There are plenty of big matches in the AFL this weekend, none bigger than the Easter Monday clash between Hawthorn and Geelong. Here’s The Wolf’s AFL tips for round five of the AFL season.
|Lions v Magpies|
Gabba, Thu 18/4 7.35pm
|Collingwood 1-39 ($2.05)||Collingwood / Over 171.5 ($3)|
|Kangaroos v Bombers|
Marvel Stadium, Fri 19/4, 4.20pm
|Essendon -10.5 ($1.91)||Essendon 1-39 ($2.10)|
|Eagles v Power|
Optus Stadium, Sat 19/4, 6.10pm
|Port Adelaide +27.5 ($1.91)||Either team under 15.5 points ($3.25)|
|Giants v Dockers|
UNSW Canberra Oval, Sat 19/4, 1.45pm
|Giants -35.5 ($1.91)||Giants 40+ ($2.10)|
|Demons v Saints|
MCG, Sat 20/4, 4.35pm
|St Kilda +16.5 ($1.91)||St Kilda 1-39 ($3.65)|
|Tigers v Swans|
Marvel Stadium, Sat 20/4, 7.25pm
|Sydney +16.5 ($1.91)||Richmond 1-24 ($3.10)|
|Bulldogs v Blues|
Marvel Stadium, Sun 21/4, 1.10pm
|Carlton +17.5 ($1.91)||Western Bulldogs 1-39 ($2.05)|
|Crows v Suns|
Adelaide Oval, Sun 21/4, 4.10pm
|Gold Coast +27.5 ($1.91)||Gold Coast 1-24 ($5.75)|
|Hawks v Cats|
MCG, Mon 22/4, 3.20pm
|Geelong -15.5 ($1.91)||Geelong / Under 163.5 ($2.75)|
Brisbane Lions ($2.35) v Collingwood Magpies ($1.60)
Pies too good for Lions in Brisbane
It’s a sellout at the Gabba to start round five when the Lions and Pies meet on Easter Thursday. Brisbane has had a great start to the season, winning three on the trot before a wake up call against the Bombers. The Lions were slow out of the gates at the ‘G last Saturday afternoon and trailed by as many as 50 points in the first half and lost by 47 points. It was a win for the Pies in round four, although they were given an almighty fright by the unfancied Dogs, who led in the final term before the Pies kicked away with four of the last five goals. The Lions’ impressive home form to start the season, where they have beaten the Eagles and Power has been factored into their price, although they are underdogs. The Lions are 3-1 against the handicap in 2019, and are 9.5-point outsiders in this one. The Pies have the wood over Brisbane in recent times, winning five in a row, including the last three at the Gabba. The Wolf thinks Collingwood’s class up front will shine through and the Lions might fall into a lull after starting the season on fire.
H2H: Collingwood 1-39 ($2.05)Value: Collingwood / Over 171.5 ($3)
North Melbourne Kangaroos ($2.40) v Essendon Bombers ($1.58)
Bombers to continue winning streak
North and Essendon are both coming off wins in round four and enter this marquee clash at Marvel Stadium full of confidence. A packed house is sure to be on hand on Good Friday, with the Bombers priced up as favourites. Wins against Melbourne and Brisbane have the Bombers back amongst the pack after a horror start, where they lost to the Giants and Saints. North picked up a gritty win against the Crows in an unattractive game last Saturday night, but a wins a win and they’re off the mark. The past 7 matches between the sides have been decided by 39 points or less, with more than 100 points scored by each side in their matches against one another in 2017 and 2018. It could be another high scoring game under the roof on Friday and it’s the Bombers who have the more threatening forward line, so The Wolf is going to back them to make it three in a row.
H2H: Essendon -10.5 ($1.91)Value: Essendon 1-39 ($2.10)
West Coast Eagles ($1.22) v Port Adelaide Power ($4.30)
Power to keep it close against rival Eagles
Port has been underwhelming as a big home favourite this season and that continued last weekend when they lost as more than 4-goal fancies to an under pressure Richmond. A controversial double goal turned the tide in the Tigers favour, but Port will be disappointed to drop a game to a club missing its best two players. They now face the toughest road trip in football as they play the reigning premier in their own backyard. The Eagles started strongly in the derby against the Dockers, before Freo challenging them after quarter time, to sneak away 13-point winners. The Eagles have the wood on the Power, winning 6 of 7, with 5 of those matches decided by 10 points or less. It’s those sort of tight wins that put doubt in opposition players and that will surely be in the Port players’ minds come Friday night. The Wolf thinks it could again be a close one, and Port’s young side could buck the recent trend and win, but taking the points is the safer options.
H2H: Port Adelaide +27.5 ($1.91)Value: Either team under 15.5 points ($3.25)
GWS Giants ($1.14) v Fremantle Dockers ($5.75)
Giants to roll in Canberra
The Giants return to their happy hunting ground in Canberra for a Saturday afternoon match against Freo. GWS is undefeated in the nation’s capital since 2016, winning 8 from 8. They have also won four in a row against the Dockers, which explains the West Australian sides big price. The Giants grabbed their first ever win in Geelong in thrilling fashion and deservedly so, after a spirited second half and dominant fourth quarter led them to a four-point win. Freo did themselves no favours in the first half against West Coast, managing just a single goal, before clawing back respectability in the second half to lose by 13 points. The Wolf sees the Giants at the handicap as the best option on Saturday, with the AFL’s youngest club covering 3 out of 4 handicaps so far, including both at home very easily. Freo is playing just its second road game of the season and lost its only interstate trip to the Suns in round 2.
