Business is about pick up with just one round remaining before finals.
The fight for a spot inside the eight remains as the Crows, Hawks and Power all look to make a late finals push, setting up a handful of do-or-die scenarios around the league.
With a huge top-four encounter to look forward to on Sunday between the Tigers and Lions, Round 23 shapes up as a tough one to pick for punters.
Fortunately, we’ve previewed everything you need to know below.
Friday August 23, 7:50pm, MCG
These two sides can rest easy knowing they’ll both play finals, but Collingwood will still fancy themselves a chance at the top four if results go their way.
The Pies would not only need to win convincingly on Friday night against the Bombers, they’d also need the Lions to beat Richmond on Sunday afternoon. Stranger things have happened, but when you consider only four points separated these two back on Anzac Day, it’s difficult to see the Dons losing by much.
John Worsfold’s side will play finals for the first time since 2017 thanks to a resounding 32-point win over the Dockers last week.
The Dons, helped out by the inclusion of Adam Saad and Michael Hurley, ran riot over the Dockers from the second quarter onwards – although the Bombers failed to win just about every major statistical category.
After a bit of a late season slump, Collingwood has also steadied winning their third straight game last week against the Crows. The Pies looked sharp inside 50 as Jamie Elliott earned a five-goal bag, leaving Collingwood as the favourites ahead of this week’s blockbuster clash at the ‘G.
You can expect something close to a sold-out crowd on Friday night, which should play a huge part for both clubs.
The Dons have lost three straight games to Collingwood dating back to last season, but with a finals spot secured, you can expect Essendon to approach this game with plenty of hunger and passion.
Unfortunately, the Bombers complete lack of defence down back last week spells trouble against one of the top five goal kicking sides in the competition. To make matters worse, the Dons also rank top five in inside 50’s allowed to opponents, which should help Collingwood on their way to victory.
Tip: Back Collingwood 1-39 @ $2.04
Saturday August 24, 1:45pm, SCG
Sydney’s 53-point win over the Dees last week came as a shock to many, but what won’t come as a surprise is Buddy Franklin’s late inclusion to play his 300th game.
Milestones aside, the Swans still find themselves as the heavy favourites at home as they prepare to host the Saints in their final game of the season.
St. Kilda are still licking their wounds following last week’s heartbreaking 10-point loss to the Blues, and things aren’t about to get any easier on the road.
The Saints haven’t won at the SCG over the Swans since 2009, and with both sides looking to end their season on a high note, you can expect plenty of fight on Saturday afternoon.
On paper, this game shapes up as a bit of a coin flip, but it’s worth noting the Swans have typically been a much stronger side in the second half compared to the first.
Sydney also holds a perfect 4-0 record as the home favourite against St. Kilda, and considering this is their first game at home in just under a month, you can bet the Swans will look to send their fans home with a win.
Tip: Half-Time/Full-Time: St. Kilda/Sydney @ $6.25
Saturday August 24, 2:10pm, Blundstone Arena (Hobart)
The Roos and the Dees head south to Tasmania on Saturday with nothing more than bragging rights on the line.
While a win won’t mean much in terms of the ladder, both clubs will be looking to end the year on a high note after a disappointing season.
North responded to their shocking loss against Geelong with an 86-point belting over Port last week. Ben Brown’s 10 goal bag puts him in the driver’s seat for the Coleman Medal, and with home-field advantage, it’s no surprise to find the Roos at a very short price.
Melbourne’s season hit a new low last week as the Dees failed to fire at home to the Swans. It was the same old story from Simon Goodwin’s side as Melbourne once again looked good on the stat sheet but failed to convert in front of goal.
Considering this is the first meeting between the Roos and the Dees this year, it’s tough to know what to expect on Saturday.
On one hand, North has won four of their last five games against Melbourne, but it’s worth noting the Dees do hold a convincing 2-0 record as the line underdog on the road against the Roos.
The line has been set at 24.5 points this week, which does look a little generous considering North ranks fourth in goals allowed this season.
With rain also forecast for Saturday, don’t be surprised if Melbourne keeps this close.
Tip: Back Melbourne to Cover the Line (+24.5 Points) @ $1.91
Saturday August 24, 4:35pm, GMHBA Stadium
The importance of Saturday’s game can’t be overstated as the Cats look to bounce back from last week’s meltdown at the Gabba.
Geelong led by as many as three goals at half time, right before allowing the Lions to comeback in the fourth to steal a one-point victory.
The loss leaves the Cats sitting second on the ladder with plenty on the line. A big win over Carlton and a Lions loss could see Geelong reclaim first spot on percentage, while a loss and a West Coast or Richmond win would see Geelong concede second on the ladder.
Fortunately, Chris Scott’s side heads back to The Cattery this week – a ground Carlton haven’t won at since 1996. The Blues were triumphant last week in a 10-point victory over St. Kilda but having lost four of their last five to Geelong, it’s very difficult to back any kind of upset.
With that said, there’s nothing stopping the Blues from keeping this game close. Geelong’s form of late screams danger ahead of the finals, while Carlton can take pride in the fact their last four losses have come by no more than 30-points.
