Round three gave tipsters around the country the best possible chance to get the perfect round last week, but normality is set to return to the AFL with several difficult match-ups to pick.
Thankfully, your friends at Cupsbetting have done all the hard work so you don’t have to!
The ANZAC round of footy is normally a terrific testament to the men and women who gave so much for this country, and a weekend of quality AFL football is the perfect way to celebrate the freedoms they fought to preserve after paying our respects.
Let’s get right into it.
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Tigers vs. Demons
Friday, April 24th, 7:50pm, Melbourne Cricket Ground
Richmond – $1.92 (-21.5)
Melbourne – $1.92 (+21.5)
The Tigers and Demons kick off the fourth round of AFL action on ANZAC day eve, a fixture which Melbourne is looking to secure as their marquee game of the season.
The teams bring in contrasting levels of form into the match. The Tigers absolutely thrashed a hapless Brisbane by 79 points last week, while a brave Demons outfit fell short against a red-hot Adelaide.
Much was made of Bernie Vince’s tactics in negating the influence of Adelaide’s Patrick Dangerfield in round three. Dangerfield’s normally prolific impact was severely dented, and a normally unflappable player was demonstratively upset with his former teammate.
Melbourne coach Paul Roos may look to send Vince to Cotchin, who had a dominant game against the Lions, collecting 37 disposals and booting one goal in a best-on-ground performance.
However, even if he is able to quell the Tiger captain’s performance, Richmond should have too many winners across the ground and should pick up the points.
Tip: Richmond to win 1-39 points $2.05 via Sportsbet
Exotic: Brandon Ellis to collect 30 or more disposals $3 via Sportsbet
Saints vs. Blues
Saturday, April 25th, 1:45pm, Westpac Stadium (New Zealand)
St Kilda – $1.91 (+19.5)
Carlton – $1.91 (-19.5)
The Saints and the Blues kick off a big day of ANZAC day footy, with the St Kilda/New Zealand connection growing stronger every year.
The Blues were much better last week after a dismal fortnight of footy, storming home, but ultimately falling short against the Bombers, while the Saints were average against Collingwood in the wet on Friday night, going down by 76 points.
Both teams will be without a host of important players, with Carlton champion Chris Judd out of the side with a hamstring complaint, while the Saints will again be without forward Nick Riewoldt and gun on-baller Leigh Montagna.
The weight of the Saints outs – given how thin their list already is – should put the Blues in a strong position to win and bring the points back over the Tasman.
Tip: Carlton to win $1.39 via Sportsbet
Exotic: Josh Bruce most goals via $5.50 via Sportsbet
ANZAC day/Crowl McDonald medallist: Bryce Gibbs $6 via Sportsbet
Bombers vs. Magpies
Saturday, April 25th, 2:40pm, Melbourne Cricket Ground
Essendon – $1.91 (-16.5)
Collingwood – $1.91 (+16.5)
It’s the one we’ve been waiting for: the biggest home and away game of the season kicks off the ANZAC day of footy in Australia, with two of the AFL’s fieriest rivals locking horns in front of a potential 90,000-plus crowd.
Both teams bring in quality form into the contest, after the Dons did what they had to against the Blues, while the Pies smashed a lowly St Kilda side.
Both teams had injury concerns coming into the week. Essendon’s David Zaharakis and Jake Carlisle are in doubt, while Pies skipper Scott Pendlebury, still looks hampered with an ankle injury sustained a fortnight ago. Expect all players in doubt to do everything they can to play on the biggest of home and away stages.
These contests more often than not throw up unorthodox results and with the potential for wet weather in Melbourne on Saturday, picking a winner is made all the more harder.
However, on the weight of the teams selected and the form of the players in the respective teams, the Dons should prove too strong in what promises to be a terrific ANZAC day clash.
