The AFL is choc-full of blockbusters this Easter long weekend, and with the ladder starting to take shape, now is as good a time as any to start sorting through the contenders and pretenders.
It all kicks off with two potential finals foes as the Lions host the Pies on Thursday night, while Round 5 is bookended with the annual Easter Monday Hawthorn v Geelong clash on Monday afternoon.
We’ve sorted through all nine games, and our complete 2019 AFL Round 5 Preview can be found below.
Brisbane Lions Vs Collingwood
Thursday April 18, 7:35pm, Gabba
The Gabba is reportedly sold out for this Thursday night thriller, and after last weekend’s no-show against the Bombers, the Lions have plenty of expectations to live up to.
Brisbane failed to get going against Essendon at the MCG. The Dons booted seven goals to Brisbane’s two in the opening quarter, marching on to a 47-point victory after dominating in just about every statistical category.
Collingwood got back to winning ways last week with a narrow win over the Bulldogs, although it was hardly the most convincing victory of the Pies’ young season. Wayward kicking cost Nathan Buckley’s side on the scoreboard, but the coach has to be happy with how his list fought back from a five-point third quarter deficit to boot give goals in the final term.
Avid footy fans will remember last year’s Round 7 thriller from The Gabba between these two sides. Collingwood stole a late 121-114 win thanks to a sneaky goal from Jordan de Goey, but the Lions certainly weren’t disgraced as Dayne Zorko and Lewis Taylor booted four goals each.
It’ll take a similar kind of effort for the Lions to not only overpower the Pies, but also their traveling fans. Collingwood supporters travel well to The Gabba and given this marks Dayne Breams’ first match against the Lions since his shock trade request late last year, expect a finals like atmosphere.
As far as betting is concerned, Brisbane do look a little over the odds at this price. The Lions haven’t defeated Collingwood since 2014, but they are 5-3 as the home underdog at the line.
Brisbane can win this game if they get back to the basics. Control the clearances and take chances through the midfield. Considering Collingwood have looked a little underdone with a loss to the Eagles and a not so convincing win over the Bulldogs last week, the Gabbatoir should play an important role in a Brisbane upset.
Tip: Back the Lions to Cover the Line (+9.5 Points) @ $1.90
North Melbourne Vs Essendon
Friday April 19, 4:20pm, Marvel Stadium
It’s hardly the most exciting edition of Good Friday footy, but this could be another season builder for the Bombers as they look to make it three-straight.
Essendon won convincingly last week over the Lions, largely due to the efforts of the forward line. Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti came through with a career-best seven goals, reminding the entire league that the Bombers are indeed one of the deadliest sides inside fifty.
North Melbourne were less impressive in their first win of the season, hanging for a 12-point win over the Crows at home. It was a much-needed victory for a side that’s fought hard all season, but with nine goals to 17 behinds, North Melbourne need to tidy up in front of goal.
The Roos have won three of their last five over the Bombers, however Essendon have won the last two meetings convincingly. In both of those games the Total went well over the 170-points on offer, and with North ranking second in uncontested possession and the Bombers ranking fifth in clearances, we could be in for a high-scoring thriller.
Tip: Back Over 174.5 Total Points @ $1.85
West Coast Eagles Vs Port Adelaide
Friday April 19, 6:10pm, Optus Stadium
Port heads West for Easter as they take on the Eagles in Perth. The long plane ride will give Ken Hinkley’s side plenty of time to reflect on last week’s blown three-goal lead to the Tigers, one that eventually resulted in a seven-point loss.
West Coast also have some thinking to do after a scrappy 13-point win over the rival Dockers. West Coast were heavily favoured to win by plenty, but somehow a Nat Fyfe-less Fremantle side managed to make things interesting with an 11 goal second half.
Again, this isn’t the most exciting match up on paper, but it’s still an important one for all parties. A win for West Coast and a GWS and Geelong loss could see the Eagles on top of the ladder, while a Port win should be enough to vault them back inside the eight.
The last time these sides met the Eagles held on for a narrow four-point win at Adelaide Oval. The Power haven’t defeated the Eagles out west since 2017, but as already know, this is a Port side that ranks Top 5 in marks inside fifty, clearances and uncontested possession.
Unfortunately for Port, the chance of an upset is slim when you consider how poorly they performed at The Gabba a fortnight ago. The Power were dreadful in front of goal, and when the pressure mounted, the backline folded.
