It’s a fight to the finish with only four rounds remaining as a handful of teams look to make a push for a finals spot.
The Crows are hanging on for dear life as they face a crucial match against the Saints on Saturday night, while the Bulldogs are hoping to take Adelaide’s place as they travel to Brisbane to face the red-hot Lions.
Nothing is a guarantee as we reach the pointy end of the season, but if you’re looking for some winners, be sure to read our entire 2019 AFL Round 20 Preview below.
Friday August 2, 7:50pm, Marvel Stadium
It’s always a big occasion whenever North and Hawthorn get together, and although the stakes aren’t quite as high as years past, there’s still plenty on the line.
The Hawks hit a bit of a snag last week in their last-ditch attempt to play finals. The windy conditions in Launceston cost Hawthorn on the scoreboard, as Alastair Clarkson’s side kicked seven goals and 18 behinds in their 27-point loss to the Lions.
At one stage North Melbourne also held hopes of playing finals. A three-game losing skid has put a dampener on that dream, but there’s still plenty of positives to look forward to in future years with Rhyce Shaw at the helm.
There’s certainly no love lost between these two sides in a fixture that holds plenty of bad blood.
Hawthorn walked away 16-point winners when these two sides met back in Round 3, while North should hold fond memories of their 28-point win over the Hawks last season.
Despite last week’s shortcomings on the scoresheet, the Hawks did a lot right. Hawthorn dominated the disposals, clearances and inside ’50s by a wide margin, it was just their wayward goal kicking that let them down.
North, on the other hand, return from Perth on the heels of a 49-point belting at the hands of the reigning premiers.
Clarkson won’t be taking North lightly on Friday night – especially with the slim chance of playing finals still alive.
Even so, the Roos have allowed the fourth-most goals to opponents this season, which should leave the Hawks with plenty of opportunities to come good on last week’s troubles in front of the sticks.
Tip: Back the Hawks to Win @ $1.95
Saturday August 3, 1:45pm, Marvel Stadium
With only four rounds remaining, this feels like a make or break kind of game for Port Adelaide on Saturday.
The Power suffered their third straight loss last week at home to the Giants – a one-point defeat that left many Port fans wondering if Ken Hinkley is indeed the man for the job.
Essendon should play finals from here, but they too have questions to answer. It took the Bombers the better part of four quarters to dispose of the Suns on the Gold Coast last week, a trend that doesn’t instil much confidence ahead of the finals.
These two sides met twice last year with the Bombers winning in blowout fashion on both occasions.
Essendon has now won six straight home games dating back to Round 9, and with a standout 5-2 record as the home favourite against the Power, it’s difficult to fade the Bombers in the market.
Aside from their Showdown win against the Crows last month, you have to rewind all the way back to Round 11 to find Port’s last win on the road. The Power has lost three straight games to the Bombers and are also 5-4 on the back of a previous loss.
With all that in mind, it’s tough to tip against the Bombers here. You’ll need to get creative if you’re looking for some value though, and as it just so happens, both sides are among the league’s worst when it comes to winning the first quarter.
The Power rank fifth in second quarters won this year, while the Bombers are the fourth-best third quarter side in the competition. Those two stats alone make the Half-Time/Full-Time market worthwhile.
Tip: Half-Time/Full-Time: Port Adelaide/Essendon @ $6.50
Saturday August 3, 2:10pm, Giants Stadium
The second Battle of the Bridge game holds nothing more than bragging rights for the Swans, while the Giants, on the other hand, are looking to make one last push for a top-four spot.
Closing the gap on the fourth-place Tigers will be tough, especially if the Giants take their foot off the gas like they did last week against Port Adelaide.
GWS led by over two goals at three-quarter time, only to allow the Power to storm home in the final term to lose by a point.
Last week’s narrow result might be the scare the Giants need to kick into gear, and they should take confidence in the fact they’ve won the last two Battle of the Bridge games, including a 41-point defeat over the Swans back in Round 6.
John Longmire is on the hot seat, but on their day, there’s still a lot to like about the Swans. Sydney actually sat dead even at halftime against Geelong last week, right before a sloppy fourth quarter cost the Swans a chance.
The biggest problem plaguing the Swans this season has been stopping the inside 50’s. Sydney ranks second behind the Suns in entries allowed, which of course spells trouble against Jeremy Cameron – who booted three goals against the Swans earlier in the year.
The line is large ahead of this game, but it makes sense considering the Giants have won their last two games against the Swans by an average of 45-points. Don’t be afraid to back GWS to Cover.
Tip: Back the Giants to Cover the Line (-23.5 Points) @ $1.90
Saturday August 3, 2:35pm, Optus Stadium
Top of the table Geelong travels to face the Dockers in Perth for the first time since 2017.
Geelong has won its last four games over Fremantle, two of which came on the road.
After a cinderella midseason run, the Dockers have slipped all the way down to 12th on the ladder after losing four of their last five games.
Freo was embarrassed by the Bulldogs last week at Marvel Stadium in their 47-point loss, and although home-field advantage counts for a lot in Perth, the Dockers won’t hold particularly fond memories of their unconvincing one-point win over the Swans a fortnight ago.
Despite a couple of recent hiccups, the Cats still look the side to beat this season. As all good sides should, Geelong steamrolled over the Swans in the fourth quarter on the road last week in what was a strong bounce-back victory following their lacklustre effort against Hawthorn the week prior.
Tom Hawkins, who is due a big game, has also enjoyed plenty of success against the Dockers booting 11 goals in his last five outings against Freo.
