Round 3 of the AFL Season features some tantalizing fixtures, with Port against the Eagles in Perth being the highlight. The up and coming Swans head to the MCG to take on Richmond, where they have been nigh on unbeatable in recent years.
To finish the round, can Hawthorn cause a huge Easter Monday upset? Here are the Wolf’s best bets for Round 3.
Western Bulldogs 25+ / Richmond 1-39 / St Kilda (-21.5) = $5.55
De Goey the difference
It’s been a chaotic week for the Lions with the controversial one-point loss to the Cats, followed by the Brisbane lockdown forcing them to stay in Victoria with their clash against the Pies now at Marvel Stadium.
It’s certainly not ideal for Brisbane, with Collingwood winning eight of their last nine at Marvel, covering the line in seven of those games. As for the Lions it’s the opposite story, winning just two of their last eight under the roof. Brisbane beat the Pies last year by 8 points, but prior to this win Collingwood had won their last six meetings.
Nathan Buckley’s men looked much better in Round 2 with Jordan De Goey playing predominantly up forward while Jack Crisp moved into the midfield to add some much needed leg-speed, recording a game-high 36 possessions. Crisp also recorded a game-high 30 touches when he played his old team last year, while De Goey has a good record against Brisbane having kicked 12 goals from his last three games against the Lions.
All the numbers are in Collingwood’s favour and when you add in the disruption that the Lions have endured this week, I expect the Pies to hand Brisbane a 0-3 start to the 2021 season.
Same Game Multi: Jack Crisp 25+ Disposals / Jordan De Goey 3+ Goals / Brody Mihocek 2+ Goals ($5.50)
Bulldogs look brilliant
The Western Bulldogs have been in red hot form to start the 2021 season and they’re just about a sure thing to start the season 3-0 when they face North Melbourne on Good Friday.
The line is currently set at 42.5, which is slightly dangerous with the margin 5 of the last 7 games between these two teams being within 15 points – The Bulldogs winning five of those games.
From the last four games where the Bulldogs have entered favourite against the Kangaroos, they’ve won three of them but they have only cleared the line in one of those four.
The Wolf would much prefer to take the total points in this one. Eight of the last 11 games between these two teams have gone under the total points line, with North Melbourne’s ability to hit the scoreboard a concern. They average 52 points per game this season, and although the Bulldogs have been great so far they’re still only ranked 9th for points scored this season.
Expect the Bulldogs to dominate possession which they’ve done the last two games, so leave any North Melbourne possession winners out of your Same Game Multi – but adding Josh Bruce is worth considering. The forward has kicked a bag of 6 goals three times across his career – two of those were the last two games he’s played against North Melbourne. Lachie Hunter also has a great record against North Melbourne, averaging 32.3 disposals from his last three games against them.
As for the midfield squeeze at the Western Bulldogs, it hasn’t effected Tom Liberatore who has spent 98% of his playing time as an inside midfielder – the most at the club.
It’s going to be a Western Bulldogs win, but I’m not willing to take the long line and will take the double market with the total points under against a Kangaroos outfit struggling to kick a score.
Same Game Multi: Bulldogs win / Lachie Hunter 30+ Disposals / Tom Liberatore 25+ Disposals / Josh Bruce 2+ Goals ($4.75)
Another strong start to Suns
The Wolf’s best bet last round was the Suns to clear the 20.5 line against North Melbourne, and they notched their first win of the 2021 with a 59-point victory. They now have the opportunity to start the season 2-1 for the fourth consecutive season.
In a sense of déjà vu the Suns will look to do so against the Crows in Round 3 – the same situation as last year, which resulted in a 53-point win to the Gold Coast.
The difference will be that this game will be played at Adelaide Oval which hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the Suns, failing to record a win from seven games there. The last time Gold Coast won in Adelaide was back in their inaugural season, recording their first ever win against the Power in Round 5 of 2011 at Football Park.
With Taylor Walker on fire, the Crows are much improved compared to last season, but a 53-point swing is going to be difficult against a Gold Coast team which has impressed this year.
The Suns have a proven track record of starting the season strong, and after competing with the Eagles at Optus Stadium followed by a 10-goal win against the Kangaroos, I’m expecting them to notch their first win at Adelaide Oval.