It’s also worth noting that three of the last five meetings between these two clubs have been decided by 1-39 points. The Cats should prove too good in the end, but with a point to prove ahead of the offseason, the Blues should keep things interesting.
Tip: Back Geelong 1-39 @ $2.10
Gold Coast Suns
Saturday August 24, 7:25pm, Metricon Stadium
A game against the Gold Coast is often a great opportunity to regroup, but the Giants can’t afford to take Saturday’s game lightly.
A loss this week would be catastrophic for Leon Cameron’s side as they currently sit just four points clear of the eighth-place Bulldogs. The Giants will play finals from here, but they need to win if they wish to secure home-field advantage in the elimination final.
Should GWS lose, they could potentially fall all the way down to eighth on the ladder, meaning an away trip to the MCG in a fortnight’s time. And after last year’s early exit against Collingwood, that’s the last thing the Giants need.
As far as form goes, the Giants track record at Metricon is far from pretty. In five games since 2012, GWS has managed only two victories.
On the flip side though, the Suns are in shambles. Gold Coast managed only two goals in the first half against the Hawks last week, and while there were some brief periods of promise, ultimately the Suns went on to lose by 70-points.
It’s very difficult to find any faith in the Giants right now, especially on the heels of two straight losses. This should be the confidence boost GWS needs though, and with a 4-2 record as the away favourite at the line, back the Giants to win comfortably.
Tip: Back GWS to Cover the Line (-47.5 Points) @ $1.90
West Coast Eagles
Saturday August 24,8:10pm ,Optus Stadium
These two clubs are in firm control of their own destiny on Saturday night.
In the aftermath of last week’s six-point loss to Richmond, the third-place Eagles still stand a slim chance at finishing on top of the ladder should results go their way.
Perhaps the best West Coast can hope for though is second on the ladder, which seems likely as they prepare to face a very dangerous looking Hawthorn side.
The Hawks enjoyed a cruisy game last week against the Suns as they farewelled Jarryd Roughead in style. The scenario for the Hawks now is simple: win in Perth, and hope the Crows beat the Bulldogs.
Stranger things have happened, and while a trip to Optus Stadium to face the reigning premiers is never easy, you can never doubt an Alastair Clarkson coached side.
The last time the Hawks won out West against the Eagles was back in 2015, but if Hawthorn can dominate the inside 50, and more importantly, kick straight, they should stand a strong chance at pulling off a huge upset.
For as good as the Eagles are, they aren’t unbeatable at home. West Coast has lost twice at Optus this year, but given how generous the line looks, it’s worth playing it safe on the Hawks to keep things close.
Tip: Back Hawthorn to Cover the Line (+25.5 Points) @ $1.90
Sunday August 25, 1:10pm, Mars Stadium (Ballarat)
This should be a gem of a game from Ballarat.
The Bulldogs find themselves in the eight for now, but a win is crucial if they wish to hold off the Hawks, Crows and Power.
Adelaide, meanwhile, need a miracle to play finals. Firstly, the Crows need to win by plenty, while a Hawthorn and Port Adelaide loss would also help the cause.
Winning against the Bulldogs in Ballarat is never easy, particularly for a Crows side left reeling following a 66-point loss to the Pies at home.
Adelaide was smashed in the disposal and inside 50 counts last week against Collingwood, which spells bad news against a Bulldogs side that ranks top five in both categories.
Given what’s at stake, this game should be a close call, but the Dogs arguably look the scariest side in the competition right now.
Tip: Back the Bulldogs 1-39 @ $2.06
Sunday August 25, 3:20pm, MCG
Forget game of the round, this might turn out to be game of the year.
Top of the table Brisbane travels to the ‘G on Sunday afternoon to face the Tigers with so much on the line. A win for the Lions would secure their spot on the ladder, while Richmond could leapfrog Geelong and West Coast for second should they emerge victorious.
It wasn’t pretty, but Brisbane’s fourth-quarter effort against Geelong reminded everyone to never count out Chris Fagan’s side.
Likewise, the same goes for the Tigers, who found themselves down by four goals at quarter-time to the Eagles. Richmond mounted a comeback once the weather turned bad, winding up 88-82 victors thanks to a brilliant goal from Jack Riewoldt.
This is a huge test for both clubs, but considering Brisbane’s track record at the MCG, all eyes will be on the competition frontrunners. The Lions haven’t won at the ‘G since 2014, while fans won’t hold particularly fond memories of their 93-point loss to the Tigers last year.
For Richmond, the Lions pose a big challenge to the backline. Charlie Cameron has been electric over the last month to rank fourth in the Coleman race, while playmakers like Mitch Robinson and Dayne Zorko also pose a threat.
Considering the Lions have lost 12 straight to the Tigers dating back to 2009 though, it’s hard to back against Richmond. Brisbane’s lack of familiarity with the ‘G should play a small part, and while the Lions are capable of keeping this close, this could turn out as a learning curve for Fagan’s side.
