The Australian Football League (AFL) regular season concludes this weekend with Round 18, before we head into the finals! A lot can still change in terms of finals matchups, so you can expect plenty of high quality footy in this final round. As always, we have you covered with previews and betting picks for all upcoming matches below. Good luck to everyone following!
AFL Round 18 Betting Picks
North Melbourne vs West Coast Eagles
Thursday 5:10am ET
North Melbourne started off the season with plenty of optimism and rightly so after notching wins in their opening two games. Since then, however, it’s been something out of a nightmare. They’ve won just one of their 14 games since and are a chance to finish on the bottom of the ladder.
West Coast were able to win an important game on the road against St Kilda on the weekend, which will at least give them some confidence they can win away from home. Despite the win, the Eagles will have to make their premiership tilt from outside the top four, which makes it extremely difficult.
North Melbourne are now the clear worst team in the competition and it’s hard to see them being competitive against anyone at the moment. That said, West Coast haven’t exactly filled us with hope away from Perth this season, which makes this a tough one to predict. It’ll be a low-bet game, but we slightly lean towards the Eagles by 1-39 points.
St Kilda Saints vs GWS Giants
Friday 5:50am ET
St Kilda looked as though they were finishing the game better than West Coast on the weekend, but they just couldn’t land the knockout blow. Instead, they ended up losing for the fourth time from their past six matches and look as though they’ll simply be making up the numbers in the top eight.
GWS are one of a few teams that would love a do-over this season. They’ve never looked comfortable and are now set to miss the finals completely, which is a huge disappointment considering they made the Grand Final in 2019.
The Saints haven’t been in the best form of late, but they come up against a Giants outfit that look defeated out on the field. We’re keen to back the saints to cover the spread and maybe even a couple of go’s at 20+ and 40+ margins for a bit more value.
Essendon Bombers vs Melbourne Demons
Saturday 12:10am ET
Essendon are another team that would happily take a mulligan this year, particularly for their back half of the season which has been nothing short of disastrous. They’ve won just one of their past nine matches and that was against a Hawks outfit that aren’t travelling too well themselves.
Melbourne have had an improved season when compared to their 2019 campaign, but it’s still a far cry from the heights they reached in 2018 when they made it to the final four. Their best is fantastic, but we don’t see it on a regular enough basis.
Both of these clubs were in the finals hunt – both fell short. It’s hard to know what to expect from either club this weekend until we see the team selections. Regardless, we expect a more free-flowing match where goals aren’t as hard to come by compared to when they were in the finals race.
Adelaide Crows vs Richmond Tigers
Saturday 3:10am ET
Adelaide have gone from a side that everyone wanted to play against to a team that no one wants to play on the back of their three game winning streak. They’ll still likely finish on the bottom, but at least Crows fans have a bit to look forward to in future seasons.
Richmond flexed their muscles against a flag fancy in Geelong last weekend, showing just how good they can be when they’re on their game. The Tigers sured up a top four spot in the process, earning a double chance in the finals as they look to defend their premiership.
The Tigers would’ve certainly preferred to play one of the other bottom four sides to finish their season, but they still should be far too good for the Crows here. They’ll take care of business and win this by 5+ goals.
Brisbane Lions vs Carlton Blues
Saturday 5:40am ET
Brisbane were able to put their foot on the gas late against Sydney last weekend to come away with an important win. They’ve now locked in a top two finish, which will grant them a double chance and see them host at least two finals.
Carlton continue to get off to slow starts and it’s cost them a potential finals berth. They’ve give up the first five goals of the game on four occasions this season, which is two more times than anyone else has given up such a start. The Blues were losers against the Crows on the weekend, which was a bitterly disappointing result.
Carlton were in with a chance of playing finals footy this year, but their last month or so has been poor and their finals will now have to wait at least another year to see their side competing for the flag. On the other hand, the Lions are in winning form and have been fantastic on their home deck this season, which makes it hard to bet against them here. All things considered, we’re expecting the Lions to get the job done by 4-5 goals.
Hawthorn Hawks vs Gold Coast Suns
Saturday 11:05pm ET
Speaking of teams the rest of the competition would love to play against – Hawks are probably number 1 or 2 on the list. They’ve been in woeful form to finish their campaign and will likely finish up 16th on the ladder, which is a LONG way off all the pre-season predictions.
Gold Coast were a lock for bottom four in everyone’s pre-season predictions, but they’ve managed to exceed expectation, particularly early on in the year when they loomed as a finals chance. The Suns have dropped off and injuries have been a big part of that, but they certainly have a bright future ahead.
Wins have been extremely hard to come by for both clubs of late, but the Suns have remained the more competitive of the two. The Hawks have been horrible and have given us no reason to trust them, so we’re more than happy to be on the Suns to cover the small spread to finish their season.
Sydney Swans vs Geelong Cats
Sunday 1:35am ET
Sydney looked a chance to cause a big upset when they were seemingly storming home in the fourth quarter against Brisbane, but the gun Lions put that to bed very quickly. Regardless, the Swans have shown some growth in recent performances and will take plenty of positives from their season.
Geelong couldn’t match the intensity of Richmond in their big clash in Round 17 where they were beaten convincingly. Superstar forward, Tom Hawkins, was completely shut out by the Tiger defense, and the Cats didn’t have any other avenues to goal. Despite the loss, the Cats have locked in a top four finish and have a number of stars still to come into their lineup.
The Cats are clearly the better of the two clubs in this matchup, but the Swans have proven they aren’t going to be easy beats at the end of this season. We do like Geelong to get the chocolates, but it may be a bit closer than many think.
Fremantle Dockers vs Western Bulldogs
Sunday 4:10am ET
Fremantle scored a huge win over North Melbourne in Round 17, showing just how far ahead in their rebuild they are compared to a couple of other teams. The Dockers have now split their last 10 games with five wins and five losses and look to be a team with a very bright future.
Western Bulldogs secured a finals berth after defeating the Hawks in a convincing manner on the weekend. They got the jump on them early and were able to cruise home in the second half, putting a couple of their key players in cotton wool. The Dogs remain big outsiders to win the premiership, but they’ve done it from this position not so long ago.
Both clubs come into this clash in some good form, which should make for a great match. We’re expecting another slugfest considering Fremantle are involved, so taking them to cover the 12.5 spread seems the best way to play this one.
Collingwood Magpies vs Port Adelaide Power
Monday 5:15am ET
Collingwood would’ve liked to have won a little easier against Gold Coast last time out, but they got the job done in the end and will be featuring in the finals as a result. The Magpies will need to be at their best if they’re to do any sort of damage in the coming weeks, which seems unlikely on current form.
Port Adelaide were far too good for Essendon on their home deck last weekend and cruised to an easy 50 point victory. The Power look like they’re getting back to some of their best form at the right time and loom as a big threat to win the premiership.
The Power have been on top of the ladder at the end of every round this season, highlighting just how consistent they’ve been. As long as they bring something close to their best again this weekend, they should be too good for the Magpies.