AFL Gather Round Best Bets

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AFL Gather Round Best Bets
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AFL Gather Round Predictions:

After its tremendously successful debut last year, the AFL’s answer to rugby’s “magic round” will take place in Adelaide for a second successive season after the South Australian government locked it in for another three years with a sizable investment. 

A total crowd of 268,000 packed out three different venues during last year’s edition, including an estimated 40,000 interstate tourists, injecting more than $80m into the local economy. 

It was also reportedly one of the busiest rounds for AFL betting sites across the country, with punters from the east coast glued to their televisions in pursuit of a profitable weekend.

To celebrate the occasion, we have picked out one match from each venue that has caught our eye from a wagering perspective and will again deliver our three Gather Round best bets as well as the best value player props from our favourite bookmakers.

Brisbane Lions v North Melbourne, Friday, 5:10pm (AEDT)

They played out the inaugural match at Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills last year and once again Brisbane and North Melbourne will go at it during Gather Round, but this time at the suburban Norwood Oval, which will host two matches again in 2024.

The Lions are on a six-game winning streak against North Melbourne, which has been indicative of the overall disparity between the two clubs over that several year period, and some of the more recent margins have been ugly.

Brisbane put 150+ points past North Melbourne in the 2023 and 2022 meetings, most recently winning by 75 points in Mount Barker last season despite a very sloppy first half.

Whilst North Melbourne haven’t shown a great deal of improvement, and were torn apart last weekend by the Carlton duo of Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow, they face a Brisbane outfit that is misfiring and is reportedly still feeling the fallout of an off-season trip to Las Vegas.

Brisbane’s big name forwards were particularly quiet last week, and if they carry that off-colour form forward, there’s every chance the margin could be a little more subdued than what exchange betting sites are offering.

With the outsider covering the line in all of Brisbane’s matches this year, and just two of North Melbourne’s last nine defeats coming by 40+ point margins, we’re going against favouritism and taking the 1-39.

If you fancy North’s Tom Powell to notch up a fourth straight disposal count of 25 or more in 2024, make sure you are taking a price of at least 1.65 (such as the one offered by Bluebet) to get proper value.

Best Bet: Brisbane by 1-39 points - 2.3 @ Bet365

Player Prop: Tom Powell 25+ disposals - 1.65 @ Ladbrokes

West Coast Eagles v Sydney Swans, Saturday, 1:30pm (AEDT)

It comes as no surprise that some betting sites are offering a special price for this early Saturday afternoon game between West Coast and Sydney to have the highest winning margin of the nine Gather Round matches, with the line set in the mid-50s.

That’s only a fraction of the margins that the Swans have racked up over the hapless and helpless Eagles in recent years, with three consecutive wins by 60+ point margins culminating in last year’s embarrassing encounter at the SCG where West Coast conceded a club record of 205 points.

Much like their fellow strugglers North Melbourne, the Eagles have not inspired any hopes of a turnaround in their fortunes, averaging just 47 points across their first three games and 111 conceded in return. 

The experience in the West Coast lineup is likely to lower even further, with reports at time of publication suggesting that rookie draft number one pick Loch Rawlinson is likely to be handed a debut in the Adelaide Hills this week. 

Swans midfielder Isaac Heeney is yet to record a three-goal haul in 2024 but has a history of dining out against the Eagles, and this potential goalfest presents a great opportunity at a big price to do so.

In his last three games against the West Coast (one per year since 2021), Heeney has hauls of 5.4, 3.2 and 3.2 again. 

Best Bet: Sydney -54.5 points - 1.9 @ PlayUp

Player Prop: Isaac Heeney to kick 3+ goals - 4.85 @ Bluebet

Best Betting Sites

Fremantle Dockers v Carlton Blues, Saturday, 4:20pm (AEDT)

There was nothing pretty about their performance in Perth last weekend, but Fremantle got the job done against the winless Crows to join three other clubs on 3-0 and move into outright ninth place in AFL Premiership betting.

Their Gather Round task is to end a two-game losing streak against fourth favourites Carlton, who had an easy time of it against North Melbourne on Good Friday and are now averaging more than 100 points per game after that soft kill. 

But they haven’t been able to hit the ton against Fremantle in four attempts, and based on the Dockers defence conceding a league-best 60 points per game across the opening four rounds, it appears as though the duo of McKay and Curnow aren’t going to have a repeat of the feast they enjoyed at Marvel Stadium last weekend.

Freo’s recent overachievement is underlined by covering the pre-match line in all but one of their last eight outings. Their in-form midfield has been led by 22-year-old Hayden Young, who amassed 32 touches and eight clearances in last weekend’s victory.

Head coach Justin Longmuir told media his number one priority is to win the midfield battle and thwart the ball supply to Carlton’s forward, and if they can do so, they can go even better than just covering the line and pick up a narrow win at an appealing price.

Whilst the neutral venue changes the dynamic of this matchup, the Dockers have been travelling fairly well and have a 2-2 record at Adelaide Oval this decade, whilst the Blues are on a seven-game losing streak there.

Bookies are again offering an outstanding price compared with their competitors for one particular player prop that appeals to us: 2.65 for Jordan Clark to get 25+ disposals. 

His counts so far this year have been 24, 28 and 26, so it’s nice odds given his 66% rate of clearing it.

Best Bet: Fremantle by 1-39 points - 2.55 @ Unibet

Player Prop: Jordan Clark 25+ disposals - 2.65 @ Ladbrokes

Updated by GDC - Icon - Black - Info

Aaron Murphy

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