Tip: Back Richmond 1-39 @ $2.02
Sunday August 25,4:40pm, Adelaide Oval
The Dockers have nothing left to play for, but they’ll be hoping to spoil Port’s party as the Power try and sneak into the finals.
Fremantle’s 32-point loss to the Bombers last week came as a surprise, especially after dominating on the stat sheet.
The Power’s 86-point loss to North was the biggest shock of the weekend though, a result that leaves Port sitting 11th on the ladder needing a miracle.
These two sides last played each other back in Round 13, a game the Dockers won at home quite comfortably. Port has now lost two straight to Freo, but considering Ross Lyon’s side hasn’t won down south against the Power since 2012, it’s not hard to understand why the Dockers are the underdogs this week.
The Dockers are 2-7 as the away underdog this season, compared to the Power, who are a perfect 4-0 as the home favourite against Fremantle.
A win still mightn’t be enough to secure a finals spot, but with their season on the line, the Power should triumph against a Fremantle side that’s lost its last four games away from home.
Tip: Back Port Adelaide 1-39 @ $2.00
The home/away season boils down to Round 23, and for teams desperately trying to claw their way into the eight, it’s now or never as the season comes to a close.
After weeks of speculation, the Top 8 now looks set barring a few minor changes that could potentially take place.
Are Geelong in for good? And how will the Top 2 shape up?
There’s plenty of questions ahead of another big round of footy, and all of our 2018 AFL Round 23 tips can be found below!
Friday August 24, 7.20pm, Adelaide Oval
Essendon are done and dusted, but Port Adelaide? Not so fast.
The Power will need results to also go their way, but all they can do this week is win.
Unfortunately, that’s no guarantee against this Bombers lineup, as the reigning premiers nearly found out last week.
Essendon looked cooked by half time, but the Dons fought back to give the Tigers a scare behind three Cale Hooker goals.
Port, well last weeks game wasn’t so much a scare as it was a hiding.
It was always a tough ask for the Power to take down Collingwood at the MCG, but a 51-point flogging?
That just shouldn’t happen to a team with this much talent.
You could argue the Power don’t deserve to play finals after their efforts over the course of the last month.
You only have to rewind back to Round 4 to see how this one might play out on Friday as well – Port were once again underwhelming against Essendon losing by as many as 22-points.
On that day in particular, Jake Stringer went bananas booting four goals while Dyson Heppell racked up 31 disposals.
Of course, that game was at Etihad, so we may see a different story unfold at Adelaide Oval this week.
If Port really are to win this game though, their back line will need to knuckle down.
Collingwood booted 17 goals to 13 behinds last week, showing just how much worse the scoreboard could have been if the Pies kicked straight.
The Bombers no doubt have the firepower to convert in front of the sticks, and Jarrod Lienert or Jack Hombsch will have their hands full with Stringer and Orazio Fantasia should he choose to play.
With all that in mind, take the Bombers in an upset.
Tip: Back Essendon To Win @ $2.50
Same Game Multi: Essendon To Win, Jake Stringer 2+ Goals, Under 172.5 Points
Gold Coast Suns
Saturday August 25, 1.45pm, GMHBA
Finals may have been in doubt three weeks ago, but the Cats look home and hosed heading towards September now.
Barring the unthinkable, a second straight home game should see Geelong play finals in a couple of weeks.
The Cats luck of the draw saw them comfortably beat Fremantle last week, and with the Suns up next, Geelong can enjoy another cruisy week before things start to get serious.
Although it is the Suns, coach Chris Scott will be wary not to take this game too lightly.
Gold Coast came so close to knocking off the Lions last week, and as we saw six weeks ago against the Swans, the Suns can pull a rabbit out of their hat every so often.
Gold Coast were particularly impressive inside their own fifty against Brisbane.
The Cats, as well as every other club, now knows the name Alex Sexton, as the 24-year old booted a four-goal bag while also notching 19 disposals.
For the Cats, Sexton will be a hot topic at training this week.
He’s the only Suns player that poses a serious threat in front of goal, while on the other hand, Gold Coast will need to contain Tom Hawkins this week.
A game removed from handing Fremantle their worst loss in club history, as well as scoring 23 unanswered goals (six of which belong to Hawkins) it’s so hard to Geelong letting this huge opportunity slip.
The finals bell tolls for thee, and since there’s really no value to be had in this market, it’s best to let it be.
Tip: No Bet
Saturday August 25, 2.10pm, MCG
The Dogs want this season over, while the fun is just getting started for the Tigers.
Richmond survived a late scare from the Bombers last week to hold on for an eight-point win.
The Dogs also cracked the winners circle themselves, trouncing Carlton by 17 points to earn their third straight victory.
Since these clubs haven’t met this season, we have to rewind all the way back to Round 7 last year to get a feel for what just might happen.
Of course, as the scoreline indicates, things were a little different back then.
The Dogs won by five-points in a thriller, the same night Jack Riewoldt kicked his 500th goal.
This time around, we should expect things to be a little less, well… close.
