Mon, Mar 19, 1:00pm by Staff Writer
The 2018 AFL season kicks off on Thursday night with the reigning Premiers Richmond taking on Carlton in the traditional season opener.
The Tigers are red-hot favourites to beat the Blues for the seventh consecutive time and are $1.18 favourites at Sportsbet.
Carlton are the biggest outsiders of the round at $5 and despite winning both of their pre-season matches, go into this match as five goal underdogs.
On Friday night, one of the many close matches of the round betting wise takes place at Etihad Stadium when Essendon host the 2017 Grand Finalists Adelaide.
The Crows are $1.78 favourites despite losing Charlie Cameron and Jake Lever in the off-season.
The Bombers made a number of off-season changes, including recruiting Jake Stringer, Adam Saad and Devon Smith.
As $2.05 outsiders, the Bombers are good value at home, despite Adelaide winning the past four matches between the two sides.
A packed Saturday of footy kicks off at Etihad Stadium with St Kilda hosting Brisbane.
The Saints will be disappointed with their pre-season form and are expected to make the top eight this season after a couple of down years.
They are $1.29 favourites to topple the young Lions who are $3.65 at Sportsbet.
Brisbane have gained veteran leadership in former Hawthorn Premiership captain Luke Hodge, as well as number one draft pick Cam Rayner.
The Saints start as 23.5-point favourites, which might be a few too many points given pre-season form.
Port Adelaide will be looking to shake off their heartbreaking finals loss to West Coast in 2017 when they face Fremantle on Saturday.
The Power are heavy $1.27 favourites, with the Dockers at $3.78. Fremantle are once again expected to occupy the bottom four this season and would do well to stay within the 23.5-point handicap for this match.
The best value bet of the round at this stage appears to be the Gold Coast to beat North Melbourne on Saturday night.
The Suns are $1.90 to beat the Kangaroos, who are also priced at $1.90. Gold Coast will have disrupted first couple of months of the season due to the Commonwealth Games, so will be looking to cash in on a rare home game.
The Roos were poor in 2017 and with little to inspire us in the pre-season and in off-season recruiting, we expect another lean year for the Kangaroos.
Hawthorn host Collingwood at the MCG on Saturday night in front of what will be a huge round one crowd.
The Hawks are narrow $1.85 favourites, with the Pies $1.96 outsiders. This match is a total coin flip, and one where we will examine team sheets closely before taking a side.
GWS will be looking to improve on consecutive preliminary finals this season, and get their 2018 campaign underway in Canberra against the Western Bulldogs.
The Dogs famously beat the Giants in the 2016 preliminary final in Sydney, but will be up against it on Sunday.
The Giants are $1.45 favourites, with the Dogs $2.75 underdogs. GWS should be too strong and cover the 16.5-point line.
Another close match on Sunday afternoon, with Melbourne and Geelong locked at $1.90 apiece at Sportsbet.
The Cats will be without Patrick Dangerfield how has a minor hamstring strain, which may just swing favouritism to Melbourne by game time.
West Coast are $3.06 outsiders at home against Sydney, who will be looking to avoid the 0-6 start which they had last season.
At $1.38, the Swans are a little too short, but should beat the Eagles on Sunday night.
AFL Round 1 Odds – Sportsbet
Richmond $1.18 Carlton $5
Essendon $2.05 Adelaide $1.78
St Kilda $1.29 Brisbane $3.65
Port Adelaide $1.27 Fremantle $3.78
Gold Coast $1.90 North Melbourne $1.90
Hawthorn $1.85 Collingwood $1.96
GWS $1.45 Western Bulldogs $2.75
Melbourne $1.90 Geelong $1.90
West Coast $3.06 Sydney $1.38
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