It's been a week of soul searching at Tigerland after an embarrassing 88-point thumping at the hands of GWS last week. Club elder Kevin Bartlett slammed his old side as "pathetic" while legend Matthew Richardson wants a review into Richmond's football department. How will they respond on Friday night against Collingwood at the 'G? The Pies are flying after an upset victory over West Coast last week - we picked it, and hope you cashed in too. We reckon they will be too good in the first game of round 20 and are on Collingwood to win by at least 20 points ($2.15 with Luxbet) and the first score of the game to be a Magpies goal ($3.35 with Unibet).
Sydney Swans v Port Adelaide Power
Both these clubs are coming off massive victories in round 19, but Saturday arvo's clash at the SCG is heading only one way. Sydney have so much to play for right now - they're third, but are in a logjam of four teams on 13 wins. Another three clubs are circling, just four points behind. With spots in the top four on the line, we reckon the Swans will steamroll Port. It won't be quite as easy as their 90-point victory over Freo last week though, so we're going for the Bloods to get up by at least 35 points ($2.30 with Luxbet). We also reckon Port's Ollie Wines is a good chance to get at least 30 possessions ($3.30 with Sportsbet). He had 32 last week.
Melbourne Demons v Hawthorn Hawks
Round 19 produced several games with appalling skills and the Dees' two-point win over Gold Coast was the worst of the lot. They cannot afford to butcher the ball this Saturday arvo against a side like the Hawks. Melbourne made a good fist of the contest the last time these two sides met - scores were level at three-quarter time before Hawthorn pulled away to win by 22 points in round 11. The Hawks are on a nine-match winning streak, but five of their past six wins have been by 26 points or fewer. With that in mind, we are backing Melbourne with a 25-point head start ($2.45 with bet365) and Jack Watts to kick the first goal. He was the match-winner for the Demons last weekend.
Gold Coast Suns v Greater Western Sydney Giants
The Giants embarrassed Richmond in round 19 and should brush Gold Coast aside in their twilight fixture this Saturday on the Glitter Strip. When these sides last met in round eight, GWS won by 91 points but the Suns are playing with a lot more confidence now. Gold Coast lost to Melbourne by two points at the 'G last weekend, despite capitulating to the Demons by 72 points in round seven. On that form line, we reckon the Giants’ winning margin this week will be between 1-39 points ($2.38 with bet365). We are on GWS gun Callan Ward to bounce back from a quiet game against the Tigers and have at least 30 touches ($3.75 with Sportsbet).
Adelaide Crows v Brisbane Lions
Saturday night's clash at Adelaide Oval is going to be a bloodbath. The Lions, who have won only two games this year, gave up an eye-watering 48 scoring shots in a 94-point loss to Port Adelaide in round 19. Now they face one of the toughest road trips in football and things will get ugly. The Crows are part of a finals logjam of teams on 13 wins and need a percentage boost to jump into the top four. With that in mind, we are backing Adelaide to win by at least 90 points, which is paying $2.45 with Luxbet, and the Crows to score at least 150 points against the AFL's leakiest defence ($2.37 with Sportsbet).
Western Bulldogs v North Melbourne Kangaroos
North channeled the emotion of veteran Brent Harvey's record-breaking 427th AFL appearance and got the job done against St Kilda last week. The Bullies, meanwhile, have lost their past two, and will be without midfielders Tom Liberatore (ankle) and Jackson Macrae (hamstring) this Saturday night at The Dome. The Roos will miss big forward Jarrad Wait (hip) who was sent for surgery this week. North won a low-scoring encounter when these two teams met back in round six and we think they will scrape home again. Go for a Roos/Roos half-time/full-time double ($2.40 with Hills and Centrebet) but a 'no' in bet365's both teams to score 71 points market. Neither side made it to that benchmark in that round-six clash.
Carlton Blues v St Kilda Saints
When these two clubs last met in round 12, Carlton were in the midst of a purple patch, having won six of their past seven games. But the Saints burst the bubble and claimed a comfortable 32-point victory. The loss was the first in a streak of seven straight defeats for the Blues and they come into this one having not tasted victory in almost two months. Sunday arvo's match at the 'G will be veteran Andrew Walker's last for Carlton, but we don't think that emotion will be enough to get them over the line. Our cash is on the Saints to lead at the end of every quarter ($2.50 with Sportsbet) and the first scoring play for the third quarter to be a Saints goal ($3.35 with Unibet). Carlton have won only three third terms this season.
Fremantle Dockers v West Coast Eagles
Sunday is derby day in Perth and, normally, that would mean a close contest. But it's hard to see the Eagles dropping this clash at Subi. Fremantle were dreadful in their 90-point thumping by Sydney in round 19 and couldn't even fire a shot despite veteran forward Matthew Pavlich celebrating his 350th game. Both teams are getting their No.1 ruckmen back from injury for the contest with Eagle Nic Naitanui (Achilles) and Docker Aaron Sandilands (ribs) returning. It's going to be a comfortable Eagles win, however. Back West Coast to win by at least 40 points ($2.60 with Unibet) and reigning Coleman medallist Josh Kennedy to slot the first snagger.
Geelong Cats v Essendon Bombers
This is going to get ugly for the Bombers. The Dons and their team of top-up players have tired bodies, and coming up against one of the flag contenders at the business end of the season is not what they need. When Essendon lost to Adelaide in round 19, the damage was 82 points and we reckon there will be a similar script this Sunday at Docklands. To try and get some value in a lop-sided fixture, we're going for the Cats by at least 80 points ($3.20 with Luxbet) and star on-baller Patrick Dangerfield to get at least 35 touches, which is paying $2 with Sportsbet. He averages 31 this season.