AFL 2024 Round 1 – Betting tips & Predictions

James Salmon
AFL Betting Tips
AFL 2024 Round 1
AFL 2024 Round 1

After the controversial new Round 0 experiment which semi-kicked off the season last year, the AFL will properly begin this weekend, with the ten teams who sat out Andrew Dillon’s first experiment as CEO set to play their first games of the year. Officially termed Round 1, it will be the second game for the other eight teams after an intriguing first four matches which saw three of last year’s top four lose, and a very strange game between the Tigers and Suns in the other. The Tiges will take centre stage to begin this round in what has traditionally been the opening game of the season on Thursday night against Carlton, while later in the weekend the Magpies take on the Swans, the Cats face the Saints and the Demons take on the Western Bulldogs. Take a look at our tips and previews of all nine games set to take place across the first full weekend of footy for the year below. 

Round 1 Fixtures

FixturesInfo (AEST)Home OddsAway Odds
Blues vs Tigers Thursday, 14th of March at 7.30pm $1.38$3.05
Magpies vs Swans Friday, 15th of March at 7.40pm $1.52$2.55
Bombers vs Hawks Saturday, 16th of March at 1.45pm $1.77$2.05
Giants vs Kangaroos Saturday, 16th of March at 4.35pm $1.06$9.00
Cats vs Saints Saturday, 16th of March at 7.30pm $1.50$2.60
Suns vs Crows Saturday, 16th of March at 8.10pm $1.74$2.10
Demons vs Bulldogs Sunday, 17th of March at 1.00pm $1.65$2.25
Power vs Eagles Sunday, 17th of March at 4.00pm $1.06$9.00
Dockers vs Lions Sunday, 17th of March at 6.50pm $2.50$1.53

Richmond Tigers vs Carlton Blues


The traditional season-opener will this year be the second game of the season for both of these teams, but the raucous, 90,000-strong crowd which usually fills the MCG for it will no doubt be there and in full voice nonetheless. Both teams played their first games of the year interstate last weekend and will be playing this one after a five-day break in the Tigers’ case and a six-day break for the Blues, both of which have involved travel, but while they’re both facing tough turnarounds they are coming off vastly different results. Richmond was bashed around against the Suns in the first game as their head coach for the man who led the Tigers to the Promised Land, conceding 11 consecutive goals to be down 67 points just before half-time. They subsequently staged what looked like potentially being an historic comeback when they booted seven in a row themselves, but couldn’t bridge the huge gap they’d conceded and went down by 39 points. The Blues, too, gave up a massive lead to the Lions, but after being down by 46 points more than halfway through the second they somehow took the lead not even halfway through the third, and ultimately hung on to win by a point. Unfortunately, the win came at a cost, with former captain Sam Docherty suffering a third ACL injury. He will miss the rest of the season as a result in what is a huge blow for the Blues, but they will still have high hopes for the season. The same can’t necessarily be said for the Tigers. They will regain Dustin Martin, Tom Lynch and Toby Nankervis for this clash and the inclusion of those three can’t be understated, but the Blues are still the better team and should be too strong in this one.  

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Playup_Logo_232x80Blues to win $1 38
Blues 1-39 $2.10
Blues 1-24 $3.05

Predicted Squads

Richmond Tigers: B: D. Grimes, T. Young, J. Gibcus   HB: J. Short – C, D. Rioli, N. Vlastuin C: K. McIntosh, T. Taranto, S. Banks HF: M. Rioli, L. Baker, D. Martin  F: N. Balta, S. Bolton, T. Lynch FOLL: T. Nankervis, J. Hopper, D. Prestia I/C: N. Broad, S. Campbell, J. Ross, M. Pickett, J. Koschitzke

Carlton Blues : B: B. Kemp, L. Young, A. Saad HB: Z. Williams, M. McGovern, N. Newman  C: B. Acres, P. Cripps – C, J. Carroll  HF: G. Hewett, C. Curnow, M. Owies F: O. Fantasia, H. McKay, D. Cuningham FOLL: T. De Koning, A. Cerra, M. Kennedy I/C: J. Boyd, O. Hollands, M. Cottrell, A. Cincotta, L. Fogarty

