for another Melbourne set play though with the Dees up for the majority of the game before fading hard in the first half of the last quarter to give the Eagles the lead by 1. Luckily, they were able to finish the game with a few goals of their own.

Although now they’re safely in the top 8, this game is still pivotal in determining the order of the top 8 and beating the Giants will mean a home final for the Dees. It’s hard to see Gawn not dominating Lobb in the ruck and given the form of the Melbourne midfield, this should at least have them break square with their Giants counterparts. They will need to get the ball in the hands of Melksham who has quickly become one of the Dees most reliable set of hands in their forward line.

Greater Western Sydney

Although a top 4 spot is unlikely for the Giants, they will still need to win this game to put a lock on a home final come September. Although still undermanned with a string of injuries recently, they will get back their star midfielder Kelly whose absence was apparent in last week’s loss to the Swans.

The Giants defense will have their hands full this game if the Dees are firing especially with Shaw out for the season giving Davis and Haynes the tough task of repelling the highest scoring team in the competition. If Davis is still sore from last week, this could spell danger for the Giants with the Dees not afraid to move the ball quickly and score heavily.

Betting strategy

The model sees the Dees as good value as notching their second win against a top 8 team this week at odds of $1.53+.

 BACK – Melbourne to Win

Port Adelaide vs Essendon

Friday 24th August, 7:50pm AEST, Adelaide Oval


Port Adelaide

The Power are the slimmest of chances to make the Top 8 after dropping last week’s game to the Pies. To make the top 8, they will need to win against Essendon and need Gold Coast to top their upset of the decade against the Swans with a win against the Cats. A very unlikely scenario but weirder things have happened! Given this, they’re coming into this game all guns blazing and have brought back strong bodied midfielder Powell-Pepper and continue to play Ryder who still may be a bit proppy.

The Power’s defense has done a good job this season of limiting the number of points scored against them but will need to be on their toes as they are coming up against one of the most dynamic offenses in the competition. Westhoff will be important in attack with the continued absence of Dixon and will be the Power’s only tall target inside 50.

Essendon

Despite missing finals this year, the bombers have a lot to look forward to next year with a list full of talent and a playing style that seems to have finally come together in the back half of the season. Bellchambers’ absence in this game will make it tough on them especially as they come up against one of the premier ruckmen in the competition.

Leuenberger who hasn’t seen much senior AFL in recent years will need to at least ensure he can be competitive so his ground-level troops can steal the ball off Ryder’s inevitable tap. Although travelling to foreign territory, the Bombers will like their chances in winning their final game of the season.

Betting strategy

The model sees the Bombers as good value of continuing their good back-half of the season form against the Power at odds of $2.44+.

 BACK – Essendon to Win

Collingwood v Port Adelaide

Saturday 18th August, 1:45pm AEST, MCG

Collingwood

The Pies have had a horror run with injuries lately with at least one player each game seeming to get concussed or pull a hammy. Luckily for them in this round they will be coming against a Power side that has had their own run in with injuries and this is a must win game for them if they are to get a double-chance come September.

The return of De Goey last round was massive with the strong bodied forward kicking 4 goals highlighting his importance to the Pies chances of contending for the flag. His presence in the forward line should make the Power defence nervous allowing the Pies’ other mobile forwards of the Pies in Mihocek and Stephenson to do some damage as well. The biggest risk to the Pies will be someone pulling another hammy.

Port Adelaide

The Power will be cursing their misfortune after losing a second close game in a row last week, this one a replica of the 2017 finals where the Eagles were again able to slot a goal after the siren. Despite being on top for the majority of the game, the Power were decimated by injuries with their star ruckman the first to go down which was then exacerbated by injuries to Dixon and Houston.

The loss of Ryder was the turning point in the game showing just how much the Power’s midfield rely on his usual handy ruck advantage. Although he is set to play this week, it is doubtful that he will be at 100% and will have a tough job coming up against one of the in-form ruckmen in the competition in Grundy. He will unlikely be able to maintain the same field presence that he normally does which will allow Grundy to roam the field providing the Pies an extra midfield option.

Betting Strategy

Expect the Pies forward line to be firing once again with De Goey leading the charge and the model sees them being able to take this one out comfortably with odds of $1.51 value

 BACK – Collingwood to Win


Adelaide v North Melbourne

Sunday 19th August, 4:10pm AEST, Adelaide Oval

Adelaide

The Crows have been one of the big disappointments of the season with last year grand finalists set to miss out on playing September football this year. They will lose captain Walker for the reason of the season due to his sling tackle on Giant Kelly, but that may work out in their favour with the big Texan recently being more a hindrance in their forward line than an asset.

Although they should have the personnel advantage over the Roos, their game-plan has been questionable all season with the bomb it long and pray strategy not working out too well for them. With nothing left to lose this season, expect them to try to play the same brand of football that made them one of the most feared teams in 2017.

North Melbourne

After being upset by the Dogs last week, the Roos season is hanging on by a thread and they will need to win these last 2 games to rack up the magical 13 wins which still might not be enough to put them in the top 8.

With Talia still out for the Crows, Ben Brown will be the obvious target up forward for them and the previous Coleman medal leader will need to stick some marks inside 50 which has been a weak point for the Roos this season. Although their head to head history against the Crows is pretty even, they have never defeated the Crows at Adelaide Oval, with all losses being at substantial margins.

Betting Strategy

With finals now definitely out of reach, the Crows are playing for pride and the model and history are saying they will get the job done with $1.44 value

 BACK – Adelaide to Win

 

GWS v Adelaide

Saturday 11th August, 7:25pm AEST, Skoda Stadium

GWS

Even though they recorded a comfortable win against the Blues last week, it came at a steep price for the Giants with the injuries of Deledio, Greene, Taylor and Simpson. It was lucky that they were playing against the wooden spooners as they were at times only fielding 16 players on the ground. The silver lining for them in their match against the Crows this week is that they will be getting some of their guns back in Taranto, Shiel, Griffen and Reid.

The run of Shiel will be a welcome addition against the Crows who are almost back at full strength in their midfield. However, the biggest hole in the Giants line-up will be in their tall stocks and expect Lobb to have to play the majority of the match in the Ruck which will limit his influence up forward.

Adelaide

Having to travel to foreign territory after a taxing Showdown is never ideal but the Crows should be up to the Giant challenge in front of them this week with an almost full-strength team making the trip to Sydney. Although they won against the Power last week, their attack was hardly convincing with their game plan seeming to be just to bomb it high and long into their forward line making it easy for defenders to spoil the ball.

They will need to return to their 2017 game plan of hitting targets on the lead if they are to win this game and their usually mobile forward line should be up to the task. The biggest concern for them will be the injury of Talia who would normally have the task of looking after Cameron and they will need to make sure that he isn’t allowed to roam free in front of goal.

Betting Strategy

The Crows will be weary after their Showdown but the model is seeing good value in them to beat the Giants at $2.96+.

 BACK – Adelaide to Win


Hawthorn v Geelong

Saturday 11th August, 1:45pm AEST, MCG

Hawthorn

Going against the Hawks last week didn’t work well for us with a fast-starting Bombers unable to keep up with the master finishers with the Hawks winning by 4. Another close game is on the cards this week with the Hawks facing off against the Cats at the G with their Round 2 clash resulting in a one-point win for the Hawks in a nail biter. The Hawks’ biggest personnel difference this match will be the absence of first pick ruck McEvoy who was instrumental in their Round 2 win, providing opportunities for the Hawks mids to run onto the ball in space and kick running goals.

That advantage will unlikely be there this match, and the Hawks will need to make sure that they don’t get overrun in the midfield without the ruck advantage as they are coming up against one of the scariest midfields in the competition.

Geelong

In a Round of close matches, the Cats were on the wrong end last week when they were bested by the Tigers by 3 points. They are currently sitting in 9th position and will need to win this game to ensure that they will have a spot come September. In Round 2, Menzel was the most dangerous forward for the Cats kicking 4 goals and he again will be vital if they are to win.

