It’s only early, but Round 2 shapes as a pivotal one for several clubs.
Carlton and Collingwood are both out for their first win at the ‘G on Thursday night, followed by a rematch of last year’s Prelim on Friday between the winless Cats and Lions from Geelong.
All eyes will be on the two early surprise packets on Saturday when the Swans and Crows do battle at the SCG, followed by an intriguing clash between St Kilda and Melbourne as both sides try and improve to 2-0.
As if that wasn’t enough, the Dogs and West Coast headline Sunday’s action in a potential finals preview from Marvel.
For complete analysis on every game, check out our 2021 AFL Round 2 Preview here.
Thursday March 25, 7:20pm, MCG
The Blues will be hungry to improve on last week’s effort against Richmond when they take on a questionable looking Collingwood side on Thursday night.
Last week’s 25-point loss really didn’t reflect how tight the game was as Carlton gave the reigning premiers a decent scare with some tremendous pressure and run through the midfield.
Collingwood was far from disgraced in their 16-point loss to a dangerous looking Bulldogs side, but the Pies did look vulnerable at various stages in another low-scoring effort.
Nathan Buckley’s men were severely outclassed in the disposals and inside 50 count, a worrying sign going up against a lively Carlton outfit beaming with confidence following last week’s close call.
On the injury front, there is some good news for Collingwood fans with Steele Sidebottom a chance at returning.
The Blues, meanwhile, are set to welcome back Eddie Betts and Jack Martin into the forward line, while there are also high hopes for Mitch McGovern.
Collingwood has dominated this fixture in recent years winning each of the last four contests, but it is worth noting the Blues are 9-3 as the line underdog over the last 12 months.
After a positive showing against Richmond and a couple of key forwards returning, the Blues are more than capable of taking this out.
Tip: Back Carlton to Cover the Line (+2.5 Points) @ $2.00
Friday March 26, 7:50pm, GMHBA Stadium
It might be Round 2, but this game should tell us plenty about two sides that just finished top four only a season ago.
Geelong is looking to bounce-back from a shock upset at the hands of the Crows last week, while the Lions are also looking to atone following an equally surprising home loss to the Swans at the Gabba.
Uncharacteristically, the Cats found themselves on the back foot nice and early in Round 1 as Adelaide’s pressure forced Geelong into a handful of errors.
As for Brisbane, it was more of a mental lapse.
The Lions opened with three unanswered goals against Sydney, only to switch off and shy away from the contest as the Swans got down and dirty in the wet.
While both sides were tough to watch last week, it’s no surprise to find Geelong as the short-priced favourites playing at home.
Brisbane hasn’t won at ‘The Cattery’ since 2003, not to mention the fact Geelong was nothing but class in their Prelim win over the Lions last year.
There’s no question Brisbane is capable of turning things around, but this is tough ask for any top team – let alone one still trying to figure out its forward line following Joe Daniher’s inclusion.
Even without Patrick Dangerfield, the Cats get the edge in a close one.
Tip: Back Geelong 1-39 @ $2.20
Saturday March 27, 12:45pm, SCG
It’s only fitting that the two leading surprise packets from Round 1 should meet on Saturday.
The Crows cost thousands of people their multis last week with their shock win over Geelong, only for the Swans to follow suit not long after with a stunning double-digit victory over the Lions up in Brisbane.
Plenty of people had Sydney earmarked as a sneaky top eight chance heading into the season, and although it was only one game, it’s hard not to get excited about this young Swans core.
Rising Star nominee Errol Gulden was sensational last week kicking three goals on debut, while there was also plenty to like about Buddy Franklin’s future replacement Logan McDonald.
Speaking of Buddy, the Swans’ key forward is set to make his long-awaited return to the field for the first time since Round 23, 2019 this week.
After struggling through hamstring issues for the better part of two seasons, Buddy is set to boost an already potent Sydney forward line that has no shortage of talent.
The Crows were equally impressive against a classy Geelong outfit last week – particularly in the first half where they applied plenty of pressure to force the Cats into a handful of skill errors.
That said, it’s safe to say Adelaide’s home crowd played a big role in their upset win, something the Swans will look to feed off when they return to the SCG for the first time since July.
Overreacting to either team’s performance last week is incredibly dangerous, but the Swans do get the edge here with Buddy returning.
If they can play that same brand of hard and fast footy they showed last week in Brisbane, the Swans should be tough to beat not only this week, but throughout the remainder of the year.
Tip: Back the Swans 1-39 @ $1.98
Saturday March 27, 3:35pm, Adelaide Oval
Orazio Fantasia will no doubt grab the headlines this week when he faces his former club for the first time on Saturday afternoon.
The former Bomber kicked an impressive four goals last week in his debut for Port – a slight concern for Essendon fans following last week’s monumental meltdown against Hawthorn.
To make matters worse, the Dons now hit the road to face the Port Adelaide faithful.
In case you forgot, the Bombers lost by 50 points when these two sides met late last year at the Adelaide Oval, making it no surprise to find the Power laying a whopping -32.5 points at the line.
To be fair, Essendon showed plenty of promise in the first half last week against the Hawks before some wayward kicking and a complete shift in momentum got in the way.
By the same token, Port actually trailed North Melbourne at quarter time before
Ken Hinkley’s new-look lineup put the foot down to win comfortably.
Overall, this is a huge test for a very young Bombers side, and while it’s one they can learn plenty from, it’s hard to see them coming close.
Tip: Back Port Adelaide to Cover the Line (-32.5 Points) @ $2.00
Saturday March 27, 7:25pm, Marvel Stadium
Both the Saints and the Dees are looking to remain unbeaten on Saturday when they meet in a sure-fire blockbuster at Marvel Stadium.
While the likes of the Crows and Swans grabbed the headlines last week, St Kilda quietly came through with a very impressive win over the Giants thanks to Dan Butler’s clutch game-winning goal with less than a minute to spare.
Things weren’t quite as exciting for the Dees, but they too managed to overcome some kicking woes to open the season with a tough victory over Fremantle.
A top eight case can be made for both sides this year, but based on last week’s performance alone, the Saints appear to be well on their way to a deep finals run.
The Saints literally and figuratively weathered the storm in wet conditions against the Giants as they continually fought back from various lead changes.
Also working in St Kilda’s favour this week is not only the return of Max King, but also gun midfielder Zak Jones.
When you also factor in the Saints’ impressive 5-1 record as the home favourite against Melbourne, it becomes more and more difficult to fade St Kilda.
Tip: Back St Kilda to Cover the Line (-9.5 Points) @ $1.90
Gold Coast Suns
Saturday March 27, 8:10pm, Metricon Stadium
It’s only early days, but this one could go a long way to determining the wooden spoon.
The Suns head back to the Gold Coast after what was a decent effort last week against West Coast in Perth, while the Kangas are hoping to forget all about their blowout loss to Port Adelaide.
Stuart Dew’s side actually held the lead for a large portion of the second quarter before the Eagles pulled away to win by 25.