It’s tough to tip against the Cats and their 6-3 record as the away favourite this season. This should be fascinating midfield tussle between Nat Fyfe and Patrick Dangerfield though, which could provide somewhat of a low-scoring contest.
The average Total in all nine of Fremantle’s home games this season is 136-points, putting the Unders in play on Saturday.
Tip: Under 148.5 Total Points @ $1.83
Saturday August 3, 7:25pm, MCG
Five straight wins on the trot has the Tigers primed for a big finals campaign as they look to maul the Demons for the second time on Saturday.
The Tigers were outstanding last Friday night in slippery conditions against the Pies, making up for their Round 2 loss with a convincing 32-point win.
Melbourne sunk to new lows last week losing by 19-points to the Saints. It was a particularly poor day for Simon Goodwin’s side all around, and after losing by 43-points to the Tigers back in Round 6, it’s tough to find any confidence in the Dees this week.
The most impressive part of Richmond’s game in the last six weeks has been their creativity. Even when there’s nothing on, the Tigers have a knack for getting the ball inside 50, largely thanks to some clever work from Dustin Martin and Dion Prestia.
Melbourne has lost three straight games to the Tigers dating back to 2017, and it’s tough to see that streak coming to an end at the ‘G. Richmond has now won two straight at the home of footy, and with the fifth-best goal-kicking side meeting a Demons team that ranks second in goals allowed, this one has the makings of a blowout written all over it.
Tip: Back the Tigers to Cover the Line (-27.5 Points) @ $1.90
Saturday August 3, 7:10pm, Adelaide Oval
Somehow the Crows still find themselves in the eight despite losing four of their last five games.
Adelaide, like a handful of others, fell victim to Carlton away from home last week losing by 27-points.
The Crows now find themselves tied on points with the ninth-place Bulldogs, and as if one upset wasn’t enough, Don Pyke’s side might be in for another as they square off against the lively Saints this weekend.
St. Kilda is the latest team to benefit from a coaching change as the Saints have now won two on the trot.
Caretaker Brett Ratten has instilled some confidence back into the side after four straight losses prior to Alan Richardson’s sacking, and if you take a look at the schedule, St. Kilda’s easy run home makes them a serious chance for the eight.
The Crows belted the Saints by 29-points when they met back in Round 6 as Taylor Walker enjoyed a huge four-goal bag.
Fortunately for St. Kilda, Tex continues to be hot and cold in front of the sticks, which matches the Crows ball movement and general play of late.
The Saints present tremendous value on the road, and although they haven’t beaten the Crows in Adelaide since 2009, it’s worth riding these post-coach-firing hot streaks as long as you can.
Tip: Back the Saints to Win @ $3.05
Gold Coast Suns
Sunday August 4, 1:10pm, MCG
All eyes are on Collingwood this week as Nathan Buckley hopes to right the ship following last Friday night’s implosion against the Tigers.
The Pies have now lost two straight games by a wide margin, both of which came against opponents they may or may not meet in the finals.
You can blame the injury list, Mason Cox or even the quality of opponent, but something seems a little off about Collingwood’s ball movement.
The good news is the Pies will meet the competitions easy-beats this weekend. With home-field advantage, this is a potential percentage booster for Collingwood, but Buckley’s side needs to ensure they take the Suns seriously on Sunday afternoon.
This is a huge test of Collingwood’s maturity, one Essendon nearly failed last week. The Suns led the Bombers for the better part of three quarters, coming home strongly, in the end, to lose by only 10-points.
The bookies have set an enticing line for this game, and it’s worth backing the Suns to Cover it.
Gold Coast has never beaten Collingwood in Melbourne, but in their seven road losses this year, the Suns have lost by an average margin of 40-points.
If Stuart Dew’s side can string together another strong three quarters like they did last week, they could pose a few problems for this understrength Collingwood outfit.
Tip: Back the Suns to Cover the Line (+34.5 Points) @ $1.90
West Coast Eagles
Sunday August 4, 3:20pm, Marvel Stadium
A three-game winning streak has David Teague in the drivers’ as the favourite for Carlton’s head coaching gig next season.
Carlton’s effort was massive last week against the Crows, but the Blues might be in for a dose of reality on Sunday against the reigning premiers.
West Coast still finds themselves four points shy of the ladder leading Cats, but the Eagles can help their percentage this week by handing the Blues a big loss.
West Coast has won four of its last five meetings against the Blues, and while there’s a case to be made for Carlton’s pressure after laying down 85 tackles against the Crows last week, the Eagles’ class should shine through.
With that in mind, there’s nothing to say this game won’t be close. The last three meetings between West Coast and Carlton have been decided by 1-39 points, making the Margin a worthwhile play on Sunday.
The Eagles are 5-1 as the away favourite, but considering their last five trips to Melbourne have been decided by 1-39 points as well, take the value on offer.
Tip: Back West Coast 1-39 @ $2.06
Sunday August 4, 4:40pm, The Gabba
The Lions head back to the Gabba to close out Round 20 with their six-game winning streak on the line.
Brisbane were far from their best last week down in Tassie, but they made the wayward Hawks pay by booting five goals in the third quarter to walk away with a 27-point victory.
The Bulldogs, on the other hand, were at their very best last week against the Dockers. The Dogs won by 47-points at home, a game dominated by Bailey Dale and Jack Macrae as Luke Beveridge’s side makes one last push for a top-eight spot.
This is a must-win game for both sides with only four rounds remaining. For the Lions, a top-two finish is still on the cards, while the Dogs could rejoin the top eight with a win and a Crows loss.