The big Tomahawk has been in good form having kicked 15 goals in his last 3 games and the duo should be hard for the Hawks’ defense to contain. The Cats challenge will be in getting the clean ball to them which has been a bit hit or miss this season.

Betting Strategy

The absence of McEvoy for the Hawks significantly hurts their chances in this clash and the model is siding with the Cats to get the job done at $1.71+

 BACK – Geelong to Win

 

Adelaide v Port Adelaide

Saturday 4th August, 4:35pm AEST, Adelaide Oval

Adelaide

The Crows will welcome back star defender Brodie Smith for Showdown 45 and his addition along with Doedee’s return from injury will shore up their backline stocks significantly. Although finals are probably out of reach for them, the Crows will not be lacking motivation in this game and always seem to find their best against their South Australian rivals. Both teams have struggled to score recently but the model feels the match-ups in each team’s respective forward lines favours the Crows.

Despite captain Walker being out of form, Greenwood has shown to be dangerous around the stoppages in front of goal and him and Jenkins will likely be the Crows biggest threats. This may end up being a low scoring scrappy game, not something that we’ve normally been accustomed to in the Showdowns.

Port Adelaide

The Power are coming into this match-up with an unchanged line-up after belting the Dogs last week in a low scoring affair. Even though the Power are sitting in the top 4, they haven’t exactly been impressive recently with a loss to Fremantle and just doing enough to beat some of the worst teams in the competition.

In what was touted as being one of the strongest forward-lines prior to the season, the Power have struggled in the scoring department recently kicking an average of 72 points in their last 5 games. Dixon is likely to be well-held by Talia this game and the small forwards of Gray and Wingard will need to be a threat if they are to notch back-to-back Showdown victories for the first time in 4 years.

Betting Strategy

Although finals are out of reach, the Crows will be keen to avenge their Round 8 loss to their old foes and the model is backing them to do so at odds of $2.16+

 BACK – Adelaide to Win


Hawthorn v Essendon

Saturday 4th August, 1:45pm AEST, MCG

Hawthorn

The Hawks kept their finals berth alive last week with a comfortable win over Fremantle and are currently sitting in 7th spot on a very congested ladder. They would normally relish the opportunity of facing the Bombers holding a good record against their old rivals but will be entering this game against them as slight underdogs.

The Hawks have tended to struggle with the quick style of play the Bombers tend to employ as shown in their Round 17 loss to the Lions and for them to win this game, they will need to make sure their defense is well set-up to prevent the quick counter-attack that the Bombers are known for. The Hawks own forward-line has been dangerous as well recently and their main goal kicking threat will be Breust who has been in spectacular goal-kicking form recently and if they can get the ball in his area, he should have no problems finding the sticks.

Essendon

A finals position seemed like an impossibility for the Bombers a couple of months ago, but with their win over Sydney last week, the prospect of that happening is still a small chance. To ensure that they will be in there, they will need to have a perfect record for their final 4 games and this game against the Hawks is probably one of the easier ones.

2018 import Saad will be instrumental in this game with his signature run out of defense which should be highly effective against the Hawks who tend to prefer a more slowed and measured pace of footy.

Betting Strategy

The Bombers have been playing some exciting football and the model sees them as value against the Hawks at $1.86+.

 BACK – Essendon to Win

Essendon v Sydney

Friday 27th July, 7:50pm AEST, Etihad Stadium

Essendon

Despite dominating the game on the field against the Dockers last week, they will be disappointed with the final margin of 29 despite registering almost double the inside 50’s and kicking 19 more scoring shots. They can’t afford to be wasteful against the Swans and for them to keep their finals hopes alive, a win here is a must. They haven’t enjoyed the best record against the Swans having lost their last 5 but given the relative forms of the two teams they will feel good about their chances here. Moving the ball quickly and aggressively will be key to the Bomber’s chances of winning and will want to get the ball into the hands of their small forwards before the usually formidable defense of Sydney has time to set-up. The return of Stringer in this game should help with the big-bodied forward in good form before his injury.

Sydney

The Swans finals and premiership equity took a huge hit last week after they experienced an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the 17th placed Suns last week in what was the biggest upset in about a decade of AFL. In an unusual game, the Swans seemed to have no answers to the Suns with the visitors keeping them goalless for 2 quarters. They will need to put the loss in the back of their mind and focus on this task at hand against the Bombers who have been in good form recently. Their midfield has been down on output recently and captain Kennedy will need to rally his troops for them to prove they are still genuine contenders for the flag.

Betting Strategy

In what should be a close game, the model doesn’t see the Swans bouncing back seeing value in the Bombers at $1.85.

 BACK – Essendon to Win


Richmond v Collingwood

Saturday 28th July, 1:45pm AEST, MCG

Richmond

The Tigers easily dispatched of the Saints last week and have continued their perfect form in Melbourne this year. There’s not many teams that look likely to challenge the Tigers come finals, probably with the exception of their opponents this week. Although they beat them by 43 points in Round 6, the Pies have quickly established themselves as one of the teams to beat and this will be the Tiger’s final test in the Home and Away season. If the Tigers are at their best, it’s hard to see them losing this one but the Pies have shown a similar style to the Tigers where they are capable of punishing teams on the counterattack and if they can replicate their best footy, this may be a closer game than most would think.

Collingwood

The Pies are gunning for a top 4 spot and winning this game against the top of the ladder Tigers would make that prospect an almost certainty of happening. The loss of De Goey will make the task significantly harder for them but they still have plenty of forward firepower in the likes of Hoskin-Elliott, Cox and Stephenson to keep the Rance-led Tiger’s defense honest. Versatile ruckman Grundy will be playing his 100th game and he will need to play that duel role of an extra midfielder for the Pies to win as the Tiger’s midfield has been in red-hot form this season.

Betting Strategy

It’s hard to see the Tiger’s losing at the G but the model sees the big odds on offer of $3.60+ on the 3rd placed Pies as too good to pass up.

 BACK – Collingwood to Win

Collingwood v North Melbourne

Saturday 21st July, 1:45pm AEST, MCG

Collingwood

The Pies will be disappointed after last week’s performance where they couldn’t get the job done against an Eagles’ team that was missing arguably their most important player for the majority of the match.  They will get back tall unit Mason Cox for this game who has after a shaky start to the season quickly proven to be a key player in the Pies best 22 with defenders finding it hard to play on him given the height advantage he normally enjoys. This game will be no exception with the tallest Roos defender standing almost 20cm shorter than the big American. His ability to bring the ball to ground for his speedy colleagues will be important in this match with the likes of De Goey, Hoskin-Elliott and Stephenson proven goal-kickers.

North Melbourne

The Roos lost a close one to the Swans last week where they looked like they had it all but won in the dying minutes. They will be coming into this game with an unchanged line-up which is close to their best 22 and will need to win this one to stay in touch with the top 8. Their midfield led by Cunnington and Higgins has been impressive this season and should be able to go toe-to-toe with the Pies mids with the continued absence of Treloar. However, where the Roos are likely to struggle will be up back where they will have their hands full with the medium-sized forwards of the Pies and experienced defender Thompson will need to be at the height of his game to repel them.

Betting Strategy

In what is a critical game for both teams, the model sees the Pies as being too good for the Roos and sees value at $1.57

 BACK – Collingwood to Win


Essendon v Fremantle

Saturday 21st July, 4:35pm AEST, Etihad Stadium

Essendon

After a poor first half to the season, the Bombers have found their form recently having won 4 of their past 5 and are a sneaky chance to make finals. For them to achieve this, this game against the Dockers is a must win and on paper should be an easy one for them despite dropping one to them earlier in the season. The Bombers should be able to take advantage of the absence of two of the Dockers most important players in Fyfe and Sandliands and their ability to score heavily and quickly could turn this game into a blow-out. Even with Stringer out, the likes of Fantasia, McKernan and Tippa should be able to put some real heat on the scoreboard.