West Coast aren’t doing anything special right now, but with a five-game winning streak on the line at Optus Stadium, the Eagles’ should be able to exploit the Power’s wobbly fourth quarter defence. Back Adam Simpson’s side in a close one.
Tip: Back West Coast 1-39 @ $2.06
GWS Giants Vs Fremantle
Saturday April 19, 1:45pm, Manuka Oval
It’s technically a home game for the Giants this week as Canberra plays host to the Dockers on Saturday afternoon. The Giants are heavily favoured by -37.5 points, largely due to their nail-biting win over the Cats in Geelong last week.
Leon Cameron’s side are perhaps the most multi-dimensional team in the competition. Even when the Giants fail to kick straight – just like they did last week against the Cats – GWS can beat you defensively by bringing some pressure through the midfield and dominating the contested possession.
The Dockers found that out the hard way last year losing by 31-points to the Giants at home. GWS have won the last four meetings, and although they’ll carry on without co-captain Callan Ward, you have to fancy the side that ranks third in average goals per-game.
Tip: Back the Giants 40+ @ $2.10
Melbourne Vs St Kilda
Saturday April 19, 4:35pm, MCG
The Dees are on the board following their 22-point win over the Swans last week, but the victory still wasn’t enough to lift Melbourne from second last on the ladder.
St. Kilda have a lot more to celebrate after their come from behind win over Hawthorn last week. The Saints trailed by two goals at three quarter time, only to control the final term to boot two unanswered goals in the five-point win.
Both victories now set up what could be a scrappy Saturday afternoon twilight affair. Melbourne have won three of the last five meetings, but St. Kilda will take full confidence 5 knowing they held on for a narrow two-point victory against the Dees last July.
Despite last week’s win, the jury is still out on Melbourne. The Dees did a great job of winning the clearances last week in Sydney, but they were dominated through the midfield losing the disposal count by a wide margin.
St. Kilda are also a little unconvincing. They rank 13th in average goals per-game and 10th in average inside 50’s, but the most impressive part of the Saints so far has been tackling – an area they lead the league in, one spot ahead of the Demons.
With that in mind, it’s probably best to stick with the Total this week. Considering both sides struggle for consistency in front of goal, play on the Under.
Tip: Under 167.5 Total Points @ $1.85
Richmond Vs Sydney Swans
Saturday April 19, 7:25pm, Marvel Stadium
The understrength Tigers return home with a big win under their belt after defeating Port by seven-points last week.
Richmond will likely enter Saturday’s game without their big four for the second week in a row, which is good news for the Swans as they look to rebound from a demoralizing loss to the Demons at home.
Sydney’s porous back line fell apart in the final term against Melbourne allowing two unanswered goals in the final 10 minutes. The Tigers, meanwhile, stood tall with the chips down, particularly Kamdyn McIntosh and Dylan Grimes.
For the first time in in three weeks the Tigers find themselves as the favourite. The Tigers are 9-1 in this scenario at home over the last 12 months and considering the obvious lack of confidence and belief in the Swans backline, take the Tigers to win comfortably.
Tip: Back the Tigers 1-39 @ $2.10
Western Bulldogs Vs Carlton
Sunday April 20, 1:10pm, Marvel Stadium
The Bulldogs went to war with Collingwood last Friday night in a scrappy affair only to walk away with nothing to show for their efforts.
Carlton, meanwhile, also found themselves in a tight contest against the Suns on the Gold Coast – a game the Blues somehow lost in the final minutes despite holding an 11-point lead at three-quarter time.
Finding confidence in either of these sides is difficult right now. Both the Dogs and Blues rank bottom six in average goals per-game, while neither seems to be able to dominate the contested ball.
These two sides met twice last year in blowout Bulldog victories. The Westerners have won five straight over Carlton, but even so, the line looks a little generous here. The Blues are 6-5 as the line underdog over the last 12 months and 2-1 against the Dogs. Back Carlton to make this is a contest.
Tip: Back the Blues to Cover the Line (+18.5 Points) @ $1.90
Adelaide Crows Vs Gold Coast Suns
Sunday April 20, 4:10pm, Adelaide Oval
Don’t look now, but a win for the Suns on Sunday could vault them inside the Top 4. Gold Coast needed all four quarters to dispose of the Blues last week, but it was another well-rounded performance from Stuart Dew’s side as the Suns dominated inside 50.
