AFL 2024 Betting Tips Round 1: Our Best Bets For This Week's Games

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AFL 2024 Betting Tips Round 1: Our Best Bets For This Week's Games
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AFL Round 1 Predictions:

The buzz of ‘Opening Round’ in New South Wales and Queensland has subsided, and for those in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, footy begins this weekend!

The MCG will take centre stage for four consecutive days this weekend with some tasty contests where AFL betting sites are anticipating a margin in the teens or lower for all four matches. 

Whilst the season kicks off in Perth and Adelaide, the Suns and Giants will look to take full advantage of two consecutive home games to start 2024, after they topped the standings post-Opening Round with a pair of resounding victories last weekend.

Given the stark weakness of their respective oppositions, North Melbourne and West Coast, it looks as though the two most recent expansion clubs will indeed be standing tall at the top come Sunday evening.

But it hasn’t yet been enough to shift the AFL Premiership odds, where last year’s Grand Finalists Collingwood and Brisbane remain co-favourites on betting sites, despite both losing up north last round. 

We’ve again taken a look at the hundreds of markets offered to bring to you a pick of AFL Round 1 best bets. Good luck!

Gold Coast v Adelaide Crows, Saturday, 8:10pm (AEDT)

The Gold Coast Suns have had a talented and youthful list with potential for quite some years now, but have needed the right man to develop them into a finals-bound force.

Based on last week’s performance, it looks as though Damien Hardwick could be the man.

They switched off for a period of about 20 minutes in the third quarter and threatened to leave the door ajar for a tremendous second-half collapse, but a couple of acts of ill-discipline allowed them to steady and complete what was three-quarters of the way to a polished and complete performance.

Matt Rowell, Ben King and Jack Lukosius led the demolition that included 11 consecutive goals during the first half, whilst Indigenous star Malcolm Rosas put on one of his finest performances in the red and gold to make the competition take notice.

Adelaide were one contentious call away from making the finals and it was their terrible away form that was greatly responsible for letting them down.

Their only wins away from home in 2023 came against the Eagles in Perth - a free victory for almost any club - and in somewhat neutral Launceston against 16th-placed Hawthorn.

The last five meetings between these clubs saw the Crows win both games in Adelaide and the Suns prevail in both matches on the Gold Coast as well as last June’s encounter in Darwin, where they started as narrow outsiders on exchange betting sites.

With plenty of upside and potential apparent in their on-field play, and what appears to be a significant home advantage, they look a good price to win if you shop around.

Suns midfielder Sam Flanders is on a run of clearing 25+ disposals in seven of his last eight appearances and is particularly productive at Heritage Bank Stadium, recording hauls of 26, 36, 32, 33, 27 and 27 touches in his last six appearances there.

A price of 1.67 for him to stretch a six-game streak out to seven looks pretty enticing on that basis!

Tip: Gold Coast to win - 1.67 With Unibet

Player Prop: Sam Flanders 25+ disposals - 1.65 @ Bet365

Melbourne v Western Bulldogs, Sunday, 1:00pm (AEDT)

The Sydney Swans moved Isaac Heeney into an understrength midfield in their Opening Round clash against the Melbourne Demons and he led the way from the first bounce, whilst Clayton Oliver wasn’t his usual incisive and devastating self despite recording 29 touches.

There must be some concern amongst Melbourne fans about how they lost both the midfield battle and the ruck contest (Brodie Grundy v Max Gawn), though a return home to the MCG where they won their first five games at the venue last season, should be of some comfort.

That began with a first round 50-point thrashing of the Western Bulldogs, who we’ve yet to see since they smashed Hawthorn by 57 in the only official pre-season game.

There were rumblings during the week that coach Luke Beveridge was set to snub both Jack Macrae and Caleb Daniel for their first game, whilst 19-year-old midfielder Ryley Sanders was declared by Beveridge to be the best first-year player he has ever seen at the Whitten Oval.

This is a contest between two of the bottom-four sides of 2023 in terms of total points scored per game, which draws our attention to the main over-under market offered by bookmakers.

Bulldogs’ games last year averaged just 160.2 points, whilst those with the Dees dropped slightly further to 159.8, and Melbourne started 2024 with a game that saw just 150 points scored. 

Our suggested player bet for this match is a short-priced one, but we’re taking the conservative option.

Melbourne forward Bayley Fritsch booted 2+ goals in 18 of his last 21 appearances, which makes the 1.45 on offer with Bluebet a pretty safe bet.

He would go on to score 3+ goals in just eight of those 18 games, so you’re taking on a significantly bigger risk if you go in search of the bigger return here. 

Tip: Under 166.5 total points - 1.9 @ Bet365

Player Prop: Bayley Fritsch 2+ goals - 1.45 @ Bluebet

Port Adelaide v West Coast, Sunday, 4:00pm (AEDT)

There was another particular over/under total points mark that caught the eye when preparing our AFL best bets for this week and it regards the Sunday late afternoon match at the Adelaide Oval.

Port Adelaide have been handed a handicap of about 50 points by the bookies, which is a 10-point increase on the margin they enjoyed in April last year (109-69), but the total point threshold remains almost the same (179.5 last time).

West Coast’s matches were the highest scoring (177.9 on average) last year thanks to their porous defence that leaked 116 points per game, whilst Port’s games averaged 176.7 points per match thanks in part to their scoring output of 91 PPG.

That included seven separate wins at the Adelaide Oval (and two derby losses to the Crows) where the total points cleared the 176.5 mark set by Ladbrokes.

Ken Hinkley’s side boasts another power-packed forward line that includes Willie Rioli, Charlie Dixon and Jackson Mead off the back of an outstanding pre-season, whilst Jeremy Finlayson is also in the mix to add some height against an Eagles defence bereft of talent.

Whilst all eyes will be on the AFL debut of number one draft pick Harley Reid, who featured on the back page of Perth newspapers more often than the Australian cricket team, we’re anticipating that Zak Butters will go about his work.

He’s on a streak of four consecutive home and away appearances at the Adelaide Oval with 30+ disposals, whilst there was a period in the second half of 2023 where he strung together six straight games with 30+ touches before falling one short going for seven in a row, finishing the whole season including finals with an average of 27.5 per match.

The 2.15 price offered by Bet365 for 30+ is remarkably generous when compared with major competitors, so we’ve taken it early whilst we can.

Tip: Over 176.5 total points - 1.9 @ Ladbrokes

Player Prop: Zak Butters 30+ disposals - 2.15 @ Bet365

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Aaron Murphy

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