Round 1 of the new AFL season continues on Sunday where we have three games on the card. It’s certainly been strange watching these matches with no atmosphere on TV, but at least we have something to take our minds off the current pandemic! Here, we close out Round 1 by delivering previews and betting tips for all three games on Sunday. Good luck to everyone following us this season!
Marvel Stadium, 1:05pm AEDT
North Melbourne are coming off a mediocre 2019 where they failed to make the top eight, which was probably to be expected. They aren’t tipped by many to improve too much further this season, but the Kangaroos have proven us all wrong plenty of times before. They bring in a pretty similar list to last season with the addition of a bit more youth, which they’ll be hoping will spark up some of their star veterans.
The Saints have been rebuilding for a couple of years now and will be looking to improve on their 14th place finish in 2019. They have plenty of exciting young talent with the likes of Marshall, Billings and Gresham who will all be looking to take the next step this season. If all goes to plan for new coach Brett Ratten, the Saints will be one of a few teams competing for a finals spot in 2020.
The betting market is pretty even here with the Saints given the slight advantage. We tend to agree as the Saints have a little bit more upside compared to the Kangaroos. We’re happy to be on the Saints to get their season off to a good start, just like they did in 2019. For a player prop, we’re keen on taking the overs on new Saint Dan Butler to snag a couple of goals.
MCG, 3:40pm AEDT
The Hawks were disappointed not to play finals last season in what their fans will be hoping is a once off. They welcome back 2018 Brownlow Medallist Tom Mitchell back from a broken leg after missing all of 2019. The additional of Mitchell along with the man mountain Jon Patton (GWS) will immediately make this Hawks team better, while the rest of the improvement will have to come from their other younger guys who now have plenty of games under their belt.
The Lions made a meteoric rise up the ladder in 2019, but they bowed out in the finals in straight sets, which was sure to leave them with a bitter taste in their mouths. They’ll now be hoping for another big regular season and will be desperate to avoid the second year blues that a lot of rapidly rising teams experience. A big plus for the young Lions is the health of their list as they have pretty much a full squad to pick from.
The Hawks are always a dangerous team to play in Melbourne, but the Lions are the better team in this matchup and we expect them to win this game. Obviously, the home ground advantage is no more with the empty stadiums, so there are no excuses for the travelling side. For a cheeky prop play, we’ll be having a little swing on Dan McStay to jag a couple of goals at juicy odds.
Optus Stadium, 6:40pm AEDT
The Eagles were a touch disappointing in 2019 after winning the flag the year prior. They did have their fair share of injury struggles however, and by all counts have had a really strong pre-season heading into 2020. Tim Kelly comes across from the Cats to add immediate class to the midfield, while Josh Kennedy looks primed for a bounce back year after a couple of sub-par seasons.
Melbourne were the big underachievers last season and will be desperate to bounce back in a big way in 2020. A hugely interrupted pre-season heading into 2019 certainly didn’t help their case, but it seems like things have gone swimmingly this time around. Christian Pretracca looks as fit as we’ve ever seen him and is set to play big minutes in the midfield, which could bring big upside to their engine room.
This is a very interesting match and one that we feel would be a whole lot different if the crowd was a factor. The Eagles start as nearly four goal favourites, but the Demons have looked strong in the pre-season and will be desperate to hit the ground running in 2020. We expect them to keep it close and for Tom Langdon to rack it up in his first game in Demon colours.
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