Collingwood Magpies vs Sydney Swans


Friday night will see the MCG filled with a huge crowd for the second night in succession, as the reigning Premiers play their first game at home for the season up against the Swans. Both of these teams were among the eight which played last weekend, meaning the first four teams to play in Round 1 all played in Round 0 – an interesting quirk to the fixture right off the bat. Fixturing quirks aside, it should be a high quality game regardless, with the Magpies obviously likely to be right in the Premiership mix and the Swans looking to put themselves back in that conversation. They got off to an excellent start to their attempt to do that last weekend, overwhelming the Demons to win by 22 points in a performance which far more closely resembled the side which made the Grand Final in 2022 than the one which just scraped into the finals last year. The Magpies, meanwhile, were overwhelmed themselves by the side which they narrowly beat in a thrilling Preliminary Final last year. They were completely outplayed by the talented Giants, but while they wouldn’t be the first team to suffer a Premiership hangover, don’t expect that indifferent form to last long. Under coach Craig McRae, this is as mentally strong an outfit as any in the league, and they will be eager to bounce back and avoid a 0-2 finish to start their Premiership defence. The Swans should be able to make a game of it, but on their home turf for the first time since winning last year’s flag, the Magpies can get over the line in a pulsating game.  

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Playup_Logo_232x80Magpies to win $1.53
 Magpies 1-39$2.15
Magpies 1-24$3.10

Predicted Squads

Collingwood Magpies
: B: B. Maynard, D. Moore – C, J. Howe HB: S. Pendlebury, I. Quaynor, N. Daicos C: W. Hoskin-Elliott, J. Crisp, J. Daicos HF: S. Sidebottom, A. Johnson, B. Mihocek F: P. Lipinski, J. Elliott, B. Hill FOLL: D. Cameron, J. De Goey, L. Schultz I/C: J. Noble, T. Mitchell, B. McCreery, O. Markov, M. Cox

Sydney Swans
: B: L. Melican, T. McCartin, D. Rampe HB: N. Blakey, O. Florent, J. Lloyd C: J. McInerney, Ch. Warner, E. Gulde HF: I. Heeney, L. McDonald, J. Amartey F: T. Papley, H. McLean, W. Hayward FOLL: B. Grundy, J. Jordon, J. Rowbottom I/C: B. Campbell, M. Roberts, H. Cunningham, S. Wicks, R. Fox

Essendon Bombers vs Hawthorn Hawks


Neither the Bombers nor the Hawks had exactly the seasons that they wanted last year, but each enters 2024 with some sort of reason for optimism. For the Bombers, the prospect of once again finding themselves stuck in mid-ladder purgatory is very much real, but with a number of savvy off-season recruits and another year under Brad Scott under their belt, they should be at the very least competing for a spot in the finals as they attempt to break what is now a 20-year period without a finals win. The Hawks have a lot more improvement to do on last year to challenge for a spot in the eight, but based on what they showed at times during the back half of 2023 they are very capable of doing so. The path forward under coach Sam Mitchell is clear, with young talent at all ends of the ground spearheaded by the likes of Mitch Lewis up forward, Jai Newcombe in the middle and James Sicily down back. Their supporter base has a little less pent up frustration than that of the Bombers and the pressure on them to climb up the ladder immediately is a little less prevalent than it is for their opponents in this game, and while they will both be keen to start their seasons off on the right foot, a loss for the Bombers in this game would bring a lot more heat than it would for the Hawks. Unfortunately, Essendon have been no stranger to letting down their fans in recent years. This is a game which either side could very easily win, but while the Bombers are the more experienced team, the youthful exuberance and talent of the Hawks might be enough to see them just sneak over the line. 

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Playup_Logo_232x80Hawks to win$2.12
Hawks 1-39$2.60
Hawks +4.5$1.89

Predicted Squads

Essendon Bombers
: B: Z. Reid, B. McKay, Z. Reid HB: M. Redman, J. Laverde, A. McGrath C: S. Durham, X. Duursma, N. Martin HF: J. Caldwell, K. Langford, J. Gresham F: J. Stringer, P. Wright, A. Perkins FOLL: T. Goldstein, W. Setterfield, Z. Merrett INT: E. Tsatas, N. Cox, N. Hind, H. Jones, J. Menzie

Hawthorn Hawks
: B: J. Impey, E. Phillips, B. Hardwick HB: J. Sicily, J. Weddle, K. Amon C: C. Jiath, C. Nash, J. Ward HF: D. Moore, M. Chol, J. Gunston F: L. Breust, M. Lewis, J. Ginnivan FOLL: N. Reeves, J. Newcombe, J. Worpel I/C: C. Mackenzie, J. Scrimshaw, F. Maginness, C. McDonald, N. Watson

  • The Eagles lost ten of their 20 games last year by 60 points or more. The Giants are yet to beat Collingwood in the Craig McRae era, with three consecutive victories for the Magpies against them. 
  • Ten of the Dockers’ last 13 games of 2023 resulted in 167 points or less – the line for their game this weekend is set at 166.5.
  • The Demons have won three of their last four games against the Bulldogs by an average of 44.5 points. 