After suffering what appeared to be a season-ending knee injury, Rising Star favourite Matt Rowell looks to have sustained only minimal damage – although he does look set to miss an “extended period of time”, according to the club.
Fortunately, the Suns have plenty of other key playmakers to rely on.
Ben King booted three last week against West Coast, and there was a lot to like about Jack Bowes in defence.
North, meanwhile, had to be encouraged by what they saw from new recruit Jaidyn Stephenson, and they should fancy themselves on Saturday after winning their third straight game over the Suns by 63 points last year at Metricon.
Really, there isn’t as much separating these two side as the current market suggests.
After playing eight games on the Gold Coast last year, North keeping this game close looks a good bet.
Tip: Back North Melbourne to Cover the Line (+18.5 Points) @ $1.90
Sunday March 28, 1:10pm, MCG
The Tigers have opened as -30.5 point favourites on Sunday with a chance to improve to 2-0 against the Hawks.
Richmond unfurled their flags in style with a win over Carlton in Round 1, and it’s safe to say the reigning champs will now have their eye on some revenge.
If you’ll recall, the Hawks actually pulled off a surprising 32-point win when these two sides met in Round 3 last year.
Considering the uncertainty surrounding the season at that point, you can probably take that result with a grain of salt, but it should still motive the Tigers heading into this clash.
From Hawthorn’s perspective, Clarko has to be happy with the way his side responded to a seven-goal deficit last week against the Bombers.
A win for the Hawks was vital with two tough games against Richmond and Geelong coming up, and it was certainly encouraging for fans to see new talents like Tyler Brockman and Will Day leave their mark.
Of course, a game against this historic Richmond side is a different story.
You can never discount Clarko coming up with a wild strategy during the week, but based on what we saw from Hawthorn in the first half against the Dons, there’s a very strong chance this one gets ugly in a hurry.
With Richmond seemingly having another gear to go, this shapes as a very difficult test for some of Hawthorn’s young and inexperienced players.
Tip: Back Richmond to Cover the Line (-30.5 Points) @ $2.00
West Coast Eagles
Sunday March 28, 3:20pm, Marvel Stadium
The Dogs and the Eagles both opened the 2021 season in the win column last week as they now prepare for a Sunday afternoon showdown at Marvel.
With Adam Treloar now in the fold, Luke Beveridge’s side played like a well-oiled machine last Friday night as the Dogs flexed their muscle in a convincing win over Collingwood.
West Coast had their troubles in the first half against the Gold Coast, but they still did well to win by 25 points thanks to a four-goal bag from Oscar Allen.
As far as betting goes, this really is the toughest game to try and pick.
Only two points separated these two sides when they met in Round 16 last year, which largely explains the value on offer in the market.
That said, the Dogs do appear to have an edge based on the home-field advantage factor.
West Coast was awful on the road last year in the Queensland hub and they also spent close to half an hour trailing the Suns last week.
After the Dogs had their way inside 50 against the Pies, the bookies appear to have this one right.
Tip: Back the Bulldogs to Cover the Line (-8.5 Points) @ $2.00
Sunday March 28, 5:10pm, Optus Stadium
The Dockers will be looking to atone for last week’s forgettable performance against the Demons when they travel back home to Perth to face the Giants.
Freo weren’t awful by any stretch in Round 1, but their wayward goal-kicking and troubles around the stoppages eventually cost them down the stretch.
GWS, meanwhile, were unlucky to lose to the Saints in their home-opener.
The lead swung back and forth throughout the day, only for Callum Ward to be pinned holding the ball to setup St Kilda’s game-winning goal with less than a minute remaining.
While last week’s result stung, the Giants should feel pretty good about themselves heading into their first road game of the season.
Leon Cameron’s side pulled off a big win in Round 14 against the Dockers in Perth last year to keep their finals hopes alive, and a repeat result isn’t out of the question if Toby Greene and Harry Himmelberg can fire like they did last week.
It’s fair to expect much more from these two sides moving forward, but with the Giants boasting a strong 2-0 record as the away favourite against Freo, there’s some good value on offer here.
Tip: Back the Giants to Win @ $2.02
The AFL returns from a three month hiatus with back-to-back blockbusters on Thursday and Friday night!
Even without fans, Collingwood and Richmond promises to live up to the hype, and we should see the usual fireworks between Geelong and Hawthorn as they write another chapter in their epic rivalry.
Showdown 48 is shaping up to be the can’t-miss game on Saturday, while Sunday’s battle between the Dogs and the Saints is starting to look like a must-win.
As always, if you’re looking for some betting advice before the bounce, we’ve got you covered in our complete 2020 AFL Round 2 Preview below!
Thursday June 11, 7:40pm, MCG
The AFL knows a thing or two about Thursday night blockbusters and they certainly haven’t missed the mark with this belter.
Collingwood and Richmond resume at 1-0 following a pair of respective blowout wins over the Blues and the Bulldogs in Round 1.
The Pies find themselves as outsiders in the market, but they won’t be short on confidence following the break.
Collingwood famously defeated Richmond in the preliminary final back in 2018 and backed that performance up with a 44-point victory in Round 2 last year.
Richmond, of course, got the last laugh on their rivals though when they won big themselves in Round 19 and they are now shooting for 14 straight wins in succession.
While it might only be a small sample size, there was plenty of merit in the Pies’ performance against the Dogs, a team many picked to make the top four this year.
Brody Mihocek came up clutch with three goals, and it was encouraging to see Mason Cox rewind the clock a little with two himself.
The Tigers, on the other hand, struggled to properly dispose of Carlton in the second half, suggesting the lack of a crowd might play more of a factor than we first thought.
All in all, this should wind up close, so more than happy to take the Pies at the line.
Tip: Back Collingwood to Cover the Line (+7.5 Points) @ $1.90
Friday June 12, 7:50pm, GMHBA Stadium
If Collingwood v Richmond is the main course, then this classic rivalry is easily the dessert.
The Cats have had plenty of time to stew on their Round 1 loss to the Giants that saw them fall 32-points shy of the Grand Final runner-ups.
Returning home to GMHBA should help Geelong’s cause, but as we well know, Hawthorn always brings their very best to the table whenever they come face-to-face with the Cats.
Speaking of their very best, the Hawks were just that in Round 1 against Brisbane, a side that has given them plenty of problems in recent years.
Hawthorn won comfortably by 28-points thanks to the efforts of Tom Mitchell, Luke Breust and Shaun Burgoyne, and you wouldn’t be foolish for thinking the Hawks are a little over the odds at their current quote.
Alastair Clarkson’s side defeated Geelong comfortably when they last met in Round 18 last year, and the four-time premiership winning coach didn’t waste anytime reminding his rivals during the week that his team won their last trip to the Cattery, albeit way back in 2006, by 52-points.
Again, it’s always tough to know what to expect off a long break, but Hawthorn’s perfect 4-0 record as the line underdog on the road against Geelong is pretty hard to argue against.
Hawks to keep this close.
Tip: Back Hawthorn to Cover the Line (+10.5 Points) @ $1.90
Saturday June 13, 1:45pm, Gabba
The empty Gabba plays host to the Lions and Fremantle on Saturday afternoon with both teams looking to earn their first win of the season.