Adelaide find themselves at the opposite end of the spectrum, and the ladder, after their second-straight defeat. This time, North Melbourne got the better of the Crows in a what was a one-sided affair on the stat sheet.
The Crows remain winless at home to start the season, and on both occasions, Adelaide failed to show up on the scoreboard. For whatever reason, the bookies appear to be giving the Suns no credit for their winning start to the season, and with a generous line on offer, it’s worth nothing Gold Coast are 7-4 against the line as the away underdog over the last 12 months.
Tip: Back the Suns to Cover the Line (+28.5 Points) @ $1.90
Hawthorn Vs Geelong
Monday Apirl 21, 3:20pm, MCG
The AFL’s traditional Easter clash kicks off from the G’ on Monday afternoon, and if you aren’t familiar with how these games normally turn out, you’re in for a real treat.
Four of the last five meetings between the Hawks and Cats have been decided by 10-points or less, but unfortunately, Hawthorn’s growing injury list puts this game in some doubt.
Alastair Clarkson’s side not only lost to the Saints in heartbreaking fashion last week, they also lost James Frawley to a hamstring injury and captain Ben Stratton to a concussion. Both players play pivotal roles in Hawthorn’s back line, and against a side like Geelong, one that is averaging 13.8 goals a game this season, the Hawks could be in for a long afternoon.
Hawthorn have rallied with the troops down before, but there’s a clear lack of depth in this present outfit. The forward line is booming right now with Luke Breust in sparkling form and the ever-dangerous Chad Wingard, but if the Hawks lose the clearance battle like they did last week against St. Kilda, they’ll stand no chance against the Cats.
For Geelong, there’s plenty on the line. The Cats made a meal of last week’s game surrendering a six-goal half time lead to go on and lose by four points. Chris Scott’s side switched off in the second half, but if they wish to remain on top of the ladder, they’ll need a full fourth quarter effort against an understrength Hawks side.
Tip: Back the Cats to Win 1-39 @ $2.10
Round 5 of the 2018 AFL season has been spread out over almost a week due to the Anzac Day and that means we will be treated to AFL action from Friday until Wednesday.
The round gets underway with a genuine blockbuster between the Sydney Swans and Adelaide and concludes with the always memorable Anzac Clash between Collingwood and Essendon.
We have analysed every game set to take place this weekend and our complete 2018 AFL Round 5 tips can be found below.
Sydney Swans Vs Adelaide
Friday 20 April, 7:50pm, SCG
This is a genuine Friday Night Blockbuster between two of the best sides in the competition.
Sydney improved their record to 3-1 with a fighting victory over the Western Bulldogs last weekend and they will go into this clash with Adelaide as clear favourites.
The Swans have won nine of their past 11 games as home favourites and they have covered the line in eight of these wins.
Adelaide produced a truly awful performance against Collingwood last Friday night and they will need to improve significantly to have any chance of beating the Swans.
The Crows have lost their past two games as away underdogs and they failed to cover the line in either of these defeats.
Sydney are always tough to beat at the SCG and they should prove too strong for the Crows.
Back Sydney To Cover The Line (-16.5 Points)
St Kilda Vs GWS Giants
Saturday 21 April, 1:45pm, Etihad Stadium
Greater Western Sydney will go into this clash with St Kilda as clear favourites.
They were wasteful at times against Fremantle, but they were still able to come away with the four points.
Winning away from home it still something of an issue for GWS and they have won only four of their past nine games as away favourites for a clear loss.
St Kilda produced their third awful performance on the trot against Geelong last weekend and they are a side that do have big issues.
The Saints were able to record an upset win over the Giants last season, but they aren’t playing at that level this season and they have won only two of their past five games as home underdogs.
This is a game that the Giants should win comfortably, but there is no value at their current price.
Carlton Vs West Coast Eagles
Saturday 21 April, 7:50pm, MCG
The West Coast Eagles are the shortest-priced favourites in the AFL this weekend.
West Coast made it three wins on the trot with a comprehensive win over the Gold Coast Suns last weekend, but winning in Melbourne is always a tougher challenge for the Eagles.
They have won only one of their past four games as away underdogs and it is always tough to back them with confidence at the MCG.
Carlton showed plenty of promise in their opening round clash against Richmond, but they have since been poor and they were nothing short of pathetic against North Melbourne last weekend.
