All eyes will be firmly fixed on the bottom of the eight this week as the Saints, Bulldogs, Demons and Giants all scramble to keep their season alive.
The top four could also be set for a shakeup with Collingwood taking on Port, leaving the Lions one last opportunity to finish the year on top of the ladder.
This year’s home and away season has been unlike any other, so a couple of last-minute upsets would only be fitting.
With plenty of value on offer across all nine games, we’ve previewed everything you need to know in our 2020 AFL Round 18 Preview below.
West Coast Eagles
Thursday September 17, 7:10pm, Metricon
West Coast remains in control of its own destiny when they take on North Melbourne on Thursday night.
A win for the Eagles will be enough to secure the double-chance throughout the finals, while a loss would still leave them with home-field advantage against the eighth seed in the Elimination Final.
Fortunately for West Coast fans, the Roos appear to be easy pickings.
North has now lost seven in a row following last Saturday’s 64-point defeat against Fremantle, but there are a few signs to suggest this game might be a little closer.
West Coast has won only once in five games at Metricon this year, which doesn’t bode well for their chances heading into the finals.
Dom Sheed and Brendon Ah Chee also join Jack Redden, Lewis Jetta, Ellliot Yeo and Luke Shuey, on the sidelines, making up a long list of outs heading into a vital game.
It’s been tough to find much to like about North this year, but with a chance to close things out on a high note, the +36.5 line looks great value.
Tip: Back North Melbourne to Cover the Line (+36.5 Points) @ $2.00
Friday September 18, 7:50pm, Gabba
It’s a “win and you’re in” type scenario on Friday night.
Currently sitting seventh, St Kilda find themselves as the favourite in the market despite suffering a 15-point loss to West Coast last week that has now left them with everything to play for.
If the Saints win, they’ll secure their spot in the finals, but if the Giants pull off an upset, it’s safe to say St Kilda fans will have a nervous weekend on their hands.
A Giants and Bulldogs win, plus a Demons victory by 25-points or more over the Bombers would be enough to knock the Saints out of the eight.
GWS, meanwhile, can still play finals if they win and both the Demons and Bulldogs lose respectively.
The Giants have had the wood over the Saints in recent years winning three of their last five meetings, but it’s difficult to trust them after losing back-to-back games to Melbourne and Adlaide.
GWS’ biggest problem this year has been getting the ball inside 50, and they aren’t about to find life any easier against a St Kilda side that has allowed the sixth-fewest entries to opponents.
With four more games of experience at the Gabba also working to their advantage, the Saints look a good bet to punch their ticket.
Tip: Back the Saints 1-39 @ $2.00
Saturday September 19, 2:10pm, Metricon
The Demons find themselves in an all-too familiar position as they hope to avoid finishing ninth for the second time in the last four years.
Melbourne fans should be rooting for GWS on Friday night against the Saints before tackling the Bombers at Metricon on Saturday.
Winning is paramount this week for the Dees, but if they can go about it in spectacular fashion, they’ll really boost their chances.
A win by 25 points or more would help separate the Dees and the Saints on percentage, while a Bulldogs loss to Fremantle would also help Melbourne’s cause.
The Demons find themselves in this spot after losing back-to-back games to Sydney and Fremantle, so if you’re feeling a little anxious about backing Melbourne, you probably aren’t the only one.
Essendon, on the other hand, will relish the chance to spoil the party.
The Dons have now lost three straight in blowout fashion, but they will hold fond memories of last year’s 130-112 win over the Demons.
This game probably won’t be quite as high scoring, but don’t be surprised if the Dons give up a ton of points.
Four of Essendon’s last five opponents have scored over 70 points, likely due to the fact they rank fourth in goals allowed.
Tip: Over the Points Total
Saturday September 19, 5:10pm, Adelaide Oval
This rematch of the 2017 Grand Final has suddenly become a little more intriguing thanks to Adelaide’s three game winning streak.
The Crows remain undefeated through September with wins over Hawthorn, GWS and Carlton, but they are about to meet a whole new level of competition against a Richmond side hoping to remain in the top four.
The Tigers were impressive last week in their 26-point win over Geelong and they are currently being favoured by a similar margin at the line.
Richmond actually lost to Adelaide when these two sides last met down south, but a lot has obviously changed since then.
A date with Brisbane is on the cards in the Qualifying Final if all things go to plan.
The Tigers did suffer a couple of key injuries to Tom Lynch (hamstring) and Ivan Soldo (ACL), but even so, Richmond still have enough talent on the park to hand the Crows another harsh dose of reality.
Tip: Back Richmond to Cover the Line (-21.5 Points) @ $2.00
Saturday September 19, 7:40pm, Gabba
Brisbane still stand a chance at finishing on top of the ladder as they also look to build on their momentum heading into the finals.
A victory over the Swans last week was enough to ensure a home final over the opening two rounds, but with goal-kicking still proving a problem, Chris Fagan will be hoping his side can right some of their wrongs before things get serious.
Carlton’s season is over after losing to the Crows last Sunday and it’s tough to see them squeaking out a win.
The Blues have notoriously struggled at the Gabba in recent years, so it comes as no shock to find them as +25.5 underdogs in the market.
Carlton are 0-3 in their last three games as the away underdog against Brisbane and they’ve also allowed the fifth-most goals in the league.
With the Lions looking to make a statement and maybe grab the top spot, don’t be surprised if they pile on some points here.
Tip: Back the Lions to Cover the Line (-25.5 Points) @ $2.00
Gold Coast Suns
Sunday September 20, 1:05pm, Adelaide Oval
The Hawks will farewell a couple of Premiership legends on Sunday in their final game of the season.
Paul Puopolo and captain Ben Stratton both announced their retirement during the week as Hawthorn hopes to send both players off on a high note.
Likewise, the Suns are also hoping to cap 2020 off with a win after fading down the stretch.
