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.

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Melbourne v Western Bulldogs

The Grand Final is finally here and for the second straight season it will be away from the MCG, with Optus Stadium in Perth set to host the 2021 decider.

The main narrative, of course, is the chance for the Melbourne Football Club to end a 57-year title doubt, as they chase their first flag since 1964. Standing in their way is the resurgent Western Bulldogs. The Bulldogs, of course, ended their own long drought in 2016 when they claimed their second flag and their first in 62 years.

The Dees go in heavily favoured. The teams have met twice this year with the Demons winning 87-59 in late May before the Bulldogs won 85-65 in mid-July. Melbourne have covered five of the last seven clashes between the two teams. The under has also hit in five of the last seven.

While history beckons for the Demons, this does not look a good spot for them. They have covered just four of their last 15 when favoured. They also cover at just 43% when off a win of more than five goals. The Bulldogs have covered nine straight as an underdog.

There is no question more pressure on the Demons. The Bulldogs are a quality Grand Final bet.

Betting Strategy

BACK — Western Bulldogs +7.5

The Norm Smith Medal typically goes to a player – usually a midfielder – on the winning team who collects 20+ disposals and more often than not kicks a goal.

Betting Strategy

Marcus Bontempelli

Nearly claimed a Brownlow and can atone with a Norm Smith. The star has kicked 28 goals this year and is averaging 26.8 touches a match. Comes off a two-goal performance in the prelim while he kicked two in the last clash with the Dees.

BACK — Marcus Bontempelli at $9.0 or better

Bailey Smith

Highly underrated Bulldogs ball magnet who is averaging 23.5 disposals. Has 17 goals and 35 shots on goal this year but his recent form has been exceptional with eight goals in the three finals including a four-goal haul in the prelim.

BACK — Bailey Smith at $15.0 or better

Ed Langdon

Demons midfielder Langdon has 12 goals this season and is averaging 22.2 disposals a game. Has 19 and 21 disposals in his two finals showing while he kicked a goal against the Lions in the opening week of the finals.

BACK — Ed Langdon at $61.0 or better

Melbourne v Geelong

The Demons train is rolling and it is going to roll right through Geelong. Melbourne are on the verge of their first Grand Final in 21 years and are chasing their first premiership in 63 years. They will not be stopped this week.

The Dees have covered five of their last seven against the Cats including the last three. Geelong have struggled as a big underdog of late with six covers in their last 16. The Cats have covered just 6 of 18 off scoring 90-plus.

Betting Strategy

BACK — Melbourne -12.5

Port Adelaide v Western Bulldogs

Port Adelaide were outstanding in putting the sword to Geelong in the opening week of the finals. They do not have a great record though at outperforming the market following a dominant effort. In their last seven off a win of more than 30 points, the Power have covered just one of those.

The Bulldogs are just outstanding as an underdog, covering 15 of 18 when the underdog.

Betting Strategy

BACK — Western Bulldogs +12.5

Brisbane v Western Bulldogs

The Lions look primed for a bounceback against a Bulldogs side that has really fallen flat at the backend of the season. Brisbane has won two of the last three and covered five of the last seven against the Bulldogs. The Lions have covered 11 of their last 18 when favoured. The Bulldogs lost and failed to cover their last three to finish out the regular season and only rolled through Essendon last week. The Lions are the play.

Betting Strategy

BACK — Lions -8.5

Geelong v GWS

GWS has an excellent record against Geelong, at least from a betting perspective, with eight covers in the last 12 meetings. Always happy to bet against Geelong when heavily favoured, covering at just 41% when the elect in betting by more than two goals, including five of their last 15. The Giants have covered 11 of 18 as an underdog. The Giants look outstanding value in this one.

Betting Strategy

BACK — GWS +14.5

Western Bulldogs v Essendon

The Western Bulldogs are usually a play-against team when favoured and so they are this week. The Bulldogs cover at just 42% when favoured and have covered just 3 of their last 13 when the elect in betting.

Essendon have covered 8 of their last 12 as an underdog since Round 3 and they enter this on the back of three straight wins. They present as plenty of value this week.

Betting Strategy

BACK — Essendon +9.5

Port Adelaide v Geelong

Port Adelaide enter this on the back of six straight wins including victories over fellow Top 8 teams GWS and the Western Bulldogs. Geelong, by contrast, have lost two of their last three and will be particularly chastened by blowing a big lead last week to Melbourne.

The Cats did win the only meeting between these teams this year though by 21 points just 10 weeks back. Port have covered just 5 of 11 at the Adelaide Oval last year and cover at just 40% at home when favoured by fewer than two goals. Geelong cover at 59% as an underdog.

Betting Strategy

BACK — Geelong +5.5

Sydney v GWS

Sydney have played GWS well recently, at least well enough relative to market expectation. The Swans have covered six of their last nine against the Giants. Sydney certainly enter this in pretty hot form with seven wins in their last eight including an 87-point demolition of the Suns last week.

The Giants have won three straight but are just 4-6 against Top 8 teams this year. Sydney have covered 13 of 17 off scoring 120-plus so good scoring form is typically their best indicator.

Betting Strategy

BACK — Sydney -8.5

Essendon v Collingwood

Collingwood are usually a play as an underdog, covering six of their last nine as an underdog. Getting more than three goals, Collingwood cover at a clip of 62%. Essendon are awful favourites, covering at just 40%.

When favoured by more than three goals, the Bombers are 12-27 against the spread. Collingwood are a huge price.

Betting Strategy

BACK — Collingwood +22.5

Sydney v Gold Coast

Gold Coast have a horrific record as a big underdog and can be taken on here. The Suns are 6-70 since 2012 when an underdog of more than five goals, covering at just 45%. They have covered just 4 of their last 13 in the spot.

The Swans have covered 13 of 18 when favoured by more than five goals. The Swans have covered six of their last nine and should get the job done here.

Betting Strategy

BACK — Sydney -30.5

Carlton v GWS

Carlton was absolutely humiliated by Port Adelaide last week but look to be in a good spot here in what will most likely be David Teague’s last game as coach. The Blues have historically bounced back from humiliation with six covers in their last eight off a loss of 90-plus points.

The Blues cover at 61% getting more than three goals, a number which jumps to 67% when they play in Melbourne. GWS cover at just 41% when favoured by more than three goals.

Betting Strategy

BACK — Carlton +21.5

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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: 77.00

Total Units Returned: 71.10

ROI: -7.66%

Extra Betting Resources

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