The Blues have won only three of their past nine games as home underdogs, but they are 6-3 against the line in this scenario.
Carlton are not as bad a side as their recent form suggests and they are capable of giving West Coast a scare at the MCG.
Back Carlton To Cover The Line (+27.5 Points)
Port Adelaide Vs Geelong
Saturday 21 April, 7:40pm, Adelaide Oval
Port Adelaide suffered their first loss of the season against Essendon last weekend, but they will still go into this clash with Geelong as clear favourites.
The Power have won only one of their past 14 games against Port Adelaide and this will be a big test of exactly where they are at this season.
Port Adelaide have won only eight of their past 11 games as home favourites and they are a middling 5-6 against the line in this scenario.
Geelong ended their losing run with a comfortable win over St Kilda and they really do look over the odds in this clash.
Their record against Port Adelaide can’t be discounted – winning at the Adelaide Oval hasn’t been an issue – and there is nowhere near as much between these two teams as the current betting market suggests.
Geelong are well and truly over the odds and one of the best value betting options of the weekend.
Back Geelong To Win @ $2.55
Fremantle Vs Western Bulldogs
Saturday 21 April, 8:10pm, Optus Stadium
It has been a promising start to the season for Fremantle and they will go into this clash with the Western Bulldogs as favourites.
The Dockers were not disgraced against Greater Western Sydney last weekend and they won well against both Essendon and the Gold Coast in their two games before that.
Fremantle have won their past four games as home favourites and they are an impressive 3-1 against the line in this scenario.
The Western Bulldogs continue their resurgence with a narrow defeat at the hands of Sydney last weekend and this will be a good test of how much they have improved since their dismal performance against the West Coast Eagles in round four.
Winning away from home has been an issue for the Bulldogs and they have lost their past five games as away underdogs, while they are 2-3 against the line in this scenario.
I have been impressed with what I have seen from Fremantle this season and they can return to winning form.
Back Fremantle To Cover The Line (-9.5 Points)
North Melbourne Vs Hawthorn
Sunday 22 April, 3:20pm, Etihad Stadium
Both these teams head into this clash on the back of big wins in round four.
Hawthorn have an excellent record against North Melbourne – they have won ten of the past 12 games played between the two sides – and they will go into this clash as clear as favourites.
The Hawks have won four of their past six games as favourites, but they are only a middling 3-3 against the line in this scenario.
North Melbourne were nothing short of outstanding against Carlton last weekend and they have shown plenty of signs of improvement this season to date.
This will obviously be a much tougher challenge for the Kangaroos, but they have won five of their past 14 games as underdogs for a clear profit and their record at Etihad Stadium is strong.
This is a game that the market does look to have just about right and I am happy to stay out from a betting standpoint.
Brisbane Lions Vs Gold Coast Suns
Sunday 22 April, 4:40pm, The Gabba
This is set to be an intriguing edition of the Q-Clash and it is somewhat of a surprise that the Brisbane Lions are set to start as narrow favourites.
Brisbane showed promise without winning in their first three matches of the season, but they were very poor against Richmond last weekend and they kicked only two goals.
The Lions were able to win both their games against the Gold Coast Suns last season and they have won their past four games against their rivals as home favourites.
Gold Coast were no match for the West Coast Eagles last weekend, but that always looked likely to be the case after they spent close to a fortnight in Perth.
They will have a more traditional preparation for this clash, but their record away from home doesn’t not inspire confidence – they have won only one of their past ten games as away underdogs and their record against the line in this scenario isn’t much better.
The Lions may never have a better chance to record their first win of the season.
Back Brisbane To Cover The Line (-4.5 Points)
Melbourne Vs Richmond
Tuesday 24 April, 7:25pm, MCG
The Anzac Day Eve clash between Melbourne and Richmond has become a showcase fixture on the AFL calendar and there will be a massive crowd at the MCG on Tuesday night.
Richmond were nothing short of outstanding against the Brisbane Lions last weekend and they will go into this clash as clear favourites.
The Tigers have won 11 of their past 14 games as favourites and they have covered the line in nine of these victories.
There has been plenty of pressure heaped on Melbourne this week following their poor loss against Hawthorn last weekend and how they respond will be a great insight into the character of this side.
Melbourne have generally produced their best football when not a great deal is expected of them and they have won four of their past seven games as underdogs for a big profit.