The Dogs have had their wins, and they can walk away proud of what has been an injury ravaged season, but it’s unlikely Jack Macrae and Mitch Wallis can contain the Tigers elite class of talent.
Perhaps the only chance the Dogs have of an upset here is if Damien Hardwick decides to rest a bunch of his stars.
Richmond looked a little vulnerable minus Trent Cotchin last week, but overall, this looks a little beyond Luke Beveridge’s side.
Tip: Over 169.5 Points @ $1.84
Same Game Multi: Tigers To Win, Over 169.5 Points, Dustin Martin 30+ Disposals
Saturday August 25, 2.35pm, Optus Stadium
This game might look plain on paper, but there’s a lot at stake for the Pies this week.
A win, and Collingwood secures a home final and potentially a spot inside the Top 2.
A loss, well it opens the door for Hawthorn to steal their place as well as the possibility of falling to fifth on the ladder.
For Collingwood to achieve their goal, they simply need to rely on their forward line.
Jordan de Goey was phenomenal once again last week in booting a pair of goals, and if Will Hoskin-Elliott can find the same form he showed last time the Pies faced the Dockers, this should be a walk in the park.
For Fremantle to spoil the party, they’ll need the crowd on their side and a miracle from the center clearances.
The Dockers were handed their worst defeat in club history last week losing by 133-points to Geelong, but while Freo fans just want this season over, there’s one last chance to end the season on a high note.
With such a long and what should be turbulent offseason ahead though, it’s an unlikely scenario for Fremantle.
Coach Ross Lyon is on a burning hot seat, and aside from Nat Fyfe, so is the playing group after last week’s poor effort.
Matching up now with one of the competitions Top 3 scoring sides likely results in another blowout for the miserable Dockers.
Tip: Back Collingwood To Win 40+ @ $2.10
Same Game Multi: Collingwood 40+ Jordan de Goey 2+ Goals, Over 169.5 Total Points
Saturday August 25, 7.25pm, Etihad
Carlton have the wooden spoon wrapped up, but there’s a chance to end a very forgettable season on a high note this week against the Crows.
Adelaide will be keen to get this season over with themselves, but their victory over North Melbourne last week at least salvaged some bragging rights for last seasons Grand Final runner-up.
Now heading back to Melbourne, the Crows will be hoping their midfield talent can see them over the line comfortably this week.
The Blues are in search for their third win of the season, but they’ll have to find a way to shutdown Mitch McGovern and Josh Jenkins – the pair combined for eight goals when these two teams met back in Round 7.
The Blues have shown plenty of poise over the last month, but again, they have nothing to show for it.
Adelaide have won four straight games over the Blues dating back to 2014, and if Matt Crouch can continue to earn plenty of the ball, this one should hardly be close.
Perhaps the only thing Carlton fans can find home in, is the Crows average interstate record.
Adelaide have won just three games away from home this year, with their last trip to Melbourne resulting in a 47-point thumping at the hands of the Tigers.
This one could be closer than we think, but the Crows should get it done.
Tip: Back Adelaide Crows 1-39 @ $2.55
Same Game Multi: Crows 1-39, Under 178.5 Points, Patrick Cripps 30+ Disposals
Saturday August 25, 7.25pm, SCG
Now this is the one to watch.
The battle for second place on the ladder is huge, and although Sydney can’t quite make it that high, the Swans could still find themselves Top 3 by the end of the round.
The history between these two clubs is well established, featuring Grand Finals and regular season thrillers, but there’s always one other key component to this rivalry: Buddy Franklin.
It hasn’t always been easy, but Buddy fares pretty well against his former club.
The star full forward has kicked 21 career goals against Hawthorn, and on the back of a five-goal game against the Giants last week, you have to like Buddy’s chances at kicking another bag.
For the Hawks, there were plenty of worrying signs on display last week.
Alastair Clarkson’s side failed to kick a goal in the fourth quarter, relying on nothing but two behinds to see themselves over the line against the Saints.
That’s been the story of Hawthorn’s season really, great one week, average the next.
The Hawks look lethal when the ball is in the hands of Luke Breust or Tom Mitchell, but there’s still a lot to be desired in the back line aside from Ben Stratton.
For punters, that’s probably not what you want to hear as the Hawks prepare for the Swans this week.
To make matters worse, remember the name Ben Ronke?
He booted seven goals on the Hawks last time these two met back in Round 8, a game Sydney won narrowly by eight points.
Now heading back to the SCG, this looks mighty tough for the Hawks.
They’ve stood tall as the underdogs for most of the season, but unless they can find some pressure and win the clearance battle – two areas they lacked last time they met the Swans – this one should belong to the Swans.
Tip: Back Sydney Swans 1-39 @ $2.02
Same Game Multi: Swans 1-39, Tom Mitchell 34 Or More Disposals
West Coast Eagles
Sunday August 26, 1.10pm, The Gabba
The Lions might just hold the Eagles’ fate in their very hands.
This game at The Gabba is huge as far as the rest of the ladder is concerned, and you can expect both Collingwood and Hawthorn to be watching with plenty of interest.