Gold Coast has now lost four of its last five games after coming up short to Collingwood last Monday night, while the Hawks are in much worse shape in the midst of a seven-game losing skid.
This game should be a quirky one with both sides playing on the neutral turf at Adelaide Oval.
The Hawks have been hubbed up in South Australia for the last month, which should play to their advantage.
The Suns, meanwhile, haven’t played in Adelaide all year.
Hawthorn should be up and about for this game with two of their stars retiring and there really isn’t as much separating these two sides as the betting suggests.
The Hawks have won their last two games against the Suns and should at the very least keep this game close.
Tip: Back the Hawks to Cover the Line (+6.5 Points) @ $2.00
Sunday September 20, 3:35pm, Metricon
The Cats find themselves in the thick of the action this week with the Eagles challenging for their spot in the top four.
A win for Geelong could potentially see the Cats into third, but they won’t have things all their own way against a Swans side that has proven themselves to be a handful at times this year.
Despite what the score suggests, the Swans actually found themselves within a goal against the Lions during the fourth quarter last week.
That being said, the Cats have been an outstanding betting play on the back of a previous loss winning four of their last five games.
Geelong should be hungry to prove a point following their flat performance against Richmond last week, and with the Swans winless in two games at Metricon, they look good money to do so.
Tip: Back Geelong 1-39 @ $1.83
Sunday September 20, 6:10pm, Cazaly's Stadium
All the Dogs have to do is win, simple as that.
A win over Fremantle would ensure Luke Beveridge’s side a spot in the eight, while a Giants victory over the Saints could actually see them finish as high as sixth on the ladder.
If the Bulldogs lose, there is also a scenario where they could wind up playing finals if the Saints win and the Bombers beat the Demons.
All of this might be easier said than done though when you consider how resilient the Dockers have been this season.
Fremantle own wins over St Kilda, Collingwood and Melbourne this year, and with a chance to finish 10th on the ladder, there’s a good chance they’ll take this game very seriously.
The Dockers have won four of their last five games against the Dogs and are fresh from a 64-point win over North Melbourne last week.
Fremantle are really starting to see some strong production from their younger players, which has helped take some of the pressure off Nat Fyfe and Michael Walters.
The Dogs have been streaky at times this year and it’s very difficult to read too much into last week’s win over Hawthorn.
Freo have been the second-best side to bet on at the line this season covering in 10 of their 16 games.
With a chance to end the season on a high note, take the Dockers to keep it tight.
Tip: Back Fremantle to Cover the Line (+12.5 Points) @ $2.00
Monday September 21, 7:15pm, Gabba
The Power have their fingerprints on the minor premiership after securing the double chance last week in a win over the Bombers.
Port have been favoured heavily to win their fifth game in a row, which comes as no surprise against a Collingwood outfit that required all four quarters to dispose of the Suns last Monday.
The win over Gold Cost ensured Collingwood a spot in the finals for the third consecutive year, while a victory in the final round could see them finish as high as sixth.
Collingwood has an added advantage playing at the Gabba for the sixth time in a row.
The Pies are 4-2 in Brisbane this year, although it is worth mentioning Port have held their own at the Gabba winning two from three.
This game should have a real finals-like feel to it as both sides try and build on their momentum.
Collingwood has won its last two games against Port, but it’s hard to see a well-coached team like the Power relinquishing the chance to capture the minor premiership once and for all.
Tip: Back Port Adelaide 1-39
The upsets continued in the AFL last weekend and the competition continues to produce from a betting perspective.
This is another round with games between a host of finals contenders and there is no doubt that it will have a clear bearing on the final make-up of the top eight.
We have analysed all nine games set to take place this weekend and our complete 2019 AFL Round 18 tips can be found below.
Friday July 19, 7:20pm, Adelaide Oval
This is a huge game for both these sides that are just sitting inside the top eight.
Adelaide returned to winning form with a dominant victory over the Gold Coast Suns, but it really is tough to take anything from that win.
Their form before that had been shakey and they have won only five of their past nine matches as home favourites, while they are a poor 3-6 against the line in this scenario.
Essendon have clawed their way into the top eight with three wins on the trot and they have held their nerve in each of these wins over GWS, Sydney and North Melbourne.
Winning away from home has been something of an issue for the Bombers this season and they have won only two of their past seven games as away underdogs for a clear loss.
It really would not surprise to see these two sides produce a Friday night thriller and I don’t think there will be as much between these sides as the current market suggests.
Back Either Team To Win By Less Than 15.5 Points @ $2.70
Saturday July 20, 1:45pm, MCG
Are Richmond back?
It certainly looks that way.
Richmond have had their AFL premiership odds slashed after they recorded a pair of impressive wins over the Gold Coast Suns and GWS and they will go into this clash with Port Adelaide as clear favourites.
The Tigers have won ten of their past 11 games as home favourites for a clear profit and they are an impressive 7-4 against the line in this scenario.
Port Adelaide’s struggle for consistency continues.
They were excellent against Adelaide in Showdown 47, but they produced a truly pitiful performance against the Brisbane Lions last weekend and they have claimed back-to-back wins only twice in the past 12 months.
Port Adelaide have won three of their past eight games as away underdogs, but their record against the line in this scenario is no better.
Richmond are looking to make a statement over the next month and they should prove too strong for Port Adelaide.
Back Richmond To Cover The Line (-23.5 Points) @ $1.90
Gold Coast Suns
Saturday July 20, 2:10pm, Marvel Stadium
A Carlton win in this clash could very well deliver the Gold Coast Suns another wooden spoon.
Carlton head into this clash on the back of a fighting win over Sydney and this is the shortest price that they have started a match for some time.
This is the first time that Carlton have started a game as favourites in over 12 months and it will be interesting to see how they handle that pressure.
The Suns were able to beat Carlton when they met earlier this season, but it is fair to say that the Suns have gone backwards since then.
