Your Expert AFL Tips for 2021

The Analysts have years of AFL betting experience to go along with their own database. They’ll be posting their AFL Tips each week for the entire 2021 AFL Season. There’s in-depth analysis, betting strategy and reasoning behind each of their selections.

Check out the Betfair Hub and the Betfair Exchange for up to the minute AFL odds.


Are you using our new mobile app? Taking the best AFL odds just got easier.


GWS v Western Bulldogs

The Bulldogs have become surprisingly reliable as a favourite, covering seven of their last nine when the market-elect. When favoured by more than two goals, the Bulldogs have covered three on the hop and eight of their last nine. The Giants have been a poor night team covering just one of their last six.

Betting Strategy

BACK — Western Bulldogs -19.5


Geelong v West Coast

Betting against Geelong when favoured has been money of late and we will continue down that path. The Cats have been favoured four times this season. They have won three of those but have failed to cover a single one. The market well and truly overrates the Cats. West Coast have covered their last three as an underdog and they travel well, covering 12 of their last 19 away from Optus.

Betting Strategy

BACK — West Coast +9.5


Fremantle v North Melbourne

North managed to hold Geelong to just 30 points at the Cattery last week and can keep Fremantle within a bull’s roar to cover this week. The Kangaroos have covered two of the last three times the teams have played in Perth and they are a solid 8-5 against the number when getting a start of five goals or more. Fremantle have covered just 7 of their last 19 when favoured by three-plus goals.

Betting Strategy

BACK — North Melbourne +42.5

Geelong v North Melbourne

This won’t be a fun watch but North have to be the play in this. Geelong have a horrific record when heavily favoured. The Cats are 5-11 against the spread when favoured by more than 50 and cover at just 35% when spotting more than five goals

North cover at 58% as a big outsider and even though they’ve been extremely poor this year, they are a play in this.

Betting Strategy

BACK — North Melbourne +56.5


Carlton v Port Adelaide

Carlton getting a start at the MCG should be money in this one. The Blues cover at 59% getting more than a goal and when it is at the MCG the Blues cover at an insane 67% over the last nine years, hitting in 8 of their last 10 in the spot.

Carlton have also covered seven of 11 against Port Adelaide including the last three in what is typically a low-scoring grind. This is a great spot and one we should be taking full advantage of.

Betting Strategy

BACK — Carlton +7.5


West Coast v Collingwood

West Coast cover at 59% when playing at Optus Stadium and have covered three of their last four at the venue off a loss. When favoured by more than three goals, the Eagles have covered five of their last six in Perth and hit at an AFL-high 62% dating back to 2012.

The Magpies have now dropped three of four this year and come off a five-goal loss against GWS. The Eagles have covered 8 of the last 12 against the Magpies and can continue that dominance here.

Betting Strategy

BACK — West Coast -20.5

Port Adelaide v Richmond

The market may have overreacted to Richmond’s bad loss to Sydney here. Happy to sign with the Tigers as an underdog. They cover at 57% as an outsider and even more compelling, make the nut at 61% when an outsider off a loss. The Tigers have also covered 10 of their last 17 off a loss.

Port are not a great bounceback team, covering just three of their last nine off a loss of five or more goals.

Betting Strategy

BACK — Richmond +5.5


Collingwood v GWS

This is a perfect trends game with Collingwood a strong bet-against team when heavily favoured. Collingwood cover at just 44% when favoured and at just 36% when favoured by more than three goals. When favoured by more than three goals at the MCG, the Magpies are a shocking 8-25 against the number.

The Giants have covered 13 of 16 when an outsider of more than three goals.

Betting Strategy

BACK — GWS +22.5


Sydney v Essendon

Sydney have been stunning this season, one of the genuine surprise packets. It is time to get on the bandwagon before the market flips on them. Favoured by fewer than five goals at home against a struggling Essendon, the Swans absolutely look value.

Sydney have won all three games this year by a margin of at least 31, including a 45-point thrashing of premiers Richmond. Essendon come off a big win over St Kilda following two losses but don’t usually put two strong performances together, covering just 6 of 18 off scoring 120-plus.