The last three games between these two sides at The Gabba have been relatively close, although you do need to rewind all the way back to 2015 to find the last time the Lions defeated the Bulldogs.
There’s no doubt this game should be close considering the Dogs can match Brisbane’s pressure through the midfield.
The Bulldogs have built a reputation for storming home late in the fourth quarter, a worrying sign for the Lions as they tend to take their foot off the gas at times.
With only 16-points separating these two during the Dogs’ win back in Round 8, back the Lions to seek revenge in a close one.
Tip: Back the Lions 1-39 @ $2.10
We could certainly get used to this.
The AFL has offered up a couple of gems to start Round 20, and if they are anything like last weekends prime-time blockbusters, footy fans are in for a treat.
As far as the ladder goes, who knows anymore.
It remains tooth and nail in the bottom half of the Top 8, and with upsets happening each and every week, it’s hard to keep track of who’s coming and who’s going.
Fortunately, our 2018 AFL Round 20 Preview is here to help you out, and you can check out all of our tips below!
Friday 3 August, 7:50pm, MCG
Last week was fun for both of these teams, or at least the first half was.
Richmond and Collingwood lived up to expectations for the first two-and-a-bit quarters, while the Cats and the Lions also provided plenty of drama in the opening terms.
With both sides now having won two straight, we’re set for a blockbuster on Friday night, and you don’t have to look back very far to see how these two fared last time they met up.
The date was Round 13, and it was a game the Cats very easily could have won.
With the Tigers leading by just two-points at half time, the Cats were every chance to upset the reigning premiers at the G’, but sloppy play and a few kicking errors cost Geelong dearly.
In the end, the Tigers ran away with an 18-point win, but when we dive deeper, there’s plenty of reasons to believe Geelong can learn from their mistakes.
The Cats controlled the clearances and won the inside fifties battle, and if the Cats can feed Tom Hawkins the ball – the same Hawkins that kicked seven goals last week – who knows what might happen.
One of the most impressive parts about the Cats last weekend was their ability to put their foot down.
It’s been missing all season, but with the Lions up and about just two minutes before the major break, Geelong booted two goals to reclaim momentum and the scoreboard.
What happened next was vintage Chris Scott coacing.
Geelong kicked away, controlled possession and locked the ball inside their own half to win comfortably.
It will take that kind of game plan execution from Geelong they are to make up for not only Round 13’s shortcomings, but last years preliminary final disappointment.
Richmond were classy last week against the Pies, but at times, they really looked rattled when momentum swung Collingwood’s way.
You have to wonder what a healthy Magpie side could have accomplished last week, but those kind of mid-quarter lapses will certainly cost the Tigers this week against a near full-strength Geelong side.
Tip: Geelong To Win @ $3.45
Same Game Multi: Geelong To Win, Over 145.5 Match Points, Tom Hawkins 2+ Goals
Saturday 4 August, 1:45pm, MCG
Who’s playing finals? Hawthorn? Essendon? Or both?
The stakes are huge, and in front of what should be a rather large crowd, this old time rivalry could kick up a gear on Saturday.
Essendon were fantastic last week against the Swans.
When the game swung in the balance at half time, the Bombers of old would have folded, but full credit to John Worsfold’s team, Essendon looked fantastic.
The biggest takeaway from that game was not only the Bombers’ disposal efficiency, but also their work down back.
Limiting Buddy Franklin to just two goals was huge, and if Essendon can shutdown what has otherwise been an up and down Hawthorn forward line, they just might find themselves in finals contention.
Hawthorn, well haven’t they turned things around.
You can’t get too carried away with back-to-back wins over Carlton and Fremantle, but take nothing way from the Hawks, they looked downright dangerous last week in Perth.
The inclusion of Shaun Burgoyne was huge for the Hawks, and as if there was ever any doubt, the Brownlow Medal favourite, Tom Mitchell, was once again outstanding with 40+ disposals.
So what now? Who wins this showdown?
Round 7’s match was a no contest as the Hawks ran away with a 23-point win, but this is no doubt a much different looking Bombers’ outfit.
The X-factor for Essendon will no doubt be Orazio Fantasia, but he isn’t the only concern for the Hawks.
As other teams have discovered, when you pay extra close attention to Fantasia, the likes of Jake Stringer and Devon Smith can hurt you, especially if the Bombers apply their newfound midfield pressure.
Speaking of pressure, though, that’s been the Hawks’ bread and butter over the last fortnight.
Hawthorn recorded 66 tackles to Fremantle’s 47 last week, and it helps that Paul Puopolo has found some form.
The majority of this game will be won in the centre square, an area the Hawks have also been fairly dominant in.
The loss of Ben McEvoy looked to hurt this team, but Hawthorn’s ruck has stood strong, and if they can continue to win the ball, get it out to the wing and bomb it forward in the Luke Breust direction, it will be a long day for the Bombers’ back half.
It just feels like the likelihood of this being a blowout are slim, but Alastair Clarkson has been bang on with his selections in recent weeks, including the decision to play Ryan Schoenmakers up forward against the Dockers.
Hawthorn in a close one.
Back Hawthorn 1-39 @ $2.55
Same Game Multi: Hawthorn To Win, Tom Mitchell 36 Or More Disposals @ $4.00
Saturday 4 August, 2:10pm, The Gabba
Who woulda thunk it?
The baby Lions aren’t so baby anymore, and North Melbourne could find themselves back in the Top 4.