Multi of the Week

Power to win by 60+$2.50
Dockers vs Lions under 166.5 total match points$1.90
Demons by 16+Lions 1-39 $2.20
Bet $10 for $104.5 with PlayUp

Greater Western Sydney Giants vs North Melbourne Kangaroos


In a year in which there is no ceiling on what they are capable of achieving, the Giants could hardly have got off to a better start to season 2024, comfortably accounting for the team that ended their season in heartbreaking fashion last year. That 32-point against the reigning Premiers was hugely impressive, and it only gets better for them this week as they come up against a team whose expectations for the year could hardly be more different. The Kangaroos haven’t won more than four games in a season since 2019, and were it not for the woeful West Coast Eagles they would probably be subjected to even more heat than they have received over the past couple of years. There is perhaps some light at the end of the tunnel, albeit a very long way away, with a few talented players starting to come through and the best coach in the business in Alastair Clarkson there to guide them through the early stages of their career. But they are still a long way off being a competitive team, particularly against teams like the Giants. They are once again pitted to finish right down the bottom of the ladder against the Eagles, and while they will be hopeful that they can rack up a few more wins than the three they managed last week, it’s hard to imagine them getting anywhere near the Giants up in Sydney. 

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Playup_Logo_232x80Giants 40+$1.61
Giants -47.5$1.91
Over 176.5 total match points$1.89

Predicted Squads

Greater Western Sydney Giants: B: H. Himmelberg, S. Taylor, C. Idun HB: L. Whitfield, J. Buckley, L. Ash C: X. O’Halloran, J. Kelly, J. Wehr HF: B. Daniels, J. Riccardi, T. Bedford F: T. Greene – C, J. Hogan, C. Brown FOLL: K. Briggs, S. Coniglio, T. Green I/C: F. Callaghan, H. Thomas, N. Haynes, T. McMullin, A. Cadman

North Melbourne Kangaroos
: B: T. Pink, A. Corr, L. McDonald HB: H. Sheezel, C. Comben, Z. Fisher C: D. Stephens, G. Wardlaw, B. Scott HF: C. Taylor, C. Zurhaar, E. Ford F: P. Curtis, N. Larkey, J. Stephenson FOLL: T. Xerri, T. Powell, L. Davies-Uniacke I/C: C. Coleman-Jones, M. Bergman, Z. Duursma, C. McKercher, W. Phillips

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Geelong Cats vs St. Kilda Saints


Speaking of Premiership hangovers, the Cats had a serious one last year, winning just ten games and failing to make the finals the year after they won the Grand Final by a huge margin against the Swans. Admittedly a percentage of 112. 6% was the seventh best in the league and suggested they were still good enough to make the finals, but even when they won the flag this was an old list, and the stars who led them to that victory have not gotten any younger. The Saints, meanwhile, are theoretically on the way up, having enjoyed their most wins in a home and away season since 2010 last year, but in contrast to Geelong, their finishing position of sixth probably flattered them. They looked like one of the best teams in the league early in the season but faded away badly, and for much of the season looked destined to fall out of the top eight. For both of these seasons, anything less than finals this year would be a failure, but it’s just as possible that they both miss out on the eight as it is that they both make it. Though it’s hard to imagine in Round 1, given that they could theoretically be fighting for similar positions later in the year these kinds of games can ultimately prove a lot more significant than they might appear at the time. The Saints are certainly capable of beating the Cats on any given day, but despite their tumble down the ladder last year Geelong remains very difficult to beat at GMHBA Stadium, and can send St. Kilda back down the Princes Highway with a Round 1 loss to their name. 

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Playup_Logo_232x80Cats to win$1.50
Cats -11. 5$1.91
Cats 25+$2.50

Predicted Squads

Geelong Cats
: B: J. Kolodjashnij, S. de Koning, T. Stewart HB: Z. Guthrie, J. Henry, J. Bews C: M. Duncan, T. Bruhn, M. Blicavs HF: G. Miers, J. Cameron, B. Close F: O. Henry, T. Hawkins, T. Stengle FOLL: R. Stanley, M. Holmes, P. Dangerfield

I/C: T. Atkins, O. Dempsey, J. Clark, B. Parfitt, S. Mannagh

St. Kilda Saints
: B:J. Battle, C. Wilkie, R. Bonner HB: N. Wanganeen-Milera, Z. Cordy, J. Sinclair C: B. Hill, M. Windhager, L. Henry HF: M. Phillipou, T. Membrey, J. Higgins F: M. Owens, M. King, C. Sharman FOLL: R. Marshall, B. Crouch, J. Steele I/C: R. Byrnes, S. Ross, M. Wood, L. Stocker, D. Wilson