Betting Strategy

BACK — Sydney -27.5

Richmond v Sydney

Since 2017, Richmond have been almost impossible to not only beat but cover against at the MCG. The Tigers are 41-7 over the last four years, with a 33-15 cover record over that span.

Off a win at the MCG the Tigers cover at a very good 72%. Richmond have covered 8 of their last 11 against Sydney and look primed to kick away with another strong victory.

Betting Strategy

BACK — Richmond -23.5


West Coast v Port Adelaide

It is astonishing that West Coast are underdogs at home against Port. The Power are no doubt flying but the Eagles have a great record at Optus, covering at 60%. As an underdog at the ground, West Coast have covered two of three. The Eagles have covered four of six against Port. They are a confident play.

Betting Strategy

BACK — West Coast +1.5


North Melbourne v Western Bulldogs

There is little question that North Melbourne are likely on their way to the wooden spoon this year. They are awful. Their two losses this season have been by margins of 52 and 59. These are dire times at Arden St.

They look a good play though getting a huge start against the Western Bulldogs. Underdogs of 42.5 or more off a loss of 40-plus cover at 56%. The Bulldogs cover at just 42% when favoured and just 31% when favoured by more than five goals.

Betting Strategy

BACK — North Melbourne +42.5

Hawthorn v Richmond

Since 2017, Richmond have been almost impossible to not only beat but cover against at the MCG. The Tigers are 40-7 over the last four years, with a 32-15 cover record over that span.

Off a win at the MCG the Tigers cover at an astonishing 72%. Richmond have covered four of their last five against the Hawks and should do a number on the Hawks again.

Betting Strategy

BACK — Richmond -29.5


Geelong v Brisbane

Geelong are remarkably underrated by the market at Kardinia and look an outstanding bet this week against a Brisbane team that was appalling in Round 1.

The Cats cover at 58% at their spiritual home since 2012, including a 7-3 cover record when favoured by two goals or fewer. The Cats are also outstanding off a loss, going 12-3 against the number. The Lions have covered just one of their last five after scoring 90-plus.

Betting Strategy

BACK — Geelong -8.5


Port Adelaide v Essendon

Port Adelaide kicked off their 2021 campaign in fine style when they handed North Melbourne a 52-point thumping. Essendon hardly seem more optimistic about their season this year and the Power get the benefit of home this week.

Port have covered seven of 11 at Adelaide Oval when favoured by more than three goals. Essendon have covered just 4 of 12 away from the MCG/Marvel.

Betting Strategy

BACK — Port Adelaide -32.5

West Coast v Gold Coast

Gold Coast look to be a team on the rise this year with Matt Rowell the most exciting prospect in the league but they face a daunting task first-up against West Coast in Perth. The Eagles are outstanding as a big favourite in Perth, going 27-13 against the spread when favoured by four-plus goals.

The Suns cover at just 39% interstate and this young crop is going to need to get used to interstate travel. The Eagles are a strong play.

Betting Strategy

BACK — West Coast -28.5


Richmond v Carlton

Let’s open the season with one of the best angles in AFL betting – Carlton at the big plus. The Blues again shape as an underrated proposition this year while Richmond are now the most public of public teams. The Blues have certainly been profitable against the Tigers in recent years, covering three of the last four meetings.

Carlton cover at 61% when getting more than three goals and 67% getting three-plus goals in Melbourne. In the first six weeks they are 14-2 against the spread dating back to 2011. The Blues can keep this one close.

Betting Strategy

BACK — Carlton +20.5


Essendon v Hawthorn

The Bombers and Hawks are both expected to finish down the southern end of the table in 2021 but Essendon are a real confident play to open the season. Essendon cover at a nice 57% when an underdog at Marvel but have covered 8 of 10 in the spot.

The Hawks struggle at Marvel, covering at just 39%. The Bombers matchup well with the Hawks and should be able to collect the four points.

Betting Strategy

BACK — Essendon +6.5

The AFL season is nearly upon us and there is plenty of value to be found in futures markets.