North were killer last week against the Eagles, fending off the very few challenges West Coast threw their way in the second half to roll home to a comfy 81-41 victory down in Hobart.
The standout of the day was Mason Wood, who booted two crucial goals and tracked up 15 disposals.
Overall, though, the Roos were back to their exciting best, running with real purpose through the midfield to win the inside fifty count by a wide margin.
Brisbane, well the they have plenty to think about after last week’s trip to Geelong.
By halftime, it looked as though the Lions might get up, but it almost seemed like Chris Fagan changed the entire game plan in the second half, which of course suited Geelong nicely.
These two met back in Round 11 at Etihad Stadium, a game the Lions would like to forget.
It was all over by the end of the first quarter, as Wood, Jack Ziebell and Ben Brown combined for five goals.
At home, though, the Lions are a little different.
The crowd, albeit somewhat small, plays a factor, but unfortunately for Brisbane, The Gabba has been a stomping ground for the Roos in recent years.
Brisbane haven’t defeated North at home since 2014, but that aside, the Lions can easily take the points here if they a) mark up down back, and b) dispose of the ball efficiently by hand.
In the first half last week, the Lions looked so calm and composed with the ball.
Their handballing skills were phenomenal, as was Eric Hipwood in finding space down forward.
It will take a full four-quarter effort from Brisbane this week, something we’ve seen only a handful of times this season, but we can say the same for North.
The Roos have had many off days this season, and all it will take is for the likes of Harris Andrews to shut Brown down for the Lions to have a chance.
Tip: Brisbane Lions To Beat The Line (+3.5 Points) @ $1.92
Same Game Multi: Brisbane Lions To Win, Dayne Zorko 2+ Goals @ $3.50
Saturday 4 August, 4:05pm, Adelaide Oval
It feels like every week is “do or die” for the Crows, but here we are once again speculating on whether or not Adelaide can actually make the eight.
The rest of the ladder has been kind to the pride of South Australia, but the Crows loss to Melbourne last week once again highlighted the glaring inconsistencies in this team.
The Adelaide Oval is supposed to be a fortress, but with a 20-point lead midway through the second quarter, somehow the Crows managed to let it all slip.
If it wasn’t for Taylor Walker, who kicked a must-have goal in the dying stages of the fourth quarter to draw the Crows back within nine-points, who knows where Adelaide would be right now.
One thing is for sure, though, the South Australian Showdown is the last thing the Crows need.
Port Adelaide’s resurgent 44-point win over the Dogs last week saw the Power hang tough in the Top 4, a big win in icy conditions down in Ballarat.
You shouldn’t need a reminder, but Round 8’s Showdown was nothing short of incredible.
Steven Motlop’s last minute goal lifted the Power over the Crows 95-90, but unfortunately for Adelaide as well as the fans, a lot has changed since then.
This game, just like the last, should come down to the midfield battle, and although the Crows have the firepower, Port have the form.
Chad Wingard, Ollie Wines and Jared Polec all combined 83 disposals last week against the Dogs, and if they assert that kind of dominance on the Crows, there’s nothing stopping Charlie Dixon from booting another five goal bag.
Adelaide’s inconsistencies have been obvious all season.
Their win over the Lions two weeks ago was nice, but it was hardly a convincing four quarter performance, while last week’s rollercoaster ride has to suck some of the confidence out of Don Pyke’s side.
Tip: Back Port Adelaide 1-39 @ $2.26
Same Game Multi: Port Adelaide 1-39, Chad Wingard 2+ Goals, Ollie Wines Over 26.5 Disposals
Saturday 4 August, 7:25pm, Etihad
It was a miserable week for both of these clubs in front of the sticks, as surprise, surprise, both St. Kilda and the Bulldogs failed to convert on the scoreboard.
The Saints had their chances against GWS, but they just didn’t take them.
St. Kilda finished with 19 shots on goal, but managed to kick 13 behinds in their 25-point loss.
As for the Dogs, well they hardly gave themselves a chance.
The cold and windy Ballarat conditions gave Luke Beveridge’s side a chance against Port, but the Dogs managed just five goals on the day, securing their fourth loss in their last five games.
With both of these sides ranking inside the bottom five in average goals scored and contested possessions, it’s safe to say this game won’t be pretty to watch.
The Saints enter as the favourite ahead of Saturday’s game, which actually holds some value for punters.
St. Kilda are 4-0 as the home favourite over the last 12 months, but more importantly, 5-1 as the favourite against the Dogs.
We’ve seen brief glimpses of what this understrength Bulldogs side is capable of, but it appears the injury toll has really caught up to this struggling side.
St. Kilda’s season has hardly been any better, but stars like Jack Billings and Tim Membrey have still put up some impressive numbers in recent weeks despite the losses.
With games against Essendon, Hawthorn and North remaining, this is a chance for St. Kilda to salvage something from this lost season.
Tip: Back St. Kilda To Beat The Line (-6.5 Points) @ $1.92
Same Game Multi: St. Kilda 1-39, Tim Membrey 2+ Goals
Saturday 4 August, 7:25pm, SCG
A week of a footy can feel like a lifetime, especially if you’re the Sydney Swans.
Following their second straight loss, this time to the Bombers, the Swans find themselves out of the Top 8.
We always feared for Sydney post Dan Hannebery/Jarrad McVeigh injury, and with a big clash against an equally battered and bruised Collingwood side, it’s tough to predict what the future holds for the bloods.
If one thing is for sure, the SCG will be a welcome sight for the Swans.
