Wed, Aug 9, 8:31am by Head Editor
The favourites won and covered the line in seven of the nine AFL games last weekend, in a round that was easier to predict than many we’ve seen this season.
There are just three rounds to go until the finals now and with just one game separating 5th from 11th, the race for the top eight is set to go down to the wire.
Two teams who were favoured to win and did so last round, the Bulldogs and the Giants, open Round 21 on Friday night with a mouth-watering contest. The line in this one is 4.5 points, which is the lowest of a round which has a clear favourite in eight of the nine games.
The first of five Saturday games takes place at the SCG when the Swans are heavily favoured ($1.11) to beat the Dockers ($6.70) but the match that will have the focus of the nation is Richmond’s trip to Geelong.
West Coast are at the short price of $1.16 to beat the Blues, while we will cover the other two Saturday games in detail below.
Keep an eye out our Sunday Specials, which will be up on the website on Saturday. Here’s our best bets for Round 21.
Western Bulldogs v Greater Western Sydney, Friday August 11, 7:50pm, Etihad Stadium
The Dogs host the Giants on Friday night in a contest that has the potential to be the match of the round. The hosts have won four straight, while the Giants returned to form last week with a comfortable win over the Demons.
Despite the Giants losing both their games at this venue this year against the Blues and Saints respectively, it is the Giants who are favourites for this one.
The loss of Shane Mumford to suspension will hurt the Giants, but they will welcome back All-Australian forward Toby Greene.
The Bulldogs have returned to somewhere near their best form over the past month and now need to win two of their remaining three games to qualify for the finals.
The hosts will be aiming for five consecutive wins, something they haven’t achieved in the same season since rounds 15-19 in 2010, but will have to do it without their skipper Easton Wood, who injured his hamstring last week.
The Dogs have won seven of nine games at this venue this season, and have more to play for in this one. The $2.15 represents value against a Giants side that haven’t been able to perform consistently this season.
Suggested Bet: Bulldogs to win: $2.15
WATCH: Our Preview of Round 21 of the AFL season
Brisbane v Gold Coast, Saturday August 12, 4:35pm, Gabba
The Suns head 40 minutes up the highway to take on the Lions at the Gabba, which will end a tumultuous week for the club, after they sacked their coach Rodney Eade on Tuesday.
Dean Solomon will take the reins of a Gold Coast side that have drifted out from $1.97 to $2.15 on the back of Eade’s axing.
The Lions have improved under their first-year coach Chris Fagan this season, and led by 11 points at the final change of last week’s loss to the Bulldogs. They’re in from $1.84 to $1.70 to win their fifth game of the year, while the line is out from 1.5 to 6.5 points.
We expect the Suns to come out hard, trying to impress their new coach in the first of a three-week audition before several players will no doubt be shown the door.
Their opponents also have the added incentive of avoiding the dreaded wooden spoon, which they’ll have a chance of doing should they win the 14th edition of the QClash.
Gold Coast have won just two of nine matches away from home this year, scoring only 76 points per game, so we’re taking the Lions by under 40 points.
Suggested Bet: Brisbane to win by 1 to 39 points: $2.40
Essendon v Adelaide, Saturday August 12, 7:25pm, Etihad Stadium
After escaping with an 8-point win against their fierce rivals Carlton last week, the Bombers will have to raise their game if they are to beat the Premiership favourites, the Adelaide Crows, at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.
Speaking of points, there should be plenty of them in this one. Adelaide is the highest-scoring team in the competition, while Essendon is ranked third. The Crows have kicked at least 100 points 13 times this season, while the Bombers have done it on 10 occasions.
While plenty has been made of the Adelaide forward-line, the midfield brigade of Rory Sloane, and both Matt and Brad Crouch have been in superb touch, while ruckman Sam Jacobs is coming off his third Showdown Medal.
Adelaide has dominated this fixture recently, winning the last three games by an average of 86 points, and while I can’t see that changing with Zach Merrett out for the Bombers, we’ve taken the overs in the total points market.
Suggested Bet: Total Game Points Over 201.5: $1.90
Bulldogs to win: $2.15
Brisbane to win by 1 to 39 points: $2.40
Ess v Adel: Total Game Points Over 201.5: $1.90
AFL Round 21 odds:
Western Bulldogs $2.15 v Greater Western Sydney $1.71 Line: 4.5
Sydney $1.11 v Fremantle $6.70 Line: 43.5
Geelong $2.30 v Richmond $1.63 Line: 7.5
Brisbane $1.70 v Gold Coast $2.15 Line: 6.5
Essendon $2.85 v Adelaide $1.43 Line: 17.5
West Coast $1.16 v Carlton $5.30 Line: 33.5
Melbourne $1.62 v St Kilda $2.30 Line: 7.5
Hawthorn $1.23 v North Melbourne $4.20 Line: 28.5
Port Adelaide $1.36 v Collingwood $3.16 Line: 20.5
Odds supplied by Sportsbet and were correct at the time of publishing*
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