2016 Round 21 AFL Preview & Bets

AFL 2017

Welcome to the Round 21 AFL preview. Round 20 looked only a matter of percentage for a majority of the top eight teams, but a loss to Hawthorn has potentially opened the top four up even further. The Hawks still hold a four point lead on top of the ladder, but a poor percentage of 120.71% makes the reigning premier vulnerable to a pack of four on 56 points that all possess better percentages. Another loss could see Hawthorn fall outside the top four with the remaining current top five clubs all drawn reasonable runs to September. The biggest winners of the week though were Sydney and Adelaide, who recorded massive results to boost their all-important percentages. The Crows 138 point win against Brisbane saw it rise from fifth to third, while the Swans entered the top two. Round 21 presents another group of vital matches for those top eight teams.

Best Bet:
Away Team (Adelaide) Over 112.5 points @ $1.90

WESTERN BULLDOGS ($1.34) VS COLLINGWOOD ($3.30)

AT ETIHAD STADIUM, FRIDAY 12/08, 19:50
Line: Dogs -20.5, Pies +20.5
The Western Bulldogs continue to defy the odds and produce outstanding results despite a lengthy injury list of best 22 footballers. The Dogs had statistical negative differentials all over the place, included -86 disposals, -4 contested possessions and -6 clearances. The Dogs couldn’t lift to its usual inside standards, but rebounded with vigour. Johannisen, Wood, Boyd and Biggs were dangerous when behind the footy and became involved in many scoring chains. Bontempelli was ruffed up throughout the game and despite not getting as much of the ball as usual, was influential with 19 disposals. It was a gutsy performance from the Dogs. Matthew Suckling returns, but Dale Morris misses with a hamstring again.
Collingwood yet again proved that it can’t be trusted, losing to Richmond by 15 points. It has almost got to the point where you cross Collingwood matches off the head to head list for the rest of the season punting wise. The Pies Friday night game against Richmond was bizarre statistically. Collingwood finished with 97 less disposals, but had nine more inside 50s. It was a strangely effective game too with both sides running at a combined 78.6% disposal efficiency, yet the Pies still laid a respectable 71 tackles. They are numbers difficult to make sense of, much like Collingwood’s form. Darcy Moore is back, but Reid is out with a knee injury and Cloke has been dropped again.
The Western Bulldogs have won its last three games against Collingwood and should continue that trend.

WESTERN BULLDOGS TO WIN BY 35 POINTS
Bet to Consider:
Dogs -20.5 Line @ $1.92

BRISBANE ($2.90) VS CARLTON ($1.43)

AT THE GABBA, SATURDAY 13/08, 13:45
Line: Lions +17.5, Blues -17.5
Could it be possible that Brisbane’s defensive output is getting even worse? Adelaide are the best scoring team in the competition and were always going to go large, but some of the Brisbane structures were embarrassing. There was one play in particular were Brodie Smith was able to carry the ball from arc to arc without a care in the world. You can blame the state of your list as much as you want, but that should never happen at AFL level. The 138 point loss had some of the more lopsided statistics you’ll ever see, highlighted by a -191 effective disposal differential. That just isn’t good enough. Martin returns for the Lions.
Carlton produced its worse performance of the season against St Kilda at the MCG, going down by a disappointing 71 points. It was the Blues biggest loss of the year, one that could see heads drop. When looking at the stats sheet, Carlton weren’t too far behind in most categories, but there was one that stood out. The Blues conceded 27 marks inside 50, proving that there wasn’t enough pressure in the middle of the ground. It is difficult to know whether it was an effort problem or if the Saints just worked hard into space, most likely a combination of both. Brendon Bolton needs to ensure his side finishes off the season with some momentum.
Brisbane can’t expect to win games when conceding like it currently is. Carlton should get enough opportunities to win.

CARLTON TO WIN BY 30 POINTS
Bet to Consider:
Away Team (Carlton) Over 105.5 Points @ $1.89

HAWTHORN ($1.30) VS NORTH MELBOURNE ($3.65)

AT THE MCG, SATURDAY 13/08, 14:10
Line: Hawks -21.5, North +21.5
An unexpected 29 point loss to Melbourne has created some pressure for reigning premier Hawthorn, who has now lost a two game buffer on top of the ladder. Another loss is likely to see the Hawks fall outside the top four due to its poor percentage. Hawthorn won four more inside 50s, but were destroyed through the middle of the ground. It ended the game -107 for total disposals, -25 contested possession and -10 for clearances. We keep hearing that the Hawks don’t care about contested possession if it keeps winning, but Melbourne proved that it is an area that can be genuinely exposed. It is difficult to write Hawthorn off, but it was a result that other contenders will take serious note of. Frawley, Shiels and Puopolo are major inclusions, but the loss of Ben Stratton to a torn pectoral is structurally defining.
Brad Scott will be feeling flat after the loss to the Western Bulldogs. North Melbourne won important KPIs against the Dogs, but were starved of scoring opportunities. It was able to win more of the ball, but moved too slowly as the forwards were constantly deprived of space. Jarrad Waite is a big enough loss as it is, but the potential unavailability of Ben Brown could be the difference between the Kangaroos being finals relevant or not. St Kilda refuse to go away after a nice percentage boost and four point gain. Ben Brown has been named, but is in doubt.
North Melbourne are usually competitive against Hawthorn, but is potentially missing its two best tall forwards. Hawthorn will want to make a statement after the Melbourne loss.