After last weeks disappointment against Melbourne at home, this is must-win if West Coast wish to secure a home final.
Beat the Lions and the Eagles will finish second on the ladder, but lose, well there’s no telling how dire the consequences might be.
West Coast’s lack of playmaking ability was on full display last week, a worrying sign heading toward September.
Not for the first time this season, the fourth quarter seemed to trip up the hosts, as the Eagles managed just three goals and a behind from the half time siren to the full time siren.
As for the Lions, goals weren’t a problem against the Suns, but momentum was.
Brisbane were up comfortably come quarter time, and it looked as though the Lions were far too classy for their nextdoor neighbors.
Wouldn’t you know it though, the Lions let a handy lead slip, as the game turned into a last minute Q-Clash thriller.
The last time these two met at The Gabba, the Eagles handed Brisbane a demoralizing 131-82 loss back in 2016.
Things have changed a little since then however, and all it will take is for the Lions to bring the same pressure they’ve been showing all season to the field on Sunday.
With so many stars out, this is a game Chris Fagan’s side will feel like they can win.
There’s no finals on the line, but a win over the Eagles would more than exceed expectations of the baby Lions and set them up with a ton of confidence entering 2019.
And is there any chance of that?
It wouldn’t be the first time the Eagles have let a good thing slip away.
Tip: Back the Lions To Win @ $2.60
Same Game Multi: Lions To Win, Eric Hipwood 2+ Goals
Sunday August 26, 3.20pm, MCG
This game always looked like it could be Melbourne’s biggest downfall, but now that the Dees have secured a spot in the finals, we should be in for a classic.
The Giants hung tight with the Swans last week, but the absence of Josh Kelly was pretty noticeable.
GWS lost every statistical category bar hit-outs, and despite dominating the first half, Phil Davis finally came undone against Buddy Franklin allowing the superstar to kick five goals.
Melbourne, well what can you say? It was a moment like no other, and after 254 games of finals-less footy, it was nice to see Nathan Jones make it to September.
The Dees were savage in the final term, locking the ball down for stoppage after stoppage going on to kick nine second half goals with Jake Melksham leading the way.
Since we’re unsure just how healthy the Giants will be heading into this clash, the Demons enter as the early favourites at around the $1.50 mark.
Melbourne also hold the home field advantage this week, and since the Dees held on for a two-point thriller against the Giants at the G’ back in 2016, this one could be just as close.
Much of the game will be decided in the ruck, which certainly favors the Demons at this point.
Kelly looks to be on his way to returning for the Giants, but if Heath Shaw does indeed miss a second straight game, it will be hard to back GWS this week.
Tip: Back Melbourne To Beat The Line (-14.5 Points) @ $1.92
Same Game Multi: Melbourne To Win, Under 179.5 Points, Under 22.5 Goals
Sunday August 26, 4.40pm, Etihad
North Melbourne’s finals hopes came to a screeching halt last week against the Crows.
It was do-or-die for the Roos down in Adelaide, but with Ben Brown held goalless, North’s season came to a disappointing end after so much promise.
With nothing but bragging rights left on the line, this is a chance for the Roos to end 2018 on a high note. After last weeks mighty effort against the Hawks, the same goes for St. Kilda, and with some doubt still surrounding coach Alan Richardson, a Saints win might just secure the coach for the future.
When these two met back in Round 2, it was a no contest. North pumped the Saints by 52-points, a game that saw Brown boot a whopping six goals.
It’s likely we see the same fate play out once again this week, as the Saints back line should struggle to hold down not only Brown, but Majak Daw and Mason Wood.
Tip: Back North Melbourne 1-39 @ $2.12
Same Game Multi: North Melbourne 1-39, Over 181.5 Points
This is the final round of the 2017 AFL regular season and we still have no clear idea exactly which eight teams will qualify for the AFL Finals.
Essendon, West Coast, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs are all still vying for eighth position and there are a number of games this weekend that are simply must-win.
There are plenty of games in the AFL this weekend where there is very little between the two sides in betting and that means that there are plenty of attractive betting opportunities.
Friday August 25, 7.50pm, Etihad Stadium
Hawthorn 99 - Western Bulldogs 90
This will be an emotional game for both these sides as the Western Bulldogs farewell Bob Murphy and Hawthorn say goodbye to Luke Hodge.
The Bulldogs still have a very small chance of playing finals football and they will go into this clash as narrow favourites.
The way that the Bulldogs have responded when their season has been on the line has been disappointing and they have been a losing betting play as favourites this season.
They have won ten of their past 15 games as the punter’s elect, but they are a very poor 4-11 against the line in this scenario.
Hawthorn had their finals hopes ended by their surprise loss to Carlton last weekend and they go into this clash with nothing to play for but pride.
The Hawks have won six of their past 15 games as underdogs for a big profit and they are 9-6 against the line when being given a start.
This is the type of game that Hawthorn really do thrive in and they offer some value at their current quote of $2.05.
Back Hawthorn To Win @ $2.05
Saturday August 26, 1.45pm, MCG
Collingwood 99 - Melbourne 83
Melbourne will return to the finals for the first time since 2006 and they will go into this clash with Collingwood as clear favourites.
