Brisbane Lions v Richmond Tigers
Apart from last year’s loss in week one of the finals here at the Gabba, the Tigers have dominated the Lions in recent encounters. That also includes an away win last year in round 10 at Metricon. The Gabba is also a happy hunting ground for the Tigers, especially after the grand final triumph of 2020. Neither side got this season off to a flying start early on, but it’s the Lions seemingly steadying the ship most now on the back of five straight wins. Having said that, it’s been against moderate opposition barring the win over the Power a fortnight ago. Richmond come off a stirring come-from-behind victory to beat the Giants last week and also accounted for a quality Bulldogs side three weeks ago. Given this better form, Richmond look a silly price here and are certainly worth a bet.
Suggested bets – 1u Richmond +17.5 at $1.90 and 1u Richmond win at $3.10
Carlton Blues v Hawthorn Hawks
The Hawks showed glimpses earlier on this season that they might not be pushovers in 2021, but that’s quickly changed after losing seven from their past eight matches. Carlton has also lost four of its past five, but they’ve endured a tough stretch with losses to better side in Melbourne, Bulldogs, Brisbane and Port. The Blues are without Casboult and Cuningham for this clash, and have lost their past three to the Hawks, but they shouldn’t be losing this one. The Blues simply cannot afford to lose a clash like this against a rebuilding Hawks outfit, otherwise serious questions will be posed about where they’re headed.
Suggested bet – 1.5u Carlton -19.5 at $1.90
Geelong Cats v Gold Coast Suns
Geelong is back in the top four after winning six of their past eight and have beaten the Suns by 102 and 47 points in recent starts at this venue. The Suns welcome back some key players – and importantly some experience with Touk Miller and Alex Sexton – but it’s hard to see them being the difference in this one. The Cats should win comfortably, but the line for this clash seems about right. Despite it being a Saturday afternoon game, the Suns might be able to avoid a total whitewash.
No suggested bet
Adelaide Crows v Melbourne Demons
Melbourne should be making a 10-0 start to the season against a Crows side in the midst of a five-game losing streak. The Crows make the return from Perth after losing to West Coast, where they were competitive for much of the clash. Despite the Crows being on home turf and getting Tex Waker back in the side, it’s difficult to see any vulnerability in this irrepressible Melbourne side. They should win, but the minus line of less than 30 seem about right given the vocal Crows’ home crowd and return of Walker cannot be totally underestimated.
No suggested bet
Western Bulldogs v St Kilda Saints
While this is 2nd versus 11th, I’m not entirely sure their ladder positions are a true indication of their ability. The Bulldogs are still not absolute top four locks, and the Saints could push for a top eight berth. It’s also been a big week for Saints young gun Max King after agreeing to a four-year contract extension. They’ll need more than a bag from King here, especially with Adam Treloar in superb form since shifting from the Pies. A few key injuries for both sides, with Geary returning for the Saints and Wood a loss for the Dogs’ defence. The Dogs have won their past six at Marvel and their only loss this season was to the reigning premiers Richmond. While the Saints have been plagued by inconsistency, there’s no denying their absolute can test the top teams. The Saints have also won their past three against the Bulldogs. Difficult match to assess and it’s tricky predicting which Saints side will rock up, but I think they could keep this one close.
Suggested bet – 0.5u +24.5 Saints at $1.90
Fremantle Dockers v Sydney Swans
After an extended road trip resulting in three straight losses, Freo finally gets to play at home where they have only lost to the Eagles this season. Freo has also beaten Sydney at both recent clashes, which were at this venue. It’s tough to match up these two sides, with Freo threatening to mix it with some of the competition’s better sides, and the Swans steadied after a flying start to the season to sit 5-3. I think the Swans are likely the better side and if they handle the road trip, should be too good for the Dockers.
Suggested bet – 1u Swans -1.5 at $1.90
Greater Western Sydney Giants v West Coast Eagles
The Giants will be seething after letting go of a 28-point lead in the third quarter against the Tigers last week. Now they come up against a West Coast side which has beaten them the past four but has been beating up on bottom eight sides (apart from beating Port) and struggled against the better outfits in recent weeks. The Giants recent form is quite similar, but they at least have the standout performance of almost beating the Tigers. Some key personnel changes for both sides, with Toby Greene out for the Giants, but they do get Finlayson and Mumford back, among others. The Eagles lose McGovern but gain Hurn and Ryan. The Eagles are also struggling away from home. Given these concerns when playing outside Perth, and the Giants undefeated at game this season, I’m happy to back the home side here.
Suggested bet – 1.5u Giants win at $2.10
Collingwood Magpies v Port Adelaide Power
Port come into this with question marks swirling about whether they are a genuine top four side after being outclassed when hosting the Dogs last week. They will be wanting to make a statement against a Pies side with only two wins all year. However, the Power’s away record this year is far from impressive, with wins only against Carlton and the Kangaroos. They also have a few injury concerns with Fantasia and Clurey out, and the Pies welcome back Taylor Adams. This is probably why Port is $1.42 and not $1.15, but I’m still shocked at the market given this is 5th versus 16th (and probably a fair indication of where these two sides will finish by season’s end).
Suggested bet – 2.5u Port win at $1.42
Essendon Bombers v North Melbourne Roos
Could the Kangaroos make it two in a row here? Given the Bombers’ patchy form, it’s not totally unrealistic that the Roos could extend the winning streak to two. The Roos have produced a number of credible performances this year and their form doesn’t stack up too far from what the Bombers have delivered. The downside is that the Bombers have won their past five against the Roos. At the prices, I’ll have a small wager on an upset.
Suggested bet – 0.5u Kangaroos win at $3.50