The one week bye felt like an absolute eternity but we are almost there now! The 2021 AFL Grand Final is set to be played this Saturday night from Optus Stadium and as always, we have you covered with a full preview and betting tips for the clash below!
We have had a solid season in AFL Betting Tips to date and we will look to finish it off with a another couple of wins as we look at some of the major betting markets for the clash between the Melbourne Demons and Western Bulldogs below.
Remember, we'll also be providing another preview later in the week with all of our best prop bets and player specials for the big game, so be sure to check that out!
AFL Grand Final Betting Tips
Melbourne Demons vs Western Bulldogs
Optus Stadium, Saturday 25th September, 7.15pm (AEST)
Despite a poor finish to the season that saw them lose their last three games and fall out of the top four, it seems only fitting that the Western Bulldogs find themselves in the big dance. The Dees and Dogs were the best two teams in the competition for the majority of the season, trading places atop the ladder regularly.
Spread Bet (Melbourne -7.5)
The line looks pretty spot on at 7.5 points in favour of the Demons. The two teams split their two games throughout the regular season, with the Demons winning their first clash by 28 points before the Bulldogs claimed a 20 point win later in the season before losing their last three games.
Let's get injury concerns out of the way early, which shouldn't take too long becuase luckily both teams look pretty healthy. The Demons only concern is All-Australian defender Steven May, who strained his hamstring in the win over teh Cats but looks set to play. The Dogs are nearly in an identical situation, waiting on a key defender of their own as Alex Keath looks likely to recover from a hamstring injury just in time.
The Bulldogs have looked really solid in the finals so far, winning by 49 against the Bombers before getting over the line in a 1 point nail biter against the Lions in the semi. They went on to dominate the prelim against the Power by 71 points to advance to the Grand Final.
The Demons had an easier road to the Grand Final, defeating the Lions by 33 points in the qualifying final before smashing the Cats by 83 points in the prelim a few weeks ago. The win over the Cats was particularly impressive, and if they bring that sort of form into the Grand Final, they should be incredibly tough to beat.
What a tough line to make a prediction on.
I think the week off definietely helps the Dogs, as three gruelling finals in a row will have certainly taken their toll. It does allow Steven May to prove his fitness though, and his defensive work will be super important to the way the Demons want to play here.
From everything I have heard, the money seems to be going towards the Demons at this line, but I am actually leaning the other way. I think theres's a real possibility that this game ends up being one of the all-time classic Grand Finals, in which case the margin should be under 7.5 points either way.
These two teams are so evenly matched and the Dogs have had a knack for playing in absolutely thrilling finals over the past five years. The Bulldogs close games in finals since 2015 include:
2015 - Elimination Final - Lost to Adelaide by 7pts
2016 - Preliminary Final - Dft. GWS by 6pts
2020 - Elimination Final - Lost to St Kilda by 3pts
2021 - Semi-Final - Dft. Brisbane by 1pt
Western Bulldogs +7.5
Total Points (155.5)
Love the look of the overs here. The weather on Saturday in Perth looks perfect for a free flowing game of footy and while the Demons have had a fantastic defence this season, the Dogs counter that by boasting one of the highest scoring offences in the league.
The two games between these two teams resulted in an average of 148.0 points per game this season, but I think the conditions in Perth mean you can tack a few extra points on.
If one team gets out to an early 3-4 goal lead, the opposing side will likely throw caution to the wind a little bit, which could result in an even higher score. Taking out last years Grand Final, which was played with shortened quarters, the previous nine Grand Finals have resulted in an average of 167.3 points.
Norm Smith Medal
Who will add one of the most prestigous awards in the AFL to their trophy cabinet? It's safe to say that we will have a first time Norm Smith winner this season, as the 2016 medalist, Jason Johannisen has been playing as the sub for the Western Bulldogs of late and will likely continue to do so in the Grand Final.
Becuase I think it's going to be a close game either way, I'm going to throw out a selection from each team. For the Dogs, it's hard to look past Marcus Bontempelli. The All-Australian midfielder racked up 33 Brownlow votes on Sunday night, but it was how he did it that makes me fancy him for the Norm Smith.
The Bont had nine games where he was judged best on ground and recieved the maximum three votes from the umpires. He added another three games where he received two votes and amazingly had no one vote games.
The Melbourne player who I love for the Norm Smith is Max Gawn. Gawn played one of the best games of footy I've ever seen in the prelim against the Cats. He racked up 19 touches, 33 hitouts, five marks and booted five goals in the win.
The Dogs brought Stefan Martin in this season to sure up their ruck department, but Gawn won't see the aging veteran as an issue at all. I can see Gawn turning this game on it's head at some point.
Back either if you're confident on a team winning, but if you're a bit like me and think it's going to be a close game either way, I have requested a special market at Sportsbet either captain to win the Norm Smith!