AFL Betting Tips Round 1: Top Picks And Betting Trends To Watch

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AFL Betting Tips Round 1: Top Picks And Betting Trends To Watch

AFL Round One Predictions:


The Australian code war entered a new dimension this year when, sparked by the NRL’s ultimately successful season launch in Las Vegas, the AFL decided to split their opening round in half to schedule four matches in ‘rugby league heartland’.

It means the four Queensland and New South Wales-based teams take centre stage against four clubs from down south, and the best betting apps have graded them all as favourites to some degree ahead of Thursday evening’s launch at the SCG.

They have dubbed this ‘Opening Round’, with the traditional nine-game Round 1 to get underway in Melbourne next week.

2023 Grand Finalists Collingwood and Brisbane head the outright betting market for 2024, but most bookies have got rising stocks Carlton and GWS Giants not far behind after they both had some very impressive periods last year.

As we did throughout last year with great success, we’ll bring to you our AFL best bets from a handful of selected matches throughout each week, as well as some of our favourite player props to add to your Same Game Multis or otherwise.

Brisbane Lions v Carlton Blues, Friday, 7:40pm (AEDT)

Owing to their perfect 13-from-13 at The Gabba last year, and the absence of key Carlton defender Sam Walsh, 2023 runners-up Brisbane Lions are a short price with bookies to back up their preliminary final victory over the Blues with another.

We’re instead looking to the total points market for some profit, with Carlton’s games in 2023 averaging just 155.7 points - the second-lowest of all 18 clubs.

The only encouraging aspect of their 38-point pre-season loss to Melbourne was the sharpness of their kicking - 10.3 is a marked improvement upon their goalkicking accuracy of just 47% from last year - but it masked the fact they managed to create just 13 scoring shots.

When looking at the goalscorer markets, we noticed that Carlton did quite well at keeping Brisbane’s major scorers quiet on both occasions last year and beyond.

Joe Daniher hasn’t kicked more than two goals in any of his last four games against Carlton, whilst Charlie Cameron has done so only twice in nine career matches and Eric Hipwood twice from eight.

Given exchange betting sites like to keep those three safe in terms of their odds, there usually has to be a compelling case to back any of them in goalscorer markets.

Instead, we’re looking to Zac Bailey to register a multiple goal haul, which he did on 11 occasions last year. 

That included one of his two four-goal bags against the Blues, the other of which was in 2022.

Best Bet: Under 169.5 total points - 1.9 With Bet365

Player Prop: Bailey to kick 2+ goals - 2.45 With BetVictor

Gold Coast Suns v Richmond Tigers, Saturday, 4:20pm (AEDT)

Another potential low scoring affair will open the Saturday double header at Heritage Bank Stadium, where the Gold Coast Suns will assume favouritism against Richmond for just the second time in their history.

This is somewhat in part due to a three-game winning streak over the Tigers, including by just two points at this venue last year, but also because they’ve got legendary former Richmond coach Damien Hardwick at the helm of a talented squad.

There wasn’t much to be encouraged by last weekend when they recorded just 61 points against GWS in Canberra, especially as they were averaging only 80 points per game last year.

Just like their opponents, Richmond were also averaging 11.5 goals a match last year and are still missing key forward Tom Lynch, who managed just four appearances last season, whilst in last week’s forgettable warm-up against Collingwood they slotted home just five goals from 21 shots. 

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see both teams a bit sluggish and rusty in their forward 50s, particularly Richmond if Hardwick can build a defensive unit that shuts the Tigers down.

If the total points mark clears, we’ll at least be hoping that it’s because of a big bag of goals from Suns forward Jack Lukosius, who warmed up with four against the Giants last week and was the Suns’ leading goalkicker (outright or joint) in three of their last six matches of 2023.

If it tickles your fancy, Lukosius even booted the Suns’ first goal on a team-best five occasions and the first of the match four times!

Best Bet: Under 162.5 total points - 1.9 With BetVictor

Player Prop: Jack Lukosius to kick 3+ goals - 2.25 With Bet365

Best Betting Sites

GWS Giants v Collingwood Magpies, Saturday, 7:30pm (AEST)

Some of the best betting sites are offering as high as 2.25 for the reigning Premiers to get off to a winning start against a side they have beaten three times on the spin, albeit at the MCG on every occasion.

The Magpies haven’t made an appearance at Giants Stadium since the Covid-impacted 2020 season, where they lost to GWS by two points before thrashing Hawthorn.

After they exceeded many expectations last year in their first campaign under Adam Kingsley, the Giants now have to answer the question of whether it was a honeymoon period or the start of a genuine attack for the flag.

Collingwood were inaccurate as well in their pre-season hitout, but looked every bit as potent heading into their forward 50 as they were last year, whilst a league-best kicking accuracy of 52.5% last year suggests they should be good to go in front of goal.

Bobby Hill left the field early with hamstring tightness but reports following up his condition said it was just cramp, and he looked in good touch during the second term including a lovely snap kick for goal.

He finished off his 2023 with four goals against Brisbane and three against Melbourne, and if he’s yet to reach his ceiling at his new club, we like the price that Ladbrokes are offering for him to repeat his two-goal regular season haul against GWS last year.

Best Bet: Collingwood to win - 2.25 With William Hill

Player Prop: Bobby Hill to kick 2+ goals - 2.35 With BetVictor