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AFL Round 23 Friday and Saturday Specials

Wed, Aug 22, 8:28am by Staff Writer

It is the final round of the 2018 AFL home and away season this weekend, with positions inside the top eight still up for grabs.

Port Adelaide versus Essendon

Friday, 24 August 2018 at 7.50pm AEST at Adelaide Oval

Port Adelaide has lost five of its past six matches and now finds itself likely to miss finals this season. The Power is $1.60 to defeat Essendon on Friday night in Adelaide, with the Bombers paying $2.35.

Port need to defeat the Bombers and hope the Gold Coast Suns grab an unlikely win at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday against Geelong.

It has been a poor last six weeks for Port Adelaide, who were trounced in the second half against Collingwood last weekend, losing by 51 points. While injuries have cruelled them at times in the run home, it should offer no excuse, as they have been played poorly and many teams suffer a heavy injury burden at this time of the season.

Essendon’s finals hopes were extinguished last weekend with an eight-point loss to the Premiership favourites Richmond.

The Bombers played some of the best footy of any side in the competition during the past few months, but a 2-7 start to the season curtailed their chances of playing in September.

The Dons possess a poor record at the Adelaide Oval, winning only once in their four visits to the ground. They have an average losing margin of over 50 points at the venue.

Essendon won the match between these two teams in round four this season, toppling the Power by 22 points at Etihad Stadium.

Jake Stringer booted four goals for the Bombers on that afternoon as they led at every change.

Port Adelaide has more to play for in this game, but it is the Bombers who are playing the better footy. Last weekend’s loss will have taken the wind out of Port’s sails.

Best bet- Essendon to win at $2.35

Fremantle versus Collingwood

Saturday, 25 August 2018 at 4.35pm AEST at Optus Stadium

Fremantle suffered their worst loss in team history losing by 133 points to Geelong last round.

The Dockers conceded the final 23 goals of the match and were without a major after half-time.

They are $5.50 outsiders at Sportsbet to beat Collingwood, who are priced at $1.15 to win the match.

The Pies can finish as high as second on the ladder if they beat Freo and the Brisbane Lions upset the West Coast Eagles.

After losing three of four matches between rounds 17 and 20, the Pies have steadied, largely due to the return of star Jordan De Goey.

This will be Collingwood’s first match at Optus Stadium, while the Dockers have a 7-5 record at their new home ground.

Collingwood are 33.5-point favourites in this match and despite how poorly the Dockers played last weekend, they will surely respond in a big way in their final home game of the season.

The Pies defeated the Dockers by 61 points at the MCG in round 11 this season and have won the past three matches these sides have contested.

Collingwood will win by a big margin as the Dockers have well and truly clocked off for the season.

Best bet- Collingwood Big Win Little Win 40+ at 2.20 

Sydney versus Hawthorn

Saturday, 25 August 2018 at 7.25pm AEST at the SCG

A win for either Sydney or Hawthorn on Saturday night will cement their position in the top four.

The Swans head into Saturday’s match as $1.55 favourites at Sportsbet, while the Hawks are $2.45 outsiders.

Sydney has come home with a flurry, after being outside the eight a month ago. The Swans produced a rousing comeback win against the Giants last weekend to win by 20 points.

Hawthorn were unfancied to make the top four this season, but they continue to impress and held on for a four-point win against St Kilda last weekend.

The last meeting between the two clubs was in round eight this season, when Sydney youngster Ben Ronke booted seven goals and the Swans were victorious by eight points.

Lance Franklin did not play in that match, with the gun forward looking in fine form after booting five goals from nine shots last weekend.

The Hawks enjoy a fine record at the SCG, winning five of their six matches at the venue. Their last two visits to the ground have resulted in two wins, both by under a goal.

Sydney haven’t played well at home this season, losing five games at the SCG, but they are playing their best football of the season at the right time. They should beat an overachieving Hawks side on Saturday night.

Best bet- Sydney to cover 9.5-point handicap at $1.92

Geelong ($1.01) would need to lose as the shortest of short-priced favourites to not play finals in a must-win game against Gold Coast ($21) in Geelong on Saturday.

Richmond ($1.11) is assured of top spot ahead of their match against the Western Bulldogs ($6.70) on Saturday.

Carlton ($7) is a big underdog against Adelaide ($1.10) at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

AFL Round 23 Odds – Sportsbet

Port Adelaide $1.60 v Essendon $2.35

Geelong $1.01 v Gold Coast $21

Richmond $1.11 v Western Bulldogs $6.70

Fremantle $5.50 v Collingwood $1.15

Carlton $7 v Adelaide $1.10

Sydney $1.55 v Hawthorn $2.45

Brisbane $2.45 v West Coast $1.56

Melbourne $1.45 v GWS $2.78

St Kilda $3.66 v North Melbourne $1.29

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