Three rounds to go in the 2017 AFL season and the top eight still isn't even close to set in stone! Lots of great games yet again with finals implications, so read our 2017 AFL Round 21 preview and betting tips as we try to find a few winners before September roles around.
Western Bulldogs vs GWS Giants (Friday, August 11th at 7:50pm AEST)
If there was any team the young Giants could call a 'rival' it is the Western Bulldogs who they have the most history with in their short time in the AFL. They have another opportunity for some preliminary final revenge this Friday night in front of the Bulldogs' faithful at Etihad Stadium.
The Giants looked closer to their best than they have in a long time against the Demons last week. They were struggling for several weeks before re-building some confidence with two wins in a row. They will take to Round 21 without star ruck Shane Mumford due to suspension, but fortunately they take on a Bulldog outfit who don't have a traditional ruckman themselves. The Giants do get Toby Greene back, while Stephen Coniglio is starting to build into great form after missing most of the season. The last time these two teams met the Giants managed a thrilling 2-point victory at Manuka Oval. This one is at Etihad, which probably makes it a little tougher for the Giants. The Dogs played fantastic footy at Etihad in a big win against the Bombers a fortnight ago and will need to bring more of that if they are any chance this week. Their defensive stocks will find it tough with Easton Wood joining Dale Morris on the sidelines and that's where this game will be lost. Yes, the Giants have forward line troubles with Jeremey Cameron still out, but the Dogs are very thin in the back half now (Marcus Adams is also out with a long term injury) and I just can't see them able to overcome this hurdle. It will take a great coaching effort for the Dogs to win. Getting on the Giants in a competitive game.
Tip: GWS Giants by 1-39 Points (Under 39.5) - $2.30 at CrownBet (2 units)
Sydney Swans vs Fremantle Dockers (Saturday, August 12th at 1:45pm AEST)
The Dockers have the tough task of heading to Sydney to take on an in-form Swans on Saturday afternoon.
The Swans had a point to prove against the Cats at Geelong last week. Yes, Patrick Dangerfield was out, but they got the job done in what was a confidence-boosting win which sees them with a real shot at making the top four. They shouldn't have any trouble with the Dockers this week. Fremantle have a solid enough midfield, but the Swans can match it in that department. Where the Dockers will struggle is scoring. They simply aren't dangerous when moving the ball forward. The Swans, meanwhile, have a potent forward half, all while their defensive efforts see them allowing the 2nd least points in the comp. They should win this game and win it easily. Small play on the big line.
Tip: Sydney at the line (-43.5) - $1.92 at Sportsbet (1 unit)
Geelong Cats vs Richmond Tigers (Saturday, August 12th at 2:10pm AEST)
Richmond fans were filthy this Round 21 game against the Cats wasn't moved to the MCG, but I'm sure the Tigers are looking forward to the opportunity to score a victory at Geelong's fortress.
Not long ago this was shaping up as one of the best games of the pointy end of the season. Now, however, the Cats will be without Mitch Duncan and Tom Hawkins to suspension, while Joel Selwood's season is now in danger with injury. Even though this game is at Simonds, you would think with those outs, the Cats are really going to struggle against Richmond. It also wouldn't be a stretch to say that their premiership hopes have been quashed if Selwood is out for the rest of the year. Richmond deserve to be favourites this week and I think they should win. They played some super solid football against the Hawks last week and I'm finally a believer when it comes to Richmond's chances this year. Dustin Martin continues to improve and they have somehow covered for the loss of Jack Riewoldt and actually been damaging to the scoreboard without him. Fortunately, they might even be getting Jack back this week anyway. It will be commendable if the Cats can stand up and win this in front of a home crowd, but I think it seems too tough a task.
Tip: Richmond at the line (-7.5) - $1.92 at Sportsbet (2.5 units)
Brisbane Lions vs Gold Coast Suns (Saturday, August 12th at 4:35pm AEST)
The Brisbane Lions and Gold Suns Suns battle it out in an inconsequential 'Q-Clash' on Saturday afternoon at the Gabba.
It hasn't been too often the Lions go into a game as betting favourites, but that's the case against the Suns on the back of the announcement that Rodney Eade is being moved on and stepping down immediately, while the ever-important Tom Lynch is now set to miss the remainder of the season. Lynch is added to a long injury list that might include David Swallow and Aaron Hall after their injuries during last week's loss to Fremantle. The Lions, meanwhile, looked solid against the Dogs and while winning might not be in the best interest of their draft pick position, this should end up being a relatively easy victory. There is turmoil at the Suns and even with Gary Ablett in the side, I have no doubt the Lions have a more talented midfield. Even if we don't take the off-field turmoil into account, I can't see how the Suns find a way to score enough to threaten the Lions here. Jump on before more Suns' injury announcements as the line will likely move a couple of points if that happens.