Their past two defeats, at the hands of Adelaide and Richmond, have been particularly poor and it is impossible to have any faith in this side from a betting perspective.
They have won only two of their past ten games as away underdogs and they are 4-6 against the line in this scenario.
Patrick Cripps To Have 30+ Disposals @ $1.90
Saturday July 20, 4:35pm, GIANTS Stadium
The market suggests that this will be the most competitive game of the weekend.
The injury crisis at Greater Western Sydney worsened when Stephen Coniglio went down against Richmond last weekend, but they will still start this clash as narrow favourites.
They have fallen out of the top four following a string of losses to Essendon, Brisbane and Richmond and they desperately need to return to winning form.
The Giants have won seven of their past ten games as home favourites for a small loss and they are a flat 5-5 against the line in this scenario.
Collingwood ended their own winning streak with a narrow win over the West Coast Eagles and that is sure to be a confidence builder for Nathan Buckley’s men.
The Magpies have won two of their past five games as away underdogs for a clear profit and winning on the road has not been an issue this season.
It is worrying times at GWS and I think that Collingwood can resign them to another defeat.
Back Collingwood To Win @ $1.97
Saturday July 20, 7:25pm, The Gabba
The Brisbane Lions are into $9 to win the AFL Premiership and their popularity in Brisbane is the greatest that it has been in a decade.
Brisbane go into this clash on the back of four straight wins and they have been absolutely outstanding away from home against GWS and Port Adelaide over the past fortnight.
The Lions have been one of the most reliable betting teams in the entire competition this season and they have generally got the job done as favourites.
Brisbane have won five of their past six games as home favourites for a clear profit and they are 4-2 against the line in this scenario.
North Melbourne’s finals aspirations took a hit when they went down to Essendon last weekend and this is the type of game that they need to win if they are going to finish inside the top four.
The Kangaroos have played some decent football away from home this season and they have covered the line in five of their past eight games as away underdogs for a profit.
The betting play that does appeal in this clash is the Over in Total Points betting.
The line has been set at 167.5 points and that mark has been cleared in the past five matches played between these two teams.
Back Over 167.5 Points @ $1.90
Saturday July 20, 7:25pm, Optus Stadium
This is a must-win for either of these teams if they want to have any chance of playing finals football in 2019.
It has been a tough month for Fremantle.
They haven’t won a game since they beat Port Adelaide on June 15th and they have been particularly poor against West Coast and Hawthorn over the past fortnight.
They will still start this clash as favourites and it is home-ground advantage that could prove key.
They have won six of their past eight games as home favourites and the home side has won seven of the past eight games played between these two sides.
Sydney’s season hit a new low when they went down to Carlton last weekend and they look set to miss the top eight for the first time since 2009.
The Swans record in Perth is poor and they have won only four of their past ten games on the road.
This is Fremantle’s chance to end their losing streak and return to winning form.
Back Fremantle To Win @ $1.60
Sunday July 21, 1:10pm, MCG
The rivalry between Geelong and Hawthorn is one of the fiercest in the AFL and there is still no love lost between these two sides.
Geelong returned to winning form with a professional win over St Kilda last weekend and they will start this clash as clear favourites.
The Cats have won ten of their past 11 games as home favourites for a clear profit and they are 8-3 against the line in this scenario.
Hawthorn have found some form in recent weeks and they head into this game on the back of a pair of impressive wins over Collingwood and Fremantle.
The Hawks have generally been a predictable betting side this season – they have won as favourites and failed to get the job done as underdogs.
Hawthorn have covered the line in only five of their past 13 games as underdogs and it would not surprise to see Geelong flex their muscles against their rivals this weekend.
Back Geelong To Cover The Line (-20.5 Points) @ $1.90
West Coast Eagles
Sunday July 21, 3:20pm, Alice Springs
This is a rematch of last year’s Preliminary Final and it is fair to say that Melbourne have not been the same team since then.
No team in the AFL this season has been worse from a betting perspective than Melbourne and it doesn’t get any easier for them against West Coast.
The Demons have won only four of their past 13 games as underdogs and they are 6-7 against the line when being given a start.
West Coast suffered a heart-breaking defeat at the hands of Collingwood last weekend and they are 5-1 on the back of a loss over the past 12 months.
The Eagles have won 14 of their past 18 games as favourites for a clear profit and they are 11-7 against the line in this scenario.
It might not be as ugly as the Preliminary Final last season, but West Coast should still prove far too strong for the Melbourne in this encounter.
Back West Coast To Cover The Line (-13.5 Points) @ $1.90
Sunday July 21, 4:40pm, Marvel Stadium
The Western Bulldogs are making a charge towards the top eight and they will go into this clash with St Kilda as clear favourites.
They proved their wins over Port Adelaide and Geelong were no flukes when they kept their call to outlast Melbourne last weekend.
Winning as favourites has been something of an issue for the Bulldogs and they have won only four of their past seven games in this scenario, while they are 2-5 against the line when giving away a start.
St Kilda parted company with Alan Richardson during the week, after six unsuccessful seasons at the helm, and the new-coach bounce has definitely been a factor in the AFL this season.
Carlton and North Melbourne have both improved significantly since Brendan Bolton and Brad Scott were removed from their positions and it will be interesting to see if the Saints are able to follow suit.
St Kilda have won only three of their past 16 games as underdogs and they are a battling 7-9 against the line in this scenario.
This looks set to be a low-scoring clash and the Total Points line of 161.5 points does seem excessive.
Less than that figure have been scored in four of the past five games played between these two sides and I would be surprised if that figure is exceeded.
Under 161.5 Points
The footy landscape took another turn last week.
With just six weeks left to play, the finals picture is starting to shape up, and it’s do-or-die time for the likes of Essendon, Geelong, Hawthorn and North Melbourne.
Who’s holding onto their spot in the eight?
