AFL restart part 1: How the top 8 teams are placed for the premiership

AFL 2020: Season Restart Part 1

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It’s been a rocky road to a restart for the AFL amid the COVID-19 crisis. After the league pulled the pin just one round into season 2020, fans and punters have waited patiently for two and a half months – but the 11 June finish line for the footy drought is in sight.

To prepare for the premiership’s return and give your AFL betting tips a poke in the right direction, here’s a look at how each of the top eight clubs – according to the AFL ladder at the end of round 1 – are placed ahead of the competition’s resumption.

PORT ADELAIDE POWER

Port Adelaide Power went into the season’s suspension atop the AFL ladder thanks to a 47-point defeat of Gold Coast Suns, who kicked just four goals. Travis Boak led the way in a dominant display from Port’s midfield.

But predictions based on smashing the lowly Suns can only be taken with a grain of salt, and the Power remain a premiership dark horse in AFL odds as the restart looms.

A first-up derby against the Crows – with the Power favourites – followed by clashes with the Dockers, Eagles and Lions will provide a much more tangible gauge of the threat Port poses.

The break gave Ollie Wines and Charlie Dixon the opportunity to recover from injury, and Robbie Gray will play on despite dropping a weight on his toe. With just one AFL finals match since reaching the 2014 Grand Final (a 2017 elimination final loss), the youthful Power can cruise under the radar for the time being.

COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES

Collingwood Magpies are aiming to pick up where they left off before the season was put on hold. The Magpies blitzed the well-fancied Bulldogs by 52 points in round 1, restricting their opponents to just five goals when many AFL betting tips were predicting an upset.

Nathan Buckley’s side are desperate to translate their performances over the past couple of seasons – back-to-back top-four finishes on the AFL ladder, an agonising Grand Final loss in 2018 and a gallant prelim exit last year – into silverware. The window won’t stay open for the Pies for too much longer.

Collingwood’s defensive prowess is well-documented but more firepower up front is needed to overcome the likes of Richmond. Mason Cox and Ben Reid shape as the players most likely to provide additional goal-scoring strikes.

Incidentally, the Tigers are the Magpies’ restart opponents, making the match a handy barometer for both contenders. The black-and-whites are underdogs in AFL round 2 odds, but a statement performance could see their premiership price sliced.

WEST COAST EAGLES

The AFL odds (at great value for the flag) back up the opinion of a large chunk of pundits: West Coast Eagles are Richmond’s biggest danger in 2020.

The punters’ AFL betting tips proved bang-on ahead of the Eagles’ round 1 assignment as they put away the Demons by 27 points in Perth against the backdrop of the season’s looming suspension. Andrew Gaff and new captain Luke Shuey were the stand-outs.

A week-two exit from last year’s AFL finals will have only stoked West Coast’s competitive fires, while the addition of brilliant Brownlow Medal contender Tim Kelly should provide another dimension.
The Eagles are the shortest AFL favourites in AFL round 2 odds ahead of their clash with the battling Suns; they then take on the Power, Lions and Tigers in a more-than-palatable restart schedule. The 2018 champs are a huge premiership chance.

HAWTHORN HAWKS

Hawthorn Hawks rumbled to a 28-point win over the rising Lions in round 1. Tom Mitchell (25 disposals, 9 clearances) led the midfield, while Luke Breust, Shaun Burgoyne and Chad Wingard all bagged three goals.
The return of 2018 Brownlow Medal winner Mitchell, after a broken leg ruled him out of the entire 2019 campaign, is enormous. Doubts remain over Hawthorn’s forward line, however, following Jarryd Roughead’s exit. Former Giant Jonathon Patton arrived as his replacement, but the Hawks need the likes of Jack Gunston and Paul Puopolo to improve on their disappointing 2019 showings.

With an average age of over 28, the Hawks are one of the most experienced sides going around. But is Alastair Clarkson relying too heavily on a clutch of over-30s? Hawthorn’s AFL betting odds for the premiership still appear good value. But the club has lost all four of its finals matches since the end of its golden era in 2015. The Hawks head into next Friday’s blockbuster against the Cats as distinct outsiders according to the AFL round 2 odds – and it’s the start of a tough run that also includes the Tigers and Giants in the following three weeks.

