The following are previews with betting tips for Round 12 of the 2020 AFL season.
Thursday, August 13
Sydney vs GWS
8:10pm , Optus Stadium
With three consecutive wins the Giants have clawed themselves back into the top eight, and I reckon they’re going to stay there for the rest of the season now. They’re still not absolutely humming, but they’re playing some decent footy and their talented players are starting to get more involved in games, influencing results. They’ve got what should be a relatively easy task this week against the Swans, before a huge Sunday night clash against the Eagles awaits them in Round 13. That’ll really test where they’re at, but for now they just need to get over the Swans. They’ve gone back to Sam Jacobs to ruck this week, opting to rest Shane Mumford, while Phil Davis will miss due to a knee injury.
The Swans are probably going to struggle against a quality team like GWS; they managed to stay in the game in their loss to the Pies, but that was largely due to Collingwood’s wasteful ball use and inaccuracy in front of goal. The Giants generally make you pay, and I doubt the Swans will be good enough to dry up their supply of the ball. Sydney aren’t great at the moment, but their consistent effort has been enough to keep them from getting blown away too many times this season; this Thursday it might not be enough.
Betting tip: GWS By 25+ @ $2.12 (UniBet)
Friday, August 14
Geelong vs Port Adelaide
7:50pm , The Gabba
What a huge Friday night clash this is: the first-placed Port Adelaide head to the Gabba to take on the third-placed Cats. Port are absolutely flying at the moment, having just beaten the reigning premiers in a brilliant display of footy, and with a two game break on third-place they’re just about cemented into a top four spot, barring something extraordinary happening. The Cats don’t have that same luxury, but a strong performance against the Saints has them now well-positioned to attack the backend of the season and nab an all-important double chance. A big factor in whether they’re able to do that will come down to Friday night’s result.
Port are clearly in good form, but the Cats aren’t far behind them. I expect this to be a really great game of footy, and I reckon the Cats are a genuine chance. If they can control the influence of Charlie Dixon and down the other end Tom Hawkins can keep up his dominant form then I reckon the job is half done. The Cats are good enough to match Port in the middle of the ground, and they’ve proved they’ve got plenty of dangerous attacking options to challenge Port in that area. Geelong adapted pretty well to playing at the Gabba against the Saints and I reckon they might enjoy the venue again this week. It’ll be a whole lot closer this time though.
Betting tip: Geelong to win @ $2.18 (Bet365)
Saturday, August 15
North Melbourne vs Brisbane
2:35pm , Blundstone Arena
North have made sweeping changes to the team that was thumped by Melbourne on Sunday, but I’m not sure they are necessarily the right moves. They’ve once again dropped Jared Polec, along with Jasper Pittard and Aaron Hall. Those guys provide so much of North Melbourne’s run and carry, their metres gained. Sure, they’ve all got flaws, and in the case of Pittard and Hall, pretty significant flaws. And maybe it is the time to play youth, but I think they’re going in this week with a much weaker side because of the absence of those three. The Lions will run them ragged, and they won’t have the players to run the wings to go with them.
Not that it would make a difference: Brisbane are going to trounce them either way, but it’s probably going to make things worse. The Lions are a fairly settled side at the minute, only occasionally making unforced changes. That sort of stability will set them up nicely for a tilt come the finals, and they should be well placed to secure a top four finish. I can’t see North getting anywhere near them this week, and it should end up being a nice percentage booster for the second-placed Lions.
Betting tip: Brisbane By 40+ @ $2.45 (BetEasy)
Melbourne vs Collingwood
5:10pm , The Gabba
This is a really fascinating match-up. It’s huge in the context of the season, and it’ll be a great indication of where both clubs are at. Earlier in the week I had Melbourne down for causing an upset, but Max Gawn’s failure to get up, along with the return of the Darcy Moore, Scott Pendlebury and Jamie Elliott swings things quite dramatically in Collingwood’s favour. Melbourne have been doing everything they’re expected to do so far, beating the teams below them with ease, but I’m still not sure they’re a great footy side in 2020.
We’ll find out more on Saturday, but I suspect the Pies will be a class above them, particularly without Max Gawn to do battle against Brodie Grundy. Grundy clearly hasn’t been anywhere near his best, but perhaps facing a makeshift Demons ruck partnership will be exactly what he needs to return to form. The Pies, along with Grundy, haven’t been great over the past month, but their ability to scrap out wins in the past two games has been hugely important. They might not have been against strong opponents, but when half your team is missing it’s so important to still be able to secure a win. They’ve still got a long way to go, but it could go down as a turning point in their season. I reckon they’ll only get better from here, and that should start with a win over the Demons.
Betting tip: Collingwood to win @ $1.78 (Bet365)
Fremantle vs Carlton
8:10pm , Optus Stadium
Two rounds ago this seemed like a fairly stock-standard game that the Blues would have been expected to win; now it’s anyone’s game, and not only that, it could pave for the way for the winner to launch an unlikely assault on a top eight position. The Dockers have been outstanding in their last two games, upsetting the Pies and then taking care of the Hawks. They are doing it with a huge number of young players supported by a sprinkling of experience. The difference between old and young was stark in their win over the Hawks; this week against Carlton it’ll be the battle of the youth.