We’ve previewed all nine games, and our 2018 AFL Round 18 Tips can be found below!
Friday 20 July, 7:50pm, Etihad Stadium
The $6.00 odds tell the full story – St. Kilda are no chance, right?
On the back of a win over Carlton last Friday, the Saints are searching for two straight, and although these teams are at complete opposite ends of the spectrum (and the ladder) you don’t have to rewind very far to find St. Kilda’s last win over the Tigers.
The Saints were heavy outsiders back then as they are now, but Round 17 provided the upset as St. Kilda defeated Richmond 138-71.
Of course, these two have met recently, with the Tigers recording an equally impressive blowout over the Saints back in Round 10 earlier this year.
If you’ll remember, Josh Caddy booted six goals that day to lead them to a 28-point victory.
So where does all that leave us now?
St. Kilda have every right to hold their heads high following last week’s win.
The three Jack’s were all impressive, with Steven, Steele and Billings all recording 30+ disposals.
The Tigers, though, they were just unlucky, and after several missed shots at goal, a hungry Richmond outfit looking for revenge on last week’s disappointment against GWS is a scary thought.
Now having lost four games on the road, the Tigers will be out to prove to their critics that they are still the team to beat.
Fortunately for the yellow and black, Daniel Rioli has booted six goals over the last three weeks, complimenting Jack Riewoldt’s efforts up forward.
Take nothing away from the Saints, they’ve played some hard footy over the last month, which has so far kept Alan Richardson in a job.
Against one of the best first and fourth quarter teams in the competition, though, this should be nothing more than a serious belting.
Back Richmond 40+ @ $1.90
Saturday 21 July, 1:45pm, MCG
It was hardly a Sunday fun-day for these two sides last weekend.
Collingwood’s loss to the Eagles cost the Pies second spot on the ladder, while North did themselves no favours by failing to capitalize against an under-strength Sydney team.
You could say North’s meeting with Sydney was the game of the year, and it’s not very often we see Majak Daw kick a four-goal bag, but still, the Roos’ loss might have cost them a spot in the eight, but these Shinboners aren’t done just yet.
For Collingwood, much of last week’s woes came through the midfield, but it was their woes in front of the sticks that hurt the most.
The Pies led by just one-point at halftime, but after 15 scoring shots to West Coast’s nine, it certainly should have been much, much more.
Mark it down as just an off day if you will, but it’s clear even Jordan de Goey’s four-goal bags won’t always be enough to get the Pies over the line – especially against the competitions elite.
You can hardly place North Melbourne in that category of course, and as we saw last week, the Roos’ inability to win centre clearances when it counted was what ultimately cost them against the Swans.
The last two encounters between these teams have hardly been close, but given the magnitude of this game and the finals stakes on the line for North Melbourne, this one should be a tight affair.
Given the battered and bruised shape of Collingwood’s back-line, though, North Melbourne are the pick here.
The Pies allowed eight goals between William Rioli, Mark LeCras and Josh Kennedy last week, and things don’t get any easier with Daw and Ben Brown up next.
Back North Melbourne To Win @ $2.45
Gold Coast Suns
Saturday 21 July, 2:10pm, SCG
Who says Sydney aren’t a premiership contender?
Even when the chips are down, the Swans just keep on marching.
Dan Hannebery and Jarrad McVeigh’s absence looked to seriously hinder Sydney’s shot at the flag, but aside from Buddy Franklin booting his 900th goal last week, the Swans once again caught a serious case of Ronke-itis.
The young Ben Ronke has turned into a serious sensation this season, rejuvenating Sydney’s forward line for the future.
His five-goal bag last week wasn’t quite as impressive as his seven-goal bag against the Hawks back in Round 8, but he has a chance to outdo himself against the lowly Suns at home this week.
Gold Coast’s season went from worst to, well, desperate last week against the Bombers.
Okay, full credit, the Suns were in this game up until half time, but the belief seemingly fell away as the Bombers went on to win by 44-points.
Round 23 can’t come quick enough now for Stuart Dew, and with a trip to face Sydney at the SCG, suddenly the Suns could be looking at the wooden spoon following what could be their 12th straight loss.
The Swans’ ability to win crucial clearances last week was great, but more impressively, their ability to hold their nerve showed true signs of an experienced premiership team.
North Melbourne booted ahead in the dying stages of the final term, but a clutch goal from Aliir Aliir on the heels of two freakish snaps from Buddy Franklin highlighted how dangerous this team is when they are given just a sniff.
With that in mind, the Swans should have no trouble here at home.
Back Sydney To Cover The Line (-52.5 Points)
Saturday 21 July, 4:35pm, Etihad Stadium
Looks like the Bombers aren’t done just yet.
Essendon’s victory over the Suns last week ensured the finals are still within reach, and with a handy game up next against the Dockers, John Worsfold’s team could be in line for a spot in the eight.
Surprisingly enough, Fremantle proved they are no pushover last week, edging Port Adelaide by nine-points in a rather low-scoring and dull contest at Optus Stadium.
Mathematically Freo are still a chance to play finals, and with four more home games still to come, anything is a chance.
The Bombers have been up and down all season, and having won just one of their last five against the Dockers, history isn’t on their side.
There were also calls for concern last week during the first half against the Suns.
Trailing by five-points against a much lesser opponent is never a good look, and as we’ve seen more than once this season, the Bombers still look incapable of stringing together a full four-quarter win.
Since this game is in Melbourne however, the Bombers should have this one.
Fremantle have won just once in the footy capital this year, with the Dockers’ last trip to Etihad to face the Bombers resulting in a 25-point loss.
Back Essendon To Cover The Line (-28.5 Points) @ $1.90
Saturday 21 July, 7:25pm, The Gabba
Don’t look now, but Brisbane are on the verge of history.
The last time the Lions won four straight was during the 2008 season, and on the heels of a season-defining win against the Hawks down in Launceston, anything is possible heading back to The Gabba.
