Port Adelaide Power v Melbourne Demons

Thursday 8/7/21

A Thursday night blockbuster pits second-placed Melbourne with four-placed Port Adelaide. This is an important clash for both sides, but particularly Port as they look to cement a spot in the top four. While they’ve won five of their past six, Port have enjoyed a breezy run in recent weeks and will need to step up a gear against the Demons. However, it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for the Demons in recent weeks, with their early season winning form taking a hit with three losses from their past six. That includes last week’s poor showing in losing to the Giants when registering their lowest score of the season. With losses also to Collingwood and Adelaide in recent weeks (and a narrow win against Essendon), it’s clear the Demons aren’t firing on all cylinders at this point. Port has the wood over the Demons in recent times, winning the past three encounters between these two sides. However, the Demons have a decent record against Port at Adelaide Oval (but it’s not a hugely relevant stat given they’ve only met at this ground twice since 2016). This is a tricky match-up, but I think the Demons are ready to return to their best and are a bet as outsiders.

Suggested bet – 2u Melbourne win at $2.12

Essendon Bombers v Adelaide Crows

Friday 9/7/21

Friday nights at Marvel Stadium have been kind to the Bombers, winning their past five at this venue and timeslot. This is an important game for the Bombers if they want to push for finals. Their Top 8 hopes have taken a hit after losing three of their past four – but three of those losses have been against quality sides Melbourne, Geelong and Richmond. The Crows have only won two of their past 11, but most would agree the very best of their exciting brand of footy can beat most sides – and that was on show when beating Melbourne earlier this season. The Bombers have a good recent record against the Crows, winning the past three encounters. The Crows are also without key forward Tex Walker but the Bombers will miss Dyson Heppell. While there’s a lot which points to the Bombers, I really don’t know if there’s as much between these two sides as the market suggests. Happy to have something on the Crows.

Suggested bets – 1u Crows win at $3.50 and 1u Crows +21.5 at $1.90

Hawthorn Hawks v Fremantle Dockers

Saturday 10/7/21

A big week for Hawthorn off-field with the coaching announcement of Sam Mitchell so it’ll be interesting how they respond. The Hawks came back to earth last week going down to Port,  following encouraging performances to beat the Giants and Swans in recent weeks. Freo would be filthy after letting slip an important opportunity against the Blues last week. I’m confident they are the better side of these two and they have much more to lose with finals within grasp. These two sides met at this ground (in Tasmania) back in 2019, and it was the Hawks way too good. The Hawks have axed four players from last week, while the Dockers remain largely unchanged and will be wanting to celebrate skipper Nat Fyfe’s 200th game in style.

Suggested bet – 1.5u Fremantle -5.5 at $1.90

Carlton Blues v Geelong Cats

Saturday 10/7/21

Last week’s stoic win against Freo has amazingly given Carlton some hope of making finals. But this is a big step up in grade as they face a Geelong side which has lost only once from their past eight matches. Carlton has made just one change, with Zac Williams returning from a one-match suspension to replace Tom Williamson. It’s not such good news for Geelong who will be without star duo Joel Selwood and Jeremy Cameron. Veteran Shaun Higgins, young ruckman Esava Ratugolea and tagger Mark O’Connor return for the Cats. The loss of Cameron is significant, but they have ample depth up forward to kick a winning score. While the Cats should win, the loss of Selwood is a concern and the market seems to be about right.

No suggested bet

Brisbane Lions v St Kilda Saints

Saturday 10/7/21

Brisbane has won 10 of its last 11 to be arguably the hottest team in the competition. With a top two spot in sights, the Lions won’t want to drop a game they simply should be winning. However, the Saints have won two on the trot, including an upset romp of Richmond a fortnight ago. Before that they only narrowly went down to the Crows and Swans. They’re starting to live up to the potential many thought they had at the start of the season and are now not without a hope of making finals. Last time these two met, St Kilda almost pulled off an upset, going down by only two points. The Saints also have a decent record at this venue of Metricon. Each side has a big inclusion with Brisbane welcoming back Lachie Neale and the Saints having midfielder  Zak Jones back in the fold. While I think the Lions should win, the head start for the Saints is enticing and they can be competitive.

Suggested bet – 1.5u +28.5 Saints at $1.90

Greater Western Sydney Giants v Gold Coast Suns

Sunday 11/7/21

The Giants haven’t lost to the Suns in their past nine matches and with a finals spot on the line, it shouldn’t change here. While the Suns will be up and about after last week’s big win over Richmond, it’s hard to see them backing it up. The Giants get Matt de Boer back and a couple of other key ins, while the Suns get Hugh Greenwood back. The Giants’ confidence will be flowing after beating Melbourne and it should be just what they need to further steady their season as they look to cement a finals spot. I think the Giants are good value and should be around the $1.25 mark.

Suggested bet – 3u Giants win at $1.41 and 2u Giants -16.5 at $1.90

Western Bulldogs v Sydney Swans

Sunday 11/7/21

The top-of-the-table Dogs have only lost once from their past nine matches at Marvel Stadium. They got the job done last week against North, while the Swans made a mess of the Eagles. The Dogs lose Aaron Naughton, but welcome back a swag of quality players and should be aided by the likes of Schache and Crozier back in the mix. Last time these two met it was the Dogs winning a low-scoring contest. I think the market has this one about right.

No suggested bet

Richmond Tigers v Collingwood Magpies

Sunday 11/7/21

Collingwood has lost its past six at the MCG but face a Richmond side which has well and truly lost its mojo. Will it return in 2021? The Tigers remain favourites, but have a number of personnel changes, losing a trio of important players while welcoming back the likes of Stack, Rioli and Nankervis. Collingwood actually have a really solid recent record against the Tigers, but with these two sides showing huge inconsistency this season, its not a game I’m keen to get involved in.

No suggested bet

West Coast Eagles North Melbourne Kangaroos

Monday 12/7/21

West Coast can really cement their reputation as flat-track bullies with a dominant win at home against the lowly Kangaroos. The Eagles will be looking to reaffirm their dominance in the west after losing here to the Bulldogs two weeks ago. However, it must be said the Eagles have been absolutely woeful the past two weeks when absolutely wiped off the park. But with Gaff and Ryan back, surely they make amends and really put the Kangaroos to the sword. While the Roos have been competitive in recent weeks, there’s too much at stake and there’s too much to prove for the under-pressure Eagles.

Suggested bet – 3u West Coast -27.5 at $1.90