The market that really does appeal in this clash is the Under in Total Points betting.
The Under has saluted in 18 of the past 25 games played by Richmond and has also been a profitable betting play in Melbourne fixtures over the past 12 months.
Back Under 175.5 Points
Collingwood Vs Essendon
Wednesday 25 April, 3:20pm, MCG
The Anzac Day Clash is one of the most anticipated events on the AFL calendar and we are set for an incredibly tight tussle at the MCG on Wednesday.
Collingwood produced one of their best performances of the season in 12 months to beat the Adelaide Crows last weekend and they are set to go into this clash as narrow favourites.
The Magpies have won six of their past nine games as favourites for a profit and they are 5-4 against the line in this scenario.
Essendon returned to winning form with an excellent performance against Port Adelaide, but consistency continues to elude them and they need to play at that level every weekend if they are going to be a genuine contender in 2018.
The Bombers have won six of their past 13 games as underdogs and they are 8-5 against the line in this scenario.
There really does not look to be a great deal between these two teams and I am expecting a very tight contest, so the $2.63 on offer for either team to win by less than 15.5 points really does appeal.
Back Either Team To Win By Less Than 15.5 Points @ $2.63
We are now a month into the 2017 AFL season and it is fair to say that nobody expected the ladder to look like it does.
Hawthorn, Sydney and North Melbourne were all top eight sides last season, but they are still chasing their first wins of the year and it really doesn’t get any easier for them this weekend.
We have analysed every game in the AFL this weekend and you can find our 2017 AFL Round 5 tips below!
Port Adelaide Vs Carlton
Friday 21 April, 7:50pm, Adelaide Oval
Port Adelaide are one of a number of short-priced favourites in the AFL this weekend.
The Power head into this clash on the back of back-to-back defeats against both Adelaide and Greater Western Sydney, but this is obviously a much easier challenge.
Port Adelaide have struggled somewhat at the Adelaide Oval over the past 12 months and they have won only three of their past five games as home favourites for a loss.
Carlton went down to Gold Coast last weekend and they are yet to score over 90 points in a single game this season.
The Blues have actually won their past two games against Port Adelaide and they have covered the line in five of their past seven games as away underdogs.
It really would not surprise if Carlton gave Port Adelaide a scare and they are a great bet to beat the line with a start of 37.5 points.
Back Carlton To Beat The Line (+37.5 Points)
Western Bulldogs Vs Brisbane Lions
Saturday 22 April, 1:45pm, Etihad Stadium
The Western Bulldogs got out of jail late against North Melbourne and they are dominate favourites to beat the Brisbane Lions this weekend.
It is fair to say that the Western Bulldogs have not played at their best so far this season, but they have still only lost the one game.
They have won seven of their past eight games as home favourites and they are 5-3 against the line in this scenario.
A host of skill errors cost the Brisbane Lions badly against Richmond last weekend and they still have an inability to play out a strong four quarters.
Brisbane have won only two of their past 11 games as away underdogs and they have also been a losing betting play against the line in this scenario.
The Western Bulldogs really should prove far too strong for the Lions and they can cover the hefty line of 43.5 points.
Back The Western Bulldogs To Beat The Line (-43.5 Points)
Gold Coast Suns Vs Adelaide Crows
Saturday 22 April, 4:35pm, Metricon Stadium
The Adelaide Crows are flying high on top of the AFL Ladder and they will start this clash with the Gold Coast Suns as clear favourites.
Adelaide maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a dominant victory over Essendon and there is no reason to suggest they can’t continue their unbeaten run.
The Crows have won seven of their past eight games as away favourites for a clear profit and they are 5-3 against the line in this scenario.
Gold Coast made it two wins on the trot with a fighting victory over Carlton, but this is obviously a much tougher challenge.
The Suns are still chasing their first win over Adelaide and it looks unlikely to come this weekend.
Gold Coast have won only one of their past six games as home underdogs and they are 2-4 in this scenario.
The Crows can continue their winning run and cover the line in the process.
Back Adelaide To Beat The Line (-26.5 Points)
Sydney Swans Vs GWS Giants
Saturday 22 April, 7:25pm, SCG
It is fair to say that the complexion of the Sydney Derby has changed significantly over the past 12 months.
Greater Western Sydney won both games played between these two sides last season and they will start this clash as clear favourites.
