Round 20 of the 2014 AFL season could prove to be the most important weekend of the year to date, with a number of games set to have a direct impact on the make-up of the top four and the finals.
There are just two wins separating sixth and 12th on the AFL ladder and all seven of these teams are still hopeful that they will still be playing football in September rather than enjoying their end of season holiday.
There is plenty of value in AFL betting markets this weekend and our team of sports betting experts have analysed all nine matches to come up with the best betting plays for punters.
Friday – Richmond Tigers vs Essendon Bombers
Richmond are making an unlikely charge towards the top eight, but they will need to record their sixth straight win for the first time since 1995 to keep alive their finals dreams.
The Tigers have found the form that they showed in 2013, but it is fair to say that they will face a much stiffer challenge against the Bombers than what they have faced in recent weeks.
The Bombers were far from disgraced against the Sydney Swans and the return of inspirational leader Jobe Watson is a massive boost for that side that can entrench themselves in the top eight with a win.
The Tip: Essendon by 14
The Bet: Essendon to beat the spread (-6.5 @ Ladbrokes.com.au)
Saturday – Geelong Cats vs Fremantle Dockers
Geelong and Fremantle have developed a strong rivalry in recent years after the Dockers stunned Geelong at The Cattery in the finals last year.
The Dockers extended their good recent record over the Cats when they scored a comfortable 32-point victory over their rivals in round nine, keeping the Cats goalless in the opening term, and the Cats will be desperate to get on top of the Dockers heading into the finals.
Both sides look set to finish in the top four and this could be the appetizer for another finals clash in September.
The Tip: Geelong by 22
The Bet: Geelong to beat the spread (-12.5 at Ladbrokes.com.au)
Sunday– West Coast Eagles vs Collingwood Magpies
This is a must-win clash for both sides if they want to play finals football and bookmakers have been unable to split the two teams.
West Coast scored a memorable victory over Adelaide away from home last weekend and they will fancy their chances of making it two wins in a row against fellow finals hopefuls, while Collingwood will also be on a high after recording a tough win over Port Adelaide last weekend.
On paper Collingwood has a much stronger list than West Coast, particularly in the midfield and if they are able to play at close to their best should be able to record a key victory.
The Tip: Collingwood by 9
The Bet: Collingwood to win ($2 at Ladbrokes.com.au)
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