The following are previews with betting tips for Round 13 of the 2020 AFL season.
Friday, August 21
Gold Coast vs Carlton
7:50pm , TIO Stadium
The Blues recorded one of the season’s more remarkable victories on Saturday evening, defeating the Dockers courtesy of a controversial after-the-siren goal. They trailed for almost the entire contest, but were well within striking distance for most of the night. All they needed in the tough conditions was a little bit of luck, and that’s exactly what they got with 20 seconds remaining in the match. It may not have been the right call for Jack Newnes to have the kick, but he put himself in the right position, just as the Blues did as a team, and was good enough to finish when it mattered. It was a huge win for Carlton, one that keeps their season alive. They’ve got a bunch of winnable games in the run home, so while it’s probably unlikely, if they can finish strongly and snag an upset victory they just might sneak into the top eight.
They’ll need to beat the Suns on Friday to keep that dream alive, and despite the fact the Gold Coast haven’t won a game in quite a while, they always fight hard and make their opposition earn it. They did that against the Tigers on Monday, and it was pretty obvious they weren’t content with falling short. They’ll be desperate to snap their losing streak here, but I have a feeling the four day break, coupled with the trip to Darwin, might hurt them. They looked tired in the final quarter against Richmond, and they’re going to be even more tired towards the end of this one.
Betting tip: Carlton to win @ $1.54 (BetEasy)
Saturday, August 22
Western Bulldogs vs Melbourne
1:45pm , Metricon Stadium
The Dogs ended their three game losing streak with a big win over the Crows. It was an encouraging performance, but who doesn’t have big wins over Adelaide at the moment? The most pleasing thing for Luke Beveridge would have been the performances of some of his most important players: Aaron Naughton, Marcus Bontempelli, and Bailey Smith. When those guys are up and running the Dogs are a hard team to beat, but when they’re off they don’t seem to have a plan B and end up getting belted. What will it be this week?
They’re up against a Demons outfit currently cruising along, having won each of their past three by more than 50 points. Two of those have been against the bottom two sides, but it’s still pretty impressive. Their midfield is dominating, even without the help of Max Gawn, and the forward line is functioning smoothly with the better ball use going forward. It’s almost as if they’ve finally flicked the switch back to 2018 in the past little while, but the real tests await them in the next month. I reckon this will be a close one but I can’t go past the Dees at the moment; I think their midfield will at the very least match their Bulldogs counterparts, and that seems to be a proven way to beat the Dogs. I’m going with the Demons by three goals.
Port Adelaide vs Hawthorn
4:35pm , Adelaide Oval
A few short days after the highs of beating the reigning champions, Port Adelaide experienced a nice big wake up call. Not only did they lose to Geelong, they lost by 60 points and even that margin might have flattered them a little. I don’t think it’s anything to worry about—Port were off their game and the Cats are flying at the moment—but it was a nice little reminder that they’re not necessarily the best team in the competition, and definitely not if they’re off their game. The loss opened up the door for the Lions to claim equal top spot, so a win on Saturday becomes crucial.
Lucky they’ve only got the Hawks, a team really struggling at the moment. The season was already becoming a disaster, and now they’ve lost key defence pillar James Sicily for 12 months in a really unfortunate incident. There’s not much Alastair Clarkson can do now other than play the youngsters, and while that’ll be good for their long-term future, it probably won’t result in too many wins. Port should win this with ease, particularly with Jaegar O’Meara, James Frawley, and Jack Gunston joining Sicily on the sidelines.
Betting tip: Port Adelaide (-26.5) @ $1.72 (Sportsbet)
Essendon vs Richmond
7:40pm , TIO Stadium
The Dreamtime game moves to Darwin, which is a pretty nice forced occurrence considering the circumstances, and it should be a ripping game of footy. The Bombers can’t afford another loss—they haven’t managed a win in their past four games—otherwise their chances of a top eight finish begin to slip away. The Tigers will want to keep within striking distance of the top four, and are in pretty good shape to do so going off their last month of footy. They’re continuing to build and will only get stronger as their key players return.
There has been plenty of talk surrounding Tom Lynch recently but not much of it has been about his performance, which is building ominously. He’s once again forming a dangerous partnership with Jack Riewoldt, and that makes the Tigers hard to stop when they go forward. The Bombers had the opposite problem last week, having 43 inside 50s but only managing to score 33 points. That says it all really. They do finally welcome Jake Stringer back into the side this week, but if they can’t find more reliable avenues to goal they’re not going to go anywhere in 2020, and they’re definitely not going to beat the Tigers on Saturday night.
Betting tip: Richmond (-25.5) @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Fremantle vs Sydney
8:10pm , Optus Stadium
The Swans caused a major upset on Thursday evening, beating the highly-rated Giants by a whopping 41 points. It was quite a stunning performance really; the Swans have been workmanlike all year, never laying down but not quite good enough to punish other teams — until last week, when they absolutely dominated the Giants for the whole four quarters, proving that their young talent will be a force to be reckoned with in the near future. This week they are up against another team stacked full of young guns, Fremantle, and the Dockers even have another one coming in to debut — Liam Henry is sure to cause some excitement at Optus Stadium on Saturday night if early reports are to be trusted.
