The following are previews with betting tips for Round 10 of the 2020 AFL season.
Monday, August 3
Port Adelaide vs Western Bulldogs
7:10pm , Adelaide Oval
The Dogs continued their rollercoaster season with a poor effort against the Tigers that saw them go down by 41 points. They never looked likely, and it had coach Luke Beveridge scratching his head at the final siren. Whether he is able to do anything to fix it in the five days between games we’ll find out tomorrow night, but it’s not looking good for the Dogs: they’ve got the ladder-leaders over in Adelaide this week, followed by the Lions in Queensland. That’s a tough stretch when you’ve just been belted by an understrength Richmond, but the Dogs, in general, seem to play their better football when they’re underdogs.
I expect we’ll see some fight from them on Monday, and the return of Josh Dunkley should help their contest work around the football in that regard. But Port are not only a good contested team, they move the ball quickly on the outside and are dynamic with a bit of space in their forward line. I’m not sure the Dogs are in the same class, at least not at the moment. They work hard and are decent in the contest, but they’ve been carved up by some of the more skilful, daring teams. I reckon that’s what we’ll see again in this one. Port by five goals.
Betting tip: Port Adelaide (-12.5) @ $1.91 (BetEasy)
Tuesday, August 4
Richmond vs Brisbane
7:10pm , Metricon Stadium
This clash between the Tigers and the Lions — a replay of last year’s Qualifying Final — is shaping up as the game of the round. Both clubs had impressive victories last weekend over respectable opponents, and have now both won four of their previous five outings. The Tigers look to have worked their way back into the season after a few early losses and injury worries made them somewhat vulnerable. With skipper Trent Cotchin returning last week, key playmaker Nick Vlastuin back in for this one, and Bachar Houli not too far away, the reigning champs are only going to grow stronger.
But they’re up against a very good opponent this weekend, one who are desperate to improve on last year, and that means beating the best sides in the competition. I’m still concerned about their lack of ruck options with the loss of Stefan Martin and Archie Smith, but that’s likely to hurt them more when they come up against a Brodie Grundy or Nic Naitanui, not so much Ivan Soldo. Still, it’s hard to split these two clubs at the minute; the Lions probably have the slightly stronger form-line, but the Tigers are a great team who are beginning to look ominous. Dustin Martin’s form will be giving Chris Fagan a headache, particularly as he was the difference in their final last year, kicking a career-best six goals. If the Lions haven’t found an answer for Dusty they might be in for another loss. But on the opposite side of things, do the Tigers have an answer for Lachie Neale? I expect it to be a ripping contest with both teams keen to play to their strengths, which should lead to a fast, intense footy game of footy, but I reckon the Lions might just manage to atone for last year’s disappointing loss.
Betting tip: Brisbane to win @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Wednesday, August 5
Geelong vs North Melbourne
5:40pm , The Gabba
The Wednesday night matches are the first where we’re seeing clubs make significant changes to their teams. Some of those changes are simply due to first-choice players returning, but others are no doubt caused by the player needing a rest. Joel Selwood, Rhys Stanley, and Jack Steven return for the Cats, but a few important cogs in their team will be rested. For the Roos, Ben Brown and Jared Polec come straight back into the side, and a few younger players have been managed. North have made those changes despite having their first win for a long time in Round 9, but to be fair it was only against the Crows. They’ll definitely need the experience of Brown and Polec against this Cats team, who are travelling pretty well at the moment.
Geelong went down to the Eagles on Saturday night, but they lost no admirers. Both teams played some remarkable footy, and it was probably close to the highest quality game of footy we’ve had for the season. Based on that you’d expect the Cats to take care of North with relative ease; the only area of advantage I can find for North is the ruck battle, but Rhys Stanley should be fresh enough to somewhat quell Todd Goldstein’s influence. I reckon the Cats might be in for a big win here.
Betting tip: Geelong By 25+ @ $2.45 (Bet365)
Adelaide vs Melbourne
8:10pm , Adelaide Oval
These two clubs each took significant steps backward in their last game. The Crows, without winning, had showed some encouraging signs in their previous two matches — they had been competitive in both, and could’ve easily snatched a win or two. Then, in a match against the second-last placed North Melbourne, they fall apart and go down by a whopping 69 points. Meanwhile, the Dees had accounted for the Suns and the Hawks, and only just lost to the Lions. They then lose to the Power by 51 points in a completely uncompetitive effort. It was so bad they were publicly savaged by their president, who isn’t known for doing that sort of thing.
