AFL Round 20 Preview & Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for Round 20 of the 2019 AFL season.

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Friday, August 2


North Melbourne vs Hawthorn

7:50pm AEST, Marvel Stadium
View a detailed form guide for North Melbourne vs Hawthorn


The Kangaroos have completed their apparently extensive search for a new senior coach, settling on caretaker Rhyce Shaw, who has a 4-4 win loss record after eight games at the helm. It was a strange approach to appointing a new coach, but I guess as long as Shaw turns out to be good at the job it won’t really matter how they did it. After a great start to his coaching career, his Kangaroos have lost their past three outings; a win on Friday night to celebrate his official appointment would be the perfect way to turn things around.

They’ll have to beat the Hawks to take home the four points, and that won’t be a simple task. Despite a loss to Brisbane on the weekend, Hawthorn have been very good for the past month. They’re still a slim chance of playing finals, so I’m sure they’ll throw everything they’ve got at the Roos on Friday night. It’s a tough one to predict, but I’m right onboard with the trend of teams winning after any new development with their coach: a sacking, a stand-in, an appointment. The Roos will get the win for their new official senior coach.

Betting tip: North Melbourne to win @ $1.91 (BetFair)

Saturday, August 3


Essendon vs Port Adelaide

1:45pm AEST, Marvel Stadium
View a detailed form guide for Essendon vs Port Adelaide


The Bombers nearly blew it against the Suns: they played a terrible first half, but were good enough to lift when the game was on the line. It still didn’t come easy, with a determined Gold Coast leading with less than three minutes remaining. Some magic from Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti and Jake Stringer was enough to lift the Bombers to victory, but they’ll want to be a whole lot better this week against the wounded Power.

Port were unlucky not to beat the Giants at home last Saturday night; they trailed all game, but they had plenty of chances in the final term to take the lead in what was a slow, scrappy game of footy. You wouldn’t think this game will be like that: the Bombers love to play fast, attacking footy, and the conditions will be perfect. I reckon that’ll actually suit Port, and I think they’re every chance of causing an upset. The Bombers do have some good inclusions, with Orazio Fantasia and Conor McKenna back into the team, but I just feel like they’re at risk of dropping a game soon, either this week or next week against the Dogs — I’m going with Port to win a tight, entertaining game of footy.

Betting tip: Port Adelaide to win @ $2.71 (BetFair)


GWS Giants vs Sydney

2:10pm AEST, Sydney Showground Stadium
View a detailed form guide for GWS Giants vs Sydney


The Giants have had a good two weeks, beating Collingwood and then Port to keep themselves in top four contention. They’re a game behind the fourth-placed Tigers, but the Giants have a fairly easy run home and will enter all four games as warm favourites. This week they take on cross-town rivals Sydney, who have struggled for the past four weeks after a mid-season resurgence. The Swans seem just about ready to call time on 2019, knowing that they won’t be playing finals for the first time in ten years. That can’t be easy for a side that’s so used to gearing up for September at this time of year, so it’ll be interesting to see how they handle it. I’m almost expecting them to drop off even further over this next month as the reality of their position sets in.

The Giants are a considerably better side than Sydney in 2019, and their midfield has coped well in the absence of Stephen Coniglio and Josh Kelly, with Tim Taranto, Jacob Hopper and Toby Greene all getting plenty of the ball against Port. Sydney’s midfield shouldn’t pose them any significant problems, and that should ensure the Giants secure another four points this weekend.

Betting tip: GWS (-23.5) @ $1.91 (Bet365)


Fremantle vs Geelong

4:35pm AEST, Optus Stadium
View a detailed form guide for Fremantle vs Geelong


The Dockers lost any hope of playing finals in 2019 when they failed to turn up in the first half against the Dogs on Sunday afternoon. To be fair, the Dogs were on, and they play some pretty slick footy at their best, but Freo needed to be better. The decision to play three ruckman didn’t really work for them, which was probably always going to be the case, particularly when none of them have great mobility. They return home this week to host the Cats, who defeated the Swans in Sydney on Sunday despite still not playing to their potential. They now need to secure just two more wins from their final four games to lock up top spot, and you’d expect that’ll be pretty easy work.

Earlier in the season playing the Dockers in Perth was a real nightmare; now it’s anything but. Despite Chris Scott this week stating that he is Ross Lyon’s junior and that Ross is a master coach, I’m sure he’ll be expecting an easy win over Ross’s Dockers on Saturday, and so he should. Freo are just about finished for the year, they’re just playing out time now, and with another couple of injuries this week — Luke Ryan, Rory Lobb, and Nathan Wilson — they’re not going to challenge the Cats.

Betting tip: Geelong (-16.5) @ $1.90 (UniBet)


Melbourne vs Richmond

7:25pm AEST, MCG
View a detailed form guide for Melbourne vs Richmond


Things just keep getting worse for the Demons, don’t they? I feel like I say it every week, but their fall from grace has been mind-boggling, and we can now put a line through any late season improvement boosting hope for the future. The Dees will need to regroup and do some serious soul-searching over the off-season, but first they need to try to keep things from getting worse. This week they take on the rampaging Tigers, who are charging towards a top four finish for the third consecutive season.