After last weeks heartache, the home crowd really needs to get behind their team, but as we saw two weeks ago against the Suns, home turf is basically meaningless if Sydney fail to show up.
To make matters worse, Collingwood’s last trip to the SCG resulted in a one-point win last season.
Give the Pies all the credit in the world, they pushed took the reigning premiers to the sword in the first half last week, but Jordan de Goey missing, Collingwood’s lack of firepower up forward cost them in the end.
With de Goey set to miss four to six weeks, just like the Swans, who knows what lies ahead for Collingwood.
The back line is ravished, Adam Treloar won’t be back until finals, and it’s tough to rely on Mason Cox, Steele Sidebottom and Scott Pendlebury each and every week.
All in all, that’s great news for the Swans, who also enter this game as the favourite.
If you’re planning a punt on the Swans, look away now, because Sydney’s 3-4 record as the home favourite against the Magpies isn’t pretty.
Still, this is a must-win for the Swans, and if they were to snatch the four points, they could find themselves tied on points with Collingwood back inside the Top 8.
This is a huge opportunity for Sydney, and one their more experience stars need to lap up.
Tip: Back Sydney Swans 1-39 @ $2.32
Same Game Multi: Sydney Swans 1-39, Ben Ronke 3+ Goals, Under 161.5 Points
Sunday 5 August, 1:10pm, Etihad
The Blues got their second win on the board last week against the Suns, and for the first time in a long time, Carlton’s future looked on display.
It was fitting the Blues recorded a victory following Patrick Cripps’ midweek signing, but the happy times could come to a grinding halt this week against the Giants.
After losing Jeremy Cameron to suspension a month ago, GWS are 4-1, and with what should be a very winnable game ahead this weekend, the Giants could potentially move back inside the Top 4.
Although it’s against Carlton, the stakes are still pretty high for GWS.
The remaining three weeks sees games against Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne, so if the Giants wish to cement their spot in the finals, not only would a win against the Blues be nice, but a percentage boosting thumping would be ideal.
GWS got the job done last week against St. Kilda, but that’s about all you can say.
The Giants started out slow from the gate, and actually trailed early in the second quarter.
Fortunately for the Giants, they are 3-1-1 as the away favourites over the last 12 months, and if they can turn up the intensity like they did in the second half last week, they should be no match for the Blues in just about every area of the park.
Tip: Back GWS To Beat The Line (-49.5 Points) @ $1.92
Same Game Multi: GWS 1-39, Over 172.5 Points
Gold Coast Suns
Sunday 5 August, 3:20pm, MCG
With just four weeks left, the wooden spoon race isn’t wrapped up just yet.
Gold Coast’s loss to the Blues saw Carlton close the gap a little, and with the Suns facing the Dees at the G’ this week, things could continue to get interesting towards the bottom of the ladder.
The Suns started out with a bang last week, kicking six goals in the opening half.
Unfortunately, Gold Coast managed just two more goals after the major break, but 14 behinds certainly didn’t help their cause, either.
Melbourne, well let’s just call them the comeback kings.
The Demons looked in trouble down in Adelaide midway through the second quarter, but leaders like Nathan Jones and Jordan Lewis really kicked it up a gear when it counted.
Now heading back to the G’ after a long two week absence, the Demons 4-0 record as the home favourite against the Suns makes them very hard to back against.
With a chance to potentially edge back inside the Top 4 (should results go their way) the Demons won’t let this one slip.
Tip: Back Melbourne 1-39 @ $4.25
Same Game Multi: Melbourne 1-39, Oliver Wines 23.5+ Disposals, Under 174.5 Points
West Coast Eagles
Sunday 5 August, 2:40pm, Optus Stadium
Round 20 winds down with the second of the two interstate derbies, and after Round 6’s eight-point thriller, this one shapes up as a must-watch.
It was the Eagles game to win last week, but West Coast failed to outmuscle North Melbourne down in Hobart. Mason Wood and Majak Daw posed problem for the Eagles all day, and with West Coast failing to push the ball forward inside fifty, the game simply slipped away from them.
In less than convincing fashion, Fremantle’s loss to Hawthorn didn’t look any better.
The Dockers hardly looked prepared, and from the opening bounce, it was clear the Hawks’ midfield pressure was going to cause Freo some problems.
So are we set for another instant classic this week?
With Nat Fyfe missing, it’s hard to see the Dockers putting up much of a fight.
On the same token, though, West Coast look like a much different team without Josh Kennedy, who is set to miss the Derby with a shin injury.
Both of these sides have had up and down seasons, but there’s so much on the line for the Eagles.
Securing their spot inside the top-two is priority number one, but a home final berth would also be nice.
It’s hard to get a read on this game, and although the Eagles have much more talent to play with, Fremantle at home, in front of what should be a large crowd, are still a chance.
Play it safe and ride with the over/unders market.
Tip: Under 164.5 Total Points @ $1.87
Same Game Multi:
We are now in the final month of what has been a simply incredible AFL regular season and the action continues this weekend.
The round begins with a genuine Friday Night Blockbuster between Geelong and Sydney before Greater Western Sydney and Melbourne meet in a crucial clash for both sides on Saturday afternoon.
The big games continue right through until Showdown 43 on Sunday afternoon and our complete 2017 AFL Round 20 tips can be found below!
Friday 4 August, 7:50pm, Simonds Stadium
Geelong 61 - Sydney Swans 107
Sydney’s winning run came to an end at the hands of Hawthorn, but at the time of writing they are still narrow favourites.
