AFL Round 8: Sunday Match Previews & Betting Tips
Three key games on Sunday to conclude Round 8 with Geelong looking to remain the dominant team in the competition, the Hawks trying to bounce back against the Giants while the Dockers are looking to hand the Tigers a second straight loss.
North Melbourne v Geelong - Marvel Stadium - 1:10pm
Chris and Brad Scott renew their sibling rivalry on Sunday afternoon as the Kangaroos host the top of the table Cats at Marvel Stadium. Both teams are coming off big wins last Sunday, but it’s the Cats who have been the most impressive team all season, losing just once in the opening seven rounds.
Geelong have won their last three against North Melbourne and five of their past six at Marvel Stadium, that loss being a two-point defeat against the Bulldogs last season when Harry Taylor missed a shot at goal after the siren.
Their key to recent success against the Kangaroos has been shutting down Ben Brown and it will likely be the job of reigning best and fairest winner Mark Blicavs to contain him this week. Brown’s return of just five goals in six games against the Cats is by far the worst against any opposition. Geelong rank #1 for defence, conceding just 65 points per game this season and it’s hard to see North Melbourne kicking a big enough score to score an upset win over the ladder leaders.
Key Stat: North Melbourne has a 2-8 W/L record playing within its home state after a win from 2018 onwards.
Best bet: Geelong -19.5
Value bet: Geelong 40+
Hawthorn v GWS- MCG - 3:20pm
Under pressure after suffering a surprise five-point loss to Melbourne and only just scraping over the line the week prior against Carlton, Hawthorn will attempt to respond when GWS ventures to the MCG.
On recent form, avoiding defeat should be a fairly difficult proposition for the Hawks, with the Giants currently third on the ladder after comfortably beating the Saints by 44-points, which followed a 41-point victory against the Swans a week prior.
Last week’s win was made even more impressive as stars Phil Davis, Lachie Whitfield and Josh Kelly all missed the clash, but each of those men is in line to return on Sunday afternoon, spelling danger for the home team.
That trio and all of the Giants’ more seasoned competitors will have a point to prove in this fixture as they look to overcome a dismal 2-13 record at the MCG. That mark includes only two contests against the Hawks, with their last four meetings either coming in Sydney or Launceston. The Giants are unbeaten from those four contests, further indicating they should be ready to begin moving past their hoodoo at the home of football.
Key Stat: Each of the last four matches between Hawthorn and GWS has gone OVER the total match points line
Best bet: GWS 1-39
Value bet: GWS -10.5/Over 173.5
Fremantle v Richmond - Optus Stadium - 5:20pm
Both Fremantle and Richmond are coming off losses last week and are looking to get back on the winners' list when they meet at Optus Stadium to conclude Round 8.
Richmond surprisingly was on the wrong result of a rampant Bulldogs team led by young key forward Aaron Naughton who the undermanned Tigers defence had no answers for. They will be stretched again when they come up against the likes of Jesse Hogan, Matt Taberner and Rory Lobb. David Astbury is touch and go to come back into the side, while fellow defender Nick Vlastuin is also 50/50 to make the trip west after rolling his ankle against the Dogs.
Fremantle has a relatively clean bill of health and could welcome back Connor Blakely for his first game this season, although he may find it hard to force his way in the team. The match shapes as a vital one for both clubs with the winner separating themselves from a large chasing pack at 5-3 while the loser will fall back 4-4 and be outside the top eight when they enter Round 9.
Key Stat: Fremantle has an 8-3 W/L record playing as a home team after a loss from 2018 onwards.
Best bet: Fremantle -4.5
Value bet: Fremantle over 24.5