AFL Round 17 Preview: Betting, Odds & Predictions

With just two games separating second from ninth, the fight for spots in both the top eight and the top four is beginning to heat up, and Round 17 will see numerous matchups between sides embroiled in that battle. It begins with a massive Thursday night clash which will see the Demons make the trek down the highway to Geelong. While elsewhere, matchups between Sydney and the Bulldogs, Richmond and Gold Coast and St. Kilda and Fremantle will also help to shape the eight. Take a look at our previews of all nine games below. 


Geelong Cats ($1.87) vs Melbourne Demons ($1.94)

Thursday 7th July @ 19:20

GMHBA Stadium (Geelong)

Round 17 opens up with a clash between the top two sides on the AFL ladder, marking the second Thursday night top-of-the-table clash in just two weeks. Last time, the Demons were far too strong for a disappointing Lions side, but it’s hard to imagine a similarly one-sided result this time around.

When these two sides last met at GMHBA Stadium it was Round 23 last year when Max Gawn kicked a goal after the siren to give his Demons a victory; a result which ensured they finished on top of the ladder, and which many saw as a key moment in their ensuing run to Premiership success. 

Though there are a few more weeks to go in the season this time around, there’s every chance that the result could be equally significant. The Demons have been the runaway Premiership favourite all year, but a few recent stumbles have seen a number of teams close the gap on them at the top of the ladder. One of those has been the Cats, whose seventh successive victory last weekend – to the tune of 112 points against the Kangaroos – saw them jump into second spot. 

Melbourne has been the stingiest side all year in terms of points conceded, but with the likes of Tom Hawkins, Jeremy Cameron and the vastly improved Tyson Stengle up forward for the Cats, the Dees’ defence will need to be at its best to keep them off the scoreboard. Geelong, meanwhile, will need to continue the more aggressive ball movement which has been pivotal in their recent rise up the ladder; Melbourne sets up as well as anyone behind the footy and thrives when the opposition moves the ball slowly.

In front of what will be a raucous Geelong crowd, this shapes up as one of the best games of the season. There is star power all over the ground, from the aforementioned Geelong forward line, to midfield names like Oliver, Petracca, Duncan and Dangerfield, and of course Melbourne’s elite back group. This could very easily be a preview of this year’s Grand Final, and will be must-viewing this Thursday night.



Sydney Swans ($1.56) vs Western Bulldogs ($2.44)

Friday 8th July @ 19:50

Sydney Cricket Ground (Sydney)

While Friday night’s game may not quite generate the same level of excitement as Melbourne vs Geelong, this is still a hugely important game which will have major ramifications for not just these two sides, but also the raft of others wedged in a very congested part of the ladder. The Swans and the Bulldogs currently sit in eighth and tenth respectively, but certainly won’t remain there after this round.  

A Sydney win could see them move as high as fifth while a loss would tip them out of the eight and potentially down to tenth; for the Doggies, a win could move them potentially up to seventh, while with a loss they could fall to 11th and potentially two games out of the top eight with just six remaining in the season. When these two sides met earlier in the year, the Bulldogs won by 11 points – though it would have been a lot more had they kicked straight. In Sydney, however, this will be a whole different ball game.



Collingwood Magpies ($1.02) vs North Melbourne Kangaroos ($15.00)

Saturday 9th July @ 13:45

Melbourne Cricket Ground (Melbourne)

The Magpies’ tilt at the finals is gathering more and more momentum by the week, and with North Melbourne next on the agenda it’s not likely to slow down. Collingwood has now won six on the trot to move to 10-5, but with a number of close wins to their name their percentage is significantly less than many sides around them. That may well change this weekend.

The Kangaroos have now lost 11 consecutive games by at least 47 points; no other team in history has ever managed that undesirable accomplishment more than seven times. Not only is a victory for their opposition virtually a lay-down-misère at the minute, so too is a major percentage boost, and the Pies will be looking to take full advantage.



Gold Coast Suns ($2.03) vs Richmond Tigers ($1.79)

Saturday 9th July @ 16:35

Metricon Stadium (Gold Coast)

After what looms as a more one-sided affair to kick off Saturday’s proceedings, the big games continue when the Suns host the Tigers at Metricon Stadium. Just a game separated these two teams heading into last round, but another loss by less than a goal for Gold Coast made their already slim finals hopes even more unlikely. The Tigers, in contrast, returned to the winners’ list following their heartbreaking loss against the Cats the week prior, and it feels as though more and more tongues are wagging about their flag prospects with every passing week.