The Crows have won six straight over the Lions, but Adelaide’s record on the road isn’t quite as convincing – Don Pyke’s side has won just two interstate games all year.
As we saw last week, gone are the days of the Lions’ sloppy inside fifty entries.
Chris Fagan’s side have grown in leaps and bounds, particularly in the forward line, while Eric Hipwood shapes up as a potential future Coleman Medalist.
Before we get too ahead of ourselves though, the Crows have everything to play for this weekend, and they’ll have to do it minus Tex Walker.
A one week ban has ruled the captain out for Saturday’s game, but Adelaide will need to rally away from home if they wish to keep their slim hope of finals alive.
One of the biggest keys to this game for both teams will be pressure, and although the Crows midfield stacks up in terms of talent, Brisbane’s pressure against the Hawks last week can’t be overlooked.
Of particular importance to the Lions is Daniel Rich.
His seven tackles last week set the bar, and as we saw, when Brisbane apply that kind of pressure around the ball, it creates equal opportunities for the likes of Hipwood and Cam Rayner to snap some shots.
There was a time when Brisbane would fold when they were given a chance to win the game, and although the growing pains aren’t entirely over, Brisbane’s six goals to Hawthorn’s one-point during the final quarter last week tells the full story of where this team is heading.
A lot has been made of the Lions at home this year, but even more has been made of the Crows on the road.
Brisbane in another upset.
Back Brisbane To Win @ $2.35
Saturday 22 July, 7:25pm, Simonds Stadium
Are we staring at a potential finals preview here?
Sitting eighth on the ladder, the Cats need this one badly.
Last week’s disappointment in Adelaide cost Geelong a prime opportunity to secure themselves a spot in the finals, but fortunately a trip back home to Simonds Stadium awaits next.
As for the Demons, well it’s hard to know what to make of the red and the blue.
A 50-point win secured two straight victories for Melbourne, but are the Dees still a realistic premiership threat?
If Melbourne were to march into Geelong and notch a win over the Cats, there would be no doubt about it, but since the Demons’ last win at Simonds Stadium came way back in 2015, there’s every reason to doubt the Dees this week.
As for Geelong, to win this one they simply need to knuckle down.
Sloppy turnovers and an inability to control momentum have cost the Cats on more than once occasion, but if the Cats can get themselves back on the same page, Geelong are as dangerous as anyone in the competition.
It’s something we never thought we’d say, but better production from Joel Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield is needed from this moment forward. 20-disposal efforts don’t cut it, and it also doesn’t help when Tom Hawkins converts just two of his seven scoring shots, just like he did last week.
The Dees on their day can make a mockery of any team, but if Geelong can limit Melbourne on the scoreboard, particularly during the third quarter, the Cats should hold on to their spot in the eight.
Back Geelong 1-39 @ $2.15
Sunday 22 July, 1:10pm, Etihad Stadium
There were always question marks surrounding this Hawthorn outfit, but this? Who would’ve thought.
The Hawks were poor for so many patches during their loss to the Lions last week, kicking just one-point in the fourth quarter.
Tasmania has become a fortress for Hawthorn, but Alastair Clarkson’s side only provided frustration for the Hawks’ southern faithful.
Injuries have been a huge problem for Hawthorn, and as we saw last week, the loss of Ben McEvoy around the ruck really hurt.
The Hawks were dominated in the clearance category 44-29, but it doesn’t help when three of your best full-forwards fail to show up.
With Jack Gunston kicking the lone two-goals between himself, Jarryd Roughead and Luke Breust, the Hawks were put to shame against a half-strength Lions back line.
The loss has now called into question the selection of players like James Frawley and Paul Puopolo, but while it looks like panic stations at Glenferrie, the Hawks do have a comfy game against the Blues up next.
Carlton’s season took another turn for the worst last week, losing Matthew Kreuzer to an elevated heartbeat.
The Blues were seriously undermanned last week following Kreuzer’s absence, and while Patrick Cripps filled in, if the Blues are missing their star forward against the Hawks, they should be in trouble.
For Hawthorn to win, they need to take this game seriously though, something they failed to do last week against the Lions.
It’s been one extreme to the next for Hawthorn, but this really is do-or-die in terms of finals, now we just wait and see if the old “clutch” Hawthorn side shows up.
Back Hawthorn 1-39 @ $2.40
West Coast Eagles
Sunday 22 July, 3:20pm, Perth Stadium
The Eagles won the game last week, but they may have lost the war at the same time.
Nic Naitanui’s injury put a dampener on what was otherwise a resounding win over Collingwood at the G’, a victory that sent the Eagles back to second on the ladder.
With Naitanui doubtful for the rest of the season, you could argue the Eagles aren’t the biggest threat to Richmond’s premiership chances, but if West Coast were to dish out a serious belting against the Bulldogs this week, we might all think differently.
The Doggies are really running on fumes now, surviving with a depleted list ravished by injuries.
Another harsh road trip awaits this week to Perth, and after last week’s severer disappointment at the hands of the Demons, it’s hard to see the Dogs rallying to pull off the unthinkable here.
Stepping in to replace Nic Nat is fellow ruckman Scott Lycett, but he’s not the only inclusion the Eagles will be happy about. A healthy Josh Kennedy snapped three goals last week against the Pies, and although West Coast’s midfield has copped a devastating blow, West Coast are still in prime position for a win this weekend and a big finals run.
Back West Coast To Cover The Line (-41.5 Points)
Sunday 22 July, 4:40pm, Adelaide Oval
Last week was a game the Power should have won, but a scrappy, low-scoring affair against Fremantle cost Port Adelaide not only a victory, but fourth place on the ladder.
GWS, on the other hand, made good of their home ground advantage against the Tigers, holding on for a nail-biting two-point victory over the reigning premiers.