PREMIERSHIP WINNER

There is no reason to look beyond the obvious. Richmond have won three of the last four flags and look primed for a fourth. Tigerland has become a winning machine and with Damien Hardwick, Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin at the helm, that will not change anytime soon.

No team can peak at the right time better than the Tigers. There have been no notable changes to their list and the fact is the AFL is built for dynasties to last. The Tigers are favourites but they still present plenty of value in the premiership market.

If one team can leap from outside the Top 8 to become genuine title contenders it is Melbourne. They have been major disappointments in the last few years but their percentage last year was good enough to match a number of teams in the Top 8.

The addition of key forward Ben Brown gives the Demons some much-needed goalkicking impetus and if the midfield can show just marginal improvement then the Dees can offer plenty in 2021.

BACK — Richmond at $5.20

BACK — Melbourne at $36


MINOR PREMIERS

The Cats come into this season off an impressive Top 4 finish in 2020 and yet another Grand Final appearance. The Cats project to be the biggest Pythagorean improvers in 2021 from inside the Top 8 and they were not far off the minor premiership last season.

They were then uber-aggressive in the trade period, landing Jeremy Cameron as well as Isaac Smith and Shaun Higgins. The Cats are talented and deep and look primed for another big season.

BACK — Geelong at $4.90


TOP 4

Success is built on defence and West Coast and the Eagles certainly are building from the defensive side of the ball under Adam Simpson. The Eagles have made the playoffs in six straight seasons and have finals wins in four of those years. Tim Kelly was an outstanding pickup last offseason and the list is well balanced. A little more attacking flair and West Coast are in the top echelon of title contenders.

BACK — West Coast at $3.05


TOP 8

The Blues have long been underrated and can finally emerge with a talented young list. The Blues should have played finals football last year but lost key matches in the back half of the season that cost them dearly with poor periods in games the difference for them. The Blues have a talented young list led by Patrick Cripps and the team has a lot of upside under the astute David Teague.

Collingwood are typically a play-against betting proposition, a terribly overrated public team. They do look to be well on the slide too. The offseason dramas had to have taken some toll, particularly on a coaching staff that had to front up to much of it.

Adam Treloar and Jaidyn Stephenson have been moved on and the list is aging and not gracefully. The Pies finished eighth last season and it is hard to see any improvement coming from a team that has not brought in any AFL-ready talent.

BACK — Carlton at $2.28

LAY — Collingwood at $2.02


Least SEASON WINS

The Bombers were horrendous at the backend of last season and there were few excuses to justify just a single win in their last 10 matches. They are clearly looking to blow things up. John Worsfold has moved on as coach with Ben Rutten taking over.

Veterans Adam Saad, Joe Daniher and Orazio Fantasia are among a host of senior players moving on. The third-worst percentage last year showed that the Bombers’ 13th placing last year well and truly inflated their true showing.

BACK — Essendon at $8.00


COLEMAN MEDAL

One thing you will be sure to get with West Coast big Josh Kennedy is a sight. The two-time Coleman Medal winner has been in the Top 7 nine times in the last decade. The Eagles big man is one of the few players in the AFL still capable of kicking a bag. He is excellent value on a team that will be returning to the finals.

BACK — Josh Kennedy at $10


BROWNLOW MEDAL

The No.1 pick in the 2019 AFL draft certainly delivered for the Gold Coast in a sublime debut season. The crafty midfielder played just five games for the Suns but accumulated nine Brownlow votes and marked himself as an out-and-out star of the future. The Suns are a team on the up and Rowell is their star.

BACK — Matt Rowell at $23


Current Results

Total Units Staked: 15.00

Total Units Returned: 13.83

ROI: -7.83%


Extra Betting Resources

If you’re looking to improve your AFL betting, we recommend checking out the following resources as well:


Related Articles

AFL Prediction Model

Betfair’s internal team of Data Scientists have created an AFL Prediction Model. The model creates probabilities for every game. ...

2021 Brownlow Medal Predictor

For your complete guide to the 2020 AFL Brownlow, check out Betfair's Predictor. You'll find assigned votes for every ...

How to Manage Your Own Brownlow Spreadsheet

The Brownlow Medal is the biggest punting day on the AFL calendar.