WE have finally reached the end of the home and away season and with a host of teams dropping players in order to keep them fresh for the finals, it has made picking winners all the more difficult.
Fremantle and North Melbourne have made wholesale changes at the selection table, while Hawthorn and the Eagles have elected to do the opposite heading into their qualifying final clash next week.
Plenty of interesting games to look at still so let’s see if we can find a winner.
Tigers vs. Kangaroos
Friday, September 4th, 7:50pm, Etihad Stadium
Richmond (-47.5) – $1.92
North Melbourne (+47.5) – $1.92
Richmond and North Melbourne kick off the final home and away round of the season, with the Roos electing to play an under-strength side going into the finals.
North Melbourne have dropped a staggering 10 players going into the match, with the majority of the omissions player management related.
The Tigers have welcomed back captain Trent Cotchin who missed last week’s victory over Essendon through injury.
With Richmond fielding a full-strength side and the Kangaroos dropping almost half of their starting 22, there is not much hope that Brad Scott’s men can cause an upset.
Expect Richmond to win big and take some solid form going into their third straight finals campaign.
Tip: Richmond to win – $1.10 via Sportsbet
Exotic: Brandon Ellis to get 30 or more disposals $2.90 via Sportsbet
Cats vs. Crows
Saturday, September 5th, 1:05pm, Simmonds Stadium
Geelong (+9.5) – $1.92
Adelaide (-9.5) – $1.92
Geelong host Adelaide in the first Saturday game of the week with the Cats stung by their failure to make the finals for the first time in almost 10 years.
This match loomed as a precursor to the finals a fortnight ago with both teams vying for the final spot in the eight but, with the Cats’ shock loss to the Pies, the Crows had their position secured last week.
The Cats are set to farewell a host of stars including premiership heroes Steve Johnson, Andrew Mackie and potentially Corey Enright and Jimmy Bartel.
The Crows have made no change to the team that dismantled the second placed West Coast last week.
One of the harder match ups to predict here, with the Crows still in contention for a home final, but will the potential to give their aging champions the send off they deserve the edge Geelong needs?
True toss of the coin but Geelong should be able to finish off the season with a win.
Tip: Geelong to win $2.10 via Crownbet
Exotic: Most disposals group 2 – Steve Johnson $7.00 via Sportsbet
Lions vs. Bulldogs
Saturday, September 5th, 1:45pm, GABBA
Brisbane (+27.5) – $1.92
Western Bulldogs (-27.5) – $1.92
The finals bound Western Bulldogs travel north to face the Lions at the GABBA.
The Dogs have been one of the surprise bolters of the 2015 season, and will want to keep their momentum rolling going into the finals.
The Lions have been disappointing this season after a pre-season of hype following the acquisitions of Danye Beams and Alen Christensen.
The Dogs have made several tactical omissions heading into the contest with veterans Matthew Boyd, Robert Murphy and Dale Morris all being rested.
Brent Staker and Rohan Bewick make their way back into the Lions team.
The Lions will be keen to end a dismal season off on the right note, with the threat of the wooden spoon lingering for Brisbane an indignity they will want to avoid.
Despite resting several key players the Dogs should have too much in the locker for the Lions who will finish the season anchored to the bottom of the ladder.
Tip: Western Bulldogs to win $1.23 via William Hill
Exotic: First goal scorer – Jake Stringer $7.50 via Crownbet
Power vs. Dockers
Saturday, September 5th, 3:50pm, Adelaide Oval
Port Adelaide (-56.5) – $1.92
Fremantle (+56.5) – $1.92
Saturday afternoon in South Australia sees the Power hosting the Dockers in a match that is a matter of what the final margin will be for the home side.
The Dockers have rested a host of big name players after securing a home final going into next week with no less than 11 top line players rested from last week’s match.
The Power have brought back in Jay Schultz and Jake Neade with Angus Monfries and Aaron Young the duo to make way.
This could have been a great finals preview heading into the business end of the season but the Power failed to live up to expectations – missing out on top-eight finish after making the preliminary final last season.
They will finish the season with a win however, and take some serious momentum into 2016 after beating Hawthorn the week before.
Tip: Port Adelaide to win – line bet (-56.5) $1.92
Exotic: Most disposals group 1 – Robbie Gray $4.75
Hawks vs. Blues
Saturday, September 5th, 4:40pm, Melbourne Cricket Ground
Hawthorn (-73.5) – $1.92
Carlton (+73.5) – $1.92
Premiership favourites host Carlton at the MCG on Saturday afternoon with the Hawks still an outsider chance to secure a top-two finish.