H2H: Giants -35.5 ($1.91)Value: Giants 40+ ($2.10)
Melbourne Demons ($1.43) v St Kilda Saints ($2.85)
Saints to cleanse Demons on Easter Saturday
Melbourne got on the winners list last round with an odds-against win against the Swans. They look to back that up against an impressive Saints side that has won three of its first four matches. After a disastrous 2018 campaign, Alan Richardson’s side is already one win away from equalling their 2018 tally of four victories. The Dees’ next month of matches against the Saints, Tigers, Hawks and Suns is not the most challenging stretch, as they look to overcome an 0-3 start to the season. Melbourne has taken the points in 3 of the past 4 against the Saints, but it was a surprise two-point win for the visitors from Moorabin in round 15 last season. Their tackling has been a big plus for them in 2019, leading the league with 70 per game. Their hitouts on the other hand are near the bottom, while the Dees rank second behind the Suns. Clearance numbers are pretty similar, as are points scored for both teams, so there really isn’t much separating them. The Saints are used to being underdogs and outperforming their price this season and The Wolf sees no reason to not back their form in on Saturday afternoon.
H2H: St Kilda +16.5 ($1.91)Value: St Kilda 1-39 ($3.65)
Richmond Tigers ($1.43) v Sydney Swans ($2.85)
Can Swans step up against Tigers?
It’s only round five, but its crunch time for the Swans ahead of their trip to Marvel Stadium on Saturday night to play the Tigers. Sydney has just one win from four and is in danger of missing the finals for the first time in years. This is their third match at Marvel Stadium this season, after losing to the Dogs in round one and beating the Blues in round three. Richmond got their season back on track with an unexpected 7-point win against Port. The Tigers’ forward recruit Tom Lynch starred with six goals as they escaped Adelaide with a narrow win to improve to 2-2. They have taken a liking to the domed stadium, winning 5 out of 7 since 2017 at the venue and 4 of 6 overall against Sydney. They are a short price to beat the Swans given the red and whites losses have been by 17, 26 and 22 points, all close to the handicap on offer for the Tigers on Saturday night. The Wolf thinks Sydney need to show something and this weekend might be the time. They are sizeable underdogs and they rarely get blown out.
H2H: Sydney +16.5 ($1.91)Value: Richmond 1-24 ($3.10)
Western Bulldogs ($1.40) v Carlton Blues ($2.95)
Dogs in for a fight against Blues
Carlton came agonisingly close to a win last Sunday against the Suns, losing to a late Jack Bowes goal to fall to 0-4. The Dogs’ impressive start has tailed off, losing two on the trot, including last week to the Pies by 14 points. Carlton has been more than competitive in four losses this season, losing by 3 goals or less in three of their four games. The Dogs have been performing better as underdogs, beating Sydney and Hawthorn, while losing to the Suns as favourites. They have covered in 3 of 4 matches and start as near 3-goal favourites on Sunday. The sons of the west have a strong recent record against the Blues, winning five in a row, but something tells The Wolf that Carlton will make this more than interesting. The Dogs have shown themselves to be a risky favourite, losing outright to the Suns and could find themselves in a battle on Sunday afternoon.
H2H: Carlton +17.5 ($1.91)Value: Western Bulldogs 1-39 ($2.05)
Adelaide Crows ($1.22) v Gold Coast Suns ($4.30)
Suns to shine in city of churches
Suns fans must be pinching themselves as their team has won three of its first four games. Amazingly, every one of their matches has been decided by a kick or less, but they start as huge outsiders against Adelaide on Sunday. The Wolf has taken a liking to the team from Queensland, who have covered big starts all season, going 3-1 on the handicap and narrowly missing it last weekend, despite winning outright as a rare favourite. The Crows have not impressed so far, losing their second in a row to the previously winless Roos in a dour affair at Marvel Stadium in round four. What have the Crows done to justify being nearly five goal favourites? The Wolf thinks not much at all. All aboard the Suns handicap train, and it wouldn’t surprise if they snuck another win against an out of form and under pressure Crows.
H2H: Gold Coast +27.5 ($1.91)Value: Gold Coast 1-24 ($5.75)
Hawthorn Hawks ($2.75) v Geelong Cats ($1.45)
Cats should have the measure of inconsistent Hawks
Two goliaths of the past decade square off in their traditional Easter Monday game when Hawthorn plays Geelong. The Cats were handed their first loss last weekend, downed by the Giants at home. It was a rare loss for the Cats at GMHBA Stadium, but they will be well rested and focused for a match against rivals Hawthorn. The Hawks’ inconsistency was on display again last round, falling to the Saints by five points, despite leading at every change. They have gone win, loss, win, loss to start the year, but The Wolf thinks that sequence will come to an end on Monday. The Cats have taken 4 of 6 against the Hawks, but the brown and golds have won the past two. The Cats’ engine room might be the difference on Monday, with Jaeger O’Meara an injury doubt and new players Chad Wingard and Tom Scully yet to gel with their teammates just yet. That will come no doubt, but the Cats are the more consistent and polished side and will make it 4 wins from 5 starts.
H2H: Geelong -15.5 ($1.91)Value: Geelong / Under 163.5 ($2.75)
Essendon 1-39, St Kilda +16.5, Gold Coast +27.5 = $7.66