Fremantle

The depleted Dockers registered a huge upset win against the Power last week in what was an ugly game for most of the match. Although they dominated the territory and inside-50 game, they were wasteful kicking 8.11 from 58 entries and will need to clean up their efficiency inside-50 if they are to pull off another upset against the Bombers especially away from home. They will be fielding a young line-up this round and with September football out of reach coupled with Fyfe and Sandliands out, expect the Dockers to play a riskier brand of football as they are still experimenting with what works and what doesn’t with their newer players.

Betting Strategy

The Bombers aren’t exactly known for their consistency but the model likes them on the line at -34.5 against a young Dockers side.

 BACK – Essendon -34.5

St Kilda v Carlton

Friday 13th July, 7:50pm AEST, Etihad Stadium

St Kilda

After stringing together a couple of consecutive close 2-point wins, the Saints were brought firmly back to reality when they were dominated by the Power last week. The area of the game that continues to haunt them is there efficiency inside 50 with their players trying to find every possible way they can to butcher a goal. One of the few things Saints fans can be excited about is the form of Armitage who has easily been the Saints best player in recent games and should have another big game this week. This match-up against the bottom of the ladder Blues should be an easy one for them as they will have a much more talented and experienced side on paper with the line of -22.5 looking small. However, we wouldn’t put it past the Saints to find a way to butcher this one too.

Carlton

The Blues are an almost certainty now to finish with the wooden spoon after getting thrashed by the Lions last week. It seems to be the same story for them each week with only a few of the same players turning up to play each week with the rest of the team content to be spectators. Looking at their schedule ahead, this is probably one of only two matches where they will have a genuine chance to get a win and under-fire coach Brendan Bolton will need his Blues to produce something special for him to affirm that he is the right man for the job. Unfortunately, it is hard to see them winning this one given their lack of confidence in the way they’ve been playing which has been on a steady trajectory down.

Betting Strategy

In a season that has been disappointing for both teams, the model is siding with the experience of St Kilda and sees the line of -22.5 as too small.

 BACK – St Kilda -22.5


Hawthorn v Brisbane

Saturday 14th July, 1:45pm AEST, University of Tasmania Stadium

Hawthorn

The Hawks will be travelling to their surrogate home ground in Launceston this round where they will be looking to avenge their Round 9 loss against the Lions. Since that loss, the Hawks have been one of the more in-form teams in the competition and have crept into the top 8 after their drubbing of the Western Bulldogs last week. Although many are writing this off as an easy win for the Hawks, they will need to be cautious of the fast ball movement of the Lions that already exposed their defence once in their Round 9 loss. The loss of McEvoy will make the job harder for them with Brisbane big man Martin likely to be able to dominate substitute ruckman Ceglar. The Hawk’s midfield will need to ensure they can cover this gap or else we may be in for another upset.

Brisbane

The Lions are playing some of the best footy we’ve seen from them in a long time and with such a young list, can only get better. Having strung 2 consecutive wins together, they’ll feel like they are a genuine chance to make it a third with a second win over the Hawks this season. Hipwood had a big day in their previous game booting 4 goals and given his recent form, will be the main target for the Lions mids up forward. They will need to stick to the same recipe of fast footy that has worked so well for them and not go into their shell as they will be coming up against one of the most potent forward lines in the competition. This game could very well end up being a shoot-out.

Betting Strategy

The model sees value in the Lions pulling off a second upset against the Hawks at odds of $4.70+

 BACK – Brisbane at $4.70

Richmond v Adelaide

Friday 6th July, 7:50pm AEST MCG

Richmond

The reigning premiers have firmly established themselves as the team to beat and are the clear favourites to take the flag again this year. They have looked near unstoppable at The G with their only three blemishes to their record this year being away from home, one of them being against the Crows. Although the Round 2 game remained close for the majority of the match, they were smashed in the air with the Tigers seeming to have no answer to the talls of Tex and Jenkins who booted 9 goals between them. They will have one less thing to worry about this game with Betts out of action but will need to find a way to shut down the tall heavy forward line of the Crows. Rance will be instrumental in this task and he will need to do a much better job on Jenkins than he did in their previous clash.

Adelaide

The Crows kept their finals chances alive by pulling off a huge comeback win against the Eagles last week. The final score probably flattered the Eagles in the end with the Crows dominating the match in all areas except the scoreboard registering 14 more scoring shots and 32 more inside 50’s. After a prolonged injury slump, the Crows have gotten back the majority of their best 22 with another big in this week in the form of Lynch. We know they have the talent to beat the reigning premiers with the Crows winning 4 of their past 5 clashes … the big variable will be which Adelaide Crows team turns up.

Betting Strategy

This is a big game for the Crows whose finals chances are hanging by a thread and the model seems them as value at $4.40+

BACK – Crows to win at $4.40


Brisbane v Carlton

Saturday 7th July, 1:45pm AEST Adelaide Oval

Brisbane

The Lions recorded their second win of the season last week with a 55-point win against the Dockers away from home. The Lions showed in this game just how much they have improved with their constant pressure around the ball and slick ball movement being a stark contrast from the beginning of the season. This bottom of the ladder clash against the Blues might be more one-sided than their records would suggest with the Lions playing the much better footy as of late. The Lions will need to avoid getting sucked into the Blues game of slow measured ball movement and if they can continue with their fast-paced style of footy, they should be able to open up the Blues and record their third win of the season.

Carlton

The bottom of the ladder Blues are now firm favourites to take out the wooden spoon this season with their best chance of avoiding that honour being a win against the Lions this week. Although sitting on a solitary win, there have been a few things to like about the Blues this season, one of them being the sizzling form of Charlie Curnow. For the Blues to win, they’ll need to get the ball into his reliable hands as he should have a significant advantage against his direct opposition with the Lions first choice Andrews still out with injury. Unfortunately for the Blues, they have not had a good record playing at the Gabba with the visitors losing their last 4 here.

Betting Strategy

The model sees the Lions being too good at home in this wooden spoon clash seeing odds of $1.43+ as value

BACK – Brisbane Lions to win at $1.43

Adelaide v West Coast

Saturday 30th June, 4:35pm AEST Adelaide Oval

Adelaide

The Crows will regain a lot of firepower for this match with the return of Sloane, Laird and Brown. Their return couldn’t have come at a better time with their last win coming in Round 9 against the dogs with their performances since then looking sluggish and lazy. Although down on form, the Crows still have plenty of talent and will be facing an Eagles’ side with their own injury concerns. Sloane will take a bit of time to return to his best after being out for so long but will still be able to provide the precise ball movement inside 50 that the Crows have been sorely missing recently. The Crows at home will have all the motivation to get their season back on track with a win over one of the in-form teams of the competition.

West Coast

After a 10-game winning streak at the start of the season, the Eagles have dropped their last 2 games with a surprise loss to the Bombers last week at home. The absence of Darling and Kennedy in that game revealed just how important the two forwards are to the team and their lack of a tall threat inside 50 will again be a problem against the Crows. Adding to their woes will be the loss of Frenchy LeCras which will put a further dent in their scoring prospects this game. For the Eagles to win, the likes of Shuey and Yeo will need to threaten the sticks to supplement the gaping hole in their forward line.

Betting Strategy

The model is predicting the Crows to break their losing drought at record a win against the high-flying Eagles at home with odds of $1.53 as value.

BACK – Crows to win at $1.53


GWS v Hawthorn

Saturday 30th June, 7:25pm AEST Spotless Stadium

Greater Western Sydney

The prospects of the Giants reaching the finals took a severe hit this week with spearhead Jeremy Cameron copping a 5-match ban from the tribunal due to his sickening hit on Lions defender Harris Andrews. The loss of their leading goalkicker creates a big hole for the Giants with fellow star forward Toby Greene still a few weeks away from return. With the return of Lobb this week, Patton will be relieved of his co-ruck duties and will have big shoes to fill as he will be the Giant’s main tall target inside their 50. Despite their forward-line concerns, there is enough talent in their midfield that they should be able to control the centre and eke out the win.