Rory Laird continues to rack up the footy for Adelaide, topping the possessions in both games this season, but ensure that the Gold Coast players are your Same Game Multi focus, as they are ranked second in the AFL for disposals and first in the AFL for marks. Oleg Markov has had 20 disposals both games this season, while Lachie Weller has kicked a goal in both games after being Gold Coast’s third highest goal kicker last season.
Same Game Multi: Rory Laird 30+ Disposals / Oleg Markov 20+ Disposals / Lachie Weller Any Time Goal Scorer ($4.75)
Tigers to teach young Swans a lesson
A tantilising contest between the best in Richmond and the young, up and coming team in Sydney who enter this at 2-0 averaging 123 points per game.
Richmond has won six of the last eight against the Swans but they’ve had some close encounters. From the last nine games between these two teams, only once has the match has been won by over 26 points.
Unfortunately for Sydney though, the proposition of facing Richmond at the MCG is daunting. The Tigers have won their last 23 day games at the ‘G, with 12 of the last 13 of those by 1-39 points.
The line is currently set at 24.5 for Saturday’s game – and based on how close the last nine have been, plus the fact the Swans have covered the line in six of their last seven games, it’s not something The Wolf wants to touch.
Jake Lloyd averages 30 disposals in the last four games against the Tigers while Callum Mills had 29 touches in their clash last year in shortened quarters. Dion Prestia averages 26.3 touches in his last three against the Swans, and has had 25+ in both games this season.
I’ve taken Richmond 1-39 the first two rounds with success, and I’m going back there again in what is a must-watch game this weekend.
Same Game Multi: Jake Lloyd 30+ Disposals / Callum Mills 25+ Disposals / Dion Prestia 25+ Disposals / Tom Lynch 2+ Goals ($5.50)
Baby Bombers no match for Saints
Despite having some key personnel out the Saints were grossly disappointing in Round 2, but expect them to bounce back against the Bombers.
St Kilda has won five of the last seven against Essendon by an average of 42.6 points, clearing the line in six of the last nine.
Despite Saturday’s loss to Melbourne, the Saints have won six of their last eight games at Marvel Stadium by the 1-39 margin – but this result could be different against a young, inexperienced Essendon team that have got their own injury concerns.
The Bombers conceded the most points in the last five games of 2020, and with their backline depleted they’re conceding 106 points per game in 2021 – ranked equal 15th in the competition.
Max King caused some headaches for the Bombers last season kicking three goals, and booted two last week. Essendon has also conceded the most disposals so far this season, 13.7% above average, so look for St Kilda ball winners such as Jack Billings who had 23 against the Bombers last year, and Hunter Clark who is now playing 80% of the time as a midfielder to find plenty of the footy.
Expect the Saints to bounce back with a comfortable win.
Same Game Multi: St Kilda / Jack Billings 25+ Disposals / Hunter Clark 20+ Disposals / Max King 3+ Goals ($4.75)
Not easy for Eagles
Another must-watch Round 3 clash with the ladder-leading Power heading to Optus Stadium to face the Eagles at their fortress.
It appears West Coast will enter this clash with Port Adelaide in unfamiliar territory, starting as an outsider on their home deck. This has only happened on three occasions since they started playing at Optus Stadium, winning two of those games. They’ve won six of the last seven games as underdogs when playing in Perth.
As we continue to look at West Coast as underdogs, they’ve won four of the last five games they’ve faced Port Adelaide as underdogs – all games going under the total points.
Although the data is pointing to a West Coast win, how can you possibly bet against Port Adelaide? The Wolf is steering clear of the result, and would much rather take the total points line.
11 of the last 12 games between these two teams have gone under the total points, while 7 of Port Adelaide’s last 8 night matches have also gone unders.
Despite being slightly undersized, Port Adelaide’s backline continues to hold up keeping teams to 50 or less in their last five games last season and both Essendon and North Melbourne to 65 this season.
West Coast will be desperate to win to avoid going 1-2 to start the season, so expect a physical grind between these two quality teams.
Charlie Dixon kicked six goals last time they played, while Hamish Hartlett was Port Adelaide’s leading ball-winner with 22 touches. Tim Kelly and Dan Houston have started the season in good form, recording 25+ disposals in both games.