To be frank, Brisbane looked a shell of their former selves in Round 1 against Hawthorn where they were blown off the park by 28-points.
Fremantle, on the other hand, have plenty to hold their heads high about after losing by only six-points to the Bombers in Melbourne, but unfortunately, things might turn out a little tougher this time around.
The Dockers are set to go without key defenders Alex Pearce and Joel Hamling, a worrying sign against a Brisbane outfit that possesses one of the most potent forward lines in the competition.
As the odds suggest, it’s pretty tough to fade the Lions here.
They’ve now lost four in a row dating back to last years qualifying final against Richmond, and you can bet (literally) that Chris Fagan will have used this spare time wisely.
Tip: Back the Lions 1-39 @ $1.85
Saturday June 13, 4:35pm, Marvel Stadium
Although it has been a while in between drinks, the Blues and the Dees should take plenty of improvement away from their opening round defeats.
Carlton put up a fight against the Tigers in the season-opener and almost looked a chance in the late stages, while the Demons certainly weren’t disgraced in their 27-point loss to West Coast in Perth.
The Blues do represent the value here and there really isn’t as much separating the two like the market suggests.
Patrick Cripps has called for his side to lift with the season resuming and the added break can only be seen as a positive for the likes of Eddie Betts and Harry McKay, who are both set to return to the side.
Carlton also holds an impressive 4-1 record as the home underdog at the line against the Dees, so if you aren’t game to take them head-to-head, be sure to take the +10.5 on offer.
Tip: Back Carlton to Cover the Line (+10.5 Points @ $1.90
Saturday June 13, 7:40pm, Adelaide Oval
A crowd of close to 2,000 will be in attendance for Showdown 48 on Saturday night, but don’t bank on this one being a thriller.
To their credit, the Crows did put up a fight against the Swans in Round 1 where they lost by only three points, but considering the Power are coming off a 47-point win over the Suns, it’s no surprise to see Port favoured heavily in the market.
The injury front also paints a pretty picture if you’re a Power fan.
Ollie Wines and Charlie Dixon were both absent during the opening round trip to the Gold Coast, but the pair are set to return this week adding further strength to the mid-field and forward line.
With Port having won Showdown 47 by plenty and the Crows still in the midst of a firm rebuild, take the Power by plenty.
Tip: Back Port Adelaide 40+ @ $4.50
Gold Coast Suns
West Coast Eagles
Saturday June 13, 7:40pm, Metricon Stadium
The good news for the Suns is they’ve split their three games with the Eagles at Metricon with a win, loss and a draw. But the bad news is, they’ll head into Saturday night’s game without David Swallow.
The co-captain is serving his one-match ban for striking Justin Westhoff in the Round 1 loss to Port Adelaide, leaving the Suns short on a key veteran player.
West Coast is relatively unchanged following their Round 1 start to finish win over the Demons at home.
The Eagles will relish the chance to adapt to their new home away from home against last years wooden spooners, and considering they’ve won three of their last four against the Suns, it’s difficult to see this game turning into anything other than a blowout.
Tip: Back West Coast to Cover the Line (-33.5 Points) @ $1.90
Sunday June 14, 1:10pm, SCG
Fair to say this game shapes up as a very tough watch.
Both teams have been ravaged on the injury front with Buddy Franklin still dealing with a hamstring problem, one that could cost him up to two months.
The Dons are also licking their wounds with Joe Daniher ruled out with a groin strain alongside Orazio Fantasia, who injured his quad during training, and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti.
You never wish for injuries, but it does shape up as potential good news from a betting standpoint with the last two games between these clubs falling Under the Total.
Tip: Under 134.5 Total Points @ $1.87
Sunday June 14, 3:35pm, Giants Stadium
Two sides looking to remain unbeaten kick off Sunday’s three-game slate and it’s more than obvious who the bookies are siding with.
Following on from their big win over the Cats, the Giants are currently -19.5 favourites in our market with home-field advantage on their side.
The Kangaroos could certainly put up a fight here, but their recent track record against GWS suggests it’s a big ask.
Rhyce Shaw’s side has won only one of their last four games against GWS, although on the other hand, the Giants are yet to win a home game against the Shinboners since they came to existence back in 2012.
This stands out as the ugly duckling game, especially with the Giants potentially looking ahead to next weeks game in Melbourne against the Dogs.
Healthy and well-rested, the Roos don’t look the worst bet to at least keep the margin respectable.
Tip: Back North Melbourne to Cover the Line (+19.5 Points) @ $1.90
Sunday June 14, 6:05pm, Marvel Stadium
This might be the most important game of the round as far as the rest of the season is concerned.
The Dogs were lifeless in Round 1 losing to Collingwood by 52-points, while the Saints weren’t any better in their narrow defeat to North Melbourne.
These two sides were both favoured to make the top eight this year, so beginning the season 0-2 is a tough hole to climb out of – especially with the Dogs facing the Giants next week and the Saints taking on Collingwood.
Out of the two, Luke Beverage’s side is probably the most-deserving of a mulligan considering they actually played finals last year.
We know at their very best the Dogs are capable of beating just about anyone, and with two wins from their last three against St Kilda, they should be bouncing-back here after having plenty of time to reflect on their shortcomings.
Tip: Back the Bulldogs 1-39 @ $1.95
Sorting out the contenders from the pretenders is a laborious task, but Round 2 should provide some clarity after six huge upsets last week.
It’s another pair of blockbusters as we’re treated to two finals rematches this week, but before you try and back a winner, be sure tp check out our entire 2019 AFL Round 2 Preview below.
Thursday March 28, 7:20pm, MCG
It wasn’t the most convincing performance from the Tigers, but a strong four-goal final term saw them over the line against Carlton last week.
Collingwood weren’t disgraced in their loss to Geelong at the G’ on Friday night either, but it’s safe to say the Pies looked a little underdone through the midfield as the Cats controlled contested possession.
For Richmond, all eyes are now on Damien Hardwick as he hopes to piece together a new backline following Alex Rance’s injury. As for Collingwood, things aren’t quite as grim, but the Pies will be hoping for a repeat of last year’s blowout in the Prelim Final to get their season back on track.
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know these two sides met three times last year. Richmond won both regular season affairs, with all three games resulting in blowouts. The Tigers also find themselves at the shorter price on Thursday night, good news considering they are 11-1 as the home favourite against Collingwood.
Make no mistake, the Pies can win this game if they exploit Richmond’s backline much like they did last year, though. The Round 1 loss to Geelong highlighted a few problems through the midfield, but it was also a quiet night for Mason Cox, who kicked just the one goal.
Cox was monumental during the Prelim victory, and if the Pies can bomb it long over the top, he can easily turn into another game-changer. Collingwood are 4-2 as the line underdog against the Tigers, and if you throw in Jamie Elliott, who was phenomenal on return last week booting three goals, there’s no reason Collingwood can’t pull off another upset.