The Giants have worked their way into this season and it would not surprise to see them go to another level against Swans.
Greater Western Sydney have won eight of their past ten games as home favourites, but they are only 5-5 against the line in this scenario.
Sydney produced their worst performance of the season to date against West Coast to suffer four losses from as many games.
This will be the first time in over 12 months that Sydney have started a home game as underdogs and they have not been a profitable betting team at home over the past 12 months.
The market looks to have got this game just about right and I am more than happy to stay out of this clash from a betting standpoint.
Fremantle Vs North Melbourne
Saturday 22 April, 7:40pm, Domain Stadium
Fremantle have bounced back from their horror start to the season to win two games on the trot and they will start this clash as clear favourites.
The Dockers showed plenty of fight to take four points from their clash with Melbourne last weekend and a similar performance would be enough to dispose of North Melbourne.
Fremantle have won two of their past three games as the punter’s elect for a profit and they have an identical record against the line.
North Melbourne were far from disgraced against the Western Bulldogs last weekend, but were once again unable to come away with the four points.
The Kangaroos have now lost their past 12 games as underdogs and their record against the line in this scenario is not much better.
I have been very taken with what I have seen from Fremantle over the past fortnight and they can continue their winning run this weekend.
Back Fremantle To Beat The Line (-12.5 Points)
St Kilda Vs Geelong
Sunday 23 April, 3:20pm, Etihad Stadium
Geelong continued their unbeaten start to the season with a dominant win over Hawthorn and they are clear favourites to depose of St Kilda this weekend.
While Geelong are yet to lose this season they have still been a tough team to trust from a betting standpoint – they have won six of their past nine games as away favourites for a narrow loss and they are 4-5 against the line in this scenario.
St Kilda made it two wins in a row with a fairly ugly win over Collingwood and they will take confidence from the fact that they played that badly, but still came away with the four points.
The Saints have won three of their past six games as home underdogs – including a win over Geelong 12 months ago – and they are 4-2 against the line in this scenario.
I am of the belief that Geelong are not as good as their current record suggests and St Kilda will give them a genuine challenge this weekend.
Back St Kilda To Beat The Line (+15.5 Points)
Hawthorn Vs West Coast Eagles
Sunday 23 April, 4:40pm, MCG
Is this the end of an era?
Hawthorn have lost all four games so far this season and they looked completely outclassed by Geelong in their traditional Easter Monday clash.
The Hawks have lost their past two games as home underdogs and have failed to cover the line in both those clashes, while it is incredibly tough to back them based on their recent efforts.
West Coast returned to winning form with a comfortable win over Sydney and this really is their chance to beat Hawthorn at the MCG.
The Eagles have won five of their past seven games as away favourites for a narrow loss and they are only 3-4 against the line in this scenario.
This is another game that the market looks to have got just about right and I am happy to stay out of this clash.
Richmond Vs Melbourne
Monday 24 April, 7:25pm, MCG
Richmond have made a stunning start to the 2017 AFL season and they are favourites to make it five wins on the trot this weekend.
The Tigers got through what looked like it could be a trap game against the Brisbane Lions comfortably, but their recent record against Melbourne does not inspire confidence.
Richmond have won seven of their past eight games as the punter’s elect, but they are only 4-4 against the line in this scenario.
Melbourne suffered their second straight loss at the hands of Fremantle and the fact that they were unable to close out that clash has to be an alarming sign to their finals chances.
The Demons have won four of their past 12 games as underdogs for a narrow profit and they are 7-5 against the line in this scenario.
The real value in this clash is in Total Points betting markets.
Backing the Under in Richmond games at the MCG has been highly profitable in recent years and the Under has saluted in 40 of the past 66 games played by Melbourne at the venue.
Back Under 185.5 Points
Essendon Vs Collingwood
Tuesday 25 April, 5:00pm, MCG
The traditional Anzac Day clash between Essendon and Collingwood is always one of the highlights of the AFL season and this is set to be a very interesting affair.
Both these sides come into this clash off disappointing defeats, but it is Collingwood that will start this clash as favourites.
Collingwood really could not have been poorer against St Kilda last week and they are a side that is very tough to trust from a betting standpoint – they have won just three of their past seven games as favourites.
Essendon made a promising start to the season, but they were disgraceful against Carlton a fortnight ago and they were no match for a rampant Adelaide.
