Wed, Jul 5, 8:17am by Head Editor
The season of upsets continued in Round 15, when the underdog saluted in four of the nine games, while the Cats and Giants finished all square for the first draw of the year.
This weekend looks a little easier for punters, but with the way this season is going, who would know. We have a line of over four goals in three games, while only two games have a line in single figures.
One of the three with a large line, is Friday’s clash between Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs. The reigning Premiers are aiming to keep their finals hopes alive, but bookmakers aren’t giving them much hope, the line is at 24.5 points.
The biggest line (38.5) of the weekend comes at the SCG on Saturday, when the Swans host the Suns, while the tightest betting match comes on the same day, when the Magpies host the Bombers in a traditional Saturday afternoon timeslot.
The other key games are St Kilda hosting Richmond and Port Adelaide’s trip to Perth to face the Eagles. All four of those clubs are looking to lock up a finals position.
Here’s our best bets for Round 16.
Adelaide v Western Bulldogs, Friday July 7, 7:50pm, Adelaide Oval
After storming to their first Premiership in 62 years last season, the Bulldogs are in real danger of missing the finals, picking up wins in just seven of their 14 games, and it doesn’t get any easier here, with a trip to the Adelaide Oval to face the second-placed Crows.
The Crows opened at $1.32 on Monday, and remain at that mark, having lost only two of their eight home games this season. The Dogs are out at $3.40, having lost three of their last four games. The line has been solid since opening at 24.5 points on Monday.
History is not on the Premiers side, the Crows haven’t lost two home games in a row since the middle of 2015, and while Adelaide bounced back with a win over the Blues last week, it wasn’t convincing.
This looms as a line in the sand game for the Dogs, and while I can’t see them winning, what I can see is them turning it into a scrap, which is what the Hawks and the Blues were able to do against the previously high scoring Crows in the last two weeks.
I can’t possibly tip against the Crows, with the 1-39-point margin offering the best value.
WATCH: Our Preview of Round 16 of the AFL season
Hawthorn v GWS, Saturday July 8, 1:45pm, University of Tasmania Stadium
Suddenly, it’s not all doom and gloom for Hawthorn, with two straight wins, they’re now just two wins out of the top eight. They’ll need to take it up to another level this week though, if they are to match it with the ladder-leading Giants.
After opening at $2.90 on Monday, the Hawks have come into $2.80 for an upset win, while the Giants, who drew with the Cats last week, are out slightly from $1.42 to $1.44. The line is also in, from 17.5 to 15.5 points.
The Giants have one of the longest injury lists in the league, with 14 players unavailable. The list includes Ryan Griffen, Stephen Coniglio, Tim Taranto and Brett Deledio, who have all spent lengthy spells on the sidelines. Toby Greene is a chance to return from an ankle injury this week.
Hawthorn has had their own injury worries, with James Frawley, Cyril Rioli, and Josh Gibson all out, while they are set to regain Paul Puopolo’s services this week, after he missed the win over the Magpies with a groin injury.
If this game was up in Sydney, I’d be more inclined to take the Giants by a big margin, but the Hawks have a good record down in Launceston, winning 20 of their last 21 games at this venue.
That one loss did come this year in Round Six of this year against St Kilda, by a whopping 75 points, but the Hawks have played much better football since then. While the Giants will win, Hawthorn will be competitive.
St Kilda v Richmond, Saturday July 8, 7:25pm, Etihad Stadium
The Tiger Army is starting to dream after the club beat fellow top four hopeful – Port Adelaide – on their home deck last week. Next up, it’s a short trip to Etihad to face St Kilda, who are also coming off an important interstate win, the Dockers in Perth.
Both sides have strong defences, with Alex Rance and David Astbury in fine form down back for Richmond and St Kilda recruits Jake Carlisle and Nathan Brown are also in good touch. Don’t expect a high scoring affair here, with the Saints in 11th and the Tigers in 13th in the points scored column.
That same Richmond defence is ranked second for points conceded, with only 77 per game. It has kept its opposition to 80 points or fewer in each of its last eight matches.
The Saints had nine more scoring shots than the Dockers on the weekend but couldn’t put the Dockers away. They will not have as much possession as that this week, so they must take their chances.
Recent history suggests that the Saints are due for a loss. They are aiming for four consecutive wins for the first time since rounds 17-20, 2011. Their recent record in this fixture is also poor, they won the last clash between the sides by nine points in Round 22 last year, but lost six straight before that.
One of the most impressive parts of the Richmond win last week, was the Trent Cotchin and Alex Rance had quiet days, but they were still able to get an important win away from home.
The skipper finished with just 15 possessions, while Jackson Trengove played a forward defensive role on Rance, keeping the All-Australian full-back to just three marks, well down on his average of six, most of which are intercept marks, that are crucial for his team.
Adelaide by 1-39 points: $2.10
GWS by 1-39 points: $2.10
Richmond by 1-39 points: $2.10
AFL Round 16 odds:
Adelaide $1.32 v Western Bulldogs $3.40 Line: 24.5
Hawthorn $2.80 v Greater Western Sydney $1.44 Line: 15.5
Collingwood $2 v Essendon $1.81 Line: 2.5
Sydney $1.14 v Gold Coast $5.80 Line: 38.5
Brisbane $4.75 v Geelong $1.19 Line: 34.5
St Kilda $2.50 v Richmond $1.54 Line: 11.5
North Melbourne $1.63 v Fremantle $2.30 Line: 8.5
Carlton $2.40 v Melbourne $1.58 Line: 10.5
West Coast $1.58 v Port Adelaide $2.40 Line: 9.5
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