Tip: Back Collingwood to Cover the Line (+2.5 Points)
Friday March 29, 7:50pm, SCG
Do the Swans deserve a mulligan, or is it time to throw up the red flag following last week’s 17-point loss to the Dogs?
You can ask yourself the same question when it comes to the Crows. Adelaide were supposed to dominate the Hawks, but again, Alistair Clarkson got the better of Don Pyke’s side in a 32-point shocker.
It’s only fitting these two question marks meet in Round 2, and as recent history shows, we could be in for a close one. Three of the last five games between these two have been decided by 10-points or less, and since goals came sparingly last week, don’t bank on a high-scoring affair.
As the odds suggest, the bookies appear to be having a tough time separating the two. Sydney were dominated in the contested possession count last week, but they still stormed home in the fourth quarter booting four goals.
Adelaide, well there’s a lot less to get excited about. Statistically speaking, the Crows were brilliant on paper – they won the disposals, clearances, contested possession and inside 50 count convincingly – but the Hawks lapped up the loose ball to create scoring opportunities on the other end, something the Swans also do extremely well.
Sydney are 5-5 as the home favourite over the last 12-months, and an equally ho-hum 2-2 as the home favourite against Adelaide. Things get even trickier when you factor in the Crows defeated the Swans at the SCG last year, however it’s also worth factoring in Buddy Franklin averages 2.4 goals against the Crows.
After allowing multiple goals to four different Hawthorn players last week, the Crows could be in for a long night.
Tip: Back the Swans 1-39 @ $2.24
Saturday March 30, 4:35pm, Marvel Stadium
Nothing about Essendon screamed finals last week. The Bombers were embarrassed against the Giants, falling by 72-points in what was supposed to be one of the highlight games of the round.
St. Kilda tasted a win at home over the Gold Coast, although it was hardly convincing. The Suns did themselves no favours with the boot, but to the Saints’ credit, they fought hard all day to dominate the clearances and boost the confidence of their young defence.
So what do we make of Saturday’s showdown?
These two sides met only once last year in a 43-point Essendon belting. The Bombers have won three of their last five games against the Saints, but after last week’s false start against GWS, you could argue the Bombers look a little under the odds at this price.
If the Bombers are to turn things around, they need their midfield to lift. Dyson Heppell and David Zaharakis both cracked over 20 disposals but failed to hit the score sheet, while Jake Stringer almost went unnoticed at half-forward.
The last time the Bombers started 0-2 and made the finals was 2004. Considering the Saints brought the pressure in the first half last week, we could be in for a high-scoring affair. The Total has gone Over 170-points in the last five meetings between these two, so stick with the Points market.
Tip: Back Over 178.5 Total Points
Saturday March 30, 5:10pm, Adelaide Oval
The Power stole the show at the MCG last week. No one gave Port Adelaide a chance to make the eight, let alone beat the Demons, but Ken Hinkley’s side relished the underdog role, piling on 12 goals to win by 26-points.
Carlton fell to the Tigers in typical fashion to open the season, but Blues fans can certainly hold their heads high. Patrick Cripps was phenomenal with 32 disposals, but the entire team put the pressure on this year’s premiership favourites for the better part of three quarters.
Now heading south, the Blues won’t find comfort in the fact they’ve lost their last two trips to Adelaide by a combined 193-points. Carlton won only one game on the road last year, and with a 1-9 record as the away underdog in 2018, don’t get too carried away with last week’s encouraging performance.
For Port Adelaide, it all comes down to quick hands. The Power dominated the disposals last week, and they were also dazzling by foot, winning the inside 50 count by a wide margin against the Dees. This will be a big test for the Blues on the road, and if the likes of Ed Curnow fail to cash-in on scoring chances again, they might be in for a long plane ride home.
Tip: Back Port Adelaide 1-39 @ $2.15
Saturday March 30, 7:25pm, GMHBA Stadium
It’s a rematch of last year’s elimination final, or should we say, the last time Melbourne tasted a win.
The Dees pounced on the Cats in a low-scoring affair to walk away with a 29-point win, but after last week’s sorry display against Port Adelaide, it’s tough to trust Melbourne right now.
The Dees were outmuscled, and perhaps more importantly, underdone against the Power. Max Gawn made some crucial mistakes inside 50, while the entire squad looked a little unfit in the final term allowing Port to boot two unanswered goals.
Geelong, well what can you say? The Cats looked back to their old selves against Collingwood. They knuckled down and won the contested footy, but the midfield was by far the most impressive part of the seven-point win. The Cats were precise by hand and not afraid to get a little dirty, evident in the fact they won the tackle count by a wide margin.
It goes without saying the Cats are the heavy favourites this week. Despite last week’s finals shock, Geelong have won four of the last five and are also 8-1 as the home favourite over the Dees.
Aside from the midfield last week, Gary Ablett also looked sharp booting a pair of goals. He averages 3.5 against Melbourne and given last week’s sorry display in the back line, the Cats forward pressure should be enough to earn them their first 2-0 start since 2017.
Tip: Back the Cats 1-39 @ $2.15
West Coast Eagles
Saturday March 30, 8:10pm, Optus Stadium
West Coast were missing a few bodies against the Lions last week, but there was no excuse for the lackluster performance at The Gabba.
Not only did Adam Simpson’s side look a little unfit, they also looked uninspired after Brisbane brought the pressure in the second quarter.
The Giants, on the other hand, were at their best. Nobody expected GWS to pick apart Essendon by 72-points, especially after losing several key players during the offseason. The Giants midfield was unstoppable though, strangling the Bombers lifeless in what was one of the biggest stories to emerge from Round 1.
Looking ahead, it’s tough to get a read on this game. The Giants put up a gallant effort when they traveled to Perth last year, falling by only 11-points in Round 16. Since their inception, GWS have defeated West Coast only once out West, but if they can replicate the Lions’ performance last week and bring some pressure, there’s nothing stopping Leon Cameron’s side from winning this.
Now heading back home, it’s no surprise to find the Eagles listed as the favourite. West Coast finished 9-2 in this scenario last season and are also an impressive 3-1 as the home favourite against GWS.
If any team is worthy of a mulligan, it’s the reigning premiers. The Eagles lost back-to-back games only once last year, but it is worth keeping in mind the Giants won eight games inter-state in 2018.
This one should be close.
Tip: Back the Giants to Cover the Line (+17.5 Points) @ $1.90
Sunday March 31, 1:10pm, Marvel Stadium
The Gabbatoir was back in full voice as the Lions made short work of the reigning premiers last week. Chris Fagan’s side might need to temper their expectations on Sunday, however – the Roos pumped the Lions by 54-points when they met in Melbourne last season.
Unfortunately, North Melbourne weren’t quite in the same form last week against Fremantle. The Roos lost by 82-points in Perth, largely due to their inability to stop Cam McCarthy in the forward line.
For Brisbane, the game plan this week is simple: apply the pressure and continue to rely on the short game. The Lions were relentless last week against the Eagles in the tackle count, and they were also lethal inside 50 relying on short, quick passes to the likes of Charlie Cameron and Lincoln McCarthy.
