AFTER a tough round 14 for the AFL community, nine fantastic games are sure to lift the spirits of fans this weekend, with the action kicking off on Thursday night with Collingwood up against Port Adelaide.
The Dockers and the Hawks play off in the game of the year, Port are fighting for their footballing lives while the Cats and the Kangaroos have no other option but to win if they want to play finals this season.
It promises to be a close contest so this is a terrific offer.
Let’s take a look at this weekend of football and find some winners.
Power vs. Magpies
Thursday, July 9th, 7:50pm, Adelaide Oval
Port Adelaide – $1.92 (+2.5)
Collingwood- $1.92 (-2.5)
Thursday night football in Adelaide kicks off the round with the Power’s absolute last chance at September action on the line.
The Power were wasteful last week against the Swans. They were unable to capitalise on a injury-hit Sydney outfit that lost two key players in the match.
A loss here would rule them out of finals action, while Collingwood were gallant in defeat against their bogey side in Hawthorn.
The Pies will play in the finals, but they need to convert their efforts into wins after falling short several times this season against the better teams.
The Power are hoping that wholesale changes at the selection table will help spur their team into action, but the Magpies are a strong travelling side who are in quality form despite last week’s loss.
Expect the Magpies to prevail in a close one.
Tip: Collingwood to win $1.92 via Sportsbet
Exotic: Dane Swan to get 30 or more disposals – $2.40 via Sportsbet
Tigers vs. Blues
Friday, July 10th, 7:50pm, Melbourne Cricket Ground
Richmond – $1.91 (-19.5)
Carlton – $1.91 (+19.5)
Friday night is the setting for one of the fiercest rivalries in AFL football with the Richmond Tigers facing the Carlton Blues at the MCG.
The Tigers are in terrific form and, after their come-from-behind victory over the Giants last week, Damian Hardwick’s men are starting to prove their mental fortitude has improved immensely from last year.
The Blues have been magnificent since they removed Mick Malthouse from the head coaching position, pulling themselves up off the canvas to win two of the last three matches.
Last week proved that Richmond has what it takes to put away the teams they should be beating, even in the face of adversity.
Carlton are a team that have troubled the Tigers over the years and will be eager to get back on the winners list after just falling short against the Bulldogs last week.
It bodes for a great contest between two teams with a genuine distaste for each other, but expect Richmond to continue their push for the top four with a win over their arch rivals.
Tip: Richmond to win 1-39 points $2.10 via William Hill
Exotic: First goal scorer – Jack Riewoldt $6.50 via Sportsbet
Demons vs. Bombers
Saturday, July 11th, 1:40pm, Melbourne Cricket Ground
Melbourne – $1.91 (-8.5)
Essendon- $1.91 (+8.5)
Early Saturday afternoon at the Melbourne Cricket Ground sees the Demons hosting the Dons in a match that has Melbourne going in as favourites against Essendon for the first time in almost 10 years.
The Demons were competitive in stretches last week but ultimately fell well short of the mark against one of the premiership fancies – West Coast – in Darwin.
The Dons were dismal against St Kilda last week, going down by 110 points in a match that was at times completely non-competitive.
In a further blow to the Bombers, captain Jobe Watson was ruled out for the remainder of the home and away season after succumbing to a shoulder injury that the Brownlow medallist had been carrying for over a month.
The Demons have had the wood over the Bombers in recent times, winning two of their last three encounters, and expect this trend to continue with James Hird’s men mentality and physically fatigued – a worrying sign as it is only the midpoint of the season.
Tip: Melbourne to win – $1.58 via Sportsbet
Exotic: First goal scorer– Jesse Hogan $7 via Sportsbet
Bulldogs vs. Suns
Saturday, July 11th, 4:35pm, Cazaley’s Stadium (Cairns)
Western Bulldogs – $1.92 (-5.5)
Gold Coast – $1.92 (+5.5)
Cairns is the setting for the Bulldogs ‘home’ game against the Gold Coast Suns on Saturday afternoon.
The Dogs are firmly entrenched in the eight after outlasting the resurgent Carlton at Etihad Stadium last week. The Dogs were lacklustre but managed to get over the line.
The Suns hit top gear last week, inspired by the return of superstar captain Gary Ablett, who was simply unstoppable.
Ablett is the man the Dogs must stop if they are to be any hope in this one. Mitch Wallis should be the man with the unenviable job of nullifying the dual Brownlow medallist.
These are the type of games the Bulldogs must win if they want to ensure their place in September and, even though they are playing their home game in the sunshine state, they should still be too strong for the Gold Coast Suns.