So we should be expecting a significant bounce back from both teams this week, and they’ve both made plenty of changes to try to find some energy and intensity. I said last week that the Crows are due for a win, and despite their terrible effort against North Melbourne, I still reckon it’s true. The Demons aren’t the greatest team going around, so there’s every chance it might be this week. That said, it’s hard to back the Crows outright considering where they’re at. I’ll go with the Crows at the line.
Betting tip: Adelaide (+16.5) @ $1.90 (UniBet)
Thursday, August 6
Collingwood vs Sydney
5:40pm , The Gabba
Two weeks is a long, long time in football. The Pies had just beaten the Cats in the first of their Perth hub games, and in impressive fashion too. They then find out they’ll be missing Jordan De Goey for the majority of the season, and go on to lose to both West Coast and Fremantle. They now sit outside of the eight with only four wins from their nine matches, but fortunately they’ve got a nice few weeks coming up. Sydney on Thursday is followed by the Crows and then the Demons; all three clubs you’d expect the Pies to beat. The problem is, they were also expected to easily account for the Dockers. They’ve made a few changes to that team, with Chris Mayne and Travis Varcoe both dropped and Jordan Roughead and Ben Reid returning.
But the problems run deeper than a few changes: Brodie Grundy isn’t displaying the sort of dominance we’ve come to expect, and their forward line isn’t functioning without De Goey. In fact, even when he was there they were struggling to kick a large score. If the Swans can find a way to kick 10 goals themselves they’ll be every chance of winning this, but that has been a problem for them as well. Nick Blakey and Lewis Taylor have been victims of that forward line dysfunction, both being omitted from the team for this week. So it’s the battle of the low scorers, and while I expect the Pies to win, it doesn’t look like turning into a goal fest.
Betting tip: Total Match Points Under 119.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Gold Coast vs St Kilda
8:10pm , Metricon Stadium
The game against Sydney was one the Saints of old might have dropped, but they might just be maturing as a footy club; not only did they win a game they were expected to, they made sure it was a thumping victory. They’re now fully entrenched in the top eight, and considering their form at the moment I think it’s fair to say it would take a catastrophe for the Saints to miss out on finals footy this year.
The Suns are one of the many clubs looking to take their place, but four losses from their previous five games has them precariously perched in 11th spot. They were good against both the Dogs and the Giants, but respectable losses aren’t going to get them anywhere. In fairness, they are in the midst of a really tough patch of games at the moment, with the Saints followed by Essendon and then the Tigers. They’d love to snag two of those, but realistically if they can win one they’ll have done a pretty good job. Could it be this one against the Saints? Probably not — if the Saints show up to play they should be good enough to beat the Suns. St Kilda are really humming at the moment, with the ruck duo finally working for them and their talls and smalls in the forward half continuing to be dangerous. I can’t see that changing on Thursday night.
Betting tip: St Kilda to win @ $1.52 (Bet365)
Friday, August 7
Essendon vs GWS
7:50pm , Metricon Stadium
The Bombers have had a pretty tough three weeks. They were thumped by the Dogs, only just managed to beat the winless Crows, and then thumped again by the Lions. Their season is at the crossroads, but unfortunately things don’t get any easier: this week they’ve got the Giants, who are back in some good form. The loss of Toby Greene is going to hurt them, but importantly their midfield seems to be gelling a whole lot better now. Callan Ward is back into the team this week which helps, while Shane Mumford comes in for the rested Sam Jacobs. The Bombers have also opted to rest Tom Bellchambers, leaving the sole ruck duties to youngster Sam Draper. He was one of the sole shining lights in their loss to the Lions, showing enough to demonstrate that he’ll probably cope well with the number one ruck duties.
Essendon’s main issue at the moment is that they’re leaking scores against. Both the Dogs and the Lions kicked over 90 points against them, and even the Crows hit nearly 60 points. That’s a real worry this week, as the Giants’ major strength is their efficient forward line. As long as GWS can get the ball inside forward fifty, which you’d expect they will, they should be able to score heavily. That spells a bad night for the Bombers, and I fully expect GWS to win this quite comfortably.
Betting tip: GWS (-13.5) @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Best Bets of the Round
Geelong By 25+ @ $2.45 (Bet365)