As for North Melbourne, they need to forget about last week. Losing key defender Ed Vickers-Willis capped off a day to forget, but the Roos can rest easy knowing they’ve won six-straight over Brisbane dating back to 2015.
Surprisingly enough, the Lions enter as the underdog this week. Brisbane finished 2-7 as the away underdog last season, but it’s worth keeping in mind the Lions often put up strong performances at Marvel Stadium.
If Brisbane can dominate the disposals and adapt to the game just like they did last week, the upset is on.
Tip: Back the Lions To Win @ $2.00
Sunday March 31, 3:20pm, MCG
You wouldn’t know it by looking at the stat sheet, but the Hawks walked away with a 32-point win against the Crows in Adelaide last week.
Hawthorn lost just about every major statistical category, but as we’ve grown to learn over the years, you can’t doubt an Alistair Clarkson coached side with a chip on its shoulder.
The Dogs also know a thing or two about relishing the underdog role. Luke Beveridge’s side scraped home with a hard-fought 17-point win over the Swans, making this Round 2 encounter even more fascinating.
The Hawks were able to win last week by taking control of the loose ball. That opened the game up for James Worpel to pounce, while a similar story unfolded for the Dogs and Jack Macrae.
It goes without saying that the team who can control the disposals and limit the turnovers will likely win this game. The last time these sides met the Hawks annihilated the Dogs by 63-points, but that was without Macrae on the field.
Hawthorn enter this one as the rightful favourite, a scenario they are 4-1 in against the Bulldogs. Clarkson’s side won back-to-back games six times last year, while the Dogs managed to win three games in a row twice.
Still, last season counts for very little when you consider the offseason chances both clubs have endured. Since these two sides look tough to split, ride the Points market. The Total has gone Over 180-points in four of the last five games between these two.
Tip: Back Over 175.5 Total Points
Gold Coast Suns
Sunday March 31, 4:40pm, Metricon Stadium
For the second week in a row the AFL has saved the worst ‘till last. If Freo’s performance last week was anything to go by though, suddenly the Dockers could be looking at a perfect 2-0 start to the season.
Fremantle, who were without key signing Jesse Hogan, got to work in the early goings against the Kangaroos to establish a whopping five goal lead by half time. The biggest storyline to emerge from the game was Cam McCarthy, who booted a career-high five goals in the 82-point victory.
The Suns were on the losing side during their opening round game against St. Kilda, but there was plenty to take away from the one-point loss. Better decisions with the boot probably would have seen Gold Coast over the line, but it was encouraging to see David Swallow boot a three-goal bag in his eighth-year with the club.
As far as Hogan is concerned, his return depends entirely on the club. The star forward is reportedly ready to go, but even without the 24-year-old, the Dockers still find themselves heavily favoured.
The Suns failed to win a single game at Metricon last year, and as the records suggest, Gold Coast haven’t defeated Fremantle since 2016. Despite the small sample size, the Dockers were 2-0 as the away favourite last season, and if Hogan does slot back into the side, it’s hard to back against the Dockers in what could be another heartbreaker for the Suns.
Tip: Back the Dockers to Win 1-39 @ $2.10
The opening round of the AFL season was packed full of quality and we are set for a host of big games this weekend.
There is no doubt that the highlight is the AFL Grand Final rematch between Adelaide and Richmond, while the Eastern Monday showdown between Geelong and Hawthron is always a fascinating clash.
We have closely analysed every game and our complete 2018 AFL Round 2 tips can be found below!
Thursday 29 March, 7:50pm, Adelaide Oval
This is a rematch of the 2017 AFL Grand Final and easily the highlight of the round.
It was Richmond that scored an emphatic win at the MCG in October last year, but it is the Adelaide Crows that will start this clash as favourites once again.
Adelaide won nine of their 13 games as home favourites last season for a small loss in head-to-head betting markets, but they were able to cover the line in each of these wins.
The Crows went down to Essendon in their opening game of the season and they do go into this clash with Richmond with some genuine concerns.
Richmond came from behind to beat Carlton in the AFL season opener and the way that they were able to respond when they were challenged was impressive.
Winning away from home was not an issue for Richmond last season and they have won four of their past seven games as away underdogs for a big profit, while they are 6-1 against the line in this scenario.
There really is not a great deal between these two teams – especially with the Crows slightly undermanned – and the Tigers offer great value at their current price of $2.40.
Back Richmond To Win @ $2.40
Friday 30 March, 4:20pm, Etihad Stadium
St Kilda are one of the shortest-priced favourites in the AFL this weekend.
St Kilda were given a scare for the Brisbane Lions, but they were able to respond to the challenge when it mattered.
The Saints have now won eight of their past nine games as favourites and they generally get the job done when the market expects them to, but they are 4-5 against the line in this scenario.
The conditions at Cazaly Oval did make it tough for North Melbourne in their season opener against the Gold Coast Suns, but there is no hiding the fact that they produced a lacklustre effort.
North Melbourne have won only four of their past 16 games as underdogs, but they are 9-7 against the line when being given a start.
The Kangaroos are a better side than their round 1 performance suggests and it would not surprise if they were able to give St Kilda a genuine scare in this encounter.
Back North Melbourne To Cover The Line (+19.5 Points)
Gold Coast Suns
Saturday 31 March, 1:45pm, Etihad Stadium
Carlton 67 – Gold Coast Suns 101
This is the shortest-priced that Carlton have started a game for sometime.
They were not able to come away with the victory, but Carlton gained plenty of admirers with the way that they performed in the season opener against the Richmond and with Patrick Cripps and Charlie Curnow they have two of the most impressive young players in the game.
Carlton did not start a single game as home favourites last season and they did lost to the Gold Coast Suns when the two sides met at Etihad Stadium before they beat their rivals at Metricon Stadium later in the year.
Gold Coast started their season with a hard-fought win over North Melbourne and the fact they were able to hold their nerve in the wet conditions is a positive for what has generally been an immature side.
Winning away from home was very tough for the Suns last season and they lost all nine of their games as away underdogs, while they were 2-7 against the line in this scenario.
The real value in this clash lies in the Total Points betting market and it is the Under that really does appeal.
Carlton deserve to go into this clash as favourites, but there is no real value at their current price and I am happy to stay out from a betting perspective.
Saturday 31 March, 4:35pm, MCG
Collingwood 79 – GWS Giants 95
The GWS Giants started their season with a very impressive win over the Western Bulldogs and they will start this clash as clear favourites.
Greater Western Sydney leapt out of the blocks in their season opener and produced a far more complete performance than they did in the majority of their wins last season.
The Giants did struggle away from home somewhat last season and they won only four of their nine games as away favourites, while they were 4-5 against the line in this scenario.
Collingwood were fairly poor in their opening game of the season against Hawthorn and the pressure on Nathan Buckley is already starting to mount once again.
The Magpies won only one of their four games as home underdogs last season, but they were 3-1 against the line in this scenario and they did give the Giants a genuine scare last season.
This is the sort of game that Collingwood performed well in last season and it definitely would not surprise if this game is closer than the betting market suggests.
