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AFL Sunday Specials: Tight games expected on monster day of footy

Fri, Aug 4, 10:19am by Head Editor

It’s hard to remember a bigger Sunday of AFL football, with all three games having a direct impact on the make-up of top eight, and two of them, the top four. Those two games are our Sunday Specials.

Richmond v Hawthorn, MCG, Sunday August 6, 3:20pm AEST

The MCG will be rocking on Sunday when the 4th placed Tigers host the 12th placed Hawks at the home of football.

Hawthorn may be sitting down in 12th, but they are still a chance of being a part of the September action, having lost just one of their past six outings. Their chances of making the eight can be extinguished by a red-hot Richmond outfit in this one though, who can solidify their spot in the top four with a win.

The betting market has been solid all week, with Richmond at $1.80 and Hawthorn out slightly from $2.01 to $2.05 following the suspension of Luke Hodge. The former skipper was given a one week ban for striking Swan Tom Papley in the second quarter of his side’s win over Sydney last week.

The line has been at 2.5 points since Monday, which gives an indication of just how tight this game is expected to be.

Alistair Clarkson’s men have been forced to play some different roles since starting the season at 1-5, with Jack Gunston going to defence, and James Sicily and Taylor Duryea finding themselves in unfamiliar positions.

While the Hawks have been good lately, Richmond have been one of the stories of the season. After finishing 13th last year, winning just eight games for the season, it’s been some sort of revival.

Hawks won three of the last four fixtures between these two sides, but they haven’t met this season.  The colosseum of Australian sport has been a happy hunting ground for the yellow and black this year, they’ve won seven of nine here, and their two losses were by a combined total of 11 points.

The Tigers are set to go in without spearhead JackRiewoldt, and it’s Hawthorn captain Jarryd Roughead’s 250th game, not to mention that Hawthorn are playing for their season. I can see this one being extremely tight.

Suggested Bet: Either team to win by under 15.5 points: $2.40

Adelaide v Port Adelaide, Adelaide Oval, Sunday August 6, 4:40pm AEST

While two of the biggest Victorian clubs are battling it out at the MCG, across the border in South Australia, the two club’s from that state will be going at it in one of the biggest Showdown’s in recent memory.

Adelaide are the Premiership favourite at $3.50, and sitting on top of the ladder, but Port have also been in good form, having won three of their last four to move into fifth place on the ladder.

The Crows have been a $1.54 favourite since the markets opened on Monday, with their neighbours out slightly from $2.48 to $2.50. The line is 11.5 points.

The Power have lost their last four games against their fiercest rivals, and the Port Adelaide faithful have had to wait 822 days so far to get the bragging rights back.

Those bragging rights are not all that will be on the line on Sunday though, if Port can get the points then they’ll keep the pressure on the 4th placed Tigers, while the Crows can lock in a home final if they win their fifth Showdown in a row.

One man who’s always up for a Showdown is Adelaide captain Taylor Walker. The “Texan” has kicked 33 goals in the 12 showdowns he’s played, kicking at least two majors in 11 of the 12 games. His partner in crime Eddie Betts – who has been named to return to the side – has kicked 27 from seven appearances in the biggest game on the South Australian calendar, booting four or more on five occasions.

This one is a “toss of the coin” affair, both clubs are coming off brilliant comebacks last week, Port beat the Saints in a thriller, while the Crows stormed home from 50 points behind to draw with the Magpies.

Suggested Bets: Taylor Walker to kick three or more goals: $2.50 and Port Adelaide to cover line of +18.5 (pick your own line): $1.57

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