Gold Coast Suns vs Adelaide Crows


With three time Premiership coach Damian Hardwick at the helm, the Suns – and the AFL, who have for so long propped them up – will be desperately hoping that this is the year that they finally break their finals drought. And they got off to some start as they attempt to do that. After conceding the first goal to the team with which Dimma enjoyed all his success, they booted 11 in a row, and though they let the Tigers back into the game after that, they did ultimately run out impressive 39-point winners. They’ll be looking to make it two from two this week, but they certainly won’t have it easy. The Crows were significant improvers last year, and though they only ended up with 11 wins and missed the finals, a number of close losses – including one particularly memorable and very controversial one against the Swans which cost them a spot in the top eight – resigned their season to one of what-ifs. This year, anything less than finals will be a big letdown, and if things go their way there is no reason to believe that this team is not capable of finishing top four. Of course, there are plenty of teams who have entered such seasons and failed to replicate the improvement they showed the year prior, but there is no denying the talent present across Adelaide’s list, and the meticulous development they have shown under Matthew Nicks should hold them in good stead. A trip to the Gold Coast doesn’t look like being nearly as easy as it has been for much of the Suns’ existence this year, but in their first game of the year the Crows are good enough to come away with the win in what could be a close and potentially really high quality game.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Playup_Logo_232x80Crows to win$2.13
Crows 1-39$2.70
Crows +4.5$1.89

Predicted Squads

Gold Coast Suns
: B: B. Uwland, C. Ballard, S. Collins HB: C. Budarick, A. Sexton, W. Powell C: B. Fiorini, T. Miller, B. Ellis HF: B. Ainsworth, B. Humphrey, T. Berry F: B. King, M. Rosas, L. Casboult FOLL: J. Witts – C, N. Anderson, M. Rowell I/C: S. Flanders, N. Holman, J. Lukosius, D. Swallow, D. Macpherson

Adelaide Crows
: B: B. Smith, M. Keane, M. Michalanney HB: W. Milera, J. Worrell, C. Jones C: J. Soligo, J. Dawson, M. Hinge HF: B. Keays, D. Fogarty, I. Rankine F: J. Rachele, T. Walker, C. Burgess FOLL: R. O’Brien, R. Laird, M. Crouch I/C: L. Pedlar, D. Curtin, L. Nankervis, L. Murphy, S. Berry

Melbourne Demons vs Western Bulldogs


After a tumultuous off-season, the Demons would have been desperate to get their season on the field off to a good start, but unfortunately they were relatively comprehensively outplayed by the Swans in the opening game of the season. They didn’t quite look like the team that has finished in the top four in the last three seasons, but it’s not time to push the panic button yet. This is still a talented, hardened team, and one that will be expecting to notch up their first win of the season against the side they beat so comprehensively to win the 2021 Grand Final. The Doggies haven’t quite been able to replicate what they displayed that year since, winning 12 games in each of them to finish eighth in 2022 and then miss the finals last year. At their best they are a dangerous team, but they are also perhaps the most erratic in the league and could hardly have better summed themselves up than when they lost to the hapless Eagles in Round 23 last year; a performance which ultimately cost them a spot in the finals. This is a team whose talent is often lauded, but while that’s true to an extent they also have a midfield which is far more capable of racking up disposals than it is of defending, a largely unproven forward line and a very average backline. Despite what Kane Cornes would have you believe, this isn’t the most talented team in the league. It’s a potentially good one, but as they did on Grand Final Day three years ago, the Demons should have the edge on them and can notch up their first win of the season. 

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Playup_Logo_232x80Demons to win$1.65
Demons -7.5$1.91
Demons -15.5$2.20

Predicted Squads

Melbourne Demons
: B: B. Howes, S. May, J. Lever HB: J. McVee, A. Tomlinson, C. Salem C: E. Langdon, C. Petracca, T. Rivers HF: J. Viney, H. Petty, J. van Rooyen F: A. Neal-Bullen, B. Fritsch, C. Spargo FOLL: M. Gawn, T. Sparrow, C. Oliver I/C: C. Windsor, J. Billings, K. Pickett, J. Bowey, K. Chandler