Tip: Essendon to win $1.48 via William Hill
Exotic: Most tackles – Ben Howlett $3.75 via William Hill
ANZAC day medallist: Dyson Heppell $7 via Sportsbet
Giants vs. Suns
Saturday, April 25th, 5:40pm, Startrack Oval
GWS – $1.92 (-18.5)
Gold Coast – $1.92 (+18.5)
Saturday afternoon in Canberra sees the Giants hosting the Suns in what promises to be a fantastic contest between the AFL’s newest franchises.
Not many people would have thought the Suns would be 0-3 after losing two very favourable early season match-ups, but Rodney Eade’s men were much better against the Cats down at Simons Stadium, whilst the Giants are 2-1 after gutsy wins and a more-than-honourable loss against cross-town rivals the Sydney Swans.
The Suns welcome back burly forward Charlie Dixon and classy midfielder Alex Sexton, while the Giants have included half forward flanker James Stewart, who impressed last season with creativity and keen goal sense in the GWS front half.
Both teams will be confident of victory coming into the match, but the Giants form is much stronger than that of the Gold Coast and the Sydney-siders should be able to register their third win of the season against the struggling Suns.
Tip: Gaints to win 1-39 points $2.20 via Sportsbet
Exotic: First goal scorer – Jeremy Cameron $6.50 via Sportsbet
Dockers vs. Swans
Saturday, April 25th, 6:45pm, Domain Stadium
Fremantle – $1.92 (-7.5)
Sydney – $1.92 (+7.5)
Two of the remaining three undefeated teams in the AFL clash on Saturday night in what could very well be an early season Grand Final preview.
The Dockers bring in white-hot form after destroying their Western Australian rivals West Coast, while the Swans easily accounted for their cross-town competitors Greater Western Sydney.
Both teams have been strengthened by best-22 player inclusions, with Fremantle Tendai Mzungu and Sydney premiership player Nick Smith making their way in for their respective sides, while Docker Hayden Crozier and Swan Dean Towers are the unlucky duo to be omitted.
The match-up will come down to the impact of the forward lines. The Swans have arguably the best forward set up in the game; with Lance Franklin and Kurt Tippett in terrific form, while Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich continues his sparkling career with absolutely no signs of slowing down, but Dockers’ coach Ross Lyon lacks that secondary reliable big that the Swans possess.
This one is a true toss of the coin, but given the midfields are so evenly matched, it is likely going to take some Lance Franklin magic to land the decisive blow, and it is hard to see any Fremantle defender capable of shutting down the big Bud if he gets on a roll.
Swans to end Fremantle’s unbeaten run and move to 4-0.
Exotic: Luke Parker most tackles $4.75 via William Hill
Power vs. Hawks
Saturday, April 25th, 7:20pm, Adelaide Oval
Port Adelaide – $1.91 (+7.5)
Hawthorn – $1.91 (-7.5)
Saturday’s ANZAC day of football rounds out with two of the competition’s biggest premiership fancies – Port Adelaide and reigning premiers Hawthorn – doing battle at Adelaide Oval.
The last time these two teams clashed, the Power fell agonisingly short of a Grand Final berth after storming home in a fourth quarter burst that almost stunned the back-to-back champs in last year’s preliminary final.
Both teams bounced back last week after tough losses, with the Hawks smashing the Western Bulldogs in Tasmania, while the Power out-lasted a fast-finishing North Melbourne to register their first premiership points of the season.
The inclusion of Port Adelaide ruckman Matthew Lobbe for his first game of the season is a huge in for the Power, who now have the flexibility to play Paddy Ryder out of the goal square – something the new recruit excelled at in his time at the Bombers, while the Hawks welcome back Bradley Hill after a week off after copping a knock late in the game against the Bombers.
The Power will have their work cut out in stopping in-form forward Jarryd Roughead, who dismantled the Dogs almost single-handedly, kicking seven goals and accumulating an incredible 28 disposals – almost unheard of for a key forward.
One of the hardest match ups to predict of the season thus far, but it is hard to go against the reigning premiers.
Hawks to win in a close one.
