AFL 2023 Round 21 – Betting Tips, Odds & Predictions

James Salmon
AFL Betting Tips
AFL 2023 Round 21
AFL 2023 Round 21

What a wild weekend that was. As if this AFL season needs to get any more difficult to disentangle, the first six games of Round 20 saw the lower team on the ladder prevail, with a couple of significant upsets throwing ladder predictors around the country into disarray. The top four increasingly looks set, though the positions within it are not, but there are still ten and potentially even 11 teams hunting for the bottom four spots in the top eight. There are a plethora of eight-point games set to take place over the weekend, kicking off with the Bulldogs vs the Tigers, while elsewhere the Cats take on the Power, the Saints take on the Blues and the Crows take on the Suns. Another huge weekend of footy is ahead of us, and we’ve previewed all of it below.

Round 21 Fixtures

FixturesInfo (AEST)Home OddsAway Odds
Bulldogs vs TigersFriday, August 4 at 7.50pm$1.62$2.30
Bombers vs EaglesSaturday, August 5 at 1.45pm$1.06$9.00
Crows vs SunsSaturday, August 5 at 2.10pm$1.40$2.95
Hawks vs MagpiesSaturday, August 5 at 4.35pm$4.80$1.18
Cats vs PowerSaturday, August 5 at 7.25pm$1.52$2.55
Giants vs SwansSaturday, August 5 at 7.30pm$1.85$1.95
Kangaroos vs DemonsSunday, August 6 at 1.10pm$7.00$1.10
Saints vs BluesSunday, August 6 at 3.20pm$2.90$1.41
Dockers vs LionsSunday, August 6 at 4.40pm$2.80$1.44

Western Bulldogs vs Richmond Tigers

It’s appropriate that a round full of eight-point games kicks off with a clash between the Bulldogs and the Tigers, two teams sitting eighth and 11th respectively and separated by just half a game. Both teams are coming off losses which could prove catastrophic in their quest for the finals,. The Bulldogs’ loss, in particular, was a disaster as they handed back a significant lead to the Giants to go down by five points. The Tigers, too, gave back a big lead, though at least theirs was to a top four team in the Demons. At times during that game the Tigers looked really good, but fell away in the last 20 minutes to ultimately go down by 32 points despite having led for large portions of the game. If they can play the kind of footy they did for the first three quarters and the Doggies bring their A-game, this will be a quality game of footy. Unfortunately neither of them are consistently showing that best. This could be a fast-flowing, high-scoring game, and expect both to go through periods of momentum during which their opposition struggles to contain them, and come the final siren it may very well go down to the wire. In the Tigers favour is the fact that their forward line, which has been struggling, should have a far easier time against the Doggies defence than they did against that of the Dees, and for that reason they can claim a pivotal win and jump into the top eight come Friday night.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Tigers to win$2.30
Over 168.5 total match points$1.91
Tigers +8.5$1.87

Predicted Squads

Western BulldogsWestern Bulldogs: B: L.Vandermeer, J. O’Donnell, T.Duryea HB: B.Dale, R. Gardner, E.Richards C: C.Poulter, M.Bontempelli - C, A.Scott HF: J.Macrae, A.Naughton, C.Daniel F: C.Weightman, J.Ugle-Hagan, B.Smith FOLL: T.English, A.Treloar, T.Liberatore I/C: B.Williams, J.Johannisen, B. Khamis, R.Lobb

Richmond TigersRichmond Tigers: B: N.Balta, D.Grimes - C, T.Young HB: N.Vlastuin, N.Broad, D.Rioli C: K.McIntosh, T.Taranto, J.Ross HF: J.Graham, J.Hopper, L.Baker F: J.Riewoldt, D.Martin, M.Pickett FOLL: T. Nankervis, D.Prestia, S.Bolton I/C: J. Short, B.Miller, T.Cotchin, R.Mansell