The Dockers are looking to atone for their last gasp loss to the Blues, and I expect they’ll do so. Despite that loss, they’ve looked really strong in their past month in Perth and I can’t see the Swans seriously challenging them. As good as Sydney were on Thursday, I suspect a part of that victory could be put down to GWS’s lack of intensity and application. I think the Swans will take on a much hungrier opponent this week, and I’m not sure they’ll be good enough.
Betting tip: Fremantle to win @ $1.60 (Sportsbet)
Sunday, August 23
Adelaide vs Geelong
1:05pm , Adelaide Oval
The Crows are in big trouble on Sunday afternoon. They’ve become used to 10 goal losses, but this one could easily be 100+ points. The Cats are the form team of the competition and they have proved very difficult to stop, even for the better teams, so what hope do the Crows have against them? Adelaide weren’t terrible against the Dogs last weekend, but their inability to stop the opposition’s star players from dominating made life hard. If they are similarly unable to subdue Hawkins and Dangerfield, then the Cats will have a day out. They were able to do as they please against the top of the ladder Port Adelaide, so it’s almost frightening to think of how they easily they will beat the Crows. Not one worth watching, I’d suggest.
Betting tip: Geelong By 40+ @ $2.00 (UniBet)
Brisbane vs St Kilda
3:35pm , The Gabba
The Saints bounced back from their poor loss to Geelong with a solid win over the Bombers on Sunday afternoon. It was a mature performance by the Saints, who held the Bombers at arm’s length for the whole day and were never really troubled. This week they’ve got another huge test when they travel to the Gabba to take on the Lions. Brisbane probably aren’t at their absolute best right now, but they are still clearly one of the best teams in the competition and it’s going to take a mammoth effort for the Saints to beat them. But there’s a top four spot up for grabs, and St Kilda have proved in 2020 that they are capable of rising to big challenges — they’ll no doubt be reminding themselves of their win over Port in Adelaide a month or so ago going into this one.
As good as Oscar McInerney has been in the ruck for the past two games, I feel like the Saints should have the advantage there this week. The combination of Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall is really working for them now, and they should be able to work the Lions over. But shutting down Lachie Neale and co. is a whole different story, and that’ll be where the Lions gain the ascendancy; I’m not sure the Saints have the talent and depth in the midfield to take it up to Brisbane.
West Coast vs GWS
6:10pm , Optus Stadium
This is another big, big game. The Eagles are in the hunt for a top four position, while the Giants are battling to stay in touch with the top eight. Their performance against the Swans was absolutely baffling; they let a much younger, inexperienced team bully them, and they didn’t respond even after having a chance to re-group at half-time. Leon Cameron has lost patience with his under-performing team, opting to make five unforced changes for this crunch match. Jeremy Finlayson is the biggest name to lose his spot while the ruck merry-go-round continues, with Shane Mumford replacing Sam Jacobs for this one. I really can’t see the Giants challenging this year unless they find a settled line-up, but that doesn’t appear to be any closer now than it was at the beginning of the season.
The Eagles have exactly that, a beautifully balanced, settled team, and while this is their last game in Perth, they seem much better placed to attack hub life than they were last time when they really struggled. I suspect they’ll leave Optus Stadium with a bang—I reckon they could just about end GWS’s season with a big thumping ten goal win.
Betting tip: West Coast By 25+ @ $2.45 (Bet365)
Monday, August 24
Collingwood vs North Melbourne
7:10pm , The Gabba
The Pies had their season back on track with scrappy wins against two of the bottom three sides, but they weren’t able to match a middle-of-the-road Melbourne team, going down by a hefty 56 points. They are still in the top eight and can cement that spot with a win over the Roos on Monday night, but it must be worrying coach Nathan Buckley that his team haven’t really played a good game of footy in their last five outings. Sure, they’ve had plenty of personnel issues, but they need to find a way through that if they are any chance of contending this year. Steele Sidebottom is the latest Collingwood superstar that will miss a significant chunk of footy, but they need to find a way. Sidebottom will be out there for this one, but Brody Mihocek will miss due to concussion, further depleting Collingwood’s attack.
North Melbourne have battled through injury concerns of their own this year, which has probably contributed to their wildly fluctuating form. After being smacked by Melbourne, they came out and nearly beat the second-placed Lions in a tight, scrappy game of footy. It was close all the way through, and while the Roos will be bitterly disappointed they couldn’t snag a win, they’ll take confidence from their effort. The Pies are no where near the quality of Brisbane right now, so North might fancy their chances. I’m a bit hesitant to pick either side here—Collingwood should win, but they are hard to trust at the minute. Regardless of who gets up, I expect it be an ugly, low-scoring game.
Betting tip: Total Match Points Under 118.50 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Best Bets of the Round
Port Adelaide (-26.5) @ $1.72 (Sportsbet)
Geelong By 40+ @ $2.00 (UniBet)