It’s hard to get a good read on the Blues at the moment. They’ve lost their past two games, but they’ve started both really well, easily looking the better side in the early parts. So are they stopping, or have their opponents lifted to another gear that they haven’t been able to match? I’d say it’s a bit of both, and that trend would become concerning if it continues for too long. The positive is that they are starting games strongly and showing what they’re capable of, and I suspect the Dockers will be ready for that on Saturday. It should be a ripping game of footy, but it’s hard to go past the home team, especially since they’re welcoming star Michael Walters back into the team. I reckon they’ll get the win by a goal or two.
Betting tip: Fremantle to win @ $1.88 (Unibet)
Sunday, August 16
Western Bulldogs vs Adelaide
1:05pm , Metricon Stadium
The Crows fought hard but weren’t quite good enough to get their first win of the season against the Pies. Could it be this week? It’s probably unlikely, but the Dogs aren’t going all that well at the moment, having lost their past three matches. Granted they’ve been against three pretty good sides, but it’s more the manner of their losses that have been disappointing: they look like a disjointed football side at the minute, with no connection between their forwards and a real lack of potency in their midfield. The middle of the ground is supposed to be their strength, but they were absolutely belted by the Lions last weekend.
The Bont looks sore, Dunkley and Smith are well below their best, and Macrae is playing at his usual standard but he needs help. Lachie Hunter returns to the side this week to boost their run, but the loss of Jason Johannisen and Laitham Vandermeer hurts. Zaine Cordy and Josh Bruce are both out, and the Dogs have chosen to replace them with smalls instead of key position players. That’s a bit of a headscratcher for me, and I reckon it might invite the Crows into the game. I don’t think I’ll be backing the Crows to win because they’re absolutely terrible, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dogs struggle to get over the line.
Betting tip: Western Bulldogs By 1-39 @ $2.15 (Bet365)
St Kilda vs Essendon
3:35pm , The Gabba
The Saints had their first major hiccup in a while last round against the Cats, when they were completely noncompetitive in a game that was a massive litmus test for them. It’s not enough to write them off, particularly considering how well the Cats are going at the moment, but it was a major setback. They’ve got another test this week against a Bombers side that seem to have lifted out of their minor form slump. They couldn’t snatch the win against the Suns, but they fought back after a poor start to force a draw. It was a great game of footy and really showcased how dangerous the Bombers can be if they’re allowed off the leash. The Saints play a similarly attacking style of footy so I reckon this one might be another good one to watch.
The loss of Jade Gresham for the remainder of the year is going to test the Saints, but to soften the blow, at least for this week, the much-needed Zak Jones is back in the team. The Bombers have a few big outs of their own, with David Zaharakis and Devon Smith both out, but frequent big name changes are to be expected at this time of the season. It’ll all come down to who will handle things best, and St Kilda have so far proved that they are relatively adept at doing that in 2020. I suspect they’ll get over the top of the Bombers on Sunday, but I reckon it’ll be a close, high scoring game.
Betting tip: St Kilda By 1-39 @ $1.94 (Unibet)
West Coast vs Hawthorn
6:10pm , Optus Stadium
The Eagles have forced their way into the top four and are looking as ominous as ever right now. They weren’t necessarily at their best against the Blues, but they still ended up winning comfortably after a poor start to the game. That’s a sign of a football team that is a level above most of the competition, and that’s fairly worrying for the other clubs. Particularly a club like Hawthorn, who couldn’t even beat West Coast’s inferior crosstown rivals in Round 11. And to make matters worse, the Eagles will only get stronger this week with the inclusion of Jeremy McGovern, while the Hawks are weakened due to the absence of Isaac Smith, Jon Ceglar, and Tom Scully. Shaun Burgoyne returns, but at his age he’s hardly going to make too much of a difference to their overall performance.
They might just be out of sorts, but I feel like the Hawks are finally on the precipice of a full-blown rebuild. They might not like it, and Alastair Clarkson might fight against it, but it’s almost inevitable at this point in time. We’ll find out more on Sunday, and they are playing a few more youngsters this week, but a big loss to the Eagles might make wholesale changes unavoidable going forward.
Betting tip: West Coast By 25+ @ $1.80 (Bet365)
Monday, August 17
Richmond vs Gold Coast
7:10pm , The Gabba
The Tigers copped a minor wake-up call at the Adelaide Oval last Saturday, going down to Port by 21 points. They were coming off the back of two big wins against good opposition, but they weren’t good enough to go with Port Adelaide for the full four quarters. That won’t worry Damien Hardwick; in fact, he’ll probably be fairly happy with the effort: the Tigers had their periods of dominance, and it was only in the last quarter that the Power got away from them. Port were close to their best, and we know that Richmond are still missing a host of top line players. Trent Cotchin is one they’ll get back in this week, to help against a Gold Coast team that played some pretty good footy against the Bombers.
The Suns probably should’ve won the game in the end, but they played with their usual intensity and they’ll be better for the experience. I doubt they’ll get too close to the Tigers, but if they play at their best they should be able to stay within arm’s length. That’s what I’m expecting; a strong effort from the Suns, but the class of the Tigers to result in a four goal victory.
Betting tip: Richmond (-21.5) @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Best Bets of the Round
Richmond (-21.5) @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)