THERE’S just a month of footy left and it now looks like the final eight teams are now set in stone.
A brave win by North Melbourne ended St Kilda’s chances of a shock finals appearance in 2016, and barring a miracle, the Power will find it nearly impossible to bridge the two-game gap between the sides.
North Melbourne is now at the unbackable price of $1.01 at sportsbet.com.au to retain their position inside the eight, while Port Adelaide ($16) and St Kilda ($67) look to be out of contention.
Even though the finals are set, there is still plenty of great action ahead this weekend.
Two massive rivals clash on Friday night to open the round in Collingwood and Richmond, while the always spiteful western derby between Fremantle and West Coast closes out the weekend of AFL action.
All odds this week are provided by Sportsbet.com.au.
AFL Round 20 multi selections:
Collingwood to beat Richmond ($1.48)
Sydney to defeat Port Adelaide ($1.23)
Western Bulldogs to defeat North Melbourne ($2.20)
West Coast to beat Fremantle ($1.23)
Richmond vs. Collingwood
Friday, August 5 from 7.50pm at the MCG, Melbourne
Two of the game’s oldest and fiercest rivals lock horns at the MCG on Friday night, but unlike years gone by, this match is a dead rubber.
The Pies may be out of finals contention, but they have inflicted some serious damage on teams that are currently vying for a top-four finish.
Collingwood defeated GWS away – a feat which had not been achieved prior to the Pies’ triumph this year – and upset the Eagles at the MCG.
A win here would give the Pies a clean sweep over their Tiger rivals.
The Tigers are on the verge of imploding.
After a horrendous capitulation to the Giants last week, many important figures from the AFL landscape are calling for change.
The best way to keep the hounds at bay is to record a victory, but on form there is no way you can back the Tigers.
We are backing Bucks and the Pies to heap more pressure on Hardwick and the Tigers.
Multi tip: Collingwood to win – $1.48
Sydney vs. Port Adelaide
Saturday, August 6 from 1.35pm at the SCG, Sydney
It is backs against the wall time for the Power up in Sydney as the travellers look to keep the pressure on the eighth-placed Kangaroos.
Unfortunately for Port Adelaide, it faces one of the best teams in the league in the Sydney Swans.
The Power are two games back (and at odds of $16 to make the eight at sportsbet.com.au) of North Melbourne and cannot afford to slip up at any stage on the charge to the finals.
To overcome the Swans on Saturday the Power will have to arrest a run that has seen the Sydneysiders win their last four matches against the visitors.
Port will look to bring the good form that saw them score 173 points against the Brisbane Lions last week – the club’s best scoring output since 2005.
It is hard to see the Power toppling the Swans on their home deck given how erratic their form has been this season.
We are backing the Swans to short-circuit the Power’s season on Saturday.
Multi tip: Sydney to win – $1.23
Western Bulldogs vs. North Melbourne
Saturday, August 6 from 7.25pm at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
A pivotal matchup between two teams that have struggled for consistency throughout 2016 in the form of the Bulldogs and the Kangaroos.
The Roos saluted in their important match up against the Saints last week, separating themselves from the final aspirants pack whilst saluting in Brent Harvey’s massive milestone match.
The win was not without a loss however given Jarrad Waite will not line up after undergoing hip surgery.
Waite was the difference the last time the two teams met; booting four of his team’s nine goals against the Dogs.
The Bulldogs were outclassed last week by Geelong at Simons Stadium, but their endeavour cannot be questioned.
We are anticipating a lull in the Kangaroos’ energy after the big effort to put the Saints away as well as the pressure of winning for Harvey, and we think it will be hard for the Roo Boys to back it up.
We are backing the Dogs to win at odds.
Multi tip: Western Bulldogs to win – $2.20
Fremantle vs. West Coast
Sunday, August 7 from 3.20pm at Domain Stadium, Perth
What a difference a year makes.
This time in 2015 the Fremantle Dockers and the West Coast Eagles were first and second on the AFL ladder heading into the second derby of the year. Now the Dockers are anchored towards the bottom of the ladder and the Eagles look to be making up the finals numbers.
The Eagles suffered a bitter defeat last week at the hands of Collingwood at the MCG.
It should have been a match that the travellers won easily, but they failed to capitalise on their opponent’s injuries and their own form late in the game to capitulate.
The Dockers were dismal in the wet.
In Matthew Pavlich’s 350th game Fremantle were smashed by the Swans in the west, putting a dampener on the Pav’s celebrations.
Normally ladder positions are irrelevant in these games but the form of the Dockers has been terrible, and as bad as the Eagles have been at times this year they are quite formidable at home.
The Eagles should bring our multi home in style.
Multi tip: West Coast to win – $1.23