The Swans loss at the hands of the Hawks just about ended their chances of finishing in the top four, but this is still a crucial game.
Sydney have won six of their past eight games as away favourites for a clear profit and they are 5-3 against the line in this scenario.
Geelong returned to winning form with a big victory over Carlton and they are always a tricky side to beat at Simonds Stadium.
They have won their past two games as home underdogs, but the big problem for the Cats is the absence of Patrick Dangerfield.
The absence of one of the competition’s best players will be tough for Geelong to overcome against a team that is as good as Sydney and it is this factor that swings this clash in favour of Sydney.
Back Sydney To Win @ $1.90
Saturday 5 August, 1:45pm, Manuka Oval
GWS Giants 97 - Melbourne 62
Greater Western Sydney ended their winless streak last weekend and they will start this clash with Melbourne as favourites.
The Giants were far from impressive against Fremantle and they will face a tougher test from a fired-up Melbourne outfit.
GWS have now won eight of their past 11 games as home favourites for a loss and they are an extremely poor 3-8 against the line in this scenario.
Melbourne’s chances of finishing in the top eight took a hit when they suffered a shock loss at the hands of North Melbourne last weekend and this is a chance to atone for that defeat.
The Demons have won five of their past eight games as away underdogs for a massive profit and they are 5-3 against the line in this scenario.
Taking on the Giants has proven to be a profitable betting play all season long and Melbourne are a good bet to cover the line with a start.
Back Melbourne To Beat The Line (+13.5 Points)
Saturday 5 August, 2:10pm, MCG
Essendon 84 - Carlton 76
Essendon need to keep winning games to be any chance of playing finals football and they are favourites to do just that this weekend.
The Bombers had their winning run ended at the hands of the Western Bulldogs last weekend, but Carlton obviously represent a drop in quality – despite the fact that they were beaten by the Blues earlier this season.
Essendon have won only two of their past five games as favourites for a clear loss and they are an extremely poor 1-4 against the line in this scenario.
Carlton have now lost six games on the trot and they are showing signs of running on tired legs at this stage of the season.
The Blues have won only two of their past seven games as away underdogs, but they are 4-3 against the line in this scenario.
There is not as much between these two sides as the current betting market suggests and Carlton are capable of covering the line in what should be a low-scoring clash.
Back Carlton To Beat The Line (+23.5 Points)
Saturday 5 August, 4:35pm, The Gabba
Brisbane Lions 89 - Western Bulldogs 103
The Western Bulldogs were dominant against Essendon and they will go into this clash as clear favourites.
The Bulldogs now have an excellent chance of playing finals football, but they simply can’t afford to drop games like this one.
They have won four of their past seven games as away underdogs for a loss and they are a very poor 1-6 against the line in this scenario.
The Brisbane Lions were simply no match for the West Coast Eagles last weekend and it really doesn’t get any easier for them.
Brisbane have won three of their past ten games as home underdogs for a loss and their record against the line is no better.
This is a game that the market looks to have got just about right and I am more than happy to stay out from a betting standpoint.
Saturday 5 August, 7:25pm, Etihad Stadium
North Melbourne 57 - Collingwood 111
It is Collingwood that will go into this clash with North Melbourne as favourites.
Collingwood played out of their skins against the Adelaide Crows last weekend, but they ran out of legs late and were forced to settle for a draw.
The Magpies have proven to be a very tough team to trust as favourites this season – they have won only five of their past 11 games as the punter’s elect and they are 4-7 against the line in this scenario.
North Melbourne put those tanking rumours to rest with a tough win over Melbourne, but winning back-to-back games has been a tough ask for the Kangaroos this season.
They have won two of their past eight games as home underdogs for a small profit, but they are only 4-4 against the line in this scenario.
These are two teams that are very tough to trust from a betting perspective and this is another game that I am happy to stay out of.
Gold Coast Suns
Saturday 5 August, 7:40pm, Domain Stadium
Fremantle 90 - Gold Coast Suns 67
This will be only the fifth time that Fremantle have started a game as favourites over the past 12 months.
Fremantle were gallant in defeat against Greater Western Sydney last weekend and a repeat of that sort of effort would make them tough to beat, but consistency has proven to be an issue.
The Dockers have won their three games as home favourites this season and they are 2-1 against the line in this scenario.
Gold Coast produced another uninspiring performance against Richmond last weekend and they have now lost four games on the trot.
The Suns have lost their past seven games as away underdogs and they are an extremely poor 2-5 against the line in this scenario.
There is plenty to like about Fremantle in this clash and they really should be able to record a comfortable win.
Back Fremantle To Beat The Line (-16.5 Points)
West Coast Eagles
Sunday 6 August, 1:10pm, Etihad Stadium
St Kilda 103 - West Coast Eagles 95
This is a huge game for the finals chances of both St Kilda and the West Coast Eagles.
It is St Kilda that are narrow favourites for this clash, but there really is nothing between these two sides in betting.
The Saints have lost their past three games and their record against West Coast in recent years has been extremely poor.
St Kilda have won only four of their past six games as home favourites and they are a very poor 1-5 against the line in this scenario.
West Coast returned to winning form with a big victory over the Brisbane Lions and their record away from home has actually been better than has been reported so far this season.
The Eagles have won four of their past five games as away underdogs for a giant profit and backing them away from home in general has been a profitable play.
St Kilda look to have run out of legs and West Coast are a great bet to solidify their place in the top eight.
Back West Coast To Win @ $2
Sunday 6 August, 3:20pm, MCG
Richmond 93 - Hawthorn 64
This is another game where there is very little between the two sides in betting.