Tip: Brisbane at the line (-6.5) - $1.92 at CrownBet (3 units)
Essendon Bombers vs Adelaide Crows (Saturday, August 12th at 7:25pm AEST)
The Bombers are currently clinging to 8th on the ladder, but have the tough task of taking on the premiership favourite Crows in what shapes up as a very interesting Saturday night game.
It's very likely this is going to be a fast-paced, high scoring affair with Adelaide the number one scoring team in the comp while the Bombers are 3rd in that department. The Crows showcased their scoring prowess last week with a monster 40 scoring shots in a huge win over rivals Port Adelaide. At times, Essendon have shown they can match this kind of scoring, but their defence isn't quite as strong as Adelaide's and I think their midfield is going to struggle without Zach Merrett. Sam Jacobs should also smash Tom Belchambers which will make it even tougher for the Bombers. Yes, the Bombers love Etihad, but the stadium also suits the Crows. I think Adelaide continues the momentum with a big win.
Tip: Adelaide at the line (-17.5) - $1.92 at Sportsbet (2 units)
West Coast Eagles vs Carlton Blues (Saturday, August 12th at 5:40pm AWST)
The Eagles are currently in 9th place and continue to struggle on the road, but it's games like this at Domain against the Blues that keeps them in September contention.
Last week's loss to the Saints might end up having very big implications for the Eagles. They fortunately have an easy game against the Blues in Round 21. However, there next two games are against the Giants and Crows and there is possibility they need to win all three of these games. At the very least, they will need to win two of the next three and need to take the opportunity against the Blues to sure up their percentage. I do think they win easily against the Blues who simply won't be able to score enough at Domain to win, but I'm not touching the almost six goal line here. Skip betting this game and simply watch the Bombers take on the Crows.
Tip: No Bet.
Melbourne Demons vs St Kilda Saints (Sunday, August 13th at 1:10pm AEST)
The most enticing of the three Sunday games on offer during Round 21 is no doubt when the Demons take on the Saints at the MCG.
Both the Demons and Saints are a chance to make the top eight. They are both on 10 wins. The loser of this very likely will be taking a September holiday. There is so much on the line as the Saints try to give Nick Riewoldt one last shot at the finals, while the Demons try to put a decade-plus of horrible results behind them. St Kilda showed how desperate they are deep in the 4th quarter in a thrilling win over the Eagles last week. If they play like that, they are a shot to beat the Demons. However, the Saints haven't played at the MCG in 2017 and apart from last week against a poor travelling Eagles, have been out of form. I think the contested style of Melbourne at the MCG will see them get over the line here. Can't wait for this one.
Tip: Melbourne by 1-39 Points (Under 39.5) - $2.20 at CrownBet (2 units)
Hawthorn Hawks vs North Melbourne Kangaroos (Sunday, August 13th at 3:20pm AEST)
The two stalwarts of AFL in Tasmania head to Launceston on Sunday with the Hawks and Roos playing in a dead rubber match.
The Hawks were arguably the 'in-form' team of the competition before last week when the Tigers showed them what it takes to make the finals in September. It was always unlikely the Hawks could make the finals, but any chances were destroyed by the Richmond army. Regardless of that loss, they are a better side than North Melbourne. You can never write the Roos off completely in Tassie, but this one isn't at Hobart and the Hawks are dominant in Launceston where they have won 20 of the last 22. There are also obviously question marks around North's best player in Ben Brown playing after a massive concussion sent him to hospital last week. The weather looks fine in Launceston this weekend and I think the Hawks win this easily, so happy to have a small play on a relatively large line.
Tip: Hawthorn at the line (-28.5) - $1.92 at Sportsbet (1 unit)
Port Adelaide Power vs Collingwood Magpies (Sunday, August 13th at 4:10pm ACST)
Once again Port Adelaide take part in the final game of the round, but hopefully for them the result will be better against Collingwood than their 84-point loss to the Crows last Sunday.
Collingwood are in solid enough form at the moment, winnings three of the last five. However, without Brodie Grundy I think they will be exposed - especially coming up against Paddy Ryder. Grundy's presence is very important player to Collingwood, really helping lift that second tier of midfielders to a higher level. It will be interesting to see how Collingwood fill his shoes but regardless it probably means Darcy Moore has to spend more time in the middle which puts a little extra pressure on their forward line. That's going to be a problem against a high-scoring Power at Adelaide Oval. Port Adelaide will be embarrassed after last week's effort and I think they bounce back in front of a home crowd and score a really solid win.
Tip: Port Adelaide at the line (-20.5) - $1.92 at Sportsbet (1.5 units)
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