Tip: Hawthorn to win 1-39 $2.30 via Sportsbet
Exotic: First goal scorer Jarryd Roughead/Hawthorn to win by 1-9 points $61 via Sportsbet
ANZAC day/Peter Badcoe medallist:Jordan Lewis $8 via Sportsbet
Lions vs. Eagles
Sunday, April 26th, 1:10pm, GABBA
Brisbane – $1.91 (+16.5)
West Coast – $1.91 (-16.5)
The GABBA is the setting for Sunday’s first game, with the luckless Lions hosting the Eagles in a match that seems very hard to predict.
The Lions bring horrendous form into the match up, after suffering back-to-back 10 goal hidings; while West Coast’s lamentable derby showing left coach Adam Simpson scratching his head as to where the Eagles of the week before that belted Carlton were.
The Lions have several key inclusions, with superstar captain Tom Rockliff overcoming a rib injury and ruckman Matthew Luenburger forcing his way back into the side. The Eagles on the other hand have only named an extended bench with no omissions.
If a team is in dire need of a win it is Brisbane. The Lions had high hopes coming into the season on the back of the acquisitions of Dayne Beams and Allen Christensen, and to end the first month of football without a win to their name would be diabolical.
If Rockliff plays expect the Lions to bounce back and finally get on the board.
Tip: Brisbane to win $2.75 via Sportsbet
Exotic: Both teams to score over 70 points – No $2.40 via William Hill
Cats vs. Kangaroos
Sunday, April 26th, 3:20pm, Simons Stadium
Geelong – $1.92 (+8.5)
North Melbourne – $1.92 (-8.5)
Second game of Sunday sees North Melbourne travel down the highway to face the Cats in a huge game that has potential top-4 implications.
Both teams sit at 1-2 after indifferent starts to the season, and for either team to only have one win after four matches will severely dent the double-chance aspirations for two clubs that would have fancied themselves to be right in the premiership window.
The Cats have a few injury concerns coming into Sunday, with champion midfielder Jimmy Bartel ruled out with a knee injury, whilst premiership teammate Tom Lonergan also ruled out with a concussion sustained last week against the Gold Coast. There’s also doubt over Matthew Stokes and Tom Hawkins – both of whom were named in the extended squad – and will both be game-time decisions.
North on the other hand have named an unchanged squad, with strongly built midfielder Jack Ziebell shrugging off a rib injury that forced coach Brad Scott to sub him out early in the match against Port Adelaide.
A lot will depend on whether Tom Hawkins suits up to play on Sunday – he’s just that important – but even if he does, North are still a big chance to come away with the points with the absence of Lonergan and Bartel playing in their favour.
Expect North to prevail in a match that will go down to the wire.
Tip: North Melbourne to win $1.60
Exotic: First goal scorer – Jarrad Waite $11 via Sportsbet
Bulldogs vs. Crows
Sunday, April 26th, 4:40pm, Etihad Stadium
Western Bulldogs – $1.91 (+24.5)
Adelaide – $1.92 (-24.5)
Final game off the week promises to be an entertaining way to end round 4, with the plucky Bulldogs facing the all-conquering Crows.
The Dogs were brought down to earth with a thud last week in Tasmania, falling to the Hawks, while the Crows took their time but eventually finished off a defiant Melbourne at Adelaide Oval.
A bit of a mixed bag at the selection table for the Dogs with veteran on-baller Matthew Boyd, young gun Marcus Bontempelli and reborn rebounding defender Easton Wood introduced back into the side, but experienced defender Dale Morris and the much improved Mitch Wallis make way after sustaining injuries in the loss to Hawthorn.
The Crows conversely have lost no players and will come across to Victoria with almost an entire list of healthy players to choose from.
Based on how well the Crows have been playing it is hard to see just how the Dogs can mount a challenge, but the Bulldogs have been the surprise packets of 2015 and should be able to match their opponents for large stretches of the match.
Unfortunately it is hard to them maintaining the pressure for the duration of the contest, and the Crows will come away with the win.
Exotic: First goal scorer – Taylor Walker $7 via Sportsbet