This game, however, is no sure thing for the three-time Premiers. The Suns have put together the best season in their history, and though they will likely miss out, would be worthy finalists this year. They’ve won five of their last eight including victories against Fremantle and Sydney, and their only losses have been tight ones. The Tigers deserve to be favourites here, but the Suns are more than capable of putting them to the test.



St. Kilda Saints ($1.84) vs Fremantle Dockers ($1.97)

Saturday 9th July @ 19:25

Marvel Stadium (Melbourne)

Another finals-shaping clash headlines Saturday night’s action, with the ninth-placed Saints welcoming the fourth-placed Dockers to Marvel Stadium. The Saints are coming off a huge win against Carlton which arrested a three-game losing streak and kept them in touch with the top eight, while for the Dockers, a tighter win than they had hoped for against Port kept them a game clear in the top four.

These two sides last met back in Round 2 when St. Kilda toppled Fremantle by ten points in Optus Stadium, but things have changed significantly since then. At that point they appeared likely to be a fringe top eight side at best, but in the months since they’ve developed into arguably the best defensive side in the league and one of the biggest contenders for the flag. The Saints’ inconsistency means anything is possible here, but regardless of which St. Kilda turns up the Dockers will be hard to beat.



Port Adelaide Power ($1.37) vs GWS Giants ($3.08)

Saturday 9th July @ 19:30

Adelaide Oval (Adelaide)

Port Adelaide’s resurgence after an 0-5 start to the year has been admirable, but after falling eight points short of the Dockers last weekend the door on their finals’ aspirations is very nearly closed. Two games and percentage out of the eight with seven matches left, another loss will see that door slammed shut.

They will, however, head into this weekend’s game expected to keep their chances alive for at least another week. GWS is sitting just one spot behind Port on the ladder, but that one spot equates to two games and a lot of percentage, and the actual difference between the two teams is far more significant than ladder position would suggest. In Adelaide, this will be a tough task for the Giants.



Brisbane Lions ($1.20) vs Essendon Bombers ($4.60)

Sunday 10th July @ 13:10

The Gabba (Brisbane)

Brisbane’s win against the Bulldogs last Thursday night made it six weeks during which they’ve alternated wins and losses, and if they want to hang on to their spot in the top four they’ll need to start putting consecutive wins together. Fortunately for them, they get a great chance to do just that this weekend.

The Bombers put in perhaps their best performance of the year in beating Sydney last week, their fourth victory of the year and second in three weeks after they knocked off the Saints a couple of weeks ago. Those results suggest that they might be able to pose a few problems for top eight sides in the remaining weeks of the season, but it’s hard to envision them coming away from the Gabba with the four points.



Hawthorn Hawks ($1.52) vs Adelaide Crows ($2.53)

Sunday 10th July @ 15:20

Marvel Stadium (Melbourne)

There are a number of games over the course of this weekend which will have a significant influence on the rest of the season and will likely put plenty of bums on seats, but this probably isn’t one of them. Both the Hawks and the Crows are mired in the bottom third of the ladder, unable to make finals or even really advance up the ladder a whole lot but equally unlikely to fall much further given the performances of the Eagles and Kangaroos so far this year.

Nonetheless, the Hawks will be keen to snap a five-game losing streak while the Crows will want to keep the ball rolling following two wins and a gallant loss to Melbourne over the past month. There’s not a whole lot tangible to play for, but this game will provide a good opportunity for both teams to test themselves against another in a similar stage of development. 



West Coast Eagles ($3.20) vs Carlton Blues ($1.35)

Sunday 10th July @ 16:40

Optus Stadium (Perth)

At long last, the Eagles appear to be a competitive side again, and this game may not provide the easy win for the Blues that it probably looked like it would a few weeks ago. With their team gradually beginning to resemble its best, the Eagles have managed a win and two competitive losses against Premiership contenders in the last three weeks, and they should be able to put the Blues to the test in this one too.

Carlton is coming off a disappointing loss to the Saints which may well come back to bite them, and with the ladder as congested as it is they can ill afford to drop this one. They will rightly enter the game as favourites – it is fifth versus 17th after all – but don’t be surprised to see the Eagles mount a serious challenge.



Undoubtedly, it’s Thursday night’s clash between the top sides which headlines this round of AFL footy, but there’s no shortage of other important clashes. With such a congested ladder, things can and likely will change very quickly in the run home, and by the end of this round the ladder will look very different to what it does now.