Round 21 will kick off with an intriguing clash as St Kilda hosts Brisbane at Marvel Stadium on Friday night to keep their season alive.
The Lions are hoping to win to keep in touch with the top four, while the Saints need to secure the four points to put pressure on Richmond and Carlton in the eight.
Western Bulldogs face modern day rivals GWS in a must-win game, as Melbourne and Carlton do battle for the first time this year on Saturday night at the MCG.
Collingwood travel to Sydney and the SCG, with both sides vying for a top four position come season’s end.
Here at The Sporting News, we’ve put together our betting predictions for round 22:
Odds courtesy of TAB.
Last week, we scored three of our nine predictions.
Mabior Chol, Jake Stringer, Jeremy Cameron and Taylor Walker didn’t hit their predicted goal kicking marks.
Western Bulldogs failed to win, while Richmond smashed the +5.5 point line.
St Kilda currently sit just outside the eight, two points behind Richmond and a game behind Carlton, with two rounds remaining.
Brisbane are equal third on points, but are currently fifth on percentage.
The stage is set for a thrilling game, with both clubs having so much to play for.
The Lions have been in relatively good form of late, losing two of their past five by a combined 17 points total.
Chris Fagan’s men will also enter this contest with confidence, taking the chocolates the last time these two teams met in round 13.
Brownlow favourite Lachie Neale’s past three weeks have been nothing short of impressive, with the former Docker averaging 32 disposals, nine clearances and three tackles.
Vying for his second ‘Charlie’, Neale will need to get off the leash on Friday night if the Lions are to register their 15th win of the season.
Lachie Neale 30+ disposals – $1.65
The ball is in the court of the Western Bulldogs, sitting two games outside the eight but coming up against GWS and Hawthorn in the remaining rounds.
The equation is simple, win and win well.
However, GWS broke a long losing streak with a victory over an in-form Essendon and will look to upset their modern day rivals, dating back to the 2016 Preliminary final.
The Dogs have won the past three encounters by an average of 27 points and would need to emulate a similar result in their quest for finals.
Aaron Naughton and Cody Weightman both kicked five majors the last time these teams met and will require a similar performance in round 22.
Naughton has kicked 47 goals so far this year, averaging 2.5 a game, but was kept goalless against Geelong (round 20) and Essendon (round seven).
Aaron Naughton 3+ goals – $2.40
Adelaide extended their winning streak to two on the weekend, upsetting Josh Kennedy’s farewell game after they shocked Carlton the week before.
North Melbourne’s struggles haven’t been a surprise in 2022 and have battled recently, in particular the last three weeks after the heart-warming win against Richmond.
Ben Cunnington’s long-awaited return should provide them with inspiration to give this week a red hot crack.
However, the Crows have dominated the last three encounters, winning by 57, 44 and 41 points respectively.
In round 15, both Taylor Walker and Darcy Fogarty got off the leash, combining for 10 goals and leading Adelaide to victory.
The pair have been in good form lately, with the latter emerging as the next big forward for the Crows for years to come.
Darcy Fogarty 2+ goals – $1.40
Gold Coast are officially out of the finals race, losing to Hawthorn by seven points last week.
Geelong are the number one seed in the competition right now, winning 11 in a row as we near September action.
The Cats are a game clear of Collingwood in second and have almost locked away a top two spot, with a win over the Suns cementing a home qualifying final.
Stuart Dew’s men are now playing for pride and have been building toward something special, especially in 2022.
The emergence of some young stars has been a positive for the Suns but are still striving to make finals for the first time in their existence.
Tyson Stengle has arguably been the recruit of the year, kicking 39 goals in 20 games for Geelong and proving to be troublesome for opposition sides.
Averaging just under two majors a game, Stengle has slotted goals in his last eight games and has only been goalless three times this year, adding another string to Chris Scott’s bow.
Expect him to hit the scoreboard.
Tyson Stengle 2+ goals – $1.85
Melbourne’s recent win/loss record would suggest the side is struggling, winning only two of their past five matches.
However, aside from the Geelong game, the Demons had opportunities to put the game away, with Collingwood and Western Bulldogs finding a way late in the last quarter.
Carlton have lost three of the past four, with their only win in that time against GWS.
Simon Goodwin’s men would be heavily tipped for this clash and would need to win in order to keep in touch with the top four.
The Blues’ spot in the eight is in jeopardy, as dates against Melbourne and Collingwood could result in two losses, with St Kilda and the Dogs biting at their heels.
Simply, Melbourne’s current form is too strong for Carlton.
Melbourne to win – $1.27
Fremantle’s strong win away against the Dogs has shot them back into top four contention, sitting 6th on the ladder but boasting an easier fortnight than most sides above them.
West Coast couldn’t get up for Josh Kennedy’s farewell game, but have been playing some strong football in the past fortnight.
The Dockers have a minor buffer with the draw against Richmond in round 19, meaning percentages won’t play a part in their pursuit for a double chance.
Rory Lobb managed to slot four last week and has been in strong form for Fremantle, despite speculation surrounding his departure at season’s end.
The former Giant has kicked 34 goals this year and was only goalless on two occasions.
Rory Lobb 2+ goals – $1.08
After Richmond’s minor slump that saw losses to Gold Coast, North Melbourne and a draw to Fremantle, the Tigers jumped back into finals calculations with a comeback victory over Brisbane and a strong win against Port Adelaide.
Hawthorn’s form of late has been impressive, showing glimpses of the future and winning four of their past five matches.
Damien Hardwick’s men currently sit in the eight, but must keep winning in order to avoid another missed finals series.
The Hawks have spoiled partyies in seasons gone by, including 2021, where they drew with Melbourne and defeated Brisbane and Western Bulldogs.
Shai Bolton has been argued as the best player in the competition, with his ability to play both midfield and forward making him near impossible to match up on.
Bolton has kicked 39.39 this year, including 6.10 in the past two weeks, tearing those games apart.
He’s a worry for opposition if Richmond make the finals.
Shai Bolton 2+ goals – $1.50
In a highly anticipated top four clash, the ramifications will be telling, with the victor likely to secure a top four spot.
Sydney have been faultless in the past six weeks and have shot into premiership contention with strong performances against Fremantle and Western Bulldogs in recent times.
Collingwood’s on-field story has been nothing short of amazing, turning a 17th placing in 2021 into currently sitting second after 11 straight wins, including victories against Melbourne, twice, Fremantle and Carlton.
The Pies continue to get the job done in close ones, extending their record to 10-1 in games decided by two goals or less while the Swans do it more convincingly.
Collingwood haven’t conceded more than 89 points in their winning streak and have been sound defensively, while Sydney have hit 100 points or more in four of their past five.
In a close one, the Swans look a bit more steady than the black-and-white and will get the chocolates.
Sydney to win – $1.38
The last game of the round between Essendon and Port Adelaide will be played for bragging rights, as the victor won’t make a difference in September.
The Power’s season, which started 0-5, was on a roll and looking like making finals, before meeting Melbourne, Geelong, Collingwood and Richmond in consecutive weeks, essentially ending their year.
Essendon’s second half of the year has been impressive, but has left fans questioning where it was in the first 11 games.
Ken Hinkley’s men came away with the four points last time these teams met, but a date at Marvel Stadium could spell something different.
The Bombers will look to finish their 2022 campaign strong and build toward 2023, with the speed under the roof suiting Ben Rutten’s men.
Essendon to win – $1.77
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