Wed, Aug 8, 3:48pm by Staff Writer
Round 21 of the 2018 AFL season begins on Friday night when Essendon look to keep their finals hopes alive with a win against St Kilda on Friday night.
On Saturday, arch-rivals Hawthorn and Geelong renew hostilities, with both sides hopeful of playing finals this season.
Hawthorn versus Geelong
Saturday, 11 August 2018 at 1.45pm AEST at the MCG
Hawthorn are just percentage points outside of the top four and know that a win on Saturday against the Cats will keep what was an unlikely top four berth a fortnight ago, very much alive.
Hawthorn are $2.20 underdogs to win the match at Sportsbet, despite winning their past two games.
The Cats are $1.68 favourites at Sportsbet after losing to Richmond in round 20 by just three points.
Matches between Geelong and Hawthorn have historically been close, with the Hawks victorious by just one point in round two this season.
In a high-scoring match, the Cats almost capped a furious comeback with a win when they booted six goals to two in the final quarter, only to fall agonisingly short.
Hawthorn has rediscovered their form with wins against Fremantle and Essendon.
Ben Stratton was superb in defence last week for the Hawks and will look to stifle the Geelong attack this weekend.
For the Cats, their game style for the majority of the season has been built around defence, ranking in the top five in the AFL’s key defensive statistics.
They are one game outside the top eight but remain highly fancied to feature in the finals given their final two matches are against Fremantle and the Gold Coast in Geelong.
Hawthorn deserves to be close to favourites in this match, which makes their big price of $2.20 tremendous value.
Their forward line spearheaded by Luke Breust and Jarryd Roughead will have a touch too much class for the Cats.
Best bet- Hawthorn to win at $2.20
Port Adelaide versus West Coast
Saturday, 11 August 2018 at 4.35pm AEST at the Adelaide Oval
Port Adelaide fell three points short of a memorable Showdown win against Adelaide last weekend and have dropped to seventh on the ladder as a result.
The Power are $1.49 favourites to defeat the second-placed West Coast Eagles who have been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons this week. The Eagles are $2.85 outsiders.
Brownlow Medal fancy Andrew Gaff’s off-the-ball hit on Fremantle’s Andrew Brayshaw has dominated the football media this week.
The Eagles midfielder may have played his last game for the club and will be sorely missed for what is forecasted to by multiple matches.
West Coast can almost assure themselves of a top-two finish with a win at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday afternoon, a ground where they have an impressive record.
The Eagles are 6-2 at the Adelaide Oval, with a loss against the Crows earlier this season one of Adelaide’s best of the season.
On that night, West Coast were without Josh Kennedy, with the forward a certain starter in this match.
These two sides met in round seven this season where the Eagles were convincing 42-point winners in Perth.
The Eagles led at every change and were not troubled by Port, with Kennedy and fellow forward Jack Darling combining for seven goals.
West Coast are good value to beat a Port Adelaide side that is under pressure after letting victory slip last week. West Coast will be motivated to put a dramatic week off the field behind them and are a great price to win this match.
Best bet- West Coast Eagles Big Win Little Win 1-39 at $3.40
GWS Giants versus Adelaide
Saturday, 11 August 2018 at 7.25pm AEST at the UNSW Oval, Canberra
The GWS Giants’ meteoric rise up the AFL ladder shows no sign of stopping as they moved to third spot with a 105-point win against Carlton in round 20.
The Giants are $1.40 to extend their winning streak to five games and cement a spot in the top four when they play the Crows in Canberra.
Adelaide has never played an AFL game at the venue which was formerly known as Manuka Oval and are $2.95 outsiders to win.
The Giants have won both of their matches at the ground this season and are 10-9 all-time, with many of those wins coming in recent seasons.
Adelaide snatched a win against Port Adelaide in the Showdown and need to win every remaining game to remain in contention to play finals.
The Giants injury toll is what looks to potentially dampen their season with Brett Deledio, Dawson Simpson and Toby Greene three players injured on the weekend, adding to a number of key players who are already on the sideline including Dylan Shiel and Jonathon Patton.
With the starting handicap only 15.5-points in favour of the Giants, it is not high enough to tempt us into backing the Crows, despite their desperation. The Giants should continue to roll.
Best bet- GWS Giants to cover 15.5-point handicap at $1.90
Essendon ($1.19) should keep their slim finals hopes alive with a win against St Kilda ($4.75) on Friday night.
Richmond ($1.01) are as short-priced as they can be when they visit the Suns on the Gold Coast ($17) on Saturday.
Collingwood ($1.29) will be looking to bounce back from a last-start loss with a win against the Brisbane Lions ($3.66) at Etihad Stadium.
AFL Round 21 Odds – Sportsbet
Essendon $1.19 v St Kilda $4.75
Hawthorn $2.20 v Geelong $1.66
Gold Coast $17 v Richmond $1.01
Port Adelaide $1.49 v West Coast $2.65
Collingwood $1.29 v Brisbane $3.66
GWS $1.40 v Adelaide $2.95
North Melbourne $1.30 v Western Bulldogs $3.55
Melbourne $1.37 v Sydney $3.10
Fremantle $1.23 v Carlton $4.20
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