Western Bulldogs
: B: N. Coffield, L. Jones, B. Dale HB: E. Richards, J. O’Donnell, C. ß Daniel C: R. Sanders, M. Bontempelli, J. Macrae HF: R. West, A. Naughton, J. Harmes F: C. Weightman, J. Ugle-Hagan, S. Darcy FOLL: T. English, A. Treloar, T. Liberatore I/C: B. Williams, L. Bramble, L. Vandermeer, O. Baker, R. Sanders

Port Adelaide Power vs West Coast Eagles


AThe Power could literally not have been gifted an easier start to the season, with the Eagles, coming off one of the worst seasons in AFL history and widely finished to tip last or at best 17th this year, heading to Adelaide Oval. Having finished in the top three in three of the last four years and with plenty of talented young players who should improve even further this season, the Power should once again have lofty expectations in 2024, and a huge win would be the ideal way to ease their way into this season. The Eagles, meanwhile, just have to show more than they did last year, but while a few decent results later in the year once their incredibly long injury list finally started to shorten, they enter this season with, once again, a lot more injuries than virtually every other team in the league, and they simply do not have the depth to cover it. One would hope that the exposure so many of their young players have been forced into means that they will uncover a few diamonds in the rough, but they won’t likely begin to reap those potential rewards just yet. At least they’ve got Harley Reid, I suppose, who might already be the most interesting thing about this team, but as good as he looks he is an 18-year-old who isn’t going to change their fortunes too drastically. This will likely be another tough year for the Eagles, and against Port Adelaide in Adelaide it will probably get off to a pretty bad start. 

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Playup_Logo_232x80Power -47.5$1.90
Power 60+$2.55
Over 176.5 total match points$1.90

Predicted Squads

Port Adelaide Power
: B: B. Zerk-Thatcher, E. Ratugolea, R. Burton HB: M. Bergman, A. Aliir, D. Houston C: O. Wines, J. Horne-Francis, W. Drew HF: W. Rioli, T. Marshall, J. McEntee F: M. Georgiades, C. Dixon, S. Powell-Pepper FOLL: I. Soldo, C. Rozee, Z. Butters I/C: D. Byrne-Jones, K. Farrell, J. Finlayson, L. Jones, T. Boak

West Coast Eagles
: B:  A. Witherden, T. Barrass, T. Cole HB: L. Duggan, J. McGovern, B. Hough C: J. Hunt, R. Ginbey, A. Gaff HF: N. Long, J. Darling, J. Cripps F: J. Waterman, O. Allen, T. Brockman FOLL: M. Flynn, T. Kelly, E. Yeo I/C:  H. Reid, B. Williams, R. Maric, J. Jones, J. Petrcuccelle

Fremantle Dockers vs Brisbane Lions


This will be an interesting year for the Dockers. After winning 15 games in 2022 following gradual improvement under Justin Longmuir, they regressed significantly last year and missed the finals pretty easily. They will be hoping that 2023 will ultimately prove to be just a blip on the radar, and while they have lost a couple of their best 22 to the lure of Victoria, this team could be a dark horse to bounce back into finals contention this year. A win in their opening game of the season against last year’s Grand Finalists would be a great way to signal their capability of doing exactly that. But Brisbane will head to Optus Stadium with something to prove after relinquishing a 46-point lead to the Blues in their opening game and going down by a point, their first loss on home soil since 2022. Lachie Neale took no prisoners in his public assessment of the performance, and it seems likely that they will come out breathing fire as they attempt to avoid falling to 0-2 in a season in which they will probably not be happy with anything but a Premiership. The Dockers could easily be a lot better than many expect this year, but up against a Lions team with a point to prove they might fall just short.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Playup_Logo_232x80Lions to win$1.50
Lions 1-39$1.91
Under 166.5 total match points$1.90

Predicted Squads

Fremantle Dockers
: B: BC. Wagner, A. Pearce, L. Ryan HB: J. Clark, B. Cox, J. Aish C: N. Fyfe, H. Young, J. Sharp HF: S. Sturt, J. Treacy, S. Switkowski F: M. Frederick, J. Amiss, M. Walters FOLL: L. Jackson, C. Serong, A. Brayshaw I/C: O. McDonald, M. Johnson, J. O’Meara, N. O’Driscoll, N. Erasmus

Brisbane Lions
: B: B. Starcevich, J. Payne, R. Lester HB: C. McKenna, H. Andrews – C, D. Gardiner C: J. Fletcher, Z. Bailey, J. Berry HF: C. Cameron, E. Hipwood, H. McCluggage F: C. Rayner, J. Daniher, D. Zorko FOLL: O. McInerney, J. Dunkley, L. Neale I/C: K. Lohmann, C. Ah Chee, L. McCarthy, J. Lyons, D. Wilmot

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