There really is not a great deal between these two teams and the $2.05 on offer for the Bombers really does offer some value in what really should be a pickem clash.
Back Essendon To Win @ $2.05
Round 5 of the 2016 AFL season is highlighted by the Anzac Day Clash between the Collingwood Magpies and Essendon Bombers.
The game is expected to be lopsided in 2016 due to the number of players the Bombers will be missing due to suspension, but it is still one of the biggest occasions in all of Australian sport.
It is definitely not the only exciting game this weekend as a number of other finals contenders will likely do battle, highlighted by the Saturday afternoon clash between the Sydney Swans and the West Coast Eagles.
Hawthorn Vs Adelaide
Friday 22 April, 7:50pm, MCG
It was not smooth sailing for Hawthorn, but they were still able to get the down against St Kilda, while Adelaide stamped themselves as the real deal with a very impressive performance against the Sydney Swans.
Hawthorn have won the past six games between these two sides – including a big win in a semi-final last season – and they will start this game as clear favourites.
The Hawks are 8-3 as home favourites in the past 12 months and their record against the line in this scenario is an uninspiring 4-7.
Adelaide have not been a winning betting proposition as underdogs in head to head betting, but they are 9-6 against the line as underdogs in the past 12 months and it was impossible not be impressed by what they did last weekend.
This will be another very close game for the Hawks and I am happy to back the Crows with a start of 16.5 points.
Recommended Bets: Back The Adelaide Crows To Beat The Line (+16.5 Points)
Sydney Swans Vs West Coast Eagles
Saturday 23 April, 1:40pm, SCG
The rivalry between the Sydney Swans and the West Coast Eagles was the most exciting in the AFL in the mid-2ooos and this weekend’s meeting is set to be another thriller.
Sydney went down to Adelaide last weekend, but they lost no admirers with their brave performance and they will start this game on Saturday as clear favourites.
The Swans are 8-3 as home favourites this season for a narrow loss and they are 5-6 against the line in this scenario, but they have won their past four games as favourites against the West Coast Eagles.
West Coast demolished a disappointing Richmond last weekend and their poor effort against Hawthorn in round two is there only blemish at this stage of the season.
The Eagles have proven to be a very successful team as underdogs in the past 12 months and they are 3-0 in head to head betting as away underdogs.
There really is not a great deal between these two sides and the West Coast Eagles are the definite value in this fixture at their current quote of $2.20.
Recommended Bet: Back The West Coast Eagles To Win @ $2.20
Gold Coast Suns Vs North Melbourne
Saturday 23 April, 4:35pm, Metricon Stadium
North Melbourne have flown under the radar so far this season, but they now sit on top of the AFL Ladder following their four straight wins over Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Fremantle.
North Melbourne have been a very safe betting side in the past 12 months and they are a most impressive 14-2 as favourites over this time period as well as 7-1 as home favourites.
Their record against the line is this scenario is almost as impressive and they are 6-2 away from home when giving a start.
The Gold Coast Suns promising start to the season came crashing down following their disappointing loss to the Brisbane Lions last Saturday afternoon and it will be very interesting to see how they bounce back.
The Suns have a good record in front of their hands at Metricon Stadium, but they have won just 3 of their past 18 games as underdogs and they are 7-11 against the line when being given a start.
I don’t see any reason to jump off North Melbourne this weekend and they are a great bet to cover the line of 14.5 points.
Recommended Bet: Back North Melbourne To Beat The Line (-14.5 Points)
Western Bulldogs Vs Brisbane Lions
Saturday 23 April, 7:25pm, Etihad Stadium
The Brisbane Lions finally recorded their first win off the season against the Gold Coast Suns last weekend, but they will still start this fixture against the Western Bulldogs as clear underdogs.
While the Lions showed plenty of heart against the Suns, it is still tough to trust them from a betting perspective going forward and they have won just one of their past 12 games as away underdogs, while they are 3-8 against the line in this scenario.
The Western Bulldogs have been hit by an injury crisis in recent weeks, but they were still able to get the job done against Carlton and they have more than enough talent to put away the Brisbane Lions.
The Bulldogs are 5-3 against the line as home favourites in the past 12 months and they always produce their best football at Etihad Stadium.
The Lions don’t have the talent to much it with a firing Bulldogs offense and the line of 40.5 points will not be enough.
