2018 AFL Round 22 Betting Preview: Odds, Game Trends, Week Analysis

OddsShark.com@@OddsSharkFeatured ColumnistAugust 15, 2018

GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 11:  Ryan Abbott of Geelong handballs during the round 19 VFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Geelong Cats at GMHBA Stadium on August 11, 2018 in Geelong, Australia.  (Photo by Darrian Traynor/AFL Media/Getty Images)
Darrian Traynor/AFL Media/Getty Images

Before reaching the first round of the AFL finals there are several finals-shaping clashes left on the fixture list, starting this Friday night at the MCG.

The Essendon Bombers are big outsiders at $3.66 AUD to beat the Richmond Tigers on Friday, according to AustralianGambling, but if they can cause an upset they'll reinvigorate their finals hopes. Richmond can secure their first minor premiership since 1982 with a win that's priced at just $1.30.

Saturday's fixture between the Collingwood Magpies and the Port Adelaide Power also has huge finals permutations riding on it with the fifth-placed Magpies at $1.42 for a win that would put huge pressure on Port's ($2.90) season.

Should the South Australian club lose the door opens for the ninth-placed Geelong Cats ($1.02) who are the shortest-priced favourite of the round when they host the Fremantle Dockers ($13) at Kardinia Park.

A club that has taken its chances at the pointy end of the season is the Sydney Swans, which looked gone a fortnight ago after losing to the Bombers, but it has since notched close wins over both the Collingwood Magpies and then the Melbourne Demons.

Things don't get any easier for them this week though when they face their cross-town rivals, the Greater Western Sydney Giants, who remain in third place on the ladder following their solid 14-point win over the Adelaide Crows.

Leon Cameron's charges are now the equal second favourite to win the flag at $7, while $1.71 is on offer for them to win their fifth game in a row. The Swans aren't without a chance at $2.05.

Saturday night's games see the Hawthorn Hawks ($1.16) and the Brisbane Lions ($1.23) heavily favoured to defeat the St Kilda Saints ($5.30) and the Gold Coast Suns ($4.20), respectively, while the Western Bulldogs ($1.23) should be too strong for the Carlton Blues ($4.20) in the first game on Sunday.

After losing a close one to the Swans last week, the Demons now find themselves hanging onto a top eight spot in seventh place, and they'll need to raise their game if they are to topple the high-flying West Coast Eagles in Perth on Sunday.

Simon Goodwin's team won a nail-biter by three points the last time these sides met, in Round 14 last year, but with 15 wins to their name in 2018 it is the second-placed Eagles who are favoured here, at $1.62, while the Demons are out at $2.30.

The final match of Round 22 sees the North Melbourne Kangaroos, who let a huge opportunity slip last week, head to the city of churches to take on the Adelaide Crows.

North Melbourne could have climbed back into the top eight with a win over the Bulldogs last week, but the seven-point loss leaves their finals hopes hanging by a thread. Having lost all five times at this venue, the Kangaroos are $3.20 outsiders, while the Crows are $1.35.