Round 1 of the brand new 2020 AFL season continues on Friday night with a clash between the Western Bulldogs and Collingwood at Marvel Stadium. We’ll be providing previews and betting tips for each and every game of the season and this Friday night is no exception. As always, we wish you the best of luck following our tips for both this game and the 2020 season as a whole!
The second match of the season promises to be a beauty with the Bulldogs taking on the Magpies. Both sides will be expecting to be competing at the business end of the season, which means getting off to a good start in this shortened season is paramount.
The Bulldogs started off 2019 very slowly and had to go on a huge run to feature in the finals. While they did eventually make it into the top eight, the tank was out of gas when they took on the Giants in the first week of finals. The Bulldogs have made a few nice moves in the off-season, one of which was bringing in Josh Bruce across from the Saints to improve their tall forward stocks.
The Magpies 2019 season ended in heartbreak when they narrowly went down to the Giants in a preliminary final. The 2018 runner-up Magpies have now had two really disappointing finishes to seasons in a row and will be desperate to make amends in 2020. They come into this season with a pretty similar list to which they finished 2019 with and will be looking for natural improvement and tweaks in their game plan to tip them over the edge.
Both of these clubs will be expecting big things this season and both will be desperate to get their campaigns off to a winning start. For us, we give the slight edge to the Bulldogs here who we believe will be the big movers in 2020. The bulk of their list is now in that prime 24-28 age bracket and they have barely any injuries to worry about, which is a big change compared to this time last year. The Dogs also play their best footy on the quick Marvel Stadium deck, so we expect them to have the advantage here.
The player in focus for the disposal market is none other than Bulldogs ball magnet Jack Macrae. He’s coming off a career-best year in 2019 where he was named to his first All-Australian team on the back of a career-high average of 33.4 disposals per game, which was the highest mark in the entire league ahead of Magpies midfielder Adam Treloar (32.8). Not only did Macrae have a great season, but the way he finished off was remarkable – he recorded 12 straight games of 30+ disposals to finish off the season at an average of 36.8 per game. Now, we understand that the quarters are 20% shorter this season, however, we still saw Cripps being able to rack up 31 on Thursday night despite heavy attention in the second half. The Bulldogs have a much deeper midfield than the Blues and have at least one guy ahead of him in the pecking order in Marcus Bontempelli, which means Macrae should be able to run around and find as much footy as he pleases, which is the norm for last season’s leading possession getter.
We’re keen to attack the goal scorer market as well with our focus on Magpies small forward Jamie Elliott. In 2019 we finally saw Elliott get a decent run at it in the back half of the season without injuries holding him back. He’s always shown a great ability around the big sticks and the way he finished off last season was another reminder. Elliott kicked 11 goals from his last four games in 2019, kicking 2+ in three of them. He now has a decent pre-season under his belt and is a position to hit the ground running in 2020. We like the odds on him to be a multiple goal-scorer in what should be a high-scoring game at Marvel Stadium.
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