Sport

AFL Round 3: Betting Preview and Tips

AFL Round 3 is headlined by a Grand Final repeat as Collingwood look to gain revenge over the West Coast Eagles on Saturday night.

Adelaide Crows and Geelong Cats kick things off on Thursday night, while Friday night footy sees Melbourne Demons and Essendon Bombers collide.

We preview each of the nine games below:

Adelaide Crows v Geelong Cats

Thursday, April 4

Both sides were big winners in Round 2. Adelaide cast aside a disappointing Round 1 result that saw them lose to Hawthorn by accounting for Sydney by 26 points, while Geelong thrashed Melbourne by 80. The Cats have won two from two and were seven point winners over Collingwood in Round 1 but head into this game as slight underdogs as it is the Crows that enjoy the home ground advantage. This game should be won and lost in the midfield and the battle between the respective line-ups shapes as a mouth-watering one. Rory Sloane and the Crouch brothers take on the likes of the former Crow, Patrick Dangerfield, as well as Tim Kelly and Gary Ablett. Geelong should enjoy plenty of run and rebound from halfback, where Tom Stewart has been dominant, while it will be interesting to see if their younger players can continue their form. A feature of the Cats early season form has been their defence and they have conceded just 15 goals in the two games thus far. Taylor Walker, Josh Jenkins and Eddie Betts will be key players for the Crows but the home side will need others to stand up, as per their win against Sydney last weekend.

Prediction: Adelaide by 1-39 ($2.40 TopBetta)

Melbourne Demons v Essendon Bombers

Friday, April 5

Melbourne and Essendon head into this match under intensifying pressure as both clubs have dropped their first two games this year. Essendon were no match for GWS in Round 1, losing that clash by 72 points before going dow to lowly St Kilda in Round 2 by 11. In the same period, Melbourne lost to Port Adelaide by 26 points at the MCG in the opening weekend before being demolished by Geelong to the tune of 80 points. Comical errors and embarrassing moments have punctuated the form of both sides and another loss will make the road back a very long one. The Demons have been posted as favourites for the Friday night clash but will need to find greater avenues to goal after registering just six goals last weekend despite dominating the inside 50 count. Clayton Oliver, Angus Bradshaw, Jack Viney and Max Gawn should give Melbourne the advantage in the middle of the ground and at the clearances, while Simon Goodwin will be urging his troops to rediscover the hunger that saw them reach the Preliminary Finals in 2018. Key players for the Bombers include Dyson Heppell and Dylan Shiel, while Michael Hurley and Aaron Francis can provide plenty of influence across half-back. That quartet will need to ensure their side uses the ball much better than what they have been in the opening weeks.

Prediction: Melbourne by 1-39 ($2.10 TopBetta)

Carlton v Sydney Swans

Saturday, April 6

Both sides are yet to register a win in season 2019. Carlton have suffered losses to Richmond and Port Adelaide, while Sydney have gone down to the Western Bulldogs and Adelaide in their two games. Sydney are the more seasoned side and head in as favourites for the Round 3 encounter but will need more contributors, particularly through the midfield, in order to ease the burden on the likes of Josh Kennedy and Luke Parker. One of the Swans key players in this contest will be Lance Franklin, who booted three against Adelaide from limited opportunities. Carlton’s Liam Jones is the man most likely to line up on the star forward. The Blues rising stars have shown plenty of promise and if the starting 22 can sustain a four-quarter effort their side can cause an upset. Patrick Cripps, Paddy Dow and Sam Walsh have been the stars so far and asides from a poor second quarter last weekend as well as a poor opening term against Richmond in the opener, the Blues have looked dangerous.

Prediction: Sydney by 1-39 ($2.10 TopBetta)

GWS Giants v Richmond Tigers

Saturday, April 6

Both sides have split their two games. GWS were far too good for Essendon in Round 1, defeating the Bombers by 72 points, but struggled on the road when dropping last week’s game to West Coast by 52. Richmond were winners in the opening weekend against Carlton by 33 but went down to Collingwood by 44 points in Round 2. One of the talking points has been the injuries to the Tigers star players. Alex Rance went down with an ACL injury in Round 1 and is out for the season, while Jack Riewoldt is the latest casualty after injuring his wrist against Collingwood. Rance’s absence is further compounded by the suspension of Dylan Grimes, who will also miss this weekend. It will be interesting to see how the 2017 premiers can cover the loss of those players. Tom Lynch will be the focal point inside 50m for Richmond, but some big holes remain inside their defensive 50m. Jeremy Cameron is one player that can capitalise for GWS and has booted seven goals from his two appearances this season, while Toby Greene and Harry Himmelberg are others that can have an influence for the home side.

