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AFL Round 20 Best Bets: Back the Giants and Dogs in tight games

Wed, Aug 2, 8:29am by Head Editor

Round 19 of the AFL season saw the favourites win and cover the line in just three of the nine games.

Three was also the number of games that were decided by a goal or less in what was an amazing round of football, that also saw the season’s third draw.

One of the teams who were beaten by a goal – the Sydney Swans – head to Geelong on Friday night, for what is shaping up as another tight game. The line in that one is the lowest of the round which sees a clear favourite in six of the nine games.

The first of three Saturday games that will have a bearing on the makeup of the top eight, takes place in the nation’s capital, when the Giants host the Demons.

The other two are Essendon’s clash with Carlton, and the Doggies trip to Brisbane. Both of those games have a line of around four and five goals respectively.

Keep an eye out our Sunday Specials, which will be up on the website on Saturday. Here’s our best bets for Round 20.

Geelong v Sydney, Friday August 4, 7:50pm, Simonds Stadium

After dropping their first game in eight weeks, the Swans head to Geelong to kick-off the round with a bang against the second-placed Cats, who easily accounted for Carlton last week.

Geelong opened as a $1.72 chance on Monday, but after it was confirmed that Brownlow Medal favourite Patrick Dangerfield will miss through suspension, they’ve drifted out to $1.95.

The visitors are in from $2.13 to $1.85 to keep their chances of a top four finish alive, while the line is in from 4.5 to 1.5 points.

The Swans did win their last outing at this venue, by 38 points, in Round 16 last year, but lost their last three at the Cattery before that. Overall, they’ve won four of their last five against the Cats, including last year’s Preliminary Final.

The hosts have won seven straight at this venue, but their last loss did come against the Swans in that Round 16 clash last year.

The Cats are ranked second for points per game with 101, and big Tom Hawkins was the main reason for their big score of 123 last week, booting six majors. Their opponents are averaging 90.

Geelong will miss obviously miss Dangerfield, but Sydney weren’t great last week, and travelling to Geelong is always a tough assignment. I’m expecting a close one here, and the $2.50 for either club to win by under 16 points represents value.

Suggested Bet: Either team to win by under 15.5: $2.50

WATCH: Our Preview of Round 20 of the AFL season

Greater Western Sydney v Melbourne, Saturday August 5, 1:45pm, UNSW Canberra Oval

The Demons have the tough task of facing the Giants in the nation’s capital, just one week after a disappointing loss to the 16th placed Kangaroos. GWS weren’t convincing either last week, but did notch their first win in seven, against the Dockers.

The hosts have been steady all week, at around the $1.45 mark. Melbourne are in from $2.89 to $2.78 to cause an upset, on the back of the news that their co-captain Nathan Jones will return from injury. The line is in from 16.5 to 15.5 points.

The battle of the midfield will be one worth watching, these two clubs are ranked first and third respectively in clearances, with the Giants averaging 42.3 per game, just ahead of the Demons, who are third, with 38.8.

GWS have played at this venue twice this season, with wins over Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs, while Melbourne have played here six times, for two wins.

Both sides are set to go in without their key forwards, with both Jesse Hogan (collarbone) and Jeremy Cameron (hamstring) sidelined, which makes the midfield battle even more crucial.

The Demons have been one of the strongest contested possession teams this season, ranked second with 153.7 per game, well ahead of the Giants who are ranked eighth with 143.5.

I can’t possibly tip Melbourne after what they dished up last week, but the Giants haven’t been in good form either, but I am taking them to get it done by under 40 points, in what should be a competitive game.

Suggested Bet: GWS to win by 1 to 39 points: $2.10

Brisbane v Western Bulldogs, Saturday August 5, 4:35pm, Gabba

The Western Bulldogs firmed from $34 to $23 for back-to-back Premierships after winning their third straight game over the Bombers on Sunday, while the Lions were belted by 68 points against the Eagles on the same day.

There were some signs in that game on Sunday that the Dogs are getting back near their best, which has seen them installed as short-priced favourites to beat the cellar dwelling Lions.

The visitors are $1.20 to win their fourth game in a row, with the Lions drifting out from $4.45 to $4.60 since Monday. The line is also out from 27.5 to 29.5 points.

This is a game that the Dogs simply must win. They’re now just percentage outside the top eight, and with Marcus Bontempelli and Jason Johannisen starting to find their best form, they’ll be too good for a young Lions side.

Chris Fagan’s charges will be no easy beats at home though, where they’ve won two of their last four games. Dayne Zorko is set to return from suspension, which will bolster their midfield.

Suggested Bet: Bulldogs by 1-39 points: $2.25

MULTI OF THE WEEK: Combining all the below for $11.81 at Sportsbet

Geel v Syd: Either team to win by under 15.5: $2.50

GWS to win by 1 to 39 points: $2.10

Bulldogs by 1-39 points: $2.25

AFL Round 20 odds:

Geelong $1.95 v Sydney $1.85 Line: 1.5
Greater Western Sydney $1.45 v Melbourne $2.78 Line: 15.5
Essendon $1.26 v Carlton $3.90 Line: 24.5
Brisbane $4.60 v Western Bulldogs $1.20 Line: 29.5
North Melbourne $2.55 v Collingwood $1.52 Line: 11.5
Fremantle $1.40 v Gold Coast $3 Line: 17.5
St Kilda $1.81 v West Coast $2 Line: 2.5
Richmond $1.74 v Hawthorn $2.10 Line: 4.5
Adelaide $1.54 v Port Adelaide $2.50 Line: 11.5

Odds supplied by Sportsbet and were correct at the time of publishing*

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