GWS GIANTS

In assessing the ultra-talented GWS Giants’ 2020 hopes, we need to juxtapose their charge through the AFL finals to a maiden decider last year against their horrific 89-point loss to Richmond on Grand Final day. Will there be a significant hangover, or will the demolition merely prove a harsh lesson on the Giants’ path to premiership realisation?

On the fourth line of AFL betting odds for the title, GWS will be aiming for a top-four finish at a minimum after having battled their way from the bottom half of the eight in 2018–19. The break may have had its benefits for injury-hampered stars Stephen Coniglio and Callan Ward, but there’s a sense of ‘now or never’ surrounding the Giants list.

The Giants were one of the most impressive round 1 winners, kicking a competition-high 17 goals in a 32-point home win over the Cats in a blockbuster. Toby Greene and Harry Perryman both notched four goals. AFL round 2 odds-on favourites to account for the Kangaroos, the Giants need to make the most of a soft restart ahead of a tricky subsequent run against the Bulldogs, Magpies and Hawks.

RICHMOND TIGERS

Richmond Tigers have firmed as AFL favourites with punters – and in most AFL betting tips – to snare back-to-back premierships.

The Tigers stormed to their second flag in three years with 12 straight wins, and opened their title defence with a 24-point defeat of Carlton Blues, cruising to victory after powering to a 46-point half-time lead. It seems that only complacency can stop ruthless Richmond from being there when the whips are cracking later this season.
A quiet trade period and Alex Rance’s exit won’t worry Tigers fans when they still have Dustin Martin, Trent Cotchin, Jack Riewoldt, Dion Prestia, Daniel Rioli et al to drive the campaign. But Bachar Houli is set to remain on the sidelines for the restart, while draftee Noah Cumberland suffered a torn ACL during the break.

A tough draw in the first four rounds after the restart – taking on Collingwood, Hawthorn and West Coast – will provide an immediate litmus test for the champs. AFL round 2 tips and AFL round 2 odds are backing the Tigers to outlast the Magpies in next Thursday’s resumption match, but it’s tough assignment to get back underway with.

ESSENDON BOMBERS

Essendon Bombers justified their AFL odds in round 1 with a low-scoring six-point home win over the Dockers. Dylan Shiel starred with 35 disposals and nine clearances, while Jake Stringer booted three of their nine goals. They did enough, without being overly impressive.

The best the Bombers have managed in the past 15 years is five elimination-final defeats, including a 55-point hammering at the hands of the Eagles during last year’s AFL finals. Pundits and punters are sceptical about the chances of a watershed campaign for the club, which sits as an outsider in AFL betting odds for the premiership.

The likes of Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti and Jake Stringer are exciting types, but the fact remains that Essendon struggle to score. A finish in the bottom half of the AFL ladder’s top eight and possibly a semi-final appearance for the first time since 2004 would appear to be the best-case result for coach John Worsfold’s last season at the helm.

SYDNEY SWANS

Round 1 underdogs according to the AFL odds, Sydney Swans came away with a gripping three-point road win over Adelaide Crows. Luke Parker (30 disposals, 12 clearances) and Isaac Heeney (4 goals, 16 disposals) were outstanding.

But that surprise result has not eased the pessimism about the Swans’ prospects. They are 13th in terms of AFL favourites for the title. Forward spearhead Buddy Franklin’s ongoing absence does not help their cause, while Sam Reid is also sidelined by injury.

There’s certainly enough talent on the roster to improve on last year’s dismal 8–14 campaign for an AFL finals push, but much beyond that seems unlikely. AFL round 2 tips suggest the Swans will restart with a victory over the similarly middling Bombers.

Sportsbet has AFL betting odds and markets for every match of the season – including AFL round 2 odds and AFL round 2 tips – and 2020 futures options. Bet now.

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