With so many pieces missing, the Giants looked like the GWS of old, and with a spot back inside the Top 8, all of a sudden Leon Cameron’s side could make a run toward the finals.
On paper this game looks tough to call, but Port Adelaide’s home ground advantage should prove to be the deciding factor here.
The Power have won six games at Adelaide Oval this season, but believe it or not, GWS have been particularly strong in interstate games, notching five victories this season.
Unfortunately for the Power, the Giants have also found success at Adelaide Oval.
The last time Port hosted GWS was in 2016, a game the Giants won 79-60.
Things have certainly changed since then, but if GWS can knuckle down and apply pressure on the Power, much like they did last week against the Tigers, they could pull off another upset.
Back GWS To Beat The Line (+3.5 Points) @ $1.90
It is another massive weekend of action in the AFL and it doesn’t get much bigger than the Friday Night Blockbuster between Adelaide and Geelong.
This could be a genuine AFL Grand Final preview, but the Greater Western Sydney Giants are sure to have something to say about that and they take on Richmond in another massive game on Sunday afternoon.
All nine matches offer some level of intrigue from a betting perspective and our complete 2017 AFL Round 18 tips can be found below.
Friday 21 July, 7:50pm, Adelaide Oval
Adelaide Crows 91 - Geelong 70
The rivalry between these two sides has been dominated by Patrick Dangerfield in recent years, but there is every chance that the star midfielder will not be in action this weekend after he suffered an ankle injury during last week’s win over Hawthorn.
Dangerfield’s likely absence is one of the main reasons that Adelaide are set to start this clash as clear favourites – even though they have lost their past five games against Geelong.
Adelaide have won eight of their past 11 games as home favourites and more impressively in each of those wins they have managed to cover the line.
Geelong extended their unbeaten run with a fighting victory over Hawthorn, but there is little doubt that they would not have won that game without Dangerfield in the side.
This will be a true test of whether Geelong are a one man team – or two man team if you include Joel Sellwood – and it really is tough to have any faith in them without Dangerfield in the team.
The Crows are always tough to beat at the Adelaide Oval regardless and they are a good bet to cover the line with a 12.5 points start.
Back Adelaide To Beat The Line (-12.5 Points)
Saturday 22 July, 1:45pm, Etihad Stadium
Essendon 132 - North Melbourne 105
North Melbourne have won their past four games against Essendon, but it is the Bombers that will go into this clash as clear favourites.
Essendon produced one of their best performances of the season to dismantle St Kilda last weekend and they are capable of competing with the best teams in the competition when they produce their best form.
Winning as favourites has proven to be an issue for Essendon and they have won just one of their past four games as the punter’s elect.
North Melbourne were no match for Port Adelaide last weekend and they have now lost six games on the trot.
The Kangaroos have now won only two of their past 15 games as away underdogs and they are a middling 7-8 against the line in this scenario.
These are two teams that are tough to trust from a betting perspective and this is a clash that I am more than happy to stay out of this clash.
Saturday 22 July, 2:10pm, MCG
Melbourne 88 - Port Adelaide 65
Port Adelaide will go into this crucial clash with Melbourne as narrow favourites.
Port Adelaide made it two wins on the trot with a dominant display against North Melbourne, but they still have a reputation as flat-track bullies and their record against top-sides is very poor.
The Power have won five of their past six games as away favourites and they have an identical record against the line.
Melbourne were no match for Adelaide last weekend and they could potentially fall out of the top eight if they fail to win this weekend.
The Demons have won one of their past three games as home underdogs, but they are only 1-2 against the line in this scenario and their record against Port Adelaide is very poor.
There is plenty to like about Port Adelaide in this clash and the line of 6.5 points does not seem like anywhere near enough.
Back Port Adelaide To Beat The Line (-6.5 Points)
Gold Coast Suns
Saturday 22 July, 4:35pm, Cazaly’s Stadium
Western Bulldogs 110 - Gold Coast Suns 56
The Western Bulldogs won ugly against Carlton and they need to keep winning to have any chance of playing Finals Football.
They covered the line last weekend, but the Bulldogs really have been an extremely tough side to trust from a betting standpoint this season.
The Bulldogs have won ten of their past 16 games as favourites for a clear loss, while they are an extremely poor 3-13 against the line when giving away a start.
Gold Coast suffered their fourth loss in five games when they went down to Collingwood last weekend and they really do look to be a side that has had enough this season.
The Suns have won only three of their past 14 games as underdogs and they are a middling 7-7 against the line in this scenario.
There really is no value to be found in this clash and I am more than happy to stay out.
Saturday 22 July, 7:25pm, SCG
Sydney Swans 101 - St Kilda 59
The Sydney Swans are on a serious roll to the AFL Finals and they go into this clash with St Kilda as clear favourites.
Sydney made it six wins on the trot with their stellar victory over Greater Western Sydney last weekend and they are now back in the frame as a genuine premiership contender.
The Swans have won eight of their past 13 games as home favourites for a loss and they are still only 6-7 against the line in this scenario, but they have won their past seven games against St Kilda.
St Kilda produced one of their worst performances of the season to go down to Essendon last weekend, but the market really has overreacted to that performance.
The Saints have won three of their past seven games as away underdogs and they are 4-3 against the line in this scenario.
There really isn’t anywhere near as much between these two teams as the current betting market suggests and St Kilda are an excellent bet to cover the line with a very healthy start.
Back St Kilda To Beat The Line (+27.5 Points)
Saturday 22 July, 7:40pm, Domain Stadium
Fremantle 48 - Hawthorn 100
There is very little between these two teams in betting and it is Hawthorn that will start this clash as narrow favourites.
Hawthorn lost no admirers with their narrow loss at the hands of Geelong last weekend and they have found a semblance of their best form in recent weeks.
The problem for the Hawks is that they have lost their past three games as away favourites and have really struggled as the punter’s elect this season.