Hawthorn

The Hawks have had an up and down first half to the season but have managed to string a together a 3-game winning streak and will be eager to make that 4 this week with their first win at Spotless Stadium. The player that will be key in making this happen will be big man McEvoy who will hold a big advantage in the size and skill department over his Giants’ counterparts. He will play a key part in the quality of the inside-50 delivery and if they are able to get the ball to ground in there, their potent forward line should be able to find the sticks with the Giants defense proving to be shaky against the better teams in the competition.

Betting Strategy

Despite their concerns in the forward-line, the model sees value in the Giants at home to win this game at odds of $1.77

BACK – GWS to win at $1.77

Port Adelaide v Melbourne

Friday 22nd June, 7:50pm AEST Adelaide Oval

Port Adelaide

After a shaky start to the season, the Power have played some superb footy in recent rounds to prove that they are genuine premiership contenders this year. They’ve looked dangerous up forward with the combination of Dixon and the Grays troubling even the most experienced of defences. The in-form Dees will be a tough obstacle in front of them and the Power’s biggest risk is not to get overrun by the Dees attack which has scored on average 106 points per game. The return of hard-nut defender Tom Jonas is a crucial inclusion but the talent in the Dees forward line may be too much for the Power to handle.

Melbourne

The Dees winning streak was cut short before the bye losing to the Pies in a good old-fashioned Queen’s Birthday shoot-out. Prior to that, the Dees were riding a 6-game winning streak where a key feature in their dominance was their ability to move the ball quickly and effortlessly down the field. However, these 6 wins have all been against bottom-8 sides and this game against the Power in foreign territory will prove whether the Dees this season are the real deal or merely just flat-track bullies. The battle of the All-Australian ruckmen Gawn and Ryder will be a highlight in this match and Gawn will have to be on the top of his game if the Dees are to get the W with his role in their structure being instrumental to their chances of winning.

Betting Strategy

The Dees will be eager to get their season back on track after the Bye and the model sees value in them at $2.40+

 BACK – Melbourne to win at $2.40


Brisbane v GWS

Saturday 23rd June, 4:35pm AEST GABBA

Brisbane

Despite sitting on a solitary win, the Lions have a lot to look forward to with a marked improvement in how they have played in recent rounds compared to early in the season. They have shown that they aren’t afraid to take the game on and will come into this game with the genuine belief they can upset the injury-ridden Giants especially on home turf. With Lobb out, big man Martin should have his way against the Giants duo of Simpson and Patton and he will need to ensure he gives his team first use to compensate for the skill difference in the midfield. The Lions have not won a game the last 5 times these teams have played but if they can get the win here, they will have the tangible evidence that they are heading in the right direction.

Greater Western Sydney

After a prolonged form (and injury) slump, the Giants were able to string a couple of wins together against the Crows and the Suns before the bye. Although not the most significant of victories, it does put them back in the winner’s circle and they will be keen to keep their premiership aspirations alive with a third consecutive win. However, they may rue this day if they get complacent with the Lions showing they aren’t afraid to take the game on with a high-risk style of footy. This coupled with the fact that the Giants have historically not been great travellers means we may have a more competitive game than most would think on our hands.

Despite the Lions sitting on a single win for the season, the model shows this game being closer than the odds would suggest and finds value at $3.80

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Brisbane to win at $3.80

Sydney v West Coast

Friday 15th June, 7:50pm AEST SCG

Sydney

The Swans have their toughest task ahead of them on Friday Night as they come up against the top of the leaderboard Eagles who will be keen to avenge their Round 1 loss. Despite it being a competitive contest for the majority of the match, the key factor in that game was Franklin who booted 8.1 with the Eagles seeming to have no answer to stem his influence. Given how the Swans star forward has been moving around in recent games, he could be in for another big night and the loss of Eagles key defender Barrass will make the job easier for him. Probably the most pivotal match-up will be between Sinclair and Naitanui with the Eagles star ruckman dominating his former team-mate in Round 1. However, the Swans big man has been superb recently and should be able to hold his own just enough for the Swans to exploit their advantage in the midfield.

West Coast

The Eagles are running red hot riding a 10-game winning streak having not lost a game since their Round 1 loss to the Swans. They will have mixed feelings about their team changes this round with prolific ball winner Shuey obviously a welcome addition but the loss of Darling to injury may give them more headaches than the loss of any other player (barring Naitanui) as his role in the Eagles’ structure will be hard to cover. Without him, a lot of the transition play that the Eagles have been known for may break down as Darling has often been the crucial link man for the Eagles getting the ball out of their back-half and quickly in their forward-half. This game will reveal just how important Darling is to their structure.

Betting Strategy

Buddy should be too hard for the Eagles to handle and the model sees value in the Swans at currents odds of $1.59.

 BACK – Sydney to win at $1.59


Geelong v Richmond

Sunday 17th June, 3:20pm AEST MCG

Geelong

The Cats have looked dangerous recently with their highly touted midfield finally seeming to come together in recent rounds. They face a tough task coming against the reigning premiers at the MCG and will need to rely on more than just Dangerwoodlett if they are to notch their biggest win of the season. The midfield battle will be the difference in this game and although the Cats have three of the best mids in the competition, they will be more than evenly matched against the Tigers core midfield group led by superstar Martin. Although Hawkins has been good recently, he will find it hard to get past Rance who should have the capabilities to shut down the tall forward.

Richmond

Dusty was sorely missed last week in the Tiger’s third loss for the season and his return will be a huge boost to their chances of winning against the Cats this week. Points have been hard to come by against the Cats and for the Tiges to win, they will need to maintain the same dogged pressure on the ball carrier they’ve been known for to force turnovers and catch the Cat’s defense out of position. Cotchin was quiet last week by his standards and the Captain will need to be on top of his game if they are to eke out the win as they come against their toughest test in the midfield so far.

The return of Dusty to the reigning premiers should be too much for the Cats and the model sees value in the Tiges at $1.58.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Richmond to win at $1.59

Geelong v North Melbourne

Saturday 9th June, 1:45pm AEST – GMHBA Stadium

Geelong

The little master was let loose last week where he was out on a mission to prove to the doubters that he had a place in the Cats’ already star-studded midfield. Although a thumping of the Suns isn’t anything to write home about, the Cats seem to be finally finding how to best utilise their big 3 to their maximum potential, which was always going to have some teething problems. Although the Roos have been playing some inspiring footy recently, it’s hard to see the Cats losing the battle in the midfield with the stacked talent they have in this area. In addition, the ability of their mids to present as dangerous options up forward throughout the game will add another thing for the Roo’s defense to worry about. Look for Dangerfield and Ablett to kick a few goals between them.

North Melbourne

We keep saying it, but the Roos continue to defy all expectations and are coming into this game 6th on the ladder, having won 4 of their last 5 games. There are glimpses of the 2016 Western Bulldogs in how they’ve been playing this year, making up for what they lack in raw talent with an intensity and a fearlessness in how they play. Sharpshooter Brown will have an easier task ahead of him with Harry Taylor still out with foot issues and getting some clean ball into his hands will be the main challenge for their mids. They will also need to find a way to limit the influence of the Cat’s big 3 or else this could get ugly especially as they are venturing into hostile territory of the Cat’s fortress at Simonds.

The model sees value in the Cats at $1.48 with the big 3 likely to put on a show in front of their home crowd.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Geelong to win at $1.48


St Kilda v Sydney

St Kilda

Although the Saints are sitting on a solitary win in 16th position, there may be some hope for them yet with their last 2 games proving that they have the capability to kick accurately, which seemed an impossibility in the earlier rounds. For their clash with the Swans, they will still be without Carlisle which is a big out for them especially given that a big bag from Buddy looms. However, the Saints are now at a point where they have nothing to lose and sporting history has shown that’s when teams can pull off the biggest upsets. If they can produce free flowing brave footy that they’ve shown glimpses of in the last 2 rounds, then who knows what could happen.

