Thu, Aug 25, 1:21pm by Jake Equid
The last home and away round is upon us and we have a new ladder leader and premiership favourite. The Swans swooped in to take both of those mantles with a gritty nine-point win over the Roos in Hobart on Saturday following Hawthorn’s second loss in three weeks when they went down by 25 points to West Coast on Friday night.
In terms of the overall evenness of the ladder, you have to go way back to 1993 for a season that was closer. Only half a game separated the entire top four then a further game back for the entire final six as it was then. Geelong missed the finals that year despite being only 6 points off top spot.
The all-important top four places are still very much up for grabs with the entire top four all on the same amount of wins. The Giants who are currently sitting in fifth place have a superior percentage so a slip up from any of the top four will see them likely grab the double chance should they defeat North Melbourne. The finals combatants are now set with Melbourne dropping a very winnable game to Carlton on Sunday.
Here are our Best Bets for Round 23:
Adelaide v West Coast, Adelaide Oval, Friday 26 August, 8:10pm
A huge Friday night clash kicks off Round 23 with the home side needing a win to secure a top two finish while a loss could see them out of the top four. The Eagles need to win to gain the all-important double chance while a loss will likely see them travel interstate for an elimination final.
Both sides will head into the contest without crucial players. Nic Natanui went down very late in the win over the Hawks last week with scans revealing the worst, a rupture of his anterior cruciate ligament that will see him sidelined for at least 12 months. One of the main talking points to come out of the Adelaide camp this week was the report and suspension of one of the Brownlow medal favourites, Rory Sloane. He will miss this week for what looked like a pretty soft hit on Port’s Brad Ebert.
The absence of Naitanui makes it hard to predict how this match will pan out. We are going to steer clear of the head to head market. The total match points line of 184.5 has gained our interest with the Crows scoring freely throughout the season. They are the highest scoring team in the league, averaging 115 points per game. Their average total at this venue this year is 191 and the past three have all been above 200. A cool, clear night is expected in Adelaide which is conducive to scoring.
BEST BET: Total game points over 184.5: $1.90
WATCH: Our Best bets of the Round
Sydney v Richmond, SCG, Saturday 27 August, 4:35pm
Although Richmond’s recent record against Sydney has been excellent, winning the past three, this one should play out quite to the contrary. The premiership-favourite Swans take on the Tigers at home on Saturday in what should be a nice tune-up to the finals for the home side.
The Swans can secure the minor-premiership with a win but that honour has been a bit of a poison chalice for them in recent times. They went on to lose the Grand Final in both 1996 and 2014, the last two times they’ve secured top spot. Richmond need to win to avoid their worst win-loss ratio since 2011.
Richmond’s away recent away record has been deplorable, they have lost their last three interstate trips by an average of 66.5 points. They did however manage to topple the Swans back in Round 8 when Sam Lloyd kicked truly after the siren giving the Tigers a one-point win at the MCG. That seems a long time ago.
BEST BET: Sydney to cover the line of -48.5: $1.92
Fremantle v Western Bulldogs, Domain Stadium, Sunday 28 August, 4:40pm
The finals-bound Dogs head west on Sunday to put a full stop to a Fremantle season that never really got out of the blocks. Both sides have plenty to play for with Fremantle wanting to see off perhaps their greatest ever, Matthew Pavlich, in style while the Dogs need to win to secure a home-final.
The Dogs’ recent form at this venue has been horrendous, losing their past five games by an average of 74 points, but only one of those was against this opposition. The last time they tasted success in Perth was in 2010.
I’m backing the Dogs to win here but the Dockers should put up a decent display for their inspirational former skipper’s final game. I think the 1-39 point market is a good bet here as there is no real incentive to win by a big margin. I think we might see Coach Luke Beveridge resting a few players late should they wrap the game up early with the Doggies having a finals-campaign is on the horizon. They certainly don’t need any more injuries.
BEST BET: Western Bulldogs to win by 1-39: $2
MULTI OF THE WEEK: Combining all of the below for $7.29 at Sportsbet
Total game points in Adelaide v West coast to be over 184.5 $1.90
Sydney to cover the line of (-48.5) $1.92
Western Bulldogs to win by 1-39 $2
AFL Round 23 odds:
Adelaide $1.32 (-24.5) v West Coast $3.40 (+24.5)
Geelong $1.15 (-32.5) v Melbourne $5.50 (+32.5)
Essendon $3.35 (+22.5) v Carlton $1.33 (-22.5)
Sydney $1.08 (-48.5) v Richmond $8 (+48.5)
Gold Coast $2.95 (+17.5) v Port Adelaide $1.40 (-17.5)
North Melbourne $2.70 (+15.5) v GWS $1.47 (-15.5)
St Kilda $1.05 (-50.5) v Brisbane $10 (+50.5)
Hawthorn $1.19 (-29.5) v Collingwood $4.75 (+29.5)
Fremantle $3.55 (+19.5) v Western Bulldogs $1.30 (-19.5)
Odds supplied by Sportsbet and were correct at the time of publishing*
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