Fremantle were extremely poor against the West Coast Eagles last weekend and they are another side that may have already started looking towards 2017.
The Dockers have won just two of their past nine games as home underdogs and they are 3-6 against the line in this scenario.
It is impossible to trust either of these sides from a betting perspective and this is another clash that I am more than happy to steer clear of.
Sunday 23 July, 1:10pm, MCG
Richmond 64 - GWS Giants 45
It has been a tough month for Greater Western Sydney, but they will still go into this clash with Richmond as clear favourites.
GWS’s loss to Sydney last weekend means that they have not won a game since they beat the Brisbane Lions nearly a month ago and they have looked increasingly vulnerable.
The Giants have now won only six of their past ten games as away favourites and they are a middling 5-5 against the line in this scenario.
Richmond almost beat GWS earlier this season and they have shown on a number of occasions in 2017 that they are capable of mixing it with the best teams in the competition.
The Tigers have won three of their past six games as home underdogs and they are a profitable 4-2 against the line in this scenario.
This has the making of another thriller and the Tigers are a good bet to beat the line with the insurance of a 8.5 points start.
Back Richmond To Beat The Line (+8.5 Points)
West Coast Eagles
Sunday 23 July, 3:20pm, Etihad Stadium
Collingwood 93 - West Coast Eagles 85
This is a massive game for the West Coast Eagles as they now have their finals chances in their own hands.
West Coast did enough to see off Fremantle, but it has been a long time since they were able to string together back-to-back wins.
The Eagles have won only three of their past eight games as away favourites for a clear loss and taking them on against the line in this scenario has been a highly profitable play.
Collingwood ended their losing streak with a good win over the Gold Coast Suns and they did win the most recent meeting between those two sides.
The Magpies have won one of their past three games as home underdogs, but they are 2-1 against the line as away underdogs and 9-1 against the line as underdogs in general.
Collingwood are more than capable of winning this game and are an excellent bet to beat the line with a start of 7.5 points.
Back Collingwood To Beat The Line (+7.5 Points)
Sunday 23 July, 4:40pm, The Gabba
Brisbane Lions 112 - Carlton 82
The Brisbane Lions desperately need to win this game if they are going to be any chance of avoiding the wooden spoon.
They will go into this clash as underdogs, but they weren’t disgraced against Richmond last weekend and they have played some decent football over the past month.
Brisbane have won only two of their past ten games as home underdogs and their record against the line in this scenario is no better.
Carlton really missed Patrick Cripps last weekend against the Western Bulldogs and they suffered their fourth loss on the trot.
The Blues have really struggled as favourites this season – they have lost their only two games as away favourites and are incredibly tough to trust in this scenario.
Both Brisbane and Carlton have shown some promising signs this season, but they are still incredibly tough to trust from a betting perspective.
There is no Thursday night game this weekend and the round gets underway on Friday night when Collingwood host North Melbourne.
Saturday’s fixtures are highlighted by the crucial clash between Geelong and Adelaide, with new Cats recruit Patrick Dangerfield set to take on his former teammates.
There are a number of exciting games on Sunday, but the highlight is sure to be the massive clash between Hawthorn and Richmond at the MCG.
Friday 22 July, 7:50pm, Etihad Stadium
Collingwood 84 - North Melbourne 124
North Melbourne have now lost five games on the trot, but punters are confident that they can return to winning form when they take on Collingwood this weekend.
The Kangaroos may have hit a form slump in the past month, but they have still proven to be a profitable betting team in the past 12 months and they have won their past seven games as away favourites, while they are 5-2 against the line in this scenario.
Collingwood were not disgraced against the Adelaide Crows last weekend, but they were still unable to go with their rivals when the game was on the line.
The Magpies have won two of their past five games as home underdogs for a tidy profit, but their record against the line is only 2-3 and they continue to be a tough team to trust from a betting perspective.
I am willing to give North Melbourne one more chance this weekend and if they play anywhere near their best they should easily beat the line of 8.5 points.
Recommended Bet: Back North Melbourne To Beat The Line (-8.5 Points)
Saturday 23 July, 1:45pm, SCG
Sydney Swans 74 - Carlton 68
This is the biggest mismatch of the weekend and the Sydney Swans are dominant favourites to return to winning form against Carlton this weekend.
The Swans suffered a heart-breaking defeat at the hands of Hawthorn last weekend, but they still remain a very strong betting team and they have beaten the line in eight of their past 12 games as home favourites.
Carlton gave the West Coast Eagles a genuine scare last weekend, but they were still unable to get the job done and they have now won just two of their past ten games as away underdogs.
Their record against the Swans is particularly poor – they have lost their past three games against their rivals by 60 points or more – and Sydney are 6-3 against the line on the back of a loss.
I expect Sydney to bounce back in emphatic fashion this weekend and they should be able to record a sizeable victory.
Recommended Bet: Back The Sydney Swans To Beat The Line (-55.5 Points)
Gold Coast Suns
Saturday 23 July, 2:10pm, Metricon Stadium
Gold Coast Suns 105 - Fremantle 81
The Gold Coast Suns recorded their first ever win against Fremantle earlier this season and they are favourites to get the job done again this weekend.
The Suns were no match for the Western Bulldogs last weekend, but before that they were able to beat St Kilda and the Brisbane Lions and they have a surprisingly strong record as home favourites.
Gold Coast have won five out of their past six games in this scenario, but they remain a lacklustre 3-3 against the line.
Fremantle’s mid-season surge quickly came to an end and they head into this clash on the back of three straight losses, but they were far from disgraced against Fremantle last weekend.
The Dockers remain one of the worst betting team in the entire AFL and they have won just one of their past 11 games as away underdogs, while they are a truly woeful 3-8 against the line.
The Suns are normally able to get the job done when they are expected to win and they are a safe bet at their current quote of $1.57.