Sydney

Although the Swans are coming into this game on a 4-game winning streak, they have looked pretty average in their last two against the bottom of the ladder Lions and Blues. The Swans will need to ensure they don’t get lazy and get too Franklin-focussed as it seems teams have recently learned how to stifle his influence. Luckily for them they have other dangers up forward such as super-rookie Ronke who is capable of finding the sticks in the most unlikely of situations. History will be on their side with the Swans winning the last 5 against the Saints.

The model finds value in the unpopular choice of the Saints at $4.50 in a game where they have nothing to lose.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – St Kilda to win at $4.50

Hawthorn v Port Adelaide

Saturday 2nd June, 2:10pm EST – University of Tasmania Stadium

Hawthorn

The Hawks are entering this game on a 3-game losing streak and will be desperate for a win as they travel to Tasmania for the second time this season. Although containing the likes of young guns Mitchell and O’Meara, the Hawks mids have struggled at times this season and they will need to find a way to better connect with McEvoy if they are to win. However, McEvoy will have a tough task ahead of him and will not enjoy the advantage he usually has against his counterpart with our model rating Ryder slightly ahead of him. Their duel will be pivotal to the outcome of this game as both forward lines are capable of firing quickly.

Port Adelaide

Travelling to Tasmania to face the Hawks is usually a tough ask for any team but the Power will be embracing the timing of this fixture as they will be well rested after a long break following their match in Shanghai. The Power have had an up-and-down first half of the season but have shown that they have the talent to beat the best teams when they are firing having taken big scalps of Sydney and Adelaide so far. The Power’s forward line is their biggest threat and the current forecast of sunny conditions should be perfect for them to rack up a big score.

This Power should have the advantage over the Hawks in what is likely to be a close match. The model sees the current odds of $1.92 as value.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Port Adelaide to win at $1.92


Collingwood v Fremantle

Sunday 3rd June, 3:20pm AEST – MCG

Collingwood

The Pies are entering Round 11 off the back of a second half drubbing of the Western Bulldogs where they were able to keep the fast starting 2016 premiers goalless in the second half. Although their structure has looked shaky at times, the Pies have been playing some quality football in 2018 and are odds-on to break their 4-year drought of missing finals footy. Probably the biggest reason for this has been Brody Grundy’s performance so far which has quickly made him the Pies’ most important player and according to our model as of Round 11, the best big man in the competition. With Sandilands gone, he will have a field day against substitute ruckman Apeness and we see the clearances being one-way traffic in favour of the Pies.

Fremantle

The Dockers will need to find another gear if they are any chance of beating the Pies at the MCG and the loss of Stephen Hill and Sandilands doesn’t help that cause. Despite a promising start to the season, the Dockers have been poor recently where nothing has looked easy whether it be scoring goals or getting the ball out of their back-half. The gaping hole for the Dockers is their lack of threats up forward which will allow the Pies’ to play a more aggressive style of defense which will cause all sorts of trouble for their own back-line. Superstar Fyfe will easily be the best player on field but one player can only do so much.

The Pies at home should be too good for the Dockers and the model suggests the -28.5 line is too small.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Collingwood -28.5

GWS v Essendon

Saturday 26th May, 7:25pm EST – Spotless Stadium

Greater Western Sydney

The Giants injury driven slide continued last week, getting blown off the park in the second half by a Ben Brown inspired Roos. While Essendon don’t have a forward anywhere near the calibre of Brown, the Giants cause isn’t helped with the continued absence of Phil Davis and the loss of yet another defender in Finlayson (although he’s apparently been dropped for form rather than injury). We’re not confident in Buntine getting up to AFL speed in his first game of the year. Josh Kelly is obviously a massive inclusion, but even a player of his class will struggle to have a meaningful impact after such a long absence.

Essendon

After copping it in the media for weeks, the Dons finally responded with a thumping win over an extremely disappointing Geelong. Despite their poor performance this year, the model still sees Essendon as a reasonably strong squad with a solid core of midfielders that should be able to breakeven with the depleted GWS midfield. If Goddard can spend more time marshalling than berating his backline, they should be able to contain the currently misfiring GWS forwards, whose highest score in the last 5 rounds came against an appalling Brisbane Lions defence. This will only be the Bombers second game played outside of Victoria this year but we have a sneaky feeling they might enjoy getting away from the blow torches of the Melbourne media for a week.

The model has this game as a coinflip and we have a suspicion the package may finally be unwrapped this week against a weak GWS defensive line.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Essendon at $3


Melbourne v Adelaide

Sunday 27th May, 3:20pm EST – TIO Traeger Park

Melbourne

Tom McDonald returned three weeks ago and the Dees have been on a rampage ever since – something which we don’t think is a coincidence. A hugely crucial player for their setup, he allows Hogan to maraud the wings, where he is almost impossible to match up on. The return of Viney last week sees the Demons fielding basically a full-strength squad which has our player model rating them as one of the strongest teams this round. It would be classic Melbourne to drop a game of this significance after such a strong run of form but they look to have Adelaide covered all over the park.

Adelaide

Some questionable umpiring and appalling conversion from the Dogs made Adelaide look OK last week, despite missing basically half of their best 22 to injury. Matt Crouch has been named but we wouldn’t be banking on him suiting up for gameday. Bryce Gibbs has been admirable leading a midfield missing so many big names but up against the league’s strongest mids we don’t like his chances. Eddie Betts had a vintage game last week, but we think his incredible wet weather skills masked some serious issues with the Crows forward line down to Jenkins as its lone big man.

The Crows have done incredibly well to be where they are despite their injury toll, but we expect a full strength Melbourne squad to make a statement this week and see them as big value around $1.80.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Melbourne

North Melbourne v GWS

Saturday 19th May, 1:45pm EST – Etihad Stadium

North Melbourne

In Round 9, the Roos will be returning to their surrogate home-ground in Tasmania with their first 2018 appearance there resulting in a thorough flogging of the Blues by 86 points. This time around, they’ll be facing some stiffer competition in the Giants in a match-up that most observers at the start of the season would have written off as an easy victory for the visitors. However, in what has been an unpredictable 2018, the Roos will start as favourites against a Giants outfit that continues to get decimated by injuries. With the loss of Giants’ co-captain Phil Davis, local boy Ben Brown will be hard to stop and with veteran Jarrad Waite providing another strong contested marking option up forward, a big score for the home team may be on the cards. One thing we do know is that the Roos love to play in Tasmania having won 8 of their last 10 matches at Blundstone.

Greater Western Sydney

The Orange Tsunami have been playing like a shadow of the premiership favourite team they once were and while some of that can be attributed to key injuries, a large part of it is also a clear drop in effort in recent games. Their injury woes get worse this round with Davis and DeBoer added to their growing injury list leaving them with a team missing almost half of their best 22. Their biggest concerns will be in their backline with our model rating all their defenders as below average with the exception of Shaw. There will have to be a significant increase in effort in their midfield to take the heat off their defenders and their ability to keep the ball in their forward half will be critical to their chances to winning. On paper, despite their injuries, they still have the better midfield, but given how they’ve been playing as of late, this may not be as obvious an advantage as it should be.

The Kangaroos should have the better of this contest and we see the current odds of $1.64 as value against an injury-depleted Giants.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – North Melbourne


Gold Coast v Port Adelaide

Saturday 19th May, 1:35pm EST – Jiangwan Stadium (China)

Gold Coast

After winning their first two games of the season, the Suns have dropped 5 of their last 6, with the lone win coming from the bottom of the ladder Lions. We can’t help but feel that almost two months on the road has taken its toll and it doesn’t get any better this round with a long flight to China. The Suns will still be without their co-captain Lynch and the loss of Sam Day to suspension will put further strain on their forward line. The Suns have shown they can be competitive and May will need to organise his troops up back to ensure that they can repel the quick inside 50 attack that the Power is known for or else they may be in for a big score posted against them. It’s hard to see how the Suns can win this one, but they will look to keep it close and competitive such that they can return to Metricon after the bye with some confidence.