Same Game Multi: Tim Kelly 25+ Disposals / Dan Houston 25+ Disposals / Hamish Hartlett 20+ Disposals / Charlie Dixon 3+ Goals ($5.00)
No blowouts with the Blues
The Dockers enter Round 3 with another injury added to their ever-growing list – but it’s the big one of Nat Fyfe who will miss with concussion.
But it’s not all doom and gloom for Fremantle, who have won three of their last six games without the 2-time Brownlow Medalist.
Carlton don’t exactly enter this clash with a clean bill of health after a disappointing loss to Collingwood – they’ll be without two important forwards in Zac Fisher and Jack Martin.
The Blues have won the last two against the Dockers, both by 4 points – but the three prior to that were won by Fremantle by an average of 40.3 points. The Blues haven’t been blown away in their two losses this season, nor were they in 2020 with their biggest defeat by 31 points. They also have struggled to blow teams away though, with an average winning margin of 14.9 points in 2020 with five wins decided by 7 points or less.
This doesn’t give The Wolf much confidence that Carlton will cover the line set at 15.5. Carlton’s last four wins over Freo have been by an average of five points, and they have covered just one of the last twelve as favourite.
It’s a big game for Carlton and a dangerous one at that, having not beaten the Dockers at Marvel Stadium since 2008. Fremantle are capable of locking down their opponent, currently ranked fifth for points against this season, and if Carlton are to get the win I’m expecting it to be a tight one.
Same Game Multi: Fremantle (+15.5) / Sam Switkowski Any Time Goal Scorer / Lachlan Schultz 2+ Goals ($5.00)
The Giants are under the pump after a poor performance against the Dockers, while the Demons have a chance to go 3-0. This clash will be played at Manuka Oval which may help Melbourne, with the Giants winning just one of their last three in Canberra.
The Demons effectively ended the Giants season in 2020 with a five-point win, which now has Melbourne winning four of the last six against the Giants. But it’s the recent form of Leon Cameron’s men which is most concerning.
The Giants have failed to cover the line in their last six games including the last four of 2020, and although they’ve historically performed well as underdogs they’ve lost their last three as outsiders.
Their struggles up forward are as visible as ever without Jeremy Cameron, ranked 17th in points scored in 2021 and now face a Demons outfit that look rock solid down back with Steven May and Jake Lever – ranked fourth in the competition for points conceded.
Historically these two teams haven’t featured in high scoring contests with seven of the last nine going under the total points, while six of the last seven Melbourne games have gone under.
Although the unders looks likely, the current line at 161.5 points is quite low so The Wolf won’t make that his best bet for this game.
With Melbourne’s last four wins being by a margin of 1-39, while five of the Giants last six losses also being by that very margin I’d much prefer to take the Demons to continue the trend here.
Same Game Multi: Demons win / Josh Kelly 25+ Disposals / Tom McDonald 2+ Goals ($4.33)
Concerns for the Cats
There’s a strong rivalry between the Cats and Hawks with their games never exactly going to plan, and it could quite easily be the case on Monday.
Geelong won last year’s clash by 61 points but it was played at GMHBA Stadium, and as we know the Cats at the MCG are a different proposition. Hawthorn has won three of the last four against Geelong at the MCG despite being the Cats being favourite each time.
The Hawks have played the MCG nicely in recent times, winning their last four games at the ground despite being the outsider.
Although Geelong were good enough to beat Brisbane by a point in Round 2, if Zac Bailey receives that holding the ball free kick we’re talking about the Cats very differently heading into this Easter Monday clash.
The line is set -22.5 for the Cats, but there’s plenty in Hawthorn’s favour to cover this. Six of the last seven games between Hawthorn and Geelong at the MCG have been decided by 24 points or less, suggesting the line appears slightly long. To go with this, the Cats will still be without Patrick Dangerfield, while Mitch Duncan and Sam Menegola are still not 100% to return.
Expect another big game from Joel Selwood who had 28 disposals last time they played, while Gryan Miers kicked three goals – with Gary Rohan out he will need to step up.
Could we see a Clarko Masterclass and an Easter Monday shock?
Same Game Multi: Joel Selwood 25+ Disposals / Tom Stewart 20+ Disposals / Gryan Miers 2+ Goals ($4.50)