The upsets continued in the second round of the 2015 AFL season and there are a number of teams that many experts rated as finals contenders that are now staring down the barrel of a 0-2 start to the year.
Round three is highlighted by two Derby clashes in Sydney and Perth, but we believe that there are a number of betting opportunities spread right across the weekend.
Collingwood Magpies vs St Kilda Saints
Friday, April 17 – 7:50pm AEST – MCG
Collingwood are set to start this clash as clear favourites, but they will be wary of a St Kilda side that has exceeded expectations so far this season. The Saints went down narrowly to the Greater Western Sydney Giants in round 1 and bounced back from that defeat to record a strong win over the Gold Coast Suns last weekend in very good style. Collingwood were brought crashing back to earth following their round 1 win when they were completely outclassed by the Adelaide Crows last weekend and look a long way off a top eight side. Despite this, the Saints have not beaten the Magpies since 2010 and the likes of Dane Swan and Scott Pendlebury should be good enough to get Collingwood over the line on Friday night.
Carlton Blues vs Essendon Bombers
Saturday, April 18 – 1:45pm AEST – MCG
Essendon had plenty of excuses to make a slow start to the season, but their two impressive performances in the opening two rounds have many experts touting them as a top four team. The Bombers let a big lead slip against the Swans, but bounced back to score a miraculous last grasp victory over the Hawks last Sunday. The Blues have been simply woeful in 2015 to date and if inspirational leader Chris Judd goes down with an injury they could be genuine wooden spoon contenders. If Essendon are able to maintain the high level of performance that they have shown in the first two rounds they will prove far too good for this extremely lackluster Carlton side.
Adelaide Crows vs Melbourne Demons
Saturday, April 18 – 2:10pm AEST – Adelaide Oval
The Adelaide Crows are another side that have made an outstanding start to the 2015 AFL season and they have an excellent chance to start the season with three consecutive victories since 2002. The Crows absolutely dominated the Magpies last weekend and the winning margin should have been far more than it ended up being. The Demons started the season with a strong win over the Gold Coast Suns and looked like they had a second win in their grasps last weekend, but were steamrolled badly by the Giants in the final stages and gave up the four points. The Demons beat the Crows in their only meeting last year, but Patrick Dangerfield and Taylor Walker should ensure that history does not repeat itself in 2015.
Sydney Swans vs Greater Western Sydney Giants
Saturday, April 18 – 4:35pm AEST – SCG
This is easily the most anticipated Sydney Derby in history as both of these teams are taking undefeated records into this weekend’s clash. The Giants famously beat the Swans in round one last season and they will be taking plenty of confidence into this game following their gritty wins over the Saints and the Demons. This is obviously a huge step-up for the Giants and the Swans bounced back from a lackluster opening round effort to prove far too good for Port Adelaide last weekend. The Swans still have room to improvement and they should be able to get the four points, but the Giants are a good bet to beat the line of 38.5 points.
North Melbourne Kangaroos vs Port Adelaide Power
Saturday, April 18 – 7:20pm AEST – Etihad Stadium
Port Adelaide have started their season with two tough loses and face another tricky assignment against North Melbourne on Saturday. The Power have lost no admirers in their two losses to the Fremantle Dockers and Sydney Swans this season and they look good value to turn around their poor recent record against the Kangaroos. North Melbourne bounced back from their round 1 flogging to beat the Brisbane Lions last Sunday, but this is a far more difficult assignment. The Kangaroos midfield has simply not fired this season, producing just 316 disposals, and we expect that they will be outclassed by a Power side that is hungry for a return to winning form.
Brisbane Lions vs Richmond Tigers
Saturday, April 18 – 7:40pm AEST – The Gabba
The Richmond Tigers have dominated the Brisbane Lions in recent years and they have shown no problems travelling to the Gabba. The Tigers looked like finals contenders in round 1, but their inconsistency shown through yet again when they went down to the Western Bulldogs last weekend. Richmond can’t let games like this one slip if they want to play finals football for the third season in a row. The Lions have been decimated by injury so far this season and they will take an understrength side into this game. Brisbane have not beaten Richmond at home in the past decade and they don’t look likely to turn that around on Saturday.
Hawthorn Hawks vs Western Bulldogs
Sunday, April 19 – 1:10pm AEST – Aurora Stadium
Hawthorn let what looked like a certain win against the Bombers slip last weekend and they will be desperate to return to winning form against the Western Bulldogs this weekend. Both coach Alastair Clarkson and captain Luke Hodge were highly critical of their sides efforts and they will be determined not to drop another four points this weekend. The Bulldogs have been the surprise packages of the season to date and new coach Luke Beveridge has the side playing a style of football that has been applauded by many in the league. The Hawks is another task altogether for the Bulldogs, but they have the advantage of Beveride’s inside knowledge of the Hawks. The Hawks will win, but the Bulldogs are a good bet to beat the spread for the third week in a row.
Geelong Cats vs Gold Coast Suns
Sunday, April 19 – 3:20pm AEST – Simonds Stadium
This game has been dubbed the Gary Ablett Cup in recent years, but the many himself will not be present this weekend after being ruled out for an indefinite period due to his ongoing shoulder problem. The absence of Ablett takes a great deal of the spite out of this game and the Suns have looked simply woeful without their captain on the field this season. The Cats have also been disappointing in the first two rounds of the season and this has been their first start to a campaign since 2004. It is becoming increasingly clear that the Premiership window has closed on the Cats, but they have too much quality to go down to a Suns side that has just not clicked in 2015.
West Coast Eagles vs Fremantle Dockers
Sunday, April 19 – 4:40pm AEST – Domain Stadium
The Western Coast Eagles won the first nine editions of the Western Derby and held an 18-5 advantage just a decade ago, but the rivalry has changed completely in recent years and the Dockers have won 12 of their past 15 meetings. The Dockers will be confident that they can extend their recent dominance over their Western Australian rivals this weekend after their strong start to the season and their in-form midfield should be able to run right over the top of the Eagles this weekend. The Eagles proved too strong for a disappointing Carlton side last weekend, but they have struggled against top eight teams in recent years and will struggle to match it with the Dockers.