Round 8 of the 2021 AFL season continues on Sunday with three great fixtures on the cards. Here, we preview the second game of the day which sees the Bulldogs take on the Blues at Marvel Stadium. Catch our match prediction and player props for this huge clash right here!
Remember, you can check out our preview and tips for every game in Round 8 and beyond of the AFL season, just be sure to head to our AFL Betting Tips page for regular updates.
Marvel Stadium, Sunday 9th May 3:20pm (AEST)
The Bulldogs and the Blues come into this off contrasting Round 7 results, which sets up an intriguing Sunday afternoon contest under the roof at Marvel Stadium. At the time of writing, the Bulldogs are 21.5-point favourites, while the total points line is set at a big 174.5 points.
Western Bulldogs copped a bit of a reality check with their 22-point loss against the reigning premiers last Friday night. The Dogs led at the main break by three goals, but were absolutely dominated after half time where they managed to kick just two goals. On a positive note, that was just their first loss of the season and they remain in clear second spot on the ladder.
The Bulldogs could get a boost in the ruck with Tim English potentially returning from concussion this week. Young gun Laitham Vandermeer is also a chance to return from a back complaint, while #1 pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan is certainly in the selection frame after booting five goals in his most recent games in the VFL.
Carlton played one of their best matches of the season in their thrilling win over the Bombers last weekend. They were dynamic with ball in hand all afternoon and put up their biggest total in recent years with 123 points. Importantly, the Blues move to 3-4 on the season and have a chance to get their ledger back to square with a win this weekend, which would be huge after starting the season at 0-2.
The Blues have a fairly extensive injury list at the moment with Charlie Curnow and Caleb Marchbank out for the season and Zac Fisher, Oscar McDonald and Mitch McGovern all out for the long term. Jack Martin is still a couple of weeks away from returning, while Marc Murphy, Jack Silvagni and Zac Williams all faces tests to return to action for this weekend.
Carlton have put in some good showings against the Western Bulldogs in recent years, seemingly matching up well against their structures and game plan. The Blues were huge 52-point winners in their only meeting in 2020 and were 44-point winners in one of their two meetings in 2019. As mentioned above, the current line has been set at 21.5 points, which the Blues have covered against the Bulldogs in each of their previous six meetings. When taking that into account coupled with their momentum-building win over the Bombers last weekend, taking the Blues to cover the spread looks to be the way to play this one.
Last time these teams met the Bulldogs had the five top possession-getters on the ground despite losing by 52 points, which tells us that Dogs disposals are always in play no matter how the team is tracking on the scoreboard. In this particular meeting we believe we’ve found some value by backing in Lachie Hunter to get 25+ disposals. He’s had a bit of a quiet start to the season by his standards, but he led all comers last time these two teams met with 27 disposals in shortened quarters and recorded 25 touches just a couple of weeks ago. This could be the game where he gets back to his accumulating best.
The Bulldogs defence has held up well so far this season, but over the past few years the Blues have managed to kick some big scores against them, which brings goal scorer markets into play here. Eddie Betts jagged a game-high four goals when he faced the Dogs last season and he finally returned to form this year with three fantastic goals against the Bombers last weekend. Eddie loves this matchup and will be full of confidence after recent efforts, so getting near $4 for 2+ goals looks to be decent value here.
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