Wed, Mar 21, 10:14am by Staff Writer
Richmond will host Carlton on Thursday night in the first game of the 2018 AFL season and unfurl their Premiership flag in front of a crowd that is expected to top 90,000 at the MCG.
Round one is subject to much hype in the pre-season, as every team wants to put in a strong performance after a rigorous summer of pre-season training.
The pick of the matches this round include Essendon hosting Adelaide on Friday night and Melbourne hosting Geelong on Sunday afternoon.
Richmond versus Carlton
Thursday, 22 March 2018 at 7.20pm AEDST at the MCG
Richmond fans will still be buzzing after their first Premiership in 37 years last season. It’s back to zero points for every team across the AFL and Tigers fans will be hoping for no Premiership hangover when they host Carlton on Thursday night.
Both sides have had impressive pre-season results, recording two victories apiece, while experiencing little roster turnover in the off-season.
Carlton have lost veteran Bryce Gibbs to Adelaide in free agency, but have retained their young core of players they hope will push them towards finals in the coming years.
Richmond’s game style in 2017 was built around pressure, with every team in the competition sure to be trying to emulate the Tigers of 2017.
Richmond have enjoyed historical success against Carlton, particularly in the season opening fixture, a match they have won on three consecutive occasions.
We are expecting the Tigers to kick-start their season with a big win against the Blues, with the Tiger Army in full voice at a packed MCG.
Best bet- Big Win Little Win Richmond 40+ at $2.37
Essendon versus Adelaide
Friday, 23 March 2018 at 7.50pm AEDST at Etihad Stadium
Essendon have welcomed three new recruits into their ranks, while losing veteran captain Jobe Watson in 2018.
Last year’s beaten Grand Finalists the Adelaide Crows were the best side in the competition all throughout 2017, but produced their worst performance in the Grand Final, a diabolical 48-point loss.
Adelaide has dominated the Bombers in recent times, recording 10-goal plus victories regularly in Adelaide.
With many expecting the Bombers to win their first finals game since 2002 this season, Essendon fans will be hoping their team gets off to the perfect start on Friday night.
As underdogs at Etihad Stadium, where they play their best football, the Bombers are a great bet this weekend.
Both sides were below average in the JLT Community Series, but we are expecting a close match on Friday night.
The Tri Bet either team under 15.5 points at $2.80 looks a great betting option if you can’t split the teams in the head-to-head.
Best bet- Essendon Adelaide Tri Bet either team under 15.5 points at $2.80
Gold Coast versus North Melbourne
Saturday, 24 March 2018 at 7.25pm AEDST at Cazaly’s Stadium
The Suns host the Kangaroos on Saturday night, with both teams expected to have lean seasons in 2018.
The Suns have lost inaugural captain Gary Ablett to Geelong, but will be hoping for a big year from one of the best forwards in the competition Tom Lynch.
It will be interesting to see how the Suns cope with the loss of Ablett, their talisman in the midfield since their inception.
The Kangaroos are in rebuilding mode and will be looking to get as much game-time into many of their young charges throughout the season.
North Melbourne had enjoyed a number of good season’s before 15th placed finish in 2017.
With the Suns home ground at Metricon Stadium unavailable due to the Commonwealth Games, this match is taking place in Cairns at Cazaly’s Stadium.
The Suns don’t have an impressive record at the ground, recording only two wins from seven starts.
This is a match Gold Coast should be able to win and we are expecting Tom Lynch to be a real difference maker up forward and get the win in steamy conditions up north.
The Suns are our bet of the round at $1.90.
Best bet- Gold Coast to win at $1.90
Elsewhere on Saturday, the Saints and Power should record comfortable wins against the Lions and Dockers at home, with the Lions more likely to cause an upset in those two matches.
On Saturday night, old foes Hawthorn and Collingwood do battle at the MCG in a match oddsmakers have found difficult to split, with the Hawks narrow $1.83 favourites and the Pies $1.98 outsiders.
AFL Round 1 Odds – Sportsbet
Richmond $1.18 v Carlton $5
Essendon $2.10 v Adelaide $1.74
St Kilda $1.30 v Brisbane $3.55
Port Adelaide $1.29 v Fremantle $3.65
Gold Coast $1.90 v North Melbourne $1.90
Hawthorn $1.83 v Collingwood $1.98
GWS $1.45 v Western Bulldogs $2.75
Melbourne $1.90 v Geelong $1.90
West Coast $3.02 v Sydney $1.39
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