Recommended Bet: Back The Bulldogs To Beat The Line (-40.5 Points)
Port Adelaide Vs Geelong
Saturday 23 April, 7:10pm, Adelaide Oval
It has been overshadowed by the poor start made by both Richmond and Collingwood, but Port Adelaide have been just as bad to start the season.
Port Adelaide were nothing short of woeful against the Greater Western Sydney Giants last weekend and a similar performance against the Cats will see them blown off the field.
This will be just the second time that the Power have started a game at the Adelaide Oval as underdogs in the past 12 months and they won that fixture, but they have won just one of their past nine games against Geelong.
Geelong produced a rusty performance against Essendon and outside of their first round victory against Hawthorn, they have been fairly lacklustre and they have not been a profitable betting side as favourites over the past 12 months.
Port Adelaide normally produce their best performances against the best sides in the competition and they can’t possibly play as bad as they did last weekend, so I am willing to take the gamble that they can return to winning form.
Recommended Bet: Back Port Adelaide To Win @ $2.35
St Kilda Vs GWS Giants
Sunday 24 April, 1:10pm, Etihad Stadium
They had their chances but St Kilda were unable to get the job against Hawthorn last weekend and it will be interesting to see what effect that close loss has on them moving forward.
The Saints have struggled at Etihad Stadium in the past 12 months and they have won just one of their past 11 games at the venue, while they are 4-7 against the line as home underdogs.
Greater Western Sydney have made an up and down start to the AFL season, but they were absolutely ruthless against Port Adelaide last weekend and a similar performance would be more than enough to beat the Saints.
The Giants don’t have a great record away from home, but they are 8-5 against the line as favourites and if they play at anywhere near their best then the line of 9.5 points will not be anywhere near enough.
Recommended Bet: Back GWS Giants To Beat The Line (-9.5 Points)
Fremantle Vs Carlton
Sunday 24 April, 2:10pm, Domain Stadium
This could be one of the most important games of the round because a Fremantle victory would just about end their chances of playing finals football.
The Dockers showed some promising signs against North Melbourne, but they were still blown away in the final quarter and they have an 0-4 record.
While they will surely be able to finally get their account off the mark against Carlton, there is no way that you could possibly dive in at the short quote and they are 5-7 against the line as home favourites.
Carlton are also winless for the 2016 season and they are another team that I am not really interested in backing until I see something – they have lost their past 11 games as away underdogs and they have been a losing betting proposition against the line in this metric.
This is the least interesting game of the round from a betting perspective and one that I am more than keen to stay out of.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Melbourne Vs Richmond
Sunday 24 April, 7:10pm, MCG
Richmond are another team that is under a enormous amount of pressure heading into this weekend following their ugly losses to Adelaide and West Coast.
There is a chance that Brett Deledio, Ivan Maric and Anthony Miles could all return for the Tigers this weekend and that would be a major boost, but it is tough to have any faith in Richmond following their past two efforts.
The Tigers have won just nine of their past 16 games as favourites and they are a horrid 5-11 against the line as the punter’s elect.
Melbourne returned to winning form with a comprehensive performance against Collingwood last weekend, but it has been consistency that has been the issue for the Demons in recent seasons.
They scored a big victory over GWS in round one before losing to a depleted Essendon and they have recorded back-to-back wins just once in the past 12 months.
There is plenty of reasons to doubt both these teams leading into this intriguing fixture and it is another game that I am more than happy to stay out of from a betting perspective.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Collingwood Vs Essendon
Monday 25 April, 3:20pm, MCG
The Anzac Day Clash is one of the biggest of the AFL Calendar, but it is fair to say that the lead-up to this fixture has been much different then in recent years.
This contest was expected to be a cake walk for Collingwood at the start of the season, but they are a club in crisis after back-to-back losses to St Kilda and Melbourne and another loss could spell trouble for coach Nathan Buckley.
Collingwood will still start this game as clear favourites, but they have lost seven of their past 13 games as favourites and they are a horrid 4-9 against the line.
It is clear that this Essendon list badly lacks talent, but they have given it their all in recent weeks and they were not disgraced against either Port Adelaide or Geelong.
There is a question mark over whether this young list will handle the big occasion of the Anzac Day Clash, but they do have a number of older players with big game experience and I really think they will give this game a shout.
Recommended Bet: Back Essendon To Beat The Line (+26.5 Points)