Tip: Western Bulldogs line bet – -5.5 points $1.92 via William Hill
Exotic: First goal scorer – Tory Dickson $9 via Sportsbet
Kangaroos vs. Cats
Saturday, July 11th, 7:20pm, Etihad Stadium
North Melbourne – $1.91 (+2.5)
Geelong – $1.91 (-2.5)
Two teams in desperate need of a win clash at Etihad Stadium Saturday night, with the Kangaroos hosting the Cats.
The Kangaroos were abysmal last week, succumbing to a Gold Coast team who, up until that point, had only won a single game for the year.
The Cats are 22 days removed from football after the unfortunate cancelation of last week’s match against Adelaide.
Geelong should have no excuses in terms of freshness going into the match but football is notorious for exposing teams with a lack of match fitness – could the extended break negatively affect the Cats?
Both teams know the importance of this match, with the loser effectively ruled out of finals action.
North’s leaders in Swallow and Ziebell will be stung by last week’s shameful display and should come out firing.
Expect North to win in a tight tussle and keep their faint glimmer of hope for September action alive.
Tip: North Melbourne to win $1.97 via William Hill
Exotic: First goal scorer – Steven Motlop $17 via Sportsbet
Eagles vs. Crows
Saturday, July 11th, 7.40pm, Domain Stadium
West Coast – $1.92 (-27.5)
Adelaide – $1.92 (+27.5)
Saturday night in the West sees the Eagles hosting the Crows in a match that both teams need to win to maintain their place inside the top eight.
The Eagles were clinical in their dismantling of Melbourne last week, but a trip to Darwin may affect the home side late in the game.
Could the oppressive heat and travel schedule impact the West Coast?
The Crows did not play last week due to the unfortunate events surrounding their coach.
The outpouring of emotion has been immense over in South Australia and it will be interesting to see how Adelaide attack the contest.
Despite having a lot to play for it is hard to assess just what kind of mental state the Crows players will be in.
West Coast should win comfortably and consolidate their place inside the top four.
Tip: West Coast to win $1.24 via Crownbet
Exotic: Time of first goal kicked – 1:01-2:01 $4.40 via Sportsbet
Giants vs. Saints
Sunday, July 12th, 1:10pm, Spotless Stadium
GWS – $1.91 (-7.5)
St Kilda – $1.91 (+7.5)
The Giants and the Saints kick off a big Sunday of football, with GWS in dire need of win to keep their spot in the finals race.
The Giants fell short against the Tigers last week after leading at three quarter time.
It is a loss that GWS may rue come the end of the season, with the young and undermanned Giants in a position to win the game right up until the latter stages of the final quarter.
On the other hand, the Saints completed their best win of the last three years, thoroughly destroying the Dons at Etihad Stadium to the tune of 110 points.
St Kilda are playing a fantastic brand of football under coach Alan Richardson, a fierce and determined style that gives the Saints a chance against any opposition.
The Giants desperately need to win to keep the September dream alive, but the Saints are rolling at the moment and should be able to complete a second upset in as many weeks.
Tip: St Kilda to win $2.35 via Sportsbet
Exotic: First goal scorer –Nick Riewoldt $8 via Sportsbet
Hawks vs. Dockers
Sunday, July 12th, 3:20pm, Aurora Stadium
Hawthorn – $1.92 (-14.5)
Fremantle – $1.92 (+14.5)
The game of the season so far takes place in round 15 this season, with the first placed Dockers taking on the fourth placed Hawks in Tasmania.
The Dockers have been rolling along, winning four of their last five matches, but have been unspectacular in doing so, almost conceding defeat against the Gold Coast and Collingwood in the last month.
The Hawks have been terrific since the bye, winning their last five encounters; including a spirited win against Collingwood last week.
The Dockers have had trouble scoring in recent weeks, and they will find the task exponentially more difficult with the Hawks defence in sparkling form.
The Hawks do not typically lose in Tasmania, expect that trend to continue.
Tip: Hawthorn to win $1.43 via William Hill
Exotic: First goal scorer – Luke Bruest $11 via Sportsbet
Lions vs. Swans
Sunday, July 12th, 4:40pm, GABBA
Brisbane – $1.91 (+37.5)
Sydney – $1.92 (-37.5)
The Lions and the Swans round out week 15 in the AFL at the GABBA with Sydney looking to sure up their place in the top four.
Brisbane were gallant last week, falling short against the Dockers by 36 points in a margin that flattered the winners.
The Lions played with a lot of confidence and were just one point behind going into the final quarter.
The Swans were magnificent last week against the Power without their twin targets Lance Franklin and Kurt Tippett, holding off the Power despite losing two players at vital stages throughout the match.
The Swans regain their two big forwards from suspension and will have a point to prove, and could be set for a huge game against a young and inexperienced Lions backline.
Expect the Swans to win this match by a big margin.
Tip: Sydney to win 40+ $2.00 via William Hill
Exotic: First goal scorer – Lance Franklin $6 via Sportsbet
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