Back Collingwood To Cover The Line (+18.5 Points)
Saturday 31 March, 7:25pm, The Gabba
Brisbane 74 – Melbourne 100
The pressure will be on the Melbourne Football Club in a big way if they are unable to beat the Brisbane Lions this weekend.
Melbourne cost themselves victory with poor kicking and poor decision making – highlighted by Max Gawn’s shank – against Geelong and they are a club that definitely still has some mental demons – pardon the pun.
The Demons won only two of their four games as away favourites last season for a clear loss and they were 1-3 against the line in this scenario.
Brisbane may have gone down to St Kilda last weekend, but they were far from disgraced and for the majority of the contest they were the better side.
The problem for the Lions is that they continue to have flat periods during games and they are not capable of running out a strong four quarters.
The Lions won only two of their nine games as home underdogs last season and they were 3-6 against the line in this scenario.
This is a game that the market looks to have just about right and I am happy to stay out from a betting perspective.
Saturday 31 March, 8:10pm, Optus Stadium
Fremantle 106 – Essendon 90
There was plenty to like about Essendon’s win over Adelaide last Friday Night and they will start this clash with Fremantle as clear favourites.
Essendon are a team that definitely have the potential to take a big step forward this season and if they are going to do that they can’t afford to drop games like this one.
The Bombers won only four games away from home last season and they were 2-2 as home favourites, while they have not beaten Fremantle in Perth since 2013.
Fremantle were no match for Port Adelaide in their opening game of the season and it doesn’t get any easier for them against the Bombers.
The Dockers won only one of their past six games as home underdogs last season and they were a poor 2-4 against the line in this situation.
This is a game that Essendon should be able to win comfortably and the line of 11.5 points will not be anywhere near enough.
Back Essendon To Beat The Line (-11.5 Points)
West Coast Eagles
Saturday 31 March, 4:20pm, Etihad Stadium
Western Bulldogs 70 – West Coast 121
Both these teams heading into the second round of the season on the back of fairly heavy losses in Round 1.
The Western Bulldogs were very poor against Greater Western Sydney, but they will still go into this clash with the West Coast Eagles as clear favourites.
The Bulldogs were a losing betting side across just about every metric last season and they covered the line in only two of their seven games as home favourites for a clear loss.
West Coast were simply unable to contain Lance Franklin against the Sydney Swans last Sunday and ‘Buddy’ proved to be the difference between the two sides.
The Eagles were able to win three of their seven games as away underdogs last season and they were a profitable betting play against the line in this situation.
I really don’t think that there is a great deal between these two sides and West Coast are a good bet to cover the line with a start of 7.5 points.
Back West Coast Eagles To Cover The Line (+7.5 Points)
Sunday 1 April, 5:40pm, SCG
Sydney 71 - Port Adelaide 94
This is one of the matches of the weekend between two sides that will be genuine Premiership contenders this season.
Lance Franklin led the Sydney Swans to a big win over West Coast in their opening game of the season and the Swans are going to be very difficult to beat with Franklin in that sort of form.
Sydney won eight of their ten games as home favourites last season and they were an impressive 7-3 against the line in this scenario.
Port Adelaide recorded a comfortable win over Fremantle in their season opener, but they do face a much tougher challenge against the Swans.
The Power won only one of their four games as away underdogs last season and they were 2-2 against the line in this situation.
Sydney have won five of their past six games against Port Adelaide and they can continue their strong record against their rivals in this clash.
Back Sydney To Cover The Line (-16.5 Points)
Monday 2 April, 4:20pm, MCG
Geelong 117 - Hawthorn 118
The traditional Easter Monday showdown between these two teams is always an epic and that should be the case again in 2018.
Geelong survived a late scare against Melbourne to start their season with a win and they will likely be buoyed by the return of Patrick Dangerfield for this clash.
The Cats were a tough team to trust from a betting perspective last season and they were a losing betting propositions – they covered the line in only five of their 14 games as the punter’s elect.
Hawthorn started their season with a comfortable win over Collingwood and there were plenty of positives to take from that performance.
The Hawks won three of their seven games last season for a big profit and backing them against the line in that situation was also a profitable betting play.
Geelong have definitely had the upper hand over Hawthorn in these Easter Monday fixtures, but there is rarely much between the two sides and it would not surprise if this is another very tight affair.
Back Hawthorn To Beat The Line (+9.5 Points)
We could not have asked for a more exciting start to the AFL and we are back with our 2017 AFL Round 2 tips.
There were plenty of upsets in the opening round of the AFL season and that makes for several exciting games this weekend.
The action gets underway on Thursday night when Richmond host Collingwood, but the highlight is sure to be on Friday night when the Western Bulldogs and Sydney Swans do battle in a Grand Final rematch.
Thursday 30 March, 7:20pm, MCG
Richmond 99 - Collingwood 80
Collingwood went down to the Western Bulldogs in their season opener, but they are still set to start this clash with Richmond as narrow favourites.
They may have lost to the Western Bulldogs, but there were still plenty of positives to come out of the performance of Collingwood.
It is still somewhat of a surprise that they will start this clash as favourites and they have won only four of their past eight games as the punter’s elect.
Richmond got the 2017 AFL season underway with a highly impressive performance against Carlton and the way that they were able to move the football really was a sight to behold.
The Tigers have actually had the upper hand on Collingwood in recent seasons and they have won four of the past five games played between the two sides.
Stringing together back-to-back wins has been a problem for Richmond, but I really was taken by their opening round performance and if they can repeat that effort they will be too strong for Collingwood at a nice price.
Back Richmond To Win @ $2.05
Friday 31 March, 7:50pm, Etihad Stadium
Western Bulldogs 110 - Sydney 87
This rematch of the 2016 AFL Grand Final is set to be an absolute ripper.
The Western Bulldogs outlasted Collingwood to start their premiership defence with a win and they will go into this clash as narrow favourites.
Injuries were an issue throughout the regular season for the Western Bulldogs last year and that has already been the case again in 2017 as Dale Morris will miss the next couple of months due to a fractured leg.
There is still plenty to like about the Western Bulldogs heading into this clash.
They have won their past three games against Sydney and they are 6-1 as home favourites, while they are 4-3 against the line in this scenario.
The Sydney Swans started their season with a disappointing loss at the hands of Port Adelaide and the pressure will be on early if they make an 0-2 start to the season.
Sydney suffered back-to-back defeats just once last season and there is every chance that they will be able to return to winning form this weekend.
The Swans have won their past three games as away underdogs for a big profit and they really are a team that can never be ruled out of contention.
There is nowhere near as much between these two sides as the current market suggests and the Swans are one of the best bets of the weekend at their current price.
Back Sydney To Win @ $2.45
Saturday 1 April, 1:45pm, MCG
Hawthorn 89 - Adelaide 113
Hawthorn suffered an opening round defeat at the hands of Essendon and it is the Adelaide Crows that will go into this clash as clear favourites.
The new era at Hawthorn did not get off to the most promising start, but it is fair to say that the majority of the side will improve on their first round performance.