Prediction: Giants -7.5 ($1.80 TopBetta)

Brisbane Lions v Port Adelaide

Saturday, April 6
The Brisbane Lions shocked everyone in Round 1 with a 44-point thumping of the reigning premiers West Coast at the Gabba. In Round 2, they showed that they can travel with a 20-point victory over North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium. Port Adelaide, like Brisbane, hold a 2-0 record, with victories over Melbourne and Carlton. Brisbane showed plenty of promise in 2018 despite only winning five games, and so far, they have started to produce in season 2019. They aren’t having any trouble scoring now kicking 15 and 16 goals respectively in the first two rounds. Brisbane’s Charles Cameron has kicked seven goals so far and will be a key player for the Lions on Saturday night. The Lions will need to restrict Port Adelaide from having too much of the ball with the Power racking up 426 and 440 disposals in the first two rounds.
Prediction: Brisbane -9.5 ($1.90 TopBetta)

Collingwood v West Coast Eagles

Saturday, April 6

Both sides have won one of their two games this season. Collingwood dropped their Round 1 clash to Geelong by seven points but responded with an emphatic 44 point win over Richmond last weekend. West Coast went down to Brisbane by 44 in the opening week but responded with a 52 point defeat over GWS in Round 2. However, the Eagles head in as slight underdogs with Collingwood enjoying the home ground advantage. Since going down in the decider by just five points last year, the Magpies have gained a couple of key players. Dayne Beams transferred from Brisbane, while Darcy Moore and Jamie Elliot have slotted back in beautifully after missing large chunks of 2018. The Magpies dynamic forward line will trouble West Coast, as will their midfield that boasts the likes of Adam Treloar, Steele Sidebottom and Scott Pendlebury. That trio, as well as the entire Pies outfit, will be desperate to go some way to erasing the pain of the Grand Final last year. Key players for West Coast include Jack Darling and Josh Kennedy, while Luke Shuey and Dom Sheed will be out to continue their fine form. Those two were among the stars in the Grand Final win last year.

Prediction: Collingwood -15.5 ($1.90 TopBetta)

Western Bulldogs v Gold Coast Suns

Sunday, April 7
The Western Bulldogs trailed Hawthorn by five goals at three-quarter time but were all over the Hawks in the final term kicking nine goals to one, as they ran away with a 19-point win. Josh Schache kicked four goals for the Dogs and was best on ground, along with Jack Macrae and Matthew Suckling who had 36 and 29 disposals each. Another tight contest saw the Gold Coast Suns defeat the Fremantle Dockers by three points. Inaccurate kicking almost cost the Suns who finished the game 7.19.61 to Fremantle’s 8.10.58. Jarrod Harbrow was terrific having 32 touches and taking nine marks. Alex Sexton had plenty of shots on goal to finish with four goals and five behinds. Heading into Sunday’s match, the Doggies look a far superior outfit to the Suns, and many will expect them to extend their season to 3-0. I agree that they should walk away with the four points, but I don’t think they will blow the Suns away. The Suns have shown they can scrap and will be trying to keep this game as close as possible for as long as they can.  2016 Premiership-winning player Liam Picken has retired after 198 AFL matches due to ongoing concussion symptoms. The Bulldogs will be wanting to produce their best in honour of the popular player.

Prediction: Bulldogs by 1-39 ($2.10 TopBetta)

Hawthorn v North Melbourne

Sunday, April 7
Hawthorn come off a 19 point loss at the hands of the Western Bulldogs last weekend, after blowing a 30 point three-quarter-time lead. The Hawks led into time on before conceding late goals, throwing away a near certain win. North Melbourne also come off a 19 point loss after earlier leading the Brisbane Lions. The Kangaroos have dropped both of their games so far this season, while the Hawks were able to claim their Round 1 hitout against Adelaide. Hawthorn have been posted as the early favourites in the head to head betting but will need big games from the likes of Jaegar O’Meara and James Worpel as key names will be absent from the starting 22. North Melbourne can trouble Hawthorn in the middle of the ground with Ben Cunnington and Shaun Higgins in good form. That pair combined for 74 disposals last weekend, while Ben Brown booted three goals. James Frawley will most likely get the job on Brown, while in the same part of the ground, James Sicily will be out to turn things around after giving away some costly, albeit dubious, frees at vital stages last weekend.

Prediction: Hawthorn by 1-39 ($2.20 TopBetta)

Fremantle Dockers v St Kilda

Sunday, April 7
Fremantle comes off a disappointing loss to the Gold Coast Suns at Metricon Stadium. They were beaten by three points but the Suns could have won by more if it wasn’t for inaccurate kicking throughout the game. This was a lot different to Round 1 where the Dockers won by 82 points over North Melbourne. St Kilda defeated Gold Coast by one point in Round 1 before a surprising 11-point win over Essendon. Returning home should be a big boost for Fremantle and 2015 Brownlow Medallist Nat Fyfe has been terrific to begin the 2019 season. Cam McCarthy has looked good up forward and the Saints may have trouble trying to stop him, Jesse Hogan and Matt Taberner. Jade Gresham is someone that Fremantle will need to stop because the Saints forward will be one of the pivotal players for the away team. Jack Steele has also had a good start to the season, leading the league with 17 tackles alongside three other players. He could tag Fyfe but has become a two-way player and knows how to get plenty of the ball himself.

Prediction: Fremantle -18.5 ($1.90 TopBetta)