Analyst: Alex Christodoulou
Apr 11, 2019 06:23 PM
Fierce Cats set to topple Giants
Round 4 of the AFL kicks off at the much talked-about SCG on Thursday night, when the winless Demons play the Swans.
Then, both the Pies and Dogs are hoping to return to the winner's circle in the Friday night blockbuster.
But the game of the round comes early on Saturday afternoon, when ladder-leading Geelong welcome 4th-placed GWS to the Cattery.
Before you have a punt, check out our match previews and AFL betting tips below.
Sydney Swans vs Melbourne Demons
AFL Odds: Swans $1.65 (-5.5) / Demons $2.20 (+5.5)
To say that the Demons are desperate for a win is an understatement.
Coming into the AFL season as one of the premiership favourites, Melbourne have lost their opening three to plummet in the AFL premiership odds to $21.
As much as the spotlight will be on the Dees, it will also be on the SCG surface, after it has been panned in recent weeks from various corners.
Sydney will be grateful that the attention isn't on them, as they come into this game off their first win of the season.
Why Swans can win
The big knock on the Swans in recent campaigns has been their inability to score large points totals.
And after failing to score above 65 in their opening two clashes, it was a welcome relief to put 93 on the board against the Blues in Round 3.
Isaac Heeney was superb with 4 goals and 26 disposals. Look to him to play further forward in this clash with young goal sneak Will Hayward ruled out with a broken jaw.
With Buddy due for a big performance, and Sam Reid still getting up to speed after a long injury lay-off in 2018, the Swans will look to make Melbourne's leaky defence pay.
Why Demons can win
It's been the Dees' defence that has let them down so far, conceding a league-high 343 points.
With the likes of Jake Lever, Jordan Lewis and Steven May having only played one game between them in 2019, it's not hard to see why.
All three are set to miss once again, so it's Melbourne's mids and forwards who will need to win the game for them.
The quality is certainly there, evidenced in last week's 7-goal second quarter, where star players Max Gawn and Christian Petracca really got on top.
If the Demons can sustain that effort for longer, they'll have too much firepower here.
Key AFL Stats
- Sydney have failed to cover the line in all of their previous 7 night games: Demons to cover the +5.5 point line @ $1.90
- Lance Franklin has kicked 3+ goals in each of Sydney's past 3 Thursday night games: Buddy to score 3+ goals @ $1.36
- The Demons have won their last 3 Round 4 games when starting as an underdog: Melbourne to win @ $2.25
AFL Betting Tip:
Total match points under 165.5 @ $1.88
Reasoning: The Swans aren't a high-scoring team, and you can bet that all Melbourne's energy during the week has been on shoring up their defensive structures.
Expect a tight, low-scoring contest.
Collingwood Magpies vs Western Bulldogs
AFL Odds: Magpies $1.20 (-31.5) / Bulldogs $4.25 (+31.5)
After their stellar start to the season, the Dogs were handed a reality check in Round 3, humbled by the Gold Coast Suns.
However, if they get back to the form that saw them topple both the Swans and Hawks, then they'll give the Magpies a run for their money here.
Collingwood are also coming off a disappointing win, that saw them stumble in last week's Grand Final rematch.
They'll need to improve to record their second win of 2019 here.
Why Magpies can win
Against the Eagles last week, gun midfielder Taylor Adams returned, at the expense of small forward Travis Varcoe.
While this seemed a logical move on paper, Collingwood looked slow in the match, missing the speed and tackle pressure of Varcoe.
However, with Adams sure to improve, and with a midfield jam-packed with talent, the Pies won't be grounded for long.
If Varcoe comes back in it's a bonus, if not, then Collingwood still have more than enough talent to get the job done.
A repeat of their performance against the Tigers in Round 2 would see them win by a massive margin here.
Why Bulldogs can win
There's no doubt the Dogs got ahead of themselves last week, already ticking off a three and zip start to their campaign before they even played the Suns.
They were tardy coming out of the blocks and that cost them. If they start in the same manner against the Pies, then this will be a very lop-sided contest.
However, the Dogs have a good record against the Pies of late, and you can expect them to lift to a whole 'nother level here.
With Marcus Bontempelli and Tom Liberatore in great form, and a host of Bulldogs' talent on the brink of a return from injury, don't discount an upset.
Key AFL Stats
- The underdogs have covered the line in each of the Bulldogs' past 7 games: Dogs to cover the +31.5 point line @ $1.90
- Lachie Hunter has recorded 30+ disposals in the Dogs' last 5 away games: Hunter to get 30+ disposals @ $2.20
- Collingwood have won the 2nd quarter in all of their past 11 games against the Bulldogs: Pies to win the 2nd quarter @ $1.39
AFL Betting Tip:
Western Bulldogs to cover the +31.5 point line @ $1.90
Reasoning: Based on their form before the Gold Coast defeat, the Dogs will do more than keep this competitive.
Geelong Cats vs GWS Giants
AFL Odds: Cats $1.38 (-15.5) / Giants $2.90 (+15.5)
The table-topping Cats welcome 4th-placed GWS to the Cattery in what is shaping up as the game of the round.
Geelong have been outstanding in 2019, with not just their old favourites but their young stars all playing at a high level.
They'll take on the Giants who will be boosted by two massive inclusions, and are full of confidence after mauling the Tigers by 49 points.
Why Cats can win
If you needed any more proof after last campaign, Tim Kelly has already demonstrated why he's one of the hottest bits of property in the AFL.
The 24-year-old's speed, clean hands and clearance ability around the stoppages has made Geelong a force to be reckoned with.
Alongside the likes of Patrick Dangerfield and new recruit Luke Dahlhaus, the Cats' speed and dynamic running in the middle of the park is one reason behind their 2019 success.
With plenty of experience up front and down back, and an imposing record at GMHBA Stadium, there's no reason why Geelong can't make it four from four.
Why GWS can win
In this corresponding fixture last year, the Giants were thrashed by 61 points.
However, that was in a game where they were missing a huge contingent of their star players.
With the expected returns of captain Callan Ward and the game's best middle-sized forward in Toby Greene, the Giants will be pretty much full strength for this clash.
The one thing that's holding GWS back is their away form. If they can take their Sydney form to Geelong, then they'll snap the Cats winning streak.
Especially if full-forward Jeremy Cameron can have another 7-goal game here.
Key AFL Stat
- The Giants have only ever won 1 game against the Cats: Geelong to win @ $1.38
AFL Betting Tip:
GWS to cover the +15.5 point line @ $1.90
Reasoning: The Giants just have the speed and power in the midfield to keep up with Kelly and Co.
With quality everywhere else, they'll keep this close.
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