Port Adelaide

The Power are coming into this game after a thrilling Showdown finish where a Motlop goal in the last minute stole the win from a fast finishing Crows. The Power have had an up and down season but showed last week that when they play at their best, they are able to contend with the top teams in the competition. They will be fielding an unchanged line-up from last week and the clear mismatch will be in their forward line which should be too much for the Suns defense to handle. One thing we know about the Power is that they love to post large scores against the poorer teams and this match falls into that category. All-Australian Robbie Gray will likely play the majority of the game up-forward and expect him to be their main target as the Suns will find it hard to contain his mobility and strength in the contest. The last time these two met in Shanghai, it was a one-sided affair with the Power winning by 72.

Betting Strategy

The Power should be too strong for the Suns and we see the line on the Power of -39.5 as generous and would take this over the skinny odds on the head to head.

 BACK – Port Adelaide -39.5

Hawthorn v Sydney

Friday  11th May, 7:50pm EST – MCG

Hawthorn

The Hawks are coming into this game sitting pretty on a 5-2 record in 4th position after having downed the Bombers in Round 7. There has been a lot to like about the Hawks so far, including their ability to pick out free targets and move the ball effectively up the field and their relatively high efficiency in front of goal in a season where most teams have been wasteful. They will be facing their archrivals tonight in what will surely be a scrappy tightly contested game where goals will be hard to come by, aided by the forecast weather conditions. Given this, clearances will be even more important in this game and the likes of McEvoy and Mitchell will need to combine to jam the ball into their forward 50 and let their roving forwards pick up some scrappy goals as marks will likely be hard to come by. The Hawks have had the upper hand against the Swans recently winning 4 of the past 5.

Sydney

The Swans will be looking to get themselves back into the winner’s circle after losing by 2 points in a tight game against the Kangaroos. Despite entering that game as significant favourites, they were on the back foot for most of the game and despite having some patches of ascendancy, they were unable to convert that on the scoreboard. They will need a significant lift in their work-rate if they are to bounce back and win against the Hawks but what history has told us is that these two teams always seem to find their best footy when they face each other. Captain and clearance machine Josh Kennedy will be pivotal in this game and he will need to find his best in what has been a relatively quiet season for him so far. Playing the Hawks at the MCG is always a tough ask but these circumstances may actually not be so bad for the Swans given their home/away record thus far and the forecast weather conditions which should dull the impact of the crowd.

Betting Strategy

In what will surely be a competitive game, we see the Hawks with the upper hand and still find value in them at current odds of $1.73.

BACK – Hawthorn


GWS v West Coast

Saturday 12th May, 1:35pm EST – Spotless Stadium

GWS

The Giants had one of their worst games in recent memory last week where they got slaughtered by the Cats in a one-sided affair. Even though they came into the game with a star-studded list of injuries that included 5 of their top 10 best and fairest, it was no excuse for their lack of effort and hunger around the ball. They face the in-form eagles this round and although will get Cameron and Lobb back, they will still be far from their best 22. Their biggest challenge will be keeping the Eagles’ forwards quiet with the likes of Kennedy, Darling and Lecras able to score with relative ease against previous opponents. Given the amount of criticism they have received in recent weeks, the Giants will be eager to prove their doubters wrong and downing the red-hot Eagles at Spotless will be their perfect opportunity to do so. They have had the better of the Eagles’ in recent history and have won the last 3 but lost the 2 prior to that.

West Coast

The Eagles are coming into this game on a 6-game winning streak sitting comfortably in 2nd position on the ladder. In a season where most thought they would struggle in the midfield, they have defied their critics and proven that they will be contenders come September. However, this game against the Giants will probably be their toughest test so far as they will need to show they can still be competitive without their two best and probably most important players Naitanui and Shuey who will be missing this game due to a suspension and injury respectively. They will have to concede that they won’t get the dominant taps that they have enjoyed thus far and will need to find a way to pin the ball in their forward 50 and let what has become one of the most effective forward lines in the competition do their job.

Betting Strategy

With the loss of the Eagles two best players, the model sees the Giants despite their own injury issues winning this one reasonably comfortably and sees the current odds of $1.58 as value.

 BACK – GWS

Sydney v North Melbourne

Saturday 5th May, 7:50pm EST – SCG

Sydney

The Swans enter round 7 coming off a surprise win against the Cats where they were missing superstar forward Franklin and core midfielder Hannebery. In a game where many had written off their chances, they filled the void left by Franklin with a less predictable, more even contribution in their forward line and the loss of the full forward may have been a blessing in disguise. They will be facing the Roos with a virtually unchanged line-up and although they will start as significant favourites, they will need to continue that same style of gameplay if they are to beat a surprisingly competitive North Melbourne outfit. Expect Rampe to have the job of containing in-form forward Ben Brown and his ability to stop him from sticking marks inside 50 will be key in supressing the Roos ability to score. The Swans have had the better of the Roos recently having won 4 of their last 5 clashes.

North Melbourne

The Roos’ momentum was halted last week when they lost to a Port Adelaide outfit that beat them in most areas of the game. They will be travelling to Sydney to face the Swans in what will probably be their toughest test so far this season. Higgins will be a welcome addition to the side returning from concussion and the positive for them is that they will be coming into the game almost at full strength, with the exception of a rested Waite. Goldstein should have an advantage over Sinclair in the ruck and their mids will need to make sure they can capitalise on this mismatch much better than they did last week, especially as they come up against one of the most consistent midfields in the competition. Clearances have been an issue for the Roos this season and Cunnington who has been in stellar form this season will need to find a way to extract the ball out from what is likely to be a congested midfield.

Betting Strategy

The Swans are rightfully favourites but the model sees the current odds of $5.3 on North Melbourne as too long and the +32.5 handicap too big.

BACK – North Melbourne


St Kilda v Melbourne

Sunday 6th May, 3:20pm EST – Etihad Stadium

St.Kilda

The Saints have without a doubt been the biggest disappointment of the competition so far. Despite many believing that they could scrape into the 8 at the beginning of the season, that reality has become less and less probable as the season has gone on. Although they have some talent on their list in the likes of Steven and Ross, what has let them down is their poor decision making and goal kicking once they get inside their 50. They have only been able to slot more goals than behinds in one of their games thus far and in total are only registering 40% of their scoring shots as goals. They will need to clean up this area of their game if they are to win against the Dees with what seems to be more a confidence issue than anything else. If they can convert some set shots early, it may set the tone for their accuracy for the rest of the game.

Melbourne

The Dees are coming into this match sitting in 12th spot on the ladder in a season that has been up and down for them thus far. Like the Saints, at the beginning of the season, they were also pegged as having the list to be able to break into the 8 and the prospect of that happening is still very possible. The area that has hurt the Dees the most has been their consistency where they seem incapable of playing high quality football for a full 4 quarters which was most evident from their capitulation against the Hawks in Round 4 despite dominating the first quarter. Probably the biggest mismatch against the Saints will be in the Ruck where big man Gawn will have a significant advantage over his Saints counterpart which should put the Dees’ mids in a good position to deliver some quality ball inside 50. The recent history between the two sides is fairly even with the Dees having won both their encounters in 2017 but dropping the 3 prior to that.

Betting Strategy

Although the Saints ratings have been on a downward slide, the model sees the current odds of $3.3 as value and the +20.5 too large.

