- Australian Rules Football returns to play with no fans on June 11
- Fans in North American can catch the action on TSN in Canada, and FS1 and FS2 in the US
- Read below for previews and predictions on some of the key matchups
Australian Rules Football is set to return this week following an extended pause in the season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The AFL managed to get through just the first week of the schedule before making the decision to suspend play, and will return to action with no fans in attendance until further notice.
The AFL season has be reduced by five games to 17 games, with matchups for the next four rounds already announced, and subsequent dates on the schedule to be rolled on as the campaign progresses.
Aussie Rules Week 2 Odds
|West Coast||-33.5 (-110)||-700||n/a|
|Gold Coast Suns||+33.5 (-110)||+500||n/a|
|Port Adelaide||-11.5 (-110)||-200||n/a|
|Greater Western Sydney||-19.5 (-110)||-300||n/a|
|Sydney Swans||-2.5 (-110)||-125||n/a|
|Western Bulldogs||-10.5 (-110)||-185||n/a|
|St. Kilda||+10.5 (-110)||+155||n/a|
*Odds taken on 06/07/2020
The league is hopeful that supporters can return to the stands at some point during the season, but until then, they will have to rely on television for their footy fix. Canadian fans can enjoy a weekly slate of games, both live and on replay, by tuning into TSN. In the United States, AFL fans can catch the action in the weeks ahead on FS1 and FS2, but can expect that broadcasts will eventually return to their familiar home on FSP.
GOOD NEWS: there is live sports on right now on FS1.
ALSO: It’s Australian rules football. pic.twitter.com/8GC4q0PJt7
— Greg Tepper (@Tepper) March 21, 2020
SiriusXM listeners in the US can also keep up to date on all things footy by tuning into Aussie Football Rules America, a new radio program hosted by Fox commentator Eddie McGuire that is exclusively dedicated to covering the game, and which is expected to debut on Thursday night.
With the details out of the way, here’s a look at three key matchups on the AFL Round 2 schedule.
Tigers Take 13-Game Win Streak into Clash with Magpies
Two of the top contenders to claim this season’s premiership face off when play resumes on Thursday as the defending champion Richmond Tigers take on the Collingwood Magpies. The Tigers opened the season atop the odds to repeat as champions, and their decisive 105-81 victory over Carlton in Round 1 now leaves them undefeated in 13 straight contests since June of last year.
Richmond favored to defend their #AFL premiership title as Aussie rules footy [email protected] #GoTiges https://t.co/GDBf2TnHM9
— Daniel Coyle (@thepopgun) March 18, 2020
Richmond has outclassed their opponents during their league-leading surge. The Tigers have claimed victory by a stunning 35.8 points per game during their current run, which has featured just one contest that was settled by single digits. Richmond has also regularly dominated the Magpies in recent years, posting victories in five of six overall meetings since the start of the 2017 campaign.
However, the Tigers must contend with an improved Collingwood squad that is hungry for its first AFL premiership victory since 2010. The Magpies routed the Western Bulldogs by a wide 86-34 margin in their lone contest this season to build on a strong finish to last season, which they closed out with wins in five of their final six contests. But while Collingwood ran up the score in their win over the Bulldogs, low scoring was their hallmark last season, with the team topping 80 points just twice in their final 11 outings.
Pick: Richmond Tigers -6.5 (-110)
Swans Poised to Extend Home Domination of Essendon
The closest battle in the AFL Round 2 odds has the Sydney Swans hosting Essendon as slim 2.5-point favorites. The Swans struggled down the stretch last season, losing six straight before closing out the schedule with a pair of wins, and carried that momentum into the new campaign by hanging on for a narrow 74-71 win over the Adelaide Crows in their season opener.
Footy is back in a week!!!! ?? @AFL @sydneyswans https://t.co/75E8SUThww
— D.Roy (@dRoy) June 5, 2020
Essendon led from start to finish in their season opener, a 63-57 win over Fremantle, but have work to do to overcome their road woes of last season, when they posted just five away victories. The club is also winless in each of its past eight road dates with the Swans.
Pick: Sydney Swans -2.5 (-110)
Eagles Should Dominate Suns, But by How Much?
The West Coast Eagles will be reopening their season a long way from home, but that has prevented the Perth powerhouse from being pegged as massive 33.5-point chalk in their road date with the Gold Coast Suns. The Eagles were among the highest scoring teams in the AFL last season while compiling a 15-7-0 record, and outclassed the bottom-feeding Melbourne Demons by a 78-51 score in their season opener.
The Gold Coast Suns have used a total of 55 players since the start of 2018. pic.twitter.com/lOwbF9zZnP
— SEN 1116 (@1116sen) June 3, 2020
Losers of their final 18 games last season, the Suns have nowhere to go but up this season after finishing dead last on the AFL ladder a year ago. The Suns fared no better in their season opener, a crushing 76-29 loss to Port Adelaide, but with every team expected to be limited by rust in their return to play, there is value in taking Gold Coast to cover the massive spread against the Eagles.
Pick: Gold Coast Suns +33.5 (-110)