HAWTHORN TO WIN BY 17 POINTS
Bet to Consider:
Most Disposals Gr1 Jordan Lewis @ $4.50

GWS ($1.31) VS WEST COAST ($3.50)

AT SPOTLESS STADIUM, SATURDAY 13/08, 16:35
Line: Giants -26.5, Eagles +26.5
The Giants were given a genuine scare against Gold Coast during Round 20. GWS trailed for a major of the game, but lifted late to get home by eight points. Like most sides who have played the Suns over the last month or so, the Giants appeared almost surprised by the intensity it was coming up against. The Giants were still relatively dominant around the stoppages, but Gold Coast ensured its rival franchise didn’t have an easy time of it at any contest. Sheer talent eventually won out, but Leon Cameron will want a better performance against a top eight team. Dylan Shiel returns.
West Coast won by a comfortable 46 points, but there are still plenty of areas that will have Adam Simpson concerned. The Eagles were pretty well smashed through the centre of the ground early. Fremantle had clear statistical advantages at the stoppages and contested possession in the first half, but West Coast were able to balance the numbers out to a degree by the final siren. In saying that, the Eagles were still -8 for clearances despite the return of Naitanui, who looked understandably rusty. It is difficult to comprehend that West Coast have an opportunity to draw level on points with the Giants here.
Remarkably the Giants have never beaten West Coast and possess an average losing margin of 94.75 points. Surely form lines point in the direction of a GWS win? It did fail to end its Collingwood hoodoo earlier in the year let’s not forget.

GWS TO WIN BY 3 POINTS
Bet to Consider:
West Coast +26.5 Line @ $1.92

ST KILDA ($3.35) VS SYDNEY ($1.33)

AT ETIHAD STADIUM, SATURDAY 13/08, 19:25
Line: Saints +20.5, Swans -20.5
Just when you think that the Saints are dead and buried, it produces a great performance to stay in finals contention. It still needs everything to go its way, but a 71 point percentage booster didn’t hurt the chances. St Kilda are eight points and 16.4% away from North Melbourne, a club that has three tough matches to finish the season. Defeating Sydney is the Saints most difficult task, but it then has very winnable games against Richmond and Brisbane. Imagine coming into Round 23 with St Kilda level or four points away from North Melbourne and somehow within around 10% before a clash with Brisbane. It would be a fascinating end to the season.
Sydney are just beginning to prove that it is going to be one of the toughest teams to defeat come September. It has flexed its muscle since the near Carlton loss, smashing Fremantle and Port Adelaide to now possess the highest percentage in the competition. Its midfield stars have lifted in the last 2-3 weeks and are dominating the stoppages. When up and going, I doubt there is a midfield in the competition that can match Kennedy, Hannebery, Mitchell, Parker and Jack for quality and depth. They are monsters in tight and are just as physical without the ball.
Sydney have won the last five encounters and are close to peak form based on the last two weeks. It is difficult to build a case for St Kilda apart from the match being at Etihad Stadium.

SYDNEY TO WIN BY 19 POINTS
Bet to Consider:
Sydney 1-39 @ $2.00

PORT ADELAIDE ($1.45) VS MELBOURNE ($2.80)

AT ADELAIDE OVAL, SATURDAY 13/08, 19:40
Line: Port -14.5, Dees +14.5
Port Adelaide were handed a good old fashioned thumping by Sydney in the first 40 minutes of the game last week. It took until the 11 minute mark of the second quarter for the Power to score. It didn’t get much better for Port Adelaide after that either, registering the fifth lowest score in the clubs history. The final 67 point margin flattered the Power, as it ended the match with -121 disposals, -54 contested possessions and -33 inside 50s. Should the future of Ken Hinkley now be questioned?
Paul Roos has three more games behind the driving wheel of the Melbourne Football Club, but it appears his potential tenure defining moment as coach may have already occurred. The win against Hawthorn is arguably the Demons best in over a decade, coming against a side that has dominated it for just as long. The victory proved just how bright the future is for this club and it did so without Jesse Hogan, the highest rated young prospect. If Melbourne can go on to produce a successful period, there is no doubt that they will look back to the day that this young side defeated the top of the table, triple premiership Hawks. Jesse Hogan returns to the side.
Port Adelaide have beaten Melbourne in the last seven encounters and won convincingly at Alice Springs in Round 10. Although these two clubs had completely opposite results last week. Port would be flat, while the Demons would still be beaming and also play competitive football at Adelaide Oval. Upset chance?