Richmond have recorded three wins on the trot, but this is easily their biggest challenge in some time and could prove pivotal in their quest for a top four finish.
Winning as favourites has not been a problem for Richmond this season – which is surprising in itself – and they have won seven of their past nine games as favourites, while they are 6-3 against the line as the punter’s elect.
Hawthorn kept alive their slim finals hopes with their upset win over Sydney and they are definitely a team that nobody wants to play in the final stages of the season.
The Hawks have won six of their past 15 games as underdogs for a big profit and they are 9-6 against the line in this scenario.
This is another tricky game from a betting perspective and one that I am willing to let slide through to the keeper.
Sunday 30 July, 4:40pm, Adelaide Oval
Adelaide Crows 130 - Port Adelaide 46
Showdown is always one of the highlights of the AFL season and this game has particular relevance as both are genuine premiership contenders.
It is Adelaide that will go into this clash as favourites following their come-from-behind draw against Collingwood.
The Crows have won 15 of their past 21 games as favourites for a narrow loss, but they are 13-8 against the line as the punter’s elect and they have won the past four editions of Showdown.
Port Adelaide produced some scintillating football in the final stages of their clash against St Kilda to record a much-needed win, but they will need to play much better than that to have any chances of beating the Crows.
The Power have won only two of their past six games as away underdogs, but they are 4-2 against the line in this scenario.
It is tough to see Adelaide playing as badly as they did last week and they can return to winning form with a comfortable win over their rivals.
Back Adelaide To Beat The Line (-11.5 Points)
Round 20 of the 2016 AFL season begins with what would generally be a Friday Night Blockbuster between the Richmond Tigers and Collingwood Magpies, but in 2016 lacks its usual punch.
The highlight of the weekend actually comes on Saturday night when finals contenders the Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne face off at Etihad Stadium.
The round concludes on Sunday afternoon when Fremantle and the West Coast Eagles do battle in an always spiteful Western Derby.
Friday 5 August, 7:50pm, MCG
Richmond 92 - Collingwood 77
This is one of the oldest rivalries in the history of the AFL, but both sides have had a season to forget in 2016.
Richmond produced one of the most disgraceful performances in the history of their club when they went down to the Greater Western Sydney Giants last weekend and it is no surprise that they are set to go into this clash as clear underdogs.
The lack of effort on display from Richmond last weekend was truly staggering and if they don’t produce an improved performance this weekend than Damian Hardwicke will likely be out of a j0b by Monday.
The Tigers have been particularly poor as underdogs this season and they have won just one of their eight games as outsiders, while they are 2-6 against the line when receiving a start.
Collingwood returned to winning form with a polished performance against the West Coast Eagles, but recording back-to-back victories has proven to be an issue for the Magpies and they are just 3-6 on the back of a win.
The Mapgies have proven to be a tough team to trust as favourites this season and they are just 4-4 as the punter’s elect, while they are 3-5 against the line in this situation.
These are two sides that have not proven profitable across just about every betting metric this season and I am more than happy to stay out of this contest from a betting standpoint.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Saturday 6 August, 1:45pm, SCG
Sydney Swans 100 - Port Adelaide 33
The Sydney Swans returned to their best form with a dominant victory over Fremantle last weekend and they are very short-priced favourites to account for Port Adelaide this weekend.
Sydney have not been flawless at the Sydney Cricket Ground this season and they are 9-3 as home favourites in the past 12 months, but they have been a profitable play against the line in this scenario.
Port Adelaide recorded a very big victory over the Brisbane Lions on Saturday night, but they obviously face a much tougher challenge against the Swans this weekend and stringing together back-to-back wins has proven to be an issue.
The Power continue to be a profitable betting play as away underdogs and they have won three of their past five games in this scenario, while they have an identical record against the line.
There is no doubt that the Swans deserve to start this clash as favourites, but they are definitely under the odds at their current quote and I am keen to back Port Adelaide with a start of 26.5 points.
Recommended Bet: Back Port Adelaide To Beat The Line (+26.5 Points)
Saturday 6 August, 2:10pm, MCG
Melbourne 110 - Hawthorn 81
Melbourne have struggled badly against Hawthorn in recent seasons and they have lost the past 13 games played between the two sides.
Melbourne got the job done against the Gold Coast Suns last weekend to end a two match losing streak, but there still wasn’t a great deal to like about their performance and scoring points has been an issue for the Demons in recent weeks.
The Demons have actually proven to be a profitable betting side as underdogs this season and they are an impressive 9-6 against the line when being given a start.
Hawthorn continued their winning streak with a typically professional effort against Carlton, but they did not do anything to improve their record as a betting proposition this season.
The Hawks have won 20 out of their past 25 games as favourites for a narrow profit, but they are 10-15 against the line in this scenario and they are 7-14 against the line on the back of a win.
Hawthorn should be able to get the job done, but the line of 34.5 points does seem excessive and the Demons are definitely capable of keeping it tight.
Recommended Bet: Back Melbourne To Beat The Line (+34.5 Points)
Gold Coast Suns
Saturday 6 August, 4:35pm, Metricon Stadium
Gold Coast Suns 84 - GWS Giants 92
The Greater Western Sydney Giants are now head and shoulders above the Gold Coast Suns and they are dominant favourites to get the job done against their rivals this weekend.
The Giants were at their brilliant best against Richmond last weekend and they have now won six of their past seven games.
GWS have still struggled away from home somewhat this season and they have won just five of their past eight games as away favourites, while they are 3-5 against the line in this scenario.
