Round 18 of the 2020 AFL season is the final round before finals and will see plenty of exciting and important matches play out. Action kicks off on Thursday night with North Melbourne vs West Coast and concludes on Monday night with Collingwood vs Port Adelaide.
As always, we bring you our best AFL tips for each match of the upcoming round, with thanks to the guys at Before You Bet.
North Melbourne vs West Coast Eagles
Thursday 7:10pm, Metricon Stadium
North Melbourne’s poor season was flying under the radar due to Adelaide’s historically bad season, but since the Crows have started winning some games, everyone in the media are throwing jabs at the Roos. Their 64-point loss to the Dockers on the weekend was perhaps their worst performance of the year.
West Coast continue to struggle away from home and blew their chance at a top four finish when they lost to the Bulldogs in Round 16. They were able to bounce back with a win against the Saints last weekend, but it’s highly unlikely they can improve from 5th place.
You can never be quite sure what type of team a coach will field in what’s effectively a dead rubber. Regardless, the Eagles are yet to win by 40+ points away from Optus Stadium this season and they’re hard to trust at the best of times. We’re expecting an Eagles win, but in the 1-39 point range.
Prediction: West Coast 1-39 @$1.90
St Kilda Saints vs GWS Giants
Friday 7:50pm, Gabba
St Kilda blew a huge chance to knock off West Coast last weekend and will now have to settle for a 6th-8th place finish. The Saints have now lost four of their last six games, which isn’t the type of form you want to take into a rare finals campaign.
GWS have arguably been the most disappointing team in 2020. They were the runner-up in 2019 and probably won’t even feature in the finals this time around with a very similar squad.
The Giants appear done and dusted, while the Saints will be looking to get back to winning ways ahead of their elimination final. We’re expecting the Saints to bring the greater intensity and to get the job done pretty comfortably.
Prediction: St Kilda -5.5 @$1.90
Essendon Bombers vs Melbourne Demons
Saturday 2:10pm, Metricon Stadium
Essendon started off the season on fire with five wins from their first seven games, but have been horrible ever since. They’ve won just one of their last nine matches and have been beaten by 50+ in each of their last two.
Melbourne momentarily kept their finals hopes alive with a five-point win over GWS in Round 17, but their hopes were crushed later on in the round when Collingwood defeated Gold Coast.
Both clubs continue to frustrate fans with great performances followed by horrible ones. It’s anyone’s guess who will win this game, but one thing we can expect is a high scoring affair. The Bombers have given up 68+ points in six of their last seven games, and the Demons have given up 67+ in three of their last five. Expect a free-flowing game that cruises over the points line.
Prediction: Over 121.5 Points @ $1.90
Adelaide Crows vs Richmond Tigers
Saturday 5:10pm, Adelaide Oval
It’s been a crazy season for Adelaide. 13 straight games without a win, and now they’ve won three in a row. If they could somehow topple the Tigers and jump out of last spot on the ladder, then that would be a huge effort.
Richmond went into their heavyweight battle with Geelong as the slight underdogs, but that certainly won’t be the case if they meet in the finals. The Tigers were far, far too good and didn’t allow the Cats to play to their strengths.
It’s been a crazy run for the Crows to finish what’s been a difficult season, but there’s just no way they make it four on the trot with a win here. The Tigers are continuing to build towards finals and should be winning this by a very comfortable margin.
Prediction: Richmond -21.5 @ $1.90
Brisbane Lions vs Carlton Blues
Saturday 7:40pm, Gabba
Brisbane were challenged by Sydney last weekend and the young Lions were able to show their growing maturity by motoring away late in the fourth quarter. They’ve now locked in a top two spot and likely won’t be leaving Brisbane for the rest of the season.
Whatever Carlton are doing pre-game absolutely needs to change, because their starts have been horrendous. They went down huge against the Crows on the weekend and were never able to recover.
The Lions are clearly the much better team in this matchup, but the Blues have a club champion in Kade Simpson retiring, so we’re expecting a bit of fight from them. Lions 1-39 looks the best play in this one.
Prediction: Brisbane 1-39 @ $1.74
Hawthorn Hawks vs Gold Coast Suns
Sunday 1:05pm, Adelaide Oval
Hawthorn’s season from hell continued on the weekend with another blowout loss. They’re now 1-9 in their last 10 games and will likely finish 16th on the ladder.
Gold Coast made Collingwood earn their win on Monday night in what was a pretty physical match. The Suns weren’t able to challenge for a finals spot again this season, but they certainly took some forward strides.
The Hawks have struggled to compete in just about all of their games in the second half of the season, which makes them impossible to back. We like the Suns to finish their season off on a high with a win.
Prediction: Gold Coast 1-39 @ $2.02
Sydney Swans vs Geelong Cats
Sunday 3:35pm, Metricon Stadium
It was always going to be a tough year for a rebuilding Sydney squad, so it’s no surprise to see them down in the bottom four. They weren’t able to knock over the Lions on the weekend, which made it 11 losses on the season.
Geelong weren’t up to the task against Richmond in their blockbuster Round 17 showdown, which has left a few question marks surrounding their potential to win the flag this season.
The Cats were poor last weekend, but will likely welcome back a couple of key stars to their line-up, most notably Gary Ablett Jr. Expect the Cats to return to winning ways to secure a top four finish.
Prediction: Geelong 1-39 @ $1.74
Fremantle Dockers vs Western Bulldogs
Sunday 6:10pm, Cazaly’s Stadium
Fremantle continued their fantastic second half of the season with a crushing win over North Melbourne on the weekend. The Dockers have unveiled a number of key stars this campaign and will be an exciting team to watch in the future.
Western Bulldogs flew out of the blocks against the Hawks last time out and went on to win comfortably, which had them secure a finals berth. The Doggies are no strangers to causing upsets in the finals, so they automatically loom as a dark horse.
Both sides have been in good form to finish the season, which makes this a tough one to predict. We lean towards taking the Dockers with a two goal head start in a low-bet game.
Prediction: Fremantle +12.5 @ $1.90
Collingwood Magpies vs Port Adelaide Power
Monday 7:15pm, Gabba
Collingwood fans would’ve been nervous during the fourth quarter of their crucial clash with the Suns, but their team were able to pull away late and record a four-goal win. The Magpies have now locked in a top eight spot and will be a danger to whoever they face in the finals.
Port Adelaide have been the best performing side all season and now have a chance to secure the minor premiership with a win in the final round. They’ve been on top of the ladder since Round 1, so it would be fitting to see them finish as the 1 seed.
The Magpies are slowing building, but it’s still hard to have faith in them on current form. We see the Power as clearly the better team and will be happy to back them to cover the small spread.
Prediction: Port Adelaide -7.5 @ $1.90
For more free sports betting tips head to www.beforeyoubet.com.au where you’ll also find an independent PlayUp review.