The Demons have held their nerve in recent weeks when many expected them to falter and it will be interesting to see how they perform now they have locked in a finals berth.
Melbourne have won seven of their past 11 games as favourites and they are an extremely poor 3-8 against the line in this scenario.
Collingwood go into this clash on the back of defeats at the hands of both Port Adelaide and Geelong, but they were not disgraced in either fixture.
The Magpies have won only three of their past 11 games as underdogs for a clear loss, but they are 9-2 against the line when being given a start.
Collingwood are more than capable of competing with top eight sides when they play at their best and they can upstage Melbourne’s finals celebration.
Back Collingwood To Beat The Line (+9.5 Points)
Saturday August 26, 2.10pm, The Gabba
Brisbane Lions 79 - North Melbourne 130
The wooden spoon and the number one draft pick will both be on the line when the Brisbane Lions face North Melbourne on Saturday afternoon.
Brisbane have played some solid football in the second half of the season and they will go into this clash with North Melbourne as clear favourites.
The Lions have played only one game as favourites this season, but they were able to get the job done comfortably and they are clearly keen to finish the season on a positive.
North Melbourne have won only one of their past 11 games and they were no match for St Kilda last weekend.
The Kangaroos have won only one of their past 10 games as away underdogs and they are a middling 5-5 against the line.
There has been plenty to like about the way that Brisbane have finished this season and they can avoid the wooden spoon with a comfortable win over North Melbourne.
Back Brisbane To Beat The Line (-12.5 Points)
Saturday August 26, 4.35pm, SCG
Sydney Swans 138 - Carlton 57
The Sydney Swans can still secure a top four finish with a win over Carlton and they go into this clash as clear favourites.
Sydney once again showed why they are genuine premiership favourites when they beat Adelaide last Friday night and they head into the AFL Finals in simply outstanding form.
The Swans have won eight of their past 13 games as favourites and they are 7-6 against the line in this scenario, but they did lose to Carlton earlier this season.
Carlton ended their losing streak with a win over Hawthorn last weekend and they will take confidence from the fact that they beat Sydney earlier in the year.
The Blues have won only two of their past 11 games as away underdogs, but they are 6-3 against the line in this scenario and have been a better side than the market has suggested this season.
This is a match that the market looks to have got about right and I am happy to stay out from a betting perspective.
Saturday August 26, 7.25pm, Simonds Stadium
Geelong 103 - GWS Giants 59
This is a huge game for both these sides.
Geelong can leapfrog Greater Western and finish second if they win this clash, while the Giants will keep alive their chances of winning the minor premiership with a victory.
It is Geelong that will start this clash as favourites and it is well known how hard they are to beat at Simonds Stadium.
Geelong have won seven of their past nine games as home favourites for a profit, but they are only 2-7 against the line in this scenario for a large loss.
Greater Western Sydney made it four wins on the trot with their victory over West Coast and they may be finding their best form at the right time of the season.
The Giants have won their two games as away underdogs this season and they are a team that is very difficult to beat when they get on a role.
Greater Western Sydney should have too much class for Geelong and can keep the minor premiership alive for at least another 24 hours.
Back GWS Giants To Win @ $2
Gold Coast Suns
Saturday August 26, 7.40pm, Adelaide Oval
Port Adelaide 135 - Gold Coast Suns 20
Port Adelaide can keep their chances of a top four finish alive with a win over the Gold Coast Suns and they are dominant favourites to do just that.
The Power made it back-to-back wins with a strong win over the Western Bulldogs and these are the types of games that Port Adelaide have had little trouble winning this season.
They have won seven of their nine games as home favourites for a clear profit an they are 5-4 against the line in this scenario.
It has been another season to forget for the Suns and they look set to finish this season with eight straight defeats.
Gold Coast have lost their past eight games as away underdogs and they are an extremely poor 2-6 against the line in this scenario.
The line for this clash is massive, but Port Adelaide beat Gold Coast by over 70 points earlier this season and a repeat could be on the cards.
Back Port Adelaide To beat The Line (-49.5 Points)
Sunday August 27, 1.1opm, Etihad Stadium
Essendon 107 - Fremantle 92
Fremantle have won their past four games against Essendon, but it is the Bombers that will start this clash as clear favourites.
Essendon will secure a top eight finish with a win in this clash, but they haven’t been overly impressive as favourites this season.
The Bombers have won four of their past seven games as favourites and they are 2-5 against the line in this scenario.
Fremantle have produced two putrid efforts in their past two games against Sydney and Richmond and it really is tough to have any faith in them off those efforts.
The Dockers have won only three of their past nine games as away underdogs and they are 5-4 against the line in this scenario.
The line for this clash does seem excessive and it would not surprise if Fremantle are able to give Essendon something of a scare.
Back Fremantle To Beat The Line (+41.5 Points)
Sunday August 27, 3.2opm, MCG
Richmond 122 - St Kilda 81
Richmond will secure a top four finish with a victory in this clash, while St Kilda will still be in finals contention if Essendon lose.
