All teams in the AFL have now had their two byes for the season and the final charge to the finals begins in earnest this weekend.
Round 19 of the 2014 AFL season got underway last night, with the Fremantle Dockers scoring a comeback win over the Carlton Blues, but there are still plenty of other key games taking place this weekend.
Our team of sports betting experts, who successfully tipped three winning bets last weekend, have closely analysed every game that is set to take place during round nine to come up with the best betting plays.
Friday – Sydney Swans vs Essendon Bombers
The Sydney Swans had their winning streak ended by Hawthorn last weekend, but they are still in the box seat to finish the season as minor premiers, if they are able to return to winning from against Essendon this weekend.
Swans superstar Lance Franklin has an exceptional record against the Bombers and coach Mark Thompson will have had plenty of sleepless nights this week attempting to find a way to shut the key forward down.
The Bombers can give themselves a little bit of breathing room in the battle for the top eight if they are able to score an upset and we expect this to be a closer game than what bookmakers are predicting.
The Tip: Sydney by 17
The Bet: Essendon to beat the spread (-30.5 @ Ladbrokes.com.au)
Saturday – North Melbourne vs Geelong
North Melbourne vs Geelong is the pick of the games on Saturday night and both teams will be looking to produce an improved performance after failing to impress in round 18.
North Melbourne suffered a shock loss to Carlton that threw their final chances into jeopardy, while Geelong got the four points against Greater Western Sydney, but coach Chris Scott was certainly not happy with their performance.
The Kangaroos have an excellent record as underdogs this season and have been able to bounce back from shock defeats in the past and they are a good chance to get their year back on track with an upset win.
The Tip: North Melbourne by 11
The Bet: North to win ($2.25 @ Ladbrokes.com.au)
Sunday– Collingwood Magpies vs Port Adelaide Power
Both Collingwood and Port Adelaide have fallen in a hole in the past month and this is a massive game for both sides.
Port Adelaide looked as though they were in the mix for the minor premiership as little as three weeks ago, but now find themselves outside of the top eight, while Collingwood’s chances of playing finals football are diminishing each weekend.
The Magpies have played particularly poorly in recent weeks and Port Adelaide are primed to return to their best form after having a weekend off.
The Tip: Port Adelaide by 33
The Bet: Port Adelaide to beat the spread (-6.5 @ Ladbrokes.com.au
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