Sydney Swans v Essendon
These two sides come off similar upset wins last week, but it was the Swans most impressive in their 45-point romp of reigning premiers Richmond. The Swans have surprised many by starting the season in scintillating fashion to be undefeated. Perhaps most impressive is the calibre of sides they’ve beaten thus far – grand finalists Geelong and Richmond and an improving Adelaide side. It’s no surprise they’ve come up short-priced favourites against an Essendon which last week took advantage of a lacklustre Saints outfit to record its first win for the season. Interestingly, the Bombers have performed well in their last four encounters with the Swans. There is also a hint of rain for this clash so while I think the Swans should cover this line, it’s a low confidence bet.
Suggested bet: 0.5u Swans -28.5 at $1.90
Port Adelaide v Richmond
An opportunity for Port to exact revenge from last year’s narrow preliminary final loss to the Tigers. Both teams come off big losses with Richmond’s shock thrashing at the hands of Sydney and Port’s dismal first half showing in the West to lose convincingly to the Eagles. Dion Prestia is an important loss for the Tigers and Trent Cotchin is also under some cloud with his hamstring. Recent clashes between these two at Adelaide Oval have invariably been close encounters and expect this will be played out in similar fashion. I like Port here at home, but the six-day break and trip back from Perth is a slight concern so it’s another low confidence play.
Suggested bet: 0.5u Port -7.5 at $1.90
Western Bulldogs v Brisbane
Although I’ve got genuine concerns on just how good the Lions are going early this season, the Bulldogs seem to be quite short in the market here. Brisbane has also beaten the Doggies in the pair’s most recent two clashes – both at the Gabba. The Dogs are undefeated and come off a mammoth three-figure win against the hapless Kangaroos, while the Lions recorded their first win of the season after Zac Bailey’s post-siren goal against Collingwood. Josh Bruce and Adam Treloar are firing for the Dogs and the Lions are still hampered by a dearth in the ruck department. That alone makes it hard to pick the Lions with any confidence, but at the price I’m happy to have a small play at the upset.
Suggested bet: 0.5u Brisbane at $2.65
St Kilda v West Coast
The Saints are surely a much better footy side than they showed in last week’s humiliation by Essendon. Having said that, the Saints have lost four of the last five to the Eagles. They get the advantage of playing at home, and many would argue the Saints are a side on the up this year, while the Eagles were not tipped to be huge improvers. It may bring the Saints into this clash as they attempt to wipe last week’s dismal showing. However, the Eagles were back to their dominant best at home smashing a quality side in Port and injury to Jade Gresham will be a big loss for the Saints. While last week’s results suggest the Eagles should account for the Saints here easily, I’m wary of St Kilda being hellbent to hit back after the loss to the Bombers.
No suggested bet
Gold Coast v Carlton
I like the brand of footy being played by the Gold Coast, despite only racking up one win so far this season. They were gallant in defeat against a Crows side buoyed by home ground advantage. The Suns should revel being back at home but face a Carlton side with much-needed confidence after scoring its first win for the season against Freo. Whilst I like the Suns, there’s a huge question mark in their ruck department after losing co-captain Jarrod Witts with a season-ending knee injury. Unfortunately, the Suns have been decimated with injury, making this a tall task to quickly pivot its game plan around such important personnel losses. Carlton will be out to prove last week’s win over an injury-decimated Dockers side was no fluke.
No suggested bet
Collingwood v Greater Western Sydney
The Giants have beaten Collingwood at three of their past four outings but are a side low on confidence and cohesion in season 2021. The Pies come off an agonising loss to the Lions last Friday night and will no doubt learn plenty from some costly mistakes late in the game. While the Giants have been woeful to start the season, it would have been impossible to imagine at the start of the season there’d be such a price discrepancy between the two here for this early season clash. The Pies are enjoying some luck with only a handful of players on the sideline through injury, while the Giants are battling injuries to several key players. The Pies should be good too good here but the price is a little slim so I’ll take the punt they can exploit the Giants injury list and can cover the line here.
Suggested bet: 1u Collingwood -25.5 at $1.90
North Melbourne v Adelaide
After some tough early games to start the round, I’m keen to bet up on the Crows here. The Kangaroos haven’t got near their three opponents to date, while the Crows have shown great improvement and sit 2-1. While finals will likely be a stretch for the Crows, they’ve shown they are nowhere near the side they were when finishing at the bottom of the ladder last year. The Kangaroos have beaten the Crows at their past two clashes, but it’s clear the Kangaroos are a side struggling to stay off the bottom of the ladder in 2021. I like the Crows to cover the line and do it easily.
Suggested bet: 3u Adelaide -20.5 at $1.90
Melbourne v Geelong
This looms as a Sunday treat with the unbeaten Demons taking on a Geelong side ripe for the picking. Geelong could get the services of returning Jeremy Cameron and Sam Menegola, while they will likely be without Shaun Higgins to go with already missing Patrick Dangerfield and Gary Rohan. The Demons recent record against the Cats is quite competitive and they’ll be looking to keep their unbeaten streak alive against a side which has limped past two opponents to go 2-1 after being thrashed by Adelaide in round one. I like Melbourne but the likely return of some key Cats has somewhat tempered my enthusiasm.
Suggested bet: 0.5u Melbourne at $2.05
Fremantle v Hawthorn
Despite sitting at 1-2, Hawthorn have proved to be a surprise packet to start the season after narrowly losing to the Cats last week. In contrast, the Dockers’ only win came at home in round two beating the struggling Giants. The Hawks have won four of the past five clashes with the Dockers, narrowly losing their last encounter at Optus Stadium. Home ground and the return of Nat Fyfe will certainly aid the Dockers but this looms as a game the Hawks will be hoping to win if they are a genuine finals side.
Suggested bet: 1u Hawthorn win at $2.60