St Kilda flogged Richmond earlier this season, but it is the Tigers that will go into this clash as favourites following their big win over Fremantle last weekend.
Richmond have proven to be a strangely reliable betting proposition as favourites this season – they have won nine of their past 12 games as the punter’s elect and they are 8-4 against the line in this scenario.
St Kilda kept their finals hopes alive with a win over North Melbourne last weekend, but their is every chance they will be out of finals contention by the time this clash rolls round.
The Saints have won only four of their past 12 games as underdogs for a clear loss and they are only a middling 6-6 against the line in this situation.
Richmond will likely be the team that has something to play for in this clash and they can finish the regular season with another comfortable win.
Back Richmond To Beat The Line (-18.5 Points)
West Coast Eagles
Sunday August 27, 4.4opm, Domain Stadium
West Coast Eagles 100 - Adelaide Crows 71
The results of other games could have a large bearing on this one.
Adelaide will secure the Minor Premiership if Geelong beat Greater Western Sydney, but will be leapfrogged by a Giants win.
West Coast will be out of finals contention if Essendon beat Fremantle, but a Bombers loss would give them the chance to play for a finals berth.
At this stage it is Adelaide that will start this clash as favourites and this is a position in which they have thrived this season.
The Crows have won seven of their past ten games as away favourites and they are 6-4 against the line in this scenario.
West Coast have struggled badly for consistency this season and their finals hopes took a big hit with their defeat at the hands of Greater Western Sydney last weekend.
Domain Stadium has not been the fortress it once was for the Eagles, but they did win their only game as home underdogs this season and they will be keen to send both Matthew Priddis and Sam Mitchell out as winners.
There are a number of variables that make this clash a tough one to analyse from a betting stand point, so at this stage I will be staying out.
The final weekend of the 2016 AFL regular season is here!
The top eight may already be decided but the jostling for positions heading into the finals is on in earnest, with an incredible four teams sitting on 64 competition points.
Just about every game this weekend will have some sort of finals relevance and there will be plenty of interest in all nine fixtures!
West Coast Eagles
Friday 26 August, 8:10pm, Adelaide Oval
Adelaide Crows 71 - West Coast Eagles 100
The Adelaide Crows have won seven of their past eight games and they go into this clash with an outside chance of winning the minor premiership.
Adelaide still haven’t really received the credit that they are due in recent weeks, but they are genuine premiership contenders and playing an outstanding brand of football.
Their record at Adelaide Oval this season has been outstanding – they are 6-1 as home favourites and are 4-3 against the line.
West Coast will finish in the top eight, but a top four finish is beyond them.
They showed that they are not a spent force with their big win over Hawthorn last weekend although this clash against the Crows at the Adelaide Oval is completely different challenge.
West Coast have won just one of their four games as away underdogs this season and their record against the line in this scenario is identical.
Adelaide have far more to play for in this clash and they are a good bet to record a comfortable victory over their finals rivals.
Back Adelaide Crows To Beat The Line (-23.5 Points)
Saturday 27 August, 1:45pm, Simonds Stadium
Geelong 155 - Melbourne 44
Geelong are another club that remain in the minor premiership hunt and they also need to win in order to secure a top four finish.
Geelong made it six wins on the trot with a comprehensive victory over the Brisbane Lions and they will start this game as clear favourites against a Melbourne side that now has nothing left to play for.
The Cats still remain a fairly average outfit from a betting standpoint and they have been a losing side as home favourites in both head-to-head and line betting markets.
Melbourne threw away any chance they had of playing finals football this season with their disgraceful performance against Carlton last weekend.
This will be a real test of the character of this young side – they can dig in for the fight or give up the drum completely in what they would consider to be a meaningless clash.
One positive for the Demons is that they have thrived as away underdogs this season and they are a highly impressive 6-2 against the line in this scenario.
I am going to give Melbourne a chance to redeem themselves in this fixture and I am happy to back them with a start of 32.5 points.
Back Melbourne To Beat The Line (+32.5 Points)
Saturday 27 August, 2:10pm, MCG
Essendon 103 - Carlton 79
This is one of only three games this weekend that will not have any baring on the top eight.
Essendon will obviously be extremely pleased to see the back of the 2016 AFL season, while Carlton will head into this game with some confidence following their big win over Melbourne.
Carlton will start this game as a clear favourite and this will be just the fifth time they have been in this position this season, with the Blues having a 2-2 record in this scenario in both head-to-head and line betting markets.
Essendon were not disgraced against the Western Bulldogs last weekend and there is some evidence to suggest they could give Carlton a scare this weekend.
In saying that, the line of 20.5 points is not overly generous and I am happy to finish the season the way that I started it – not betting on games involved Essendon.
Saturday 27 August, 4:35pm, SCG
Sydney Swans 164 - Richmond Tigers 51
The Sydney Swans are in the box-seat to claim the AFL Minor Premiership and will all but secure this title with a win over Richmond.