Despite some worries earlier in the year, it looks like Richmond have timed their run perfectly, with the whole team working more cohesively now than ever. It’s a scary sight for other teams, but they’re not the only ones in that position: the Lions and the Bombers are other top eight teams in the middle of a long winning streak. It makes the coming weeks exciting — the only downside being the injuries to skipper Trent Cotchin and young gun Sydney Stack — but probably not for the poor Demons, who are almost no chance of halting the Tiger train this weekend; they’re going to get steamrolled.

Betting tip: Richmond By 25+ @ $1.80 (TopBetta)


Adelaide vs St Kilda

7:40pm AEST, Adelaide Oval
View a detailed form guide for Adelaide vs St Kilda


The Crows disappointed once again, this time losing to the Blues at the MCG in what was a critical game for their season. They’re now precariously placed in eighth position, with only percentage separating them from the surging Western Bulldogs. And let’s be honest, a win this weekend against the Saints is no guarantee. In fact, it’s just about an even money proposition. The Saints are playing much better footy under caretaker coach Brett Ratten, having won their past two outings, and they’ll take plenty of confidence with them to the Adelaide Oval. That’s something the Crows have lost, their confidence, and if the Saints can jump out of the blocks then Adelaide will struggle to get the game back on their terms.

I expect this one to turn into a slog pretty quickly, similar to the Port v GWS game from last weekend, and the team that is best able to take their opportunities will wind up with the four points. Also, the exciting battle between up-and-coming rucks Rowan Marshall and Reilly O’Brien will be worth tuning in for, even if the rest of the game is a scrap. You’ve got to think the Crows will find a way, because their season depends on it, but I don’t think it’ll be by much.

Betting tip: Adelaide to win @ $1.38 (UniBet)

Sunday, August 4


Collingwood vs Gold Coast

1:10pm AEST, MCG
View a detailed form guide for Collingwood vs Gold Coast


After such a promising first half of the year, Collingwood’s season is unravelling at rapid pace. It’s through no real fault of their own; injuries have ravaged them, and they’ve struggled to stay afloat. It’s perfect timing for them to play the Gold Coast this week, but they’re not certainties to get the win based on current form.

The positive from their current situation is that they’re locked into the top eight and will play finals footy; the negative is that they had their sights set on a top four finish, and that’s going to be almost impossible to achieve now. They’d need to beat the Gold Coast, and beat them by plenty to rise above Richmond’s percentage. That’d be the first step. Then they’d need to win their remaining games, and hope the Tigers and GWS drop a couple. It’s not out of the question, but extremely unlikely. Their continued injury curse doesn’t help, with Jordan De Goey the latest victim. Taylor Adams comes into the team in his place to take on a Gold Coast team that gains a few reinforcements this week. The Suns would be feeling pretty good about themselves after almost defeating the Bombers last week, but I can’t see them beating the Pies at the ‘G. They might get close, but they’re not going to win.

Betting tip: Collingwood By 1-39 @ $2.30 (Ladbrokes)


Carlton vs West Coast

3:20pm AEST, Marvel Stadium
View a detailed form guide for Carlton vs West Coast


I get the feeling the Eagles are somewhat flying under the radar due to the recent form of the Lions and the Tigers, but make no mistake the reigning premiers are peaking at just the right time and are as good a chance of winning this year’s premiership as anyone. They’ll be perfectly happy to be ignored, but with Brisbane’s slightly difficult run home, the Eagles are probably in prime position to secure second position, which means a home qualifying final — and a home qualifying final for the Eagles is almost equivalent to a golden ticket to grand final day.

They’ll need to beat the Blues this week to ensure they stay in the box seat for that golden ticket, and as plenty of other clubs have discovered in recent times, beating Carlton is no longer an easy task. The Crows were their latest victim, being comprehensively beaten at the MCG on Saturday. Patrick Cripps was back to his superhuman best; the Eagles will need to quell him if they want to avoid an upset. I think they’ll get the job done, but it wouldn’t at all surprise me if the Blues make them earn it, right up until the final siren.

Betting tip: West Coast By 1-39 @ $2.06 (Ladbrokes)


Brisbane vs Western Bulldogs

4:40pm AEST, The Gabba
View a detailed form guide for Brisbane vs Western Bulldogs


It took the Lions until midway through the third quarter to gain ascendancy over the Hawks in Tasmania, but once they did they were never threatened. Of course, it helped that Hawthorn kicked themselves out of the game, with four more scoring shots than the Lions resulting in a 27-point loss, but that’s beside the point. The Lions are a strong team, and can work their way into a game from any position, even if they’re not having their best day in an opening half. The win was important, keeping a top two spot in play, and this week they head back to the Gabba to further support that cause.

The Dogs head to Brisbane in a bid to keep their finals hopes alive after smashing the Dockers at Marvel Stadium on Sunday. It was a strong performance from the Dogs, one they’ll need to back up this week if it’s to result in anything substantial moving forward. If they had a slightly easier draw you’d back them to replace Adelaide in the top eight, but with the Lions this week followed by games against Essendon, GWS, and Adelaide, it’s going to be tough. The Lions have still only been beaten once at the Gabba this season, and that was very early on, by an in-form Collingwood. I can’t see the Dogs becoming the second team to do it, not with the from Brisbane are in right now.

Betting tip: Brisbane By 25+ @ $2.25 (Bet365)


Best Bets of the Round

Richmond By 25+ @ $1.80 (TopBetta)


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