 BACK – St Kilda

North Melbourne v Port Adelaide

Saturday 28th April, 2:10pm EST – Etihad Stadium

North Melbourne

The Roos have had a good start to the season sitting on a record of 3-2 after downing the in-form Hawks in Round 5. Despite being moderate underdogs at the start of the match, they controlled the Hawks throughout the game and were up by as much as 57 points at one stage. The loss of Higgins who has been among their best will be a challenge for them and the likes of Cunnington, Dumont and Hartung will have to continue their impressive form to cover his absence. Expect the Power’s Tom Jonas to play on Ben Brown with the last time these two duelling, Brown arguably getting the upper hand despite the Roos copping a 70-point thrashing. If they are to win, they’ll need to get the ball into his reliable hands with the key forward finding it hard to miss having kicked 19.4 thus far.

Port Adelaide

Despite the model having high hopes for the Power pre-season, they’ve been a bit lacklustre as of late dropping their last two in games where they were favourites. The loss of big man Ryder in Round 1 has exposed a big weakness in their line-up with the combination of Howard and Dixon/Westhoff proving ineffective in covering the Ruck thus far. They will need to find a way to win the ball despite this as they will be at a significant disadvantage against the Roos in this area with Goldstein coming into the game in good form. If they can get some quick ball movement into their half, they have the capability to score quickly with what is still one of the best forward lines in the competition. History is on their side with the Power having won the last 3 against the Roos.

Betting Strategy

The model sees current odds of $2.44 being offered on North Melbourne as good value with it seeing Port as slight favourites at Etihad.

BACK – North Melbourne


Fremantle v West Coast

Sunday 29rd April, 4:40pm EST – Optus Stadium

Fremantle

The Dockers have shown they are a much-improved side from last year with their midfield led by superstar Fyfe proving far more effective than they were last season. The performances from their top rookies Cerra and Brayshaw have shown that they will be future stars of the club and will only get better as they acquire more match experience. We see the Dockers holding the advantage in the midfield and for them to win, they will need to use this to provide some clean inside 50 ball movement to their forwards as they will be coming up against what is probably the best intercept marking defense in the competition. Sandilands is unlikely to be able to win the ruck battle with Naitanui and will need to take advantage of his opportunities when Naitanui is on the bench with the Eagles superstar still not playing to his maximum game-time potential.

West Coast

The Eagles have had one of their best starts to the season and are coming off a 10-point victory over the Blues in Round 5 in what should have been a bigger margin with the Eagles registering 10 more scoring shots. Despite looking like they were going to struggle in the midfield with two of their superstars in Sam Mitchell and Matt Priddis retiring last season, they have not looked troubled so far with Sheed and Masten playing some of their best footy of their career. Josh Kennedy will be key in this game with the Dockers finding it hard to contain him in the past, with the Eagles spearhead booting a combined 16 goals the last 3 times these two teams played. History is on their side with the Eagles having won the last 5 Western derbies.

Betting Strategy

The model sees the Eagles taking out the first Western Derby at Optus stadium and sees current odds of $1.69 on the Eagles as good value.

 BACK – West Coast

Sydney v Adelaide

Friday 20th April, 7:50pm EST – SCG

Sydney

The Swans are coming into this game sitting pretty on a 3-1 record, their only blemish being a loss to the Power at home in round two. However, having said this, they were lucky against the dogs last week which could have easily been a loss in a game that was decided in the last three minutes. Franklin has been in red hot form booting 17 goals so far and if the Crows can’t contain him, this could be another big night for him. With their midfield coming into this game virtually unscathed, they will be looking to take advantage of a depleted Crows midfield and deliver plenty of ball to their forwards. Sinclair will have a tough job going against Jacobs in the ruck, but he has been in good form this season and should be able to hold his own. History is on their side with the Swans having won four out of the last five against the Crows.

Adelaide

The Crows injury woes keep getting worse with Sloane and Betts joining a list this week that already includes Brodie Smith and the Crouch brothers. Despite Sloane and Matt Crouch not playing this week, the Crows still have some quality in the midfield with Bryce Gibbs, Rory Atkins and Richard Douglas rated highly by the model. If Jacobs can win the ruck duel, the battle in the centre may not be as one-sided as most would think. The Crows’ strength still lies in their forward line, and captain Tex will need to lift if his team are going to get up this week after what was a pretty poor showing from him last week. The loss of Betts gives the Sydney defenders one less thing to worry about but they will still have their hands full with the likes of Tex, McGovern, Lynch and Jenkins all capable of taking strong contested marks.

Betting Strategy

Our model agrees that the Swans should be favourites. However, according to the numbers, the odds of $4.2 on the Crows represents value and the handicap of +26.5 too high.

BACK – Adelaide +26.5


Brisbane v Gold Coast

Sunday 22nd April, 4:40pm EST – The Gabba

Brisbane

The Lions are one of two teams with a doughnut in the win column. However, aside from last week’s capitulation against the reigning premiers where they only managed two goals, they have looked competitive and hungry to win. Unfortunately, with such a young list, they are a confidence team and if they don’t start well, they will tend to panic and make questionable decisions which was clear from the amount of turnovers in last week’s game. They will find a much easier match-up this week against the Suns where there isn’t much splitting these sides in terms of line-ups. Our model gives the slightest of edges to the Lions and for them to win, they will need to execute some brave smart footy like they showed in the first 3 rounds. Look for Zorko to dominate the midfield in a game where we have him as clearly the best player on-field.

Gold Coast

The Suns are coming into this game off the back of a slaughter in Perth at the hands of the West Coast Eagles where they lost by 80. Like the Lions, the Suns have a young list which has provided for some creative and exciting footy at times but at others, has shown them capable of succumbing to panic and disarray. The battle in the mid between Lyons and Zorko should be an interesting duel and we feel that these two will be key in getting some early confidence for their teams. For the Suns to win, they will need to get the ball into the hands of their captain Lynch, who should have an advantage over the Lions’ defense.

Betting Strategy

In a game that’s hard to split on paper, we have the home ground advantage of the Lions being the key difference and see odds of $1.84 as value.

 BACK – Brisbane

Hawthorn v Melbourne

Sunday 15th April, 3:20pm AEST – MCG

Hawthorn

The Hawks suffered their first defeat of the season last week to the reigning premiers in a game where the scoreboard flattered them. They were down by 33 points going into the 4th quarter when the Tigers took their foot off the pedal and let the Hawks get back into the game, however they were thoroughly beaten across the field. The Hawks come into this game close to full strength with Burgoyne being the only significant casualty on their list. Despite this, our model has them fielding a team inferior to the Demons in all areas except for their forward line. For the Hawks to win, ball magnet Mitchell will need to supply plenty of ball to the likes of Roughead, Gunston and Rioli.

Melbourne

The Demons so far this season have neither impressed nor disappointed us. All their games have been within points of what we’ve predicted the outcome to be with the exception of last week where the Roos capitulated against them in the second half. They have shown that they have the talent to make finals footy this year and we see them being able to dispatch of the Hawks more comfortably than the odds would suggest. Hogan will be key in this game to put the Demons on the scoreboard and if he can keep up his current good form, he should make things very difficult for the Hawks defense.

Betting Strategy

Our model gives a distinct advantage to the Demons with current odds on offer of $1.77 being value.

BACK – Melbourne


Geelong v St Kilda

Geelong

This is the first game of the season the Cats will be playing at their fortress Kardinia Park and they would have liked it to be under better circumstances. Unfortunately for them, they have been plagued with injuries and if this continues they may find themselves unable to even field a team of 22 players in the future. They will be coming into this game with 7 players who have less than 15 games experience which shows how badly their list has been affected. The big out is Ablett who suffered a hamstring injury last week which puts a big dent in their line-up. They come into this game as significant favourites against the inconsistent Saints which we can only attribute to the fact that the Saints have been playing some atrocious footy as of late. However, in saying that, the team match-up between these two are fairly close.

