Aussie Rules Football Odds and Betting Picks: Adelaide Crows vs. Sydney Swans

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Mar 20, 2020, 06:18 PM EDT

Aussie Rules Football Odds: Adelaide Crows vs. Sydney Swans

  • Spread: Adelaide -5.5
  • Over/Under: 143.5
  • Time: 2 a.m. ET
  • TV: FS1

If you’ve just started following AFL over the last few days, you might be wondering why multiple games have taken place in the same stadium and every team seems to be from Melbourne. Despite what some purists might have you believe, football does indeed exist outside of the state of Victoria. Our first example of this in 2020 takes place in South Australia early Saturday morning on FS1 as the Adelaide Crows host the Sydney Swans at 2:05amET.

The reason for the lack of location disparity is that the Australian Football League originated as the Victorian Football League. Although some teams have relocated and the league has expanded, 9 of the 18 teams still call Melbourne home and share the two stadiums within city limits. There’s a reason Melbourne likes to refer to themselves as the sporting capital of the world.

In addition to being the first game outside of Melbourne, this will be the first match to not include at least one team that made the Finals in 2019. Adelaide were in contention before losing seven of their last nine games, while Sydney never really got going and finished in 15th. If you had stopped following the league after 2017 those results will have shocked you, as these two teams regularly qualified for the Finals throughout the last decade.

There isn’t a lot to take from the recent history of these two re-tooling clubs. Adelaide won their matchup each of the last two seasons, but both teams look markedly different from even the most recent matchup in Round 2 of 2019.

Since then, Adelaide has had both their coach and captain step down, while Sydney has had over 1,100 games worth of experience retire or move to other clubs.

The untested nature of the players filling those vacancies can help to explain the lowest total of the round at 143.5.  Neither team was electric last year (Adelaide 10th in scoring, Sydney 13th), nor did they add any firepower in the offseason, with Adelaide even losing some.

Although the Swans still roster the seventh all-time leading goal kicker in Lance Franklin and he’s been unable to recover from offseason surgery in time for Round 1. Meanwhile the Crows’ sell-a-thon included unloading two of their more prolific forwards in Eddie Betts and Josh Jenkins, who combined to score 23% of Adelaide’s goals in 2019.

Despite the on-field and personnel losses that concluded the 2019 season for the Crows, they should still have a good chance to win this game. The more obvious reasons include what is still a stronger roster overall and home-field advantage. While the effect of the latter may be reduced by the lack of crowd, Sydney does still have to travel, and the Swans were 3-8 on the road in 2019.

A less obvious reason to favor the Crows is the free kick disparity between the two teams. Sydney gave away the second most free kicks in the AFL in 2019, while Adelaide gave away the least. In what could be a tight game with plenty of raw players for the Swans, a few conceded free kicks could easily turn into enough scoring chances for the Crows to cover the 5.5-point spread.

While taking the under given the Swans inexperience is appealing, there are still just enough stars involved between the two teams to give pause.

Motivated by redemption after their late-season collapse, and playing at home with a new captain and coach, count on the Crows to come out flying and end up victorious.

The Pick: Adelaide -5.5

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