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The first AFL multi of 2016 – NAB Challenge odds and free tips

AFL NAB ChallengeTHE AFL action in 2016 officially kicks off with the NAB Challenge this Thursday.

The pre-season competition takes the game to rural areas all around the country and is played out over a four-week period.

With the season proper just around the corner, it will be important for punters to study these games to see which players stand out and who is likely to push for round one selection.

Thankfully for punters, have all the markets for the NAB Challenge up on their website ready to go.

We took three of our favoured bets across this weekend’s AFL action and put them together in a three leg multi.

Let’s take a look at our selections.

Hawthorn vs. Carlton

Aurora Stadium, Launceston, Tasmania, Thursday, February 18th, 7:10pm AEDST – watch on Fox Sports

The reigning premiers Hawthorn host Carlton in the first NAB Challenge game of the year.

This is a match-up that could get ugly for the Blues.

The Hawks have left out just four players from the 2016 premiership side with Shaun Burgoyne, Jack Gunston and Cyril Rioli being rested.

Jarryd Roughead will miss the entire NAB Challenge series along with at least half the AFL season after undergoing surgery to repair a knee injury sustained at training.

The Blues will be without captain Marc Murphy, along with best and fairest winner Patrick Cripps.

Carlton are set to unveil its prized number one draft pick, Jacob Weitering, along with a host of reruits from other clubs including former Gaints Jed Lamb and Andrew Philips, as well as former Crow Sam Kerridge.

The Hawks have elected to select a team that will not be too dissimilar from the one that will run out in the opening round of the season, while the Blues have left out their two best midfielders.

It should be a regulation win to the Hawks, but it is hard to see their aging stars playing out the entire game.

A win under 40 points looks to be the bet to go with in the opening leg of the mutli.

Multi leg one: Hawthorn 1-39 points $2.30

St Kilda vs. North Melbourne

Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta, Victoria, Saturday, February 20th 2:05pm AEDST – watch on Fox Sports

The NAB challenge moves to country Victoria for the second leg of our multi as St Kilda and North Melbourne head down the Hume Highway to face off in Wangaratta.

The Kangaroos are expected to name a strong line up, which should include former number two draft pick Daniel Wells – a man who has impressed throughout the Roos’ pre-season.

After playing just 12 games across two seasons, Wells has dropped 6kg in order to remain healthy and on the park and his sacrifice is paying dividends with the smooth mover booting four first half goals in an intra-club hit out last weekend.

Another man that will be keen to impress is Jed Anderson.

Anderson came across from Hawthorn after failing to break into their senior 22 and has lit up the training track. North Melbourne is confident he can add an extra dimension to its sometimes one-paced midfield.

The Saints are likely to name a strong line up for their opening NAB Challenge match.

Veteran midfielder Leigh Montagna is expected to play, but all eyes will be on the young Saints brigade, led by former number one draft pick, Paddy McCartin.

McCartin showed flashes of brilliance in 2015 without truly tearing any games apart; but if the word out of St Kilda is to be believed the tall forward may be ready to make a big impact in 2016.

The result here will depend on who is willing to leave their A-Graders out on the park for the longest, but with the weather not expected to be too taxing, a lot of the men should be able to run out the match.

We favour North Melbourne here given they have a greater selection of top line talent to choose from as well as several youngsters with a lot to prove.

Multi leg two: North Melbourne to win $1.40

Sydney vs. Port Adelaide

Blacktown International Sportspark, Sydney, New South Wales, Saturday, February 20th 4:40pm AEDST – watch on Fox Sports

Final match of our three leg multi is the matchup between Sydney and Port Adelaide in the West of the New South Wales capital.

Both teams will be keen to get their 2016 campaigns off to a good start after failing to make the lasting impact in 2015 they would have expected.

The Swans will be boosted by the return of rejuvenated forward Lance Franklin.

Franklin missed last year’s final series after to succumbing to mental health issues but after starring in the intra-club match the Swans held a week ago, Buddy seems fit and raring to go.

Port Adelaide recruit Charlie Dixon will not line up against the Swans in the first NAB Challenge match after suffering a knee injury.

Dixon was lured across from the Gold Coast Suns during the trade period but after sustaining a knee injury only a fortnight ago the power forward will more than likely miss the entire NAB Challenge period.

The Swans have named strong pre-season line ups in recent years, bucking former coach Paul Roos’ mentality of waiting for the season proper to roll out the stars, so we should see some big name Sydney players lining up this weekend.

That is why Sydney is the preferred choice here, they should round out our multi nicely at a great price.

Multi leg three: Sydney to win $1.78

Overall Multi Value – $5.73

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