Both sides could not be more diametrically opposed in terms of ladder position and playing stocks with the Hawks marching towards a potential three-peat and the Blues starring at the possibility of a wooden spoon finish.
The Hawks welcome back former captain Sam Mitchell and Paul Puolopo and will be close to full strength.
The Blues have welcomed back Andrew Carrazzo for his final AFL game with Chris Yarran making way with a hamstring injury.
Not much hope the Blues can win here with the Hawks still in the hunt for a home final.
Do not be surprised if this blows out to a triple-figure margin.
Tip: Hawthorn to win by 100 plus – $3.90
Exotic : Most disposals group 1 – Jordan Lewis $3.00
Swans vs. Suns
Saturday, September 5th, 7:25pm, Sydney Cricket Ground
Sydney (-54.5) – $1.92
Gold Coast (+54.5) – $1.92
The Swans and the Suns lock horns at the SCG on Saturday night, with last year’s grand finalists looking to tune up going into this year’s campaign.
The Suns have been one of this year’s truly disappointing stories with so much expected but little to show for it after key injuries to superstars Dion Prestia and captain Gary Ablett junior.
The Swans will be keen to get some playing time into superstar full forward Lance Franklin who has played limited minutes over the last month of football.
Unfortunately for the home side they have lost All-Australian Jarrad McVeigh to a calf injury, but it looks like more of a precautionary omission than a true complaint.
Despite lacking the class of McVeigh, the Swans will be far too strong for the Suns here and will easily cover the 54.5 point line.
Tip: Sydney to win line bet (-54.5) $1.92 via Sportsbet
Exotic: Aaron Hall to get 30 or more disposals – $4.20 via Sportsbet
Eagles vs. Saints
Saturday, September 5th, 7:40pm, Domain Stadium
West Coast (-54.5) – $1.92
St Kilda (+54.5) – $1.92
The Eagles and the Saints round out super Saturday in the West with the second placed home side looking to finish off the season with a win to sure up their position in the top-two.
The Eagles were shock losers against the Crows last week, keeping the door slightly ajar for a late rally from the reigning premiers Hawthorn to jump above them.
As a result the Eagles have named a strong line up to get the win against the struggling Saints with Sharrod Wellingham and Chris Masten making their way back into the side.
Hard to see how the Saints will loom as a threat in this match, with too much to play for with a top-two spot on the line compounded by the home ground advantage.
Eagles should cover the line and secure the home qualifying final.
Tip: West Coast to win line bet (-54.5)
Exotic: David Armitage to get 30 or more disposals – $3.30
Demons vs. Giants
Sunday, September 6th, 1:10pm, Etihad Stadium
Melbourne (+10.5) – $1.92
Greater Western Sydney (-10.5) – $1.92
The Demons and the Gaints are the first of only two games on Sunday this week, with not much to play for other than pride for the two combatants.
The Giants crushed Carlton last week with All-Australian forward Jeremy Cameron kicking seven second half goals in the big victory.
The Demons travelled to Perth and were trounced by the Dockers in another insipid display that has been a regular occurrence this season.
Impressive youngster Angus Brayshaw makes his way back into the team for the Demons with Matt Jones the unlucky man to make way.
The Giants have lost Ryan Griffin and Stephen Cogniglio to injury with Jack Steele and Paul Ahren the duo likely to replace them.
The Giants have shown moments of brilliance this season, with a series of cruel injuries harming their chances at a maiden finals berth, and they should be too strong for the dismal Demons.
Tip: Greater Western Sydney to win $1.56 via William Hill
Exotic: First goal scorer – Jeremy Cameron $6.00 via Sportsbet
Magpies vs. Bombers
Sunday, September 6th, 7:50pm, Melbourne Cricket Ground
Collingwood (-24.5) – $1.92
Essendon (+24.5) – $1.92
Two bitter rivals finish off the home and away season at the MCG with Collngwood hosting Essendon.
The Bombers suffered another loss, this time to the Tigers and finally have the finish line in sight after an ordinary season that started with so much promise.
The Pies bounced back nicely after a humiliating loss to Richmond, crushing Geelong on Friday night to end the Cats’ finals chances.
Nathan Buckley has elected to rest veteran midfielder Dane Swan after a stellar season, with All-Australian candidate Marley Williams also making way.
The Dons have made four confirmed changes with Paul Chapman and Michael Hibberd amongst a host of changes for Matthew Egan.
There is no such thing as a dead rubber when teams like Collingwood and Essendon lock horns, but it is hard to see too much intensity in this contest.
Despite that, Collingwood should be able to finish the season off with a win.
Tip: Collingwood to win $1.28 via William Hill
Exotic: First goal scorer – Darcy Moore $17.00 via Sportsbet
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