Wed, Jul 19, 9:38am by Head Editor
For the second round in a row, six of the nine games were won by the favourites last weekend, which is more than the 2017 average and it seems like a win for punters.
Four of those favourites were able to win and cover the line, including Adelaide, who open this weekend’s action with a top-of-the-table blockbuster against Geelong on Friday night.
That contest has a line of 15.5 points, which interestingly, is the fifth highest line of the round. There are four games with a line of under 10 points, with the closest game in the market coming up on Saturday night, when Fremantle host Hawthorn.
Seventh-placed Melbourne are outsiders against 4th placed Port on Saturday, before last year’s Grand Finalists – the Western Bulldogs ($1.40) and Sydney Swans ($1.25) – are favoured to be too strong for the Suns ($3) and Saints ($4) respectively.
Keep an eye out for our Sunday Specials, which will be up on the website on Saturday. Here’s our best bets for Round 18.
Adelaide v Geelong, Friday July 21, 7:50pm AEST, Adelaide Oval
The round begins with a bang on Friday night, when the top-of-the-table Crows host the second-placed Cats in a fixture that we could see take place again deep into September.
Geelong opened at $2.52 on Monday, but as the week has progressed, it seems more and more likely that their star, and Brownlow Medal favourite Patrick Dangerfield won’t play, which has seen them drift out to $2.60.
The hosts are also set to be without their star midfielder, with Rory Sloane set to miss, after he suffered concussion in the club’s 46-point win over the Demons last week.
Remarkably, Adelaide have lost their last five against Geelong, but come in from $1.53 to $1.50 to snap that losing streak. The line is out from 12.5 to 15.5 points, which now looks value to me.
Expect plenty of scoring here, the hosts are ranked first for points per game, with 113, while the Cats are right behind, at 101.
Despite losing Sloane, and Jake Lever to a hamstring injury last week, the Crows were very impressive last week, easily beating fellow top eight side, Melbourne. After losing three of five games between Rounds 7 and 11, they have now strung together four wins from their last five.
This week provides a different challenge altogether though, Geelong are flying, having won six of their past eight, including last weekend’s three-point thriller over Hawthorn, when Dangerfield kicked five goals on one leg.
If “Danger” was 100% fit, I’d be taking him and his side to win in the head to head market, but I’ve settled on the boys from Geelong to cover the generous line of 15.5 points. They won their only contest against Adelaide at this venue, and won have two of three against Port Adelaide here.
Suggested Bet: Geelong to cover the line (+15.5): $1.92
WATCH: Our Preview of Round 18 of the AFL season
Melbourne v Port Adelaide, Saturday July 15, 2:10pm AEST, MCG
After they were belted by the Crows, the Demons will be happy to be back at the MCG, for a clash against the other Adelaide side, Port.
Melbourne opened at $2.16 on Monday, but have since drifted to $2.30, with Port Adelaide, who have the shortest injury list in the league, in from $1.70 to $1.62. The line is out from 5.5 to 7.5 points.
While Port have almost a full squad to choose from, the Demons were severely undermanned last week, missing at least five of their best 22. Jack Watts and Dom Tyson are set to return this week though, and Jack Viney is also in the mix, which would be a huge boost.
The red and the blue beat Port last time they met, the Adelaide Oval win in Round 21 last year snapped a seven-game losing streak in this fixture.
Port have beaten just one top eight side – West Coast in Round 16 – from six starts all year, which has given them the reputation of ‘flat track bullies’. This was on display again last week, when they pummelled the 17th placed Kangaroos by a whopping 70 points.
Ruckman Paddy Ryder has been in superb touch for the Power, but he did roll his ankle against North Melbourne last week. He’ll need to be in top form here as he’s set to face All-Australian big-man, Max Gawn.
The pressure is coming from several sides sitting just behind Melbourne, who slid down to seventh spot on the ladder following last week’s loss. They have lost just one game by more than 14 points from their eight starts at the MCG this year, so I’m taking them to be competitive again here.
Suggested Bet: Either side by under 24.5 points: $1.83
Fremantle v Hawthorn, Saturday July 15, 7:40pm AEST, Domain Stadium
The Dockers were horrible last week, which sees them head into a home game as the underdog for the fifth time this year, against the Hawks, who despite not taking full points from a match since Round 15, are coming off a draw against the third-placed Giants and a nail-biting loss to the Cats last week.
This contest is a ‘toss of the coin’ in betting markets. The Dockers are slight favourites at $1.87 to beat the Hawks for the first time since Round 21, 2014. In fact, the Hawks have won nine out of their last 10 against the Dockers, and are right there at $1.93 to continue their domination, while the line is at just half a point.
There is still a slim chance of finals action for both sides, but given the way the visitors have played recently, you’d think that they’d be the better chance of the two to make a run towards September.
The Hawks sit in 13th place on the ladder, but are playing much better than that position. This game is at Domain, but it’s hardly been a fortress for the Dockers this year, losing five of nine games at the venue this year, including their last three.
It’s very hard to back the Dockers here, they managed just 57% efficiency by foot last week, and are coming up against the team who lead the league in that stat for the season, at 75.7%.
I’m taking the Hawks to win their 10th game from 11 starts against the Dockers this decade, by a margin of 1 to 39 points.
Suggested Bet: Hawthorn by 1-39 points: $2.37
MULTI OF THE WEEK: Combining all the below for $8.32 at Sportsbet
Geelong to cover the line (+15.5): $1.92
Melb v Port: Either side by under 24.5 points: $1.83
Hawthorn by 1-39 points: $2.37
AFL Round 18 odds:
Adelaide $1.50 v Geelong $2.60 Line: 15.5
Essendon $1.30 v North Melbourne $3.55 Line: 23.5
Melbourne $2.30 v Port Adelaide $1.62 Line: 7.5
Western Bulldogs $1.40 v Gold Coast $3 Line: 17.5
Sydney $1.25 v St Kilda $4 Line: 26.5
Fremantle $1.87 v Hawthorn $1.93 Line: 0.5
Richmond $2.30 v Greater Western Sydney $1.62 Line: 7.5
Collingwood $2.25 v West Coast $1.66 Line: 7.5
Brisbane $2.44 v Carlton $1.56 Line: 9.5
Odds supplied by Sportsbet and were correct at the time of publishing*
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