Recommended Bet: Back The Gold Coast Suns To Win @ $1.57
Saturday 23 July, 2:35pm, Domain Stadium
West Coast Eagles 66 - Melbourne 60
The West Coast Eagles have won their last eight games against Melbourne and they are dominant favourites to maintain their winning streak over their rivals this weekend.
West Coast were far from impressive against Carlton last weekend, but they were still able to get the job done and they are clearly a better team in front of their home fans at Domain Stadium.
The Eagles have now won 12 of their past 13 games at the venue for a strong profit and their record against the line is this scenario is a simply outstanding 11-2.
Melbourne were strong out of the gates against St Kilda last weekend, but they showed very little character when the game was on the line and they were very disappointing in the second half.
The Demons do not have a bad record as away underdogs – they have won three out of their past eight games in this scenario and are 5-3 against the line – but their record against West Coast is truly awful and they have failed to cover the line in their past eight meetings.
Melbourne will be no match for a firing West Coast and I don’t think that the line of 38.5 points will be anywhere near enough.
Recommended Bet: Back The West Coast Eagles To Beat The Line (-38.5 Points)
Saturday 23 July, 7:25pm, Etihad Stadium
Western Bulldogs 60 - St Kilda 75
The Western Bulldogs have won six of their past seven games and they are clear favourites to continue their winning ways against St Kilda this weekend.
The Bulldogs are one of the most consistent betting sides in the AFL and they have won 13 of their past 15 games as favourites for a tidy profit, while they are an excellent 11-4 against the line in this scenario.
St Kilda showed plenty of character to get the job done against the Demons last weekend, but it has been fixtures like this one in which they have really struggled in recent years.
The Saints have won just five of their past 19 games as away underdogs and they are a lackluster 9-10 against the line in this scenario.
I am always happy to stick with the Western Bulldogs and I am confident that they will have no trouble covering the line of 20.5 points.
Recommended Bet: Back The Western Bulldogs To Beat The Line (-20.5 Points)
Saturday 23 July, 7:25pm, Simonds Stadium
Geelong 85 - Adelaide 55
This is set to be the match of the round as Patrick Dangerfield and the Cats take on Adelaide in what should be a very tight affair.
Geelong ended their two match losing streak with a victory over Fremantle last weekend, but they were still far from impressive and they will need to produce an improved performance to be any chance of beating Adelaide this weekend.
The home ground advantage does give Geelong the edge in this fixture as they have won six of their past eight games as favourites at Simonds Stadium, while they are 5-3 against the line in this scenario.
Adelaide continue to fly under the radar, but they have now won eight games on the trot and they have not been beaten since they faced Geelong in Adelaide earlier this season.
The Crows have won three of their past eight games as away underdogs for a narrow loss, but they are 5-3 against the line in this scenario.
This game is set to be an absolute ripper and both teams are genuine premiership contenders, but Geelong are the team to beat in front of their home fans and there is an edge at their current price of $1.60.
Recommended Bet: Back Geelong To Win @ $1.60
Sunday 24 July, 1:10pm, Etihad Stadium
Essendon 91 - Brisbane Lions 128
Nobody expected to see this happen in 2016, but Essendon are actually set to start a game as favourites!
Essendon have not won a game since they beat Melbourne in round 2, but they have been more than competitive in the past two weeks and gave both St Kilda and Richmond a scare.
This is the first time that the Bombers have started a game as favourites in the past 12 months and it is difficult to trust a team that has won just one of their past 11 home games as well as two of their past 23 fixtures.
Brisbane produced another uninspiring performance against the Greater Western Sydney Giants last weekend and there is clearly something very wrong with this football club.
The club’s culture is clearly toxic and the side seem to have no interest in putting their foot forward for under-fire coach Justin Leppitsch.
The Lions have lost their past 11 games as away underdogs and they are a truly horrid 2-9 against the line in this scenario.
This is set to be a clear contender for the worst game of the year and the only people with any real interest will be those have that have bets on the wooden spoon – I am personally more than happy to stay out of this affair!
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Sunday 24 July, 3:20pm, MCG
Hawthorn 114 - Richmond 44
Hawthorn made it seven wins on the trot with their narrow victory over Sydney last weekend and they are not expected to have any trouble accounting for a Richmond side that has caused them problems in recent seasons.
Hawthorn just keep on finding ways to win this season and in my opinion they deserve to be clear premiership favourites – no other team has their ability to take control of a game when it really matters.
In saying that, the Hawks really haven’t been a particularly strong betting team this season and they have won eight of their past 11 games as home favourites, while they are a very poor 2-9 against the line in this scenario.
Richmond returned to winning form with an uninspiring performance against Essendon, but they have really struggled against the big guns in the AFL this season.
The Tigers have won just one of their past four games as away underdogs and they are only 2-3 against the line in this scenario.
It is no secret that the Tigers have won three of their past five games against Hawthorn and gave them a scare earlier this season, but the market looks to have gotten this game just about right and I am happy to stay out from a betting perspective.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Sunday 24 July, 4:10pm, Adelaide Oval
Port Adelaide 60 - GWS Giants 79
This is one of the most interesting games of the weekend and it is the type of game that Port Adelaide need to win if they are going to leapfrog North Melbourne to finish in the top eight.
Port Adelaide proved far too strong for an uninspiring North Melbourne last weekend and have the home ground advantage, but they will still go into this clash as clear underdogs.
Port Adelaide have an outstanding record at the Adelaide Oval as favourites, but as underdogs they have really struggled this season and they have lost all three of their game as home underdogs this season, while they are 102 against the line.
Greater Western Sydney are genuine premiership contenders, but their record away from Spotless Stadium is still a slight concern and they are an unconvincing 4-3 as away favourites, while they are 2-5 against the line in this scenario.
Both these teams don’t have a great record on the back of a victory and this is a very tricky game to analyse from a betting perspective.
Recommended Bet: No Bet