The Gold Coast Suns simply don’t win games of football when they are the underdogs and they are now 0-4 against the line as home underdogs this season.
They did not play badly against Melbourne, but they could get completely blown off the park by what is a star-studded Giants midfield and the line of 40.5 points does look within reach.
In saying that, I still find the Giants a tough team to trust from a betting perspective away from Spotless Stadium and this is another game that I am happy to stay out of.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Saturday 6 August, 7:25pm, Etihad Stadium
Western Bulldogs 61 - North Melbourne 47
The injury crisis is finally starting to catch up with the Western Bulldogs and they will go into this clash with North Melbourne on the back of a pair of defeats.
The Bulldogs were able to match it at times with Geelong last weekend, but a lack of depth told at the end of every single quarter and they face another tough assignment against North Melbourne this weekend.
The Bulldogs generally win when they are expected to, but they don’t have a great record as underdogs – they have won just three of their past nine games in this situation and they are 4-5 against the line.
North Melbourne made it two victories in a row with a professional performance against St Kilda and they will go into this clash as favourites to make it three wins on the trot.
The Kangaroos are another side that generally get the job done as the punter’s elect and they have won 15 out of their past 17 games as favourites, while they are 11-6 against the line in this scenario.
North Melbourne simply have more depth at this stage of the season and I am confident that they will get the job done again this weekend.
Recommended Bet: North Melbourne To Win @ $1.77
Saturday 6 August, 7:10pm, Adelaide Oval
Adelaide Crwos 177 - Brisbane Lions 39
The Adelaide Crows returned to winning form with a big win over Essendon last weekend and they are incredibly short-priced favourites to account for the Brisbane Lions this weekend.
Adelaide continue to thrive in front of their home fans at the Adelaide Oval and they have won six out of their past seven games as home favourites, while they are 4-3 against the line in this scenario.
Big lines have not proven to be an issue for the Adelaide Crows, but a line of 76.5 points does seem excessive.
The Brisbane Lions produced another pitiful performance against Port Adelaide last weekend and it is really no surprise that the line for this clash is so large.
Scarily for the Lions, they have generally saved their worst effort for games played away from The Gabba and they have won just one of their past 11 games as away underdogs, while they are 3-8 against the line in this situation.
This is the biggest line that has been set for an AFL game this season and the biggest line since Hawthorn beat the GWS Giants in 2004, so I can’t recommend a bet in this clash although it would not surprise me if the Crows are able to get the job done.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Sunday 7 August, 1:10pm, MCG
Carlton 51 - St Kilda 122
Carlton made a promising start to the 2016 AFL season, but they have gone backwards in the past couple of months and they have not won a game since they beat the Brisbane Lions on June 4.
The Blues have gone close in their past three games against West Coast, Sydney and Hawthorn, but they have failed to get the job done when it matters and they are playing like an outfit that has forgotten how to win.
Carlton will go into this game as underdogs, but their record in this position is actually fairly strong – they are 12-8 against the line when being given a start and they have won three of their past eight games at the MCG as underdogs.
St Kilda had their three match winning streak ended by North Melbourne last weekend and they will still go into this clash as clear favourites.
The Saints have actually proven to be a reliable team as favourites this season and they have won all three of their games as the punter’s elect this season, while they are 2-1 against the line.
I think that both teams have found their right price ahead of this clash, but I have found some value in the total points betting market.
Both Carlton and St Kilda have generally been unders teams in the AFL this season and Carlton have had particular trouble scoring at the MCG, which makes under 168.5 points an outstanding bet.
Recommended Bet: Back Under 168.5 Points
Sunday 7 August, 3:20pm, Etihad Stadium
Geelong 100 - Essendon 34
Geelong have won ten of their past 11 games against Essendon and it is extremely tough to see that changing this weekend.
The Cats will start this game as extremely short-priced favourites following their three straight victories over Fremantle, Adelaide and Western Bulldogs and anything better than $1.01 would be value.
Geelong have not been the most reliable betting team this season and they have actually been unprofitable as the punter’s elect in the past 12 months, while they are 7-10 against the line when giving away a start.
Essendon were never competitive against Adelaide last weekend and they will go into this clash with rock bottom levels of confidence.
They have now won just two of their past 22 games as underdogs and their record is also a very lackluster 9-13 against the line in this situation.
There is no doubt that Geelong will get the job done, but the line of 68.5 points does seem about right and I am happy to stay out of this clash from a betting perspective.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
West Coast Eagles
Sunday 7 August, 2:40pm, Domain Stadium
Fremantle 64 - West Coast Eagles 110
The Western Derby is always one of the most anticipated games on the AFL calendar and it is a crucial game for two struggling outfits.
West Coast have fallen in a hole somewhat in the second half of the season and they were extremely poor against Collingwood last weekend, but they will still start this game as clear favourites.
This is technically a Fremantle home game, but it is no secret just how strong West Coast are in front of their home fans at Domain Stadium and they have won 11 of their past 12 games at the venue as favourites, while they are 10-3 against the line in this scenario.
Fremantle were soundly beaten by West Coast earlier this season and they have now lost five games on the trot.
The Dockers have proven to be an extremely poor betting proposition as home underdogs – they have won just one of their past six games in this scenario and their record against the line is extremely lacklustre.
West Coast will be very keen to return to their best form in the Western Derby and I am confident that they can account for their rivals in comfortable fashion.
Recommended Bet: West Coast Eagles To Beat The Line (-27.5 Points)