Hawthorn only started four games as underdogs last season and they won two of them for a narrow profit, while they were 3-1 against the line in this scenario.
The Adelaide Crows stamped themselves as genuine premiership contenders with their round one victory over the Greater Western Sydney Giants, but whether they can replicate that performance at the MCG is the question.
Adelaide have won five of their past six games as away favourites, but they are only 3-3 against the line in this scenario and they have lost their past seven games against Hawthorn.
This is another game where there really is nothing between the two sides and the Hawks do offer genuine value at the current odds of $2.15.
Back Hawthorn To Win @ $2.15
Gold Coast Suns
Saturday 1 April, 4:35pm, Spotless Stadium
GWS Giants 160 - Gold Coast Suns 58
Very different things are expected of the AFL’s youngest franchises this season, but both come into this clash on the back of opening round defeats.
It should come as no surprise that the Greater Western Sydney Giants will start this clash as clear favourites and they are actually the shortest-priced favourites of the weekend.
The Giants were out-enthused by the Adelaide Crows last weekend and that defeat should be a wake-up call that they can’t just turn up and expect to win this season.
Greater Western Sydney were not flawless as home favourites last season and they lost three of their nine games in that scenario, but they were 6-3 against the line when giving away a start.
There was a fair bit of hype surrounding the Gold Coast Suns in the pre-season, but as has become customary, they disappointed.
The Suns could not have been slower out of the blocks if they had tried against the Brisbane Lions and a repeat of that effort would see the Giants record a massive win.
Gold Coast have won just one of their past nine games as away underdogs and they are 4-5 against the line in this scenario.
The Giants covered the line in five of their eight games when giving away a start of over 37 points last season and it would not surprise to see them put up a big score this weekend.
Back Greater Western Sydney To Beat The Line (-37.5 Points)
Saturday 1 April, 7:25pm, The Gabba
Brisbane Lions 84 - Essendon 111
The Brisbane Lions and Essendon did battle for the wooden spoon last season, but based on their opening round performances that will not be the case this season.
The Chris Fagan era got off to a very positive start for the Lions and they showed a fight against the Suns that had been lacking for a number of seasons.
They will still go into this clash as clear underdogs and they have not recorded back-to-back wins for over 12 months.
It was a fairytale return for the suspended Essendon Bombers players last weekend and they were nothing short of outstanding against Hawthorn.
Essendon have looked very strong in both the JLT Challenge and the opening round of the series and a repeat of those efforts would make them far too strong for the Lions this weekend.
Back Essendon To Beat The Line (-15.5 Points)
West Coast Eagles
Saturday 1 April, 7:40pm, Domain Stadium
West Coast Eagles 116 - St Kilda 97
The West Coast Eagles won as expected in round one and they will go into this clash with St Kilda as dominant favourites.
West Coast ran over the top of North Melbourne last weekend and they really were at their high-scoring best to start the season.
The Eagles have won nine of their past 11 games as home favourites for a clear profit and they are 8-3 against the line in this scenario, while they have won their past seven games against St Kilda.
St Kilda had the chance to make a winning start to the season, but they went down to Melbourne in what could prove a crucial defeat come September.
The Saints really have struggled against West Coast in recent years and they were a losing betting proposition as away underdogs last season.
West Coast can put up another big score against St Kilda and comfortably cover the line of 33.5 points.
Back West Coast To Beat The Line (-33.5 Points)
Sunday 2 April, 1:10pm, Etihad Stadium
Geelong 112 - North Melbourne 111
The market suggests that the battle of the Scott Brothers will be very one-sided in 2017.
Geelong recorded a professional win over Fremantle last weekend and it is no surprise that they will go into this clash with North Melbourne as clear favourites.
The Cats won 15 of their 21 games as home favourites last season, but they were only 9-12 against the line in this scenario and they were often overrated by the market.
North Melbourne ran out of puff late against the West Coast Eagles, but there were still some positives to take out of that performance.
The Kangaroos had a serious problem winning as underdogs last season – they failed to do it in nine games and they were only 2-7 against the line when receiving a start.
This is a game that the market looks to have got just about right and I am happy to stay out of this clash from a betting standpoint.
Sunday 2 April, 3:20pm, MCG
Melbourne 86 - Carlton 64
Melbourne have not started many games as dominant favourites over the past decade, but that is the exact position that they are in this weekend.
The Demons got their campaign off to a perfect start with a strong win over St Kilda and if they are serious about playing finals football in 2017 they really should prove too good for Carlton.
Melbourne did win four of their five games as home favourites last season and they were 3-2 against the line in this scenario.
Carlton scored plenty of points in their opening round loss to Richmond, but their defence has definitely gone backwards this season and Richmond were able to move the ball at will.
The Blues did win five of their 17 games last season as underdogs for a big profit, but it is tough to back them off the back of their opening round performance.
Melbourne should win this game comfortably, but the line does look just about right and this is another game that I am happy to stay out of from a betting standpoint.
Sunday 2 April, 4:40pm, Adelaide Oval
Port Adelaide 145 - Fremantle 56
Port Adelaide got their season off to a flyer with a win over Sydney and they head into this clash with the Fremantle Dockers as clear favourites.
It is fair to say that Port Adelaide were one of the most impressive teams in the opening round of the season, but consistency was their big problem last season and they won just three of their nine games on the back of a win.
The Power won only three of their five games as home favourites last season, but they did beat the line in all three of their wins.
Fremantle were disappointing against Geelong last week and based on that performance it could be another long season for Dockers fans.
The Dockers failed to win a single game as away underdogs last season and they are 2-7 against the line in that scenario.
I don’t really want to back either side in this clash, but the Under does stand out in Total Points betting.
Both these sides were heavy Unders sides last season and they will struggle to cover the Total Points line of 180.5 points.
Back Under 180.5 Points
Some of the biggest rivalries in the AFL will be reignited in round two of the 2016 AFL season.
The round starts on Friday night when Collingwood and Richmond do battle in a blockbuster at the MCG before Adelaide face Port Adelaide in the 40th edition of Showdown on Saturday afternoon.
The highlight of Sunday’s fixtures is the 2015 Grand Final rematch between Hawthorn and the West Coast Eagles at the MCG.
Friday 1 April, 7:50pm, MCG
Collingwood 87 - Richmond 86
I had high hopes for Collingwood heading into their round 1 encounter against Sydney and boy did they let me down.
The Magpies were truly horrid and to make matters worse they loss Dane Swan for half the season with a very nasty leg injury.
Richmond were very slow out of the blocks against Carlton and they played some very average football for the three quarters, but they managed to get the job done in the end and they are favourites to win again this weekend.
The Tigers have proven a very safe bet as favourites in the past 12 months, but their record against the line in this scenario isn’t great and they have lost two of their past eight games against Collingwood.
Collingwood don’t win many games as underdogs, but they are 7-4 against the line with a start in the past 12 months and I think that this will be a closer game than betting suggests.
