Wed, Aug 15, 9:49am by Staff Writer
Round 22 of the 2018 AFL season begins on Friday night with a do-or-die clash for the Bombers as they play Richmond, needing a win to remain in finals contention.
Richmond versus Essendon
Friday, 17 August 2018 at 7.50pm AEST at the MCG
Richmond has been in scintillating form since a two-point loss to the Greater Western Sydney Giants in round 17.
The Tigers rattled off a 74-point win against the Gold Coast Suns last weekend, with forward Jack Riewoldt bagging 10 goals.
Richmond is a $1.30 favourite at Sportsbet to end the Bombers season, with the Dons $3.66 outsiders.
Essendon has been cruelled by injuries in recent weeks, losing Brendan Goddard and Orazio Fantasia to injury this week.
Even if the Bombers beat the Tigers, they will need a win against Port Adelaide in round 23 and teams above them to drop games.
In their annual Dreamtime at the G match, the Tigers were 71-point winners against the Bombers.
Essendon were in the midst of their worst run of the season at the time, managing only six goals for the entire match.
Richmond boasts a strong recent record against Essendon, winning the past seven matches between the two sides.
Essendon have won four of their past five matches, but dropping their round 20 match against Hawthorn by four points will prove decisive this season.
The Tigers are a cut above any other team in the competition at the moment and love playing at the G. They will get the job done by a big margin, with the Dons winning only once at the MCG this season.
Best bet- Richmond to cover 23.5-point handicap at $1.90
Collingwood versus Port Adelaide
Saturday, 18 August 2018 at 1.45pm AEST at the MCG
Port Adelaide’s season is teetering after back-to-back losses and the loss of Charlie Dixon to a season-ending ankle injury.
The Power are $2.90 underdogs to beat the Pies at the MCG, despite winning its past two matches against Collingwood at the venue.
The Pies are $1.42 favourites and welcomed back Jordan De Goey into their forward line last round, as he slotted four goals in a 30-point win against the Brisbane Lions.
Port Adelaide surrendered a 28-point lead to West Coast and lost after the siren, in a result that has ruined the Power’s top four hopes.
The Power is 6-1-8 at the MCG since 2009 and have won five of their interstate matches this season.
Collingwood looked to have steadied after losing three of their past four matches before a strong second half against Brisbane.
They close the season with a trip to Optus Stadium to take on Fremantle, with a win here a big step forward in their pursuit of a top four finish. They currently trail Hawthorn by less than three per cent on the ladder.
Losing a player as prominent as Charlie Dixon is sure to rock the Power, who they will need to rely on their small brigade to kick goals. Collingwood will be up for this and know their top four hopes ride on it.
Best bet- Collingwood Big Win Little Win at $2
Greater Western Sydney versus Sydney
Saturday, 18 August 2018 at 4.35pm AEST at Spotless Stadium
The Greater Western Sydney Giants face a tough fortnight if they hope to cement their spot in the top four and it starts on Saturday night against Sydney.
The Giants ($1.71) are favourites to beat the Swans and with a match at the MCG in round 23 against Melbourne, their top four fate is in their own hands.
Sydney are priced as $2.15 outsiders to win the match at Sportsbet, with the Swans winning consecutive games against Collingwood and Melbourne after losing four of their previous five games.
Sydney have catapulted up to sixth on the table and can themselves feature in the top four by the end of round 22 if other results go their way.
These teams met in round 3 this season, where the Swans were 16-point winners against a wayward kicking Giants team.
GWS had more shots (27) to the Swans’ (23), but the Swans kicked five goals to two in the second term to take a decisive lead.
The Swans were victorious in their last trip to Spotless Stadium in round 17 last season.
Lance Franklin was a focal point up forward, taking eight shots at goal and kicking four majors. Tom Papley chipped in with three goals, as GWS trailed from the opening bounce.
The Giants are a far better side than they were last season and in round three this season. They have won their past five matches and as narrow favourites, are value to sneak over the line for a small win.
Best bet- GWS Giants Big Win Little Win 1-39 at $2.30
Geelong ($1.02) will be eyeing a massive win against Fremantle ($13) at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday in a must-win.
Hawthorn ($1.16) should keep their spot in the top four and will look to grow their percentage against St Kilda ($5.30) on Saturday night.
Gold Coast ($4.20) and Brisbane ($1.23) meet in the Q-Clash on Saturday night, with the Suns beating the Lions in round five this season by five points at the Gabba.
AFL Round 22 Odds – Sportsbet
Richmond $1.30 v Essendon $3.66
Collingwood $1.42 v Port Adelaide $2.90
Geelong $1.02 v Fremantle $13
GWS $1.71 v Sydney $2.05
St Kilda $5.30 v Hawthorn $1.16
Gold Coast $4.20 v Brisbane $1.23
Carlton $4.20 v Western Bulldogs $1.23
West Coast $1.62 v Melbourne $2.30
Adelaide $1.35 v North Melbourne $3.20
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