Sydney made it five wins on the trot with a hard-fought victory over North Melbourne and they will start this game as extremely short-priced favourites.
The Swans are 9-3 as home favourites this season in head-to-head betting for a narrow loss, but they are 8-4 against the line for a nice profit.
There is no doubt that Richmond have now given up on this season and they were simply woeful against St Kilda last weekend.
Richmond have now lost their past six games as away underdogs and their record against the line in this situation is a very poor 1-5.
The line for this clash is very large, but Sydney will have the opportunity to use this as a statement clash heading into the finals and score a big victory.
Back Sydney Swans To Beat The Line (-45.5 Points)
Gold Coast Suns
Saturday 27 August, 7:25pm, Metricon Stadium
Gold Coast Suns 66 - Port Adelaide 89
This is another game that will not have any influence over the top eight.
Both the Gold Coast Suns and Port Adelaide have had seasons that they would like to forget, but it is the Power that will go into this clash as clear favourites.
Port Adelaide have won just one of their past four games, but they are 4-3 against the line as away favourites this season and have been a winning betting play in this scenario.
The Gold Coast made it four loses on the trot with their defeat at the hands of Collingwood last weekend and they are set for another finish in the bottom four.
Gold Coast have not won a single game as home underdogs this season and their record against the line has been just as poor.
Port Adelaide may have struggled this season, but they are still a better outfit than the Gold Coast Suns and they should be able to finish the year with a comfortable victory.
Back Port Adelaide To Beat The Line (-15.5 Points)
Saturday 27 August, 7:25pm, Etihad Stadium
North Melbourne 63 - GWS Giants 100
North Melbourne are yet to suffer a loss at the hands of the Greater Western Sydney Giants, but it is the Giants that will start this clash as clear favourites.
Greater Western Sydney can keep alive their chances of a top four finish with a win this weekend – although they will still need to rely on other results.
The Giants have failed to fire at times on the road this season and they are a non-profitable 6-3 as away favourites, while they are 3-6 against the line in this scenario.
North Melbourne will finish eighth no matter what happens this weekend and head into this following a credible defeat at the hands of Sydney.
The Kangaroos have lost both of their games as home underdogs this season, but they are 2-0 against the line in this situation.
North Melbourne are more than capable of giving Greater Western Sydney a scare in front of their home fans and I am happy to back the Kangaroos with a start of 14.5 points.
Back North Melbourne To Beat The Line (+14.5 Points)
Sunday 28 August, 1:10pm, Etihad Stadium
St Kilda 161 - Brisbane Lions 103
This is the final game of the weekend that will not have any influence on the make-up of the top eight.
St Kilda have laid the foundation for a charge to the finals next season and they will be keen to finish the year off with a victory over a team that they really should be beating.
The Saints ground out an ugly win over Richmond last weekend and there is plenty to suggest that they will not have any problems making it two wins on the trot.
St Kilda are 2-0 as home favourites in both head-to-head and line betting markets this season, while their recent record against the Brisbane Lions has been strong.
It has been another season from hell for the Lions and it is tough to see them finishing with a win this weekend.
Brisbane have won just one of their 11 games as away underdogs this season and they are a truly putrid 3-8 against the line in this scenario.
A big win looks likely for St Kilda and I am happy to back them to cover the hefty line of 48.5 points.
Back St Kilda To Beat The Line (-48.5 Points)
Sunday 28 August, 3:20pm, MCG
Hawthorn 112 - Collingwood 111
This is a crucial game for Hawthorn as they need to win to secure a place in the top four.
Hawthorn lost their grip on the minor premiership with their loss to the West Coast Eagles last weekend and a fourth place finish now looks likely.
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that Hawthorn will have no trouble bouncing back to winning form – they are 11-1 as home favourites this season and haven’t lost back-to-back games for a number of seasons.
They are 4-8 against the line as home favourites this season, but they are 5-1 against the line on the back of a loss.
Collingwood produced an impressive performance to beat the Gold Coast Suns last weekend, but they obviously face a much tougher challenge against Hawthorn.
The Magpies have won five of their 13 games as underdogs this season for a healthy profit and they are 7-6 against the line in this situation.
Hawthorn should be able to get the job done this weekend, but there is no real edge at their current price and I am happy to stay out of this game from a betting standpoint.
Sunday 28 August, 4:40pm, Domain Stadium
Fremantle 69 - Western Bulldogs 49
The Western Bulldogs currently sit in seventh position and can give themselves a chance of playing a home final with a win over Fremantle this weekend.
The Bulldogs were not overly impressive against Essendon last weekend, but they still did enough to get the job done and I would expect a similar performance this weekend.
Away favourtism is a position in which the Western Bulldogs have thrived this season and they have won five of their six games in that scenario this season.
Fremantle are another team that is looking forward to the off-season and it is tough to see them finishing the season with a victory.
The Dockers have won just one of their past eight games as home underdogs and they are 3-5 against the line against the line in this situation.
The line of 20.5 points does not seem as though it will be enough and the Western Bulldogs should record a comfortable win.
Western Bulldogs To Beat The Line (-20.5 Points)