Recommended Bet: Back Collingwood To Beat The Line (+7.5 Points)
Saturday 2 April, 1:15pm, Adelaide Oval
Adelaide 144 - Port Adelaide 86
The Showdown is easily one of the most heated rivalries in the AFL and there is never any love lost between these two sides.
The Adelaide Crows were run over late by North Melbourne in the opening round of the season, while Port Adelaide survived a scare against St Kilda to start their season with a win.
Port Adelaide are set to start as favourites here and that has been a position in which they have struggled in the past 12 months as they are 7-11 against the line as the punters elect.
Both sides play well at the Adelaide Oval, so that advantage is neutralized, and the Adelaide Crows are an even 6-6 against the line as underdogs.
This should be a ripper of a contest, but the market looks just about right from a betting perspective and I am happy to sit back and enjoy the action.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Saturday 2 April, 2:10pm, MCG
Essendon 80 - Melbourne 67
Essendon were as hapless as expected against the Gold Coast Suns last weekend and it is clear that it will take several weeks before they will be able to be competitive against even the worst teams in the competition.
Melbourne gave their fans plenty of hope for a big season with their fighting victory over the Greater Western Sydney Giants in round 1 and I don’t think I was born the last time that the Demons started as a $1.11 favourite.
There is obviously not a lot of data available for games involving Melbourne as favourites and they are 1-2 in both head-to-head as well as against the line.
However, this was not against a side missing as many start players as Essendon and if the Demons are serious about being legitimate top eight contenders then they really should record a big win here.
I’ll stick to my pledge to avoid betting on Essendon games until at least a month, but if the Demons score a big win I might have to reassess that rule in round 3.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Saturday 2 April, 3:35pm, The Gabba
Brisbane Lions 83 - North Melbourne 117
It looks as though it could be another long season for Brisbane Lions fans after they suffered a big first round loss at the hands of the West Coast Eagles.
North Melbourne were far from perfect in their open round encounter with the Adelaide Crows and there is still plenty of improvement in front of them, but they were still able to come away with the four points.
The Kangaroos have proven a very safe bet as away favourites in recent seasons and they are 5-2 against the line in this scenario in the past 12 months, while the Brisbane Lions are 7-12 against the line as underdogs across the same period.
North Melbourne could have beaten Adelaide by plenty if they had taken advantage of their inside 50s last weekend and it would not surprise to see them record a very big win over the Lions this weekend.
Recommended Bet: Back North Melbourne To Beat The Line (-26.5 Points)
Saturday 2 April, 7:25pm, Etihad Stadium
St Kilda 36 - Western Bulldogs 93
The Western Bulldogs started where they left off last season with a very impressive win over the Fremantle Dockers and they have an excellent chance to start the season with two wins.
The Bulldogs were nothing short of outstanding against the Dockers and a similar performance could see them run up a very big score against St Kilda this weekend.
St Kilda were good for the majority of their round 1 encounter, but they were unable to go with Port Adelaide when they stepped up a gear and that could be the case against this weekend.
The Bulldogs are 6-6 against the line as favourites in the past 12 months and St Kilda are 9-12 as underdogs across the same period, so I’m not keen to back either team to beat the line, but the total points market does appeal.
Both these teams were unders sides in 2015 – despite the Western Bulldogs reputation for aggressive football – and it would not surprise if the Bulldogs were able to keep St Kilda to a very low score this weekend.
Recommended Bet: Back The Under (188.5 Points)
Gold Coast Suns
Saturday 2 April, 4:40pm, Domain Stadium
Fremantle 100 - Gold Coast Suns 126
Fremantle were very poor against the Western Bulldogs in the opening round of the AFL season and they face a tough challenge against a Gold Coast Suns side that did the job against Essendon.
This is obviously a much tougher test for the Suns, but they will be buoyed by the brilliant performance of Gary Ablett in round 1 as well as their strong performance against the Dockers last season.
The Dockers have lost just two of their past 19 games as favourites and they are a narrow winning proposition against the line as the punters elect.
In contrast, the Gold Coast Suns have not won a game away from home as underdogs in the past 12 months and they are are a horrid 2-7 against the line in this scenario.
I expect Fremantle to bounce back this weekend and at their best they will cover the line of 34.5 points without any problems.
Recommended Bet: Back Fremantle To Beat The Line (-34.5 Points)
Sunday 3 April, 1:10pm, Spotless Stadium
GWS Giants 89 - Geelong 76
Geelong have been the talk of the AFL world following their Easter Monday victory over Hawthorn and their is no doubt that new recruit Patrick Dangerfield is the man of the moment.
The Cats’ new-look midfield was outstanding against the Hawks and it is no surprise that they have come up such short favourites here.
GWS had the perfect opportunity to start their season with a win over the Melbourne Demons, but they fell apart in the final quarter and lose the type of game that they can’t afford to lose if they want to play finals.
The Giants have only won one game as underdogs in the last 12 months and they are middling in this scenario, but the Cats have even even poor record against the line as favourites in the past 12 months.
Geelong were able to shut down Hawthorn effectively and I expect them to do the same this weekend, which makes the Under in total points markets really stand out.
The under saluted in almost 60 percent of Greater Western Sydney Giants games last year and less than 181.5 points is a good betting play.
Recommended Bet: Back The Under (-181.5 Points)
West Coast Eagles
Sunday 3 April, 3:20pm, MCG
Hawthorn 99 - West Coast Eagles 53
This will is a rematch of the 2015 AFL Grand Final. The West Coast Eagles beat the Hawks in the opening week of the 2015 AFL Finals and went into the Grand Final with plenty of confidence, but Hawthorn dominated from start to finish to win their third straight flag in comprehensive fashion.
The West Coast Eagles were far too good for the Brisbane Lions last weekend, they face a much tougher challenge against a Hawthorn side that will be smarting following their round 1 defeat against Geelong.
West Coast are currently narrow favourites in the Grand Final rematch and they have an excellent record as punters elect at home, but have actually been a losing betting proposition as favourites away from.
Hawthorn did not start a single game as underdogs this season and they went 6-6 against the line in home fixtures.
The Hawks will be without Luke Hodge and that is a genuine concern, but it is hard to let the Hawks go around as underdogs without my support.
Recommended Bet: Back Hawthorn To Win @ $2
Sunday 3 April, 4:40pm, Etihad Stadium
Carlton 71 - Sydney Swans 131
The Brendon Bolton era at Carlton did not start with a victory, but they gave their supporters reason to be optimistic with an exciting performance, while the Sydney Swans were nothing short of ruthless against Collingwood.
Sydney have been slow starters in recent seasons, but that wasn’t the case last weekend and they embarrassed a disappointing Collingwood side.
The Swans are very short-priced favourites ahead of this fixture and it will be line betting that offers the only real value here.
Sydney have not lost a game as away favourites in the past 12 months and they are 4-2 against the line in that scenario, while Carlton have been a losing betting proposition in just about every metric.
A repeat of round 1 would see Sydney score a very big win over Carlton and I am confident that they can cover the line with a start of 36.5 points.
Recommended Bet: Back Sydney To Beat The Line (-36.5 Points)