MELBOURNE TO WIN BY 3 POINTS
Bet to Consider:
Melbourne head to head @ $2.80

ESSENDON ($3.70) VS GOLD COAST ($1.29)

AT ETIHAD STADIUM, SUNDAY 14/08, 13:10
Line: Bombers +23.5, Suns -23.5
You get the feeling that that John Worsfold may have been a tad offended by comments from Zac Smith during the week that the Cats were looking for a percentage boost against Essendon. The Bombers were more than competitive at the stoppages and at the contests, but still failed to kick a goal in the first half. That was mainly due to it not being overly concerned about scoring. Essendon had two loose men parked in the defensive arc for large portions of the game and only looked threatening when the Geelong defenders dared to push up the ground and even the numbers. It certainly isn’t a recommended development tactic, but sometimes points have to be made. Brendon Goddard will miss with a groin injury, while Parish has been rested.
Gold Coast are still in the middle of an injury epidemic, but must be applauded for the competitive football it is playing in recent times. The Suns are genuinely missing its six best midfielders, yet are finding a way to retain high intensity levels and threaten good teams. It helps having a star forward in Tom Lynch, who is now genuinely regarded one of the best talls in the competition. He has kicked 61 goals to be equal second for the Coleman Medal, but hasn’t had nearly the same opportunities than his counterparts. Rodney Eade looks to be pointing this club in the right direction. Hall and Saad add further depth.
This is a game the Bombers will feel it can win, so don’t expect to see those numbers back again. Gold Coast deserve favouritism.

GOLD COAST TO WIN BY 22 POINTS
No Bet to Consider

RICHMOND ($5.00) VS GEELONG ($1.18)

AT THE MCG, SUNDAY 14/08, 15:20
Line: Tigers +31.5, Cats -31.5
Richmond eased the pressure on embattled coach Damien Hardwick, earning an upset victory against Collingwood by 15 points. The players showed a lot of passion for Hardwick, getting around him after the game and proving to the outside world that he is well supported internally. It was a strange old game against the Pies, with many misleading statistics. The Tigers could only register 39 inside 50s, but were so efficient going forward that it scored every second entry on average. The club has confirmed that Brett Deledio will be out for the rest of the year. Ben Griffiths is out with a groin injury, but Shane Edwards is back.
Geelong produced one of the more frustrating 11 goal wins in the clubs history. A 23 goal win to Adelaide the night before highlighted the importance of a percentage boost against Essendon, but negative tactics made things harder than the Cats would have liked. Geelong did well to get to 100 points by the final siren, but simple misses in front of goal left a sour taste. In saying that, the Bombers lowly 34 points meant Geelong could still manage a 4% percentage rise to be within distance of other contenders. It has slipped outside the top four for now, but is the only top eight team who play Brisbane on the way to September. Menzel is out with a groin injury, while Mackie has been managed.
Geelong possess an outrageous record against Richmond, winning 18 of the last 19 encounters between the two sides. That should become 19 from 20, but the Cats have looked vulnerable against weaker opposition.

GEELONG TO WIN BY 18 POINTS
Bet to Consider:
Geelong 1-39 @ $2.10

FREMANTLE ($7.00) VS ADELAIDE ($1.10)

AT DOMAIN STADIUM, SUNDAY 14/08, 16:40
Line: Dockers +44.5, Crows -44.5
Fremantle showed some promising early signs against West Coast, but couldn’t put enough pressure on the board and ultimately went down by 46 points. The Dockers looked like turning around that poor early season form during the middle rounds, but have since slumped to six consecutive losses. Matches against Adelaide, GWS and the Western Bulldogs wouldn’t fill supporters with great hope to witness another victory, but at least they are seeing some young players develop at the top level. Fremantle sit 12 points from 15th, so there is absolutely no excuse not to go hard for victories.
Adelaide were only playing a defensively inept Brisbane side, but the 138 point result could prove the clubs most vital performance leading into September. The Crows now have the second highest percentage in the competition and are very well positioned for a shot at a home qualifying final. Adelaide produced some of the more lopsided differentials of the season against Brisbane. +193 disposals, +191 effective disposals, +90 marks, +44 inside 50s and +33 scoring shots just to name a few. It is fair to say the Crows won’t have it that easy again this season. Thompson and McGovern are back in the side.
Adelaide has another great chance to boost the percentage again. Fremantle haven’t conceded under 100 points for the last three rounds and must be vulnerable to the best offensive club in forecasted fine conditions.

ADELAIDE TO WIN BY 55 POINTS
Bet to Consider:
Away Team (Adelaide) Over 112.5 points @ $1.90

Author

mm

Rover

Covering all things Australian Rules Football for The Profits. I’ve been a passionate supporter and follower of AFL for as long as I can remember. Having been born into a family with deep football history and tradition on both sides, you can say it runs through my blood. I’ve got a keen interest in the stats and analysis of the game, which helped me finish in the top 100 of fantasy competitions DreamTeam and Supercoach last year. While my own local football career was cut short due to injury at 22, it has created an opportunity for me to frequently watch and build a deep knowledge of the sport at its highest level. I look forward to sharing my thoughts and views throughout the season.

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