St. Kilda

The Saints have not looked good at all this season. Their inaccuracy in front of the sticks continues to haunt them and despite having some top talent on their list, they will never be taken seriously as long as they struggle to slot goals. For the Saints to win this game against an undermanned Cats team, Steven will be the key and will have to give the Saints some early confidence by providing early scoring opportunities or perhaps even kicking a goal himself. After some poor showings, they will be desperate to redeem themselves so the motivation for the Saints should be high coming into this game.

Betting Strategy

Geelong at home are definitely favourites here but our model suggests the odds of $4.50 on the Saints are value. Take the +29.5 handicap if you want the safer option.

BACK – St. Kilda

 

Sydney v GWS

Saturday 7th April, 7:25pm AEST – SCG

Sydney

The Swans were surprised by the Power last week where despite dominating the first half, suffered a disappointing 23-point loss. In Round 3, the Swans will face archrivals the Giants which will be a great contest that will be won or lost in the midfield. If both teams were fielding their best 22, they would match up very evenly, but with some pretty significant injuries for the Giants, we are giving the edge to the Swans. The loss of Scully and Greene for the Giants could prove the difference and the return of Reid to the Swans’ forward-line should take some heat off Franklin which should let him boot a handful of goals. In addition, the Swans will have a slight home ground advantage at the SCG, so all signs are pointing to the red and white being able to take this out reasonably comfortably.

GWS

Despite beating the Pies last week, it was actually a lackluster performance from the Giants. The game was neck and neck until the final quarter and their usually dangerous forward line seemed struggle to score at times. They’ll need to tidy this up if they are a chance to win against the Swans as they will be facing one of the best defenses in the competition and the absence of superstar Toby Greene will make it that much harder for them. However, they will have history on their side, with the last 3 games between the two going the way of the Giants.

Betting Strategy

Our model gives the edge to the Swans in most areas and see $1.72+ as value.

BACK – Sydney


Melbourne v North Melbourne

Saturday 7th April, 2:10pm EST – MCG

Melbourne

The Dees survived a last quarter scare by the Lions last week to eventually down them by 26. They are facing the Roos this week in what many are predicting to be an easy win for them but history has told us that these two teams often play tightly contested competitive games. The Dees will be coming into this game fielding a slightly weaker team (on paper) by choice with speedy Hunt and Pederson being dropped for Sam Frost and Dean Kent. We have the Dees as being superior in most areas, most noticeably in the midfield but not by as much as the odds are saying. The Ruck contest between Gawn and Goldstein should be an interesting contest of the old vs the new.

North Melbourne

The Roos are coming into Round 3 off the back of a thrashing of the Saints last week in what many predicted to go the other way. Although both teams were playing some truly horrendous football in the first half, the Roos did find some rhythm in the second and proved that they can be competitive despite most experts writing them off for the season. For the Roos to pull off another upset, Ben Brown will need to find the sticks with him being a key factor when the two teams have faced off previously.

Betting Strategy

Although the Dees are rightfully favourites, our model sees the odds on offer of $3.50 on the Roos as value.

 BACK – North Melbourne

Collingwood v GWS

Saturday 31st March, 4.35pm AEDT – MCG

Collingwood

In their first round against the Hawks, the Pies fell apart after the first quarter. They could barely hit a target and set shots in front of goal seemed an impossibility highlighting that the inconsistency that has plagued them in recent seasons has not gone away. They come into this week as pretty significant underdogs against the Giants who are coming off a big first round win. Although weaker in overall team skill, our model has the Pies actually matching up pretty well against the Giants which is also evident from the competitive games these two teams have had in the past, particularly their last two. Although being priced as significant underdogs in both their last two outings, the Pies won by 27 in one of them and only lost by three in the other.

GWS

The Giants are coming off a round 1 thrashing of the Western Bulldogs by 82 points. They proved once again how dangerous their forward line is with Greene, Cameron and Patton racking up 12 goals between them. We are expecting that there will be minimal change to their line-up except for the addition of Tom Scully who is slated to make his return from a knee injury. The one thing going against the Giants here is that they don’t tend to play at the MCG very well having only won 1 game there in the past and we see the Pies home ground advantage playing a significant role in the outcome of this match.

Betting Strategy

Although we are tipping the Giants to win in a close affair, we see the odds on offer of $3.60 on the Pies as value. Take the handicap if you want the safer bet.

BACK – Collingwood


Fremantle v Essendon

Saturday 31st March, 8:10pm AEDT – Optus Stadium

Fremantle

As expected the Dockers were outclassed by the Power last week, and although the scoreboard indicated that they were competitive in the first quarter, they never really looked likely to win. They will be facing another tough team in the Bombers in round 2 and although they will have the benefit of home grand advantage, we don’t see them being able to match up against the red and black. Like last week, the biggest mismatch will be in their defensive line where they will have a tough job in repelling what has become one of the most potent forward lines in the competition.

Essendon

The Bombers will be coming into Round 2 with a lot of confidence after they downed one of the pre-season premiership favourites the Crows. They showed that they have the talent to go deep this year and will want to continue this momentum as they travel to Perth. The big question mark will be whether Merrett will play after suffering a knock in the first quarter last week that sidelined him for the rest of the game. Rumblings are that he should play, however even assuming Merrett is out, our model still gives the Bombers an advantage.

One thing going against the Bombers is that they haven’t won a game in Perth since 2013 but that stat also reflects that West Coast and Fremantle were relatively stronger teams during that period. We see this as the perfect opportunity for the Bombers to break their drought.

Betting Strategy

Our model has odds of $1.60 on the Bombers as value.

 BACK – Essendon

Port Adelaide v Fremantle

Saturday 24nd March, 4:35pm AEDT – Adelaide Oval

Port Adelaide

Port Adelaide come into the 2018 season with one of their strongest lists yet and although they’ll be missing All-Australian Robbie Gray, they should still have plenty of firepower to dismantle Fremantle with ease.

The Power have been criticised over the years for their inconsistency but the one thing that has always been a constant is their ability to bully the lower end of the ladder which is where Fremantle are likely to be this season. In 2017 they beat teams in the bottom 8 by an average margin of 61 points which shows how potent their forward line can be, especially against weaker defenses. Expect the likes of Dixon and Wingard to score frequently and heavily in what is likely to be a high scoring affair.

Fremantle

The Dockers are coming into 2018 eager to prove that they are still competitive despite a 14th place finish in 2017. They have abandoned their defense heavy, stoppage heavy style of footy and will be looking to move the ball around the ground quicker than they have in the past. They will be blooding a couple of their young guns this round and if they can keep the game close, especially playing away at Adelaide, this can see this as a positive. Veteran Michael Johnson will have a tough time up back organising the Dockers’ relatively inexperienced defense against what we see as the best forward line in the competition, so this will be a good test for them.

Betting Strategy

Our model has Port Adelaide as significant favourites and even at short odds of $1.28 – $1.29 we see value.

BACK – Port Adelaide


Gold Coast v North Melbourne

Saturday 24rd March, 7:25pm AEDT – Cazaly Stadium

Gold Coast

The Suns come into 2018 with one of the youngest and most inexperienced lists in the competition. The big talking point for the Suns over the off-season was the loss of Gary Ablett to the Cats which could actually prove to be a positive for them as they will want to work on a more balanced style of footy that doesn’t rely on 1 or 2 players. Our model has them rated as below average to poor in all areas, however the big question mark will be their level of improvement over the break which should have a relatively greater upside given their young list.

North Melbourne

The Roos are in rebuild mode and know themselves that making finals this year will be a long shot. Although they have been on the decline, the Kangaroos still have some top talent in Cunnington, Goldstein, Higgins and Ziebell and we expect them to have an edge in most areas against the Suns. One of their biggest problems in prior seasons has been their ability to convert inside 50’s into scoring opportunities but we don’t see this being an issue against the Suns who are fielding one of the poorer defenses in the competition.

Betting Strategy

We see odds of $2.00 on the Kangaroos as good value.

BACK – North Melbourne



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