Fri, Apr 13, 2:01pm by Staff Writer
Round 4 of the 2018 AFL season concludes on Sunday with three cracking games. Essendon host the top of the table Port Adelaide in a must-win game for the Bombers, while the Hawks and Demons meet in the match-of-the-round. The twilight match will see St Kilda make the short journey to Geelong, hoping for their first win of the season.
Essendon versus Port Adelaide
Sunday, 15 April 2018 at 1.10pm AEST at Etihad Stadium
Essendon produced a terrible performance against the lowly Western Bulldogs as firm favourites last weekend and will need to respond in order to get their season back on track against the high-flying Power.
Port come into this match as $1.64 favourites with the Bombers $2.30 underdogs.
Essendon will be without Conor McKenna who was subject to much controversy throughout the week after being cited by the AFL Tribunal for biting. He will miss the Bombers next three games.
Coming into an extended bench include Jackson Merrett who had an outstanding game in the VFL last weekend, as well as Michael Hartley and Kyle Langford.
The Power scraped past Brisbane last weekend in a game that was far closer than many anticipated. Sam Powell-Pepper has been suspended by the club for an off-field indiscretion with a number of players included on the extended bench including former Gold Coast player Trent McKenzie.
Port are 7.5-point favourites at the handicap at $1.92, but there is better value in taking the league’s in-form team in the margin market.
Port Adelaide has had a strong start to the year and look to have hit the ground running, while the Bombers look lost, particularly when they transition the ball from their backline.
Essendon won’t be as bad as last weekend, but Port Adelaide is a class above at the moment.
Best bet- Port Adelaide Big Win Little Win 1-39 at $2.30
Hawthorn versus Melbourne
Sunday, 15 April 2018 at 3.20pm AEST at the MCG
The clear match-of-the-round this weekend takes place on Sunday afternoon with the Hawks hosting the Demons.
Both teams are 2-1 thus far and a win for either here will push their finals and potentially top four credentials even further.
Hawthorn start as surprising $2.20 underdogs with the Demons $1.70 favourites.
The Hawks have been the more impressive team of the two, beating Geelong and only narrowly losing to Richmond.
Melbourne’s two wins come against teams many predict won’t feature in finals, North Melbourne and Brisbane.
In team news, James Sicily returns for Hawthorn which is a big inclusion, with the Demons welcoming back Angus Brayshaw and Billy Stretch among others on an extended bench.
The Demons enter the game as 6.5-point favourites at $1.92, despite winning only one of the past five matches between the two teams.
This would be a big win for Melbourne if they could claim it, but the odds are the wrong way around in our opinion and the Hawks are tremendous value.
Take Hawthorn in the head-to-head or handicap market, whichever you prefer. We like the Hawks at the head-to-head for a little extra value.
Best bet- Hawthorn to win at $2.20
Geelong versus St Kilda
Sunday, 15 April 2018 at 4.40pm AEST at GMHBA Stadium, Geelong
After narrowly beating Melbourne, the Cats have lost two consecutive matches and will be hoping to stop the rot when they host the winless Saints on Sunday night in Geelong.
The Cats lost three players to injury in their 15-point loss against West Coast last weekend, with Gary Ablett the biggest name among them out with a hamstring injury.
Rhys Stanley, Mitch Duncan and Jordan Murdoch are three of seven players included on an extended bench.
St Kilda managed to play Adelaide well for two and a half quarters before the Crows blew the game apart late in the third quarter.
Geelong are big home favourites in this match at $1.22, with the Saints at $4.45.
The past two times St Kilda has played in Geelong, in 2013 and 2014, they lost by a combined 197 points.
This game should be closer than the near 100-point average margin of those games but with the Cats favoured by -29.5 points at the handicap, we are happy to give the 5-goal start to the far superior team.
St Kilda will struggle to score and Geelong can pile on the points. Look for the Cats to win by a 50-point plus margin.
Best bet- Geelong to cover -29.5-point handicap at $1.92
AFL Round 4 Sunday Odds – Sportsbet
Essendon $2.30 v Port Adelaide $1.64
Hawthorn $2.20 v Melbourne $1.70
Geelong $1.22 v St Kilda $4.45
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