Essendon Bombers vs West Coast Eagles

After five losses in their past six games, it’s safe to say that the Bombers need a win. Having sat inside the eight for large portions of the season they’re now back in 13th, but all is not as bad as it seems; they’re only a game outside the eight and have this season’s version of a second bye to come this weekend. Actually, maybe the Eagles deserve a bit of respite; they won their first game since Round 2 last weekend and just their fourth in the past two years, so as disastrous a year or two as it’s been they have some reason to lap up that little piece of success. With a few more cattle out on the park than what they’ve had for a lot of the year they will hopefully be a little more competitive in the run home, but that doesn’t mean they’re a chance this weekend. Percentage may well be relevant for the Bombers come season’s end, so expect them to try to eke out as much of it as they can this weekend. They should have no difficulty notching up a straightforward victory this Saturday afternoon.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Bombers to win$1.09
Bombers 40+ $1.55
Bombers -49.5$1.87

Predicted Squads

Essendon Essendon Bombers: B: A.McGrath, B.Zerk-Thatcher, J.Kelly HB: M.Redman, J.Laverde, D.Heppell C: S.Durham, A.Perkins, N.Martin HF: J.Caldwell, P.Wright, N.Cox F: M.Guelfi, K.Langford, B.Hobbs FOLL: A.Phillips, D.Parish, Z.Merrett - C I/C: W.Snelling, N.Hind, N.Bryan, J.Menzie

West Coast EaglesWest Coast Eagles: B: T.Cole, S.Hurn, L.Duggan HB: B.Hough, A.Witherden, J.Hunt C: A.Gaff, D.Sheed, E. Hewett HF: L.Edwards, J.Darling, J.Cripps F: N.Long, O.Allen - C, R.Maric FOLL: B.Williams, T.Kelly, E. Yeo I/C: J.Petruccelle, X.O’Neill, C. Chesser, J.Rotham

Adelaide Crows vs Gold Coast Suns

A clash between 12th and 14th just a month out from finals wouldn’t typically invoke a whole lot of enthusiasm, but this is no ordinary season. Both the Crows and the Suns are just a game out of the top eight, with brilliant underdog victories against their top four intrastate opponents last week keeping them in the hunt for the finals. Adelaide were simply brilliant in the Showdown, with Tex Walker winding back the clock with one of the games of the season to comfortably defeat their crosstown rivals. The Suns, meanwhile, surprised everyone by taking care of the Lions with consummate ease in what was one of their best performances of the season. Courtesy of their poor percentage and the very good one of the Crows, the Suns have a much tougher job ahead of them to play finals, but a win here would go a long way. Unfortunately for them, Adelaide in Adelaide has become one of the toughest trips in footy. The Suns haven’t been super consistent at times in recent weeks and if they don’t bring their best they could go down comfortably, but with their season on the line hopefully that doesn’t happen. Their elite contested ball winning ability should enable them to keep this one tight, but it’s hard to see the Crows failing to get the job done on their home turf. 

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Crows 1-39$2.20
Adelaide/Adelaide half-time/full-time double$1.65
Crows to win$1.40

Predicted Squads

Adelaide CrowsAdelaide Crows: B: B.Smith, J.Butts, M.Keane HB: M.Michalanney, J.Worrell, W.Milera C: C.Jones, J.Dawson - C, M.Hinge HF: B.Keays, D.Fogarty, S.McAdam F: L.Pedlar, T.Walker, H.Schoenberg FOLL: R.O’Brien, R.Laird, M.Crouch I/C: R.Thilthorpe, R.Sloane, L.Murphy, L.Nankervis

Gold Coast SunsGold Coast Suns: B: C.Ballard, S.Collins, M.Andrew HB: D.Swallow, R.Atkins, S.Lemmens C: W.Powell, S.Flanders, B.Ainsworth HF: B.Humphrey, J.Lukosius, T.Miller F: N.Holman, B.King, L.Casboult FOLL: J.Witts - C, M.Rowell, N.Anderson I/C: B.Ellis, E.Hollands, D.Macpherson, M.Rosas

  • The Cats’ last two games have yielded an average of only 126 points
  • Both the Hawks and the Magpies have exceeded the total match points over/under for their game in each of the last two weeks, with the Hawks’ last two games yielding 215 and 191 points.
  • The Blues have won six on the trot, five of which have been by 50 points or more and two of which have been against the top two teams in the league.

Multi of the Week

Cats vs Power under 164.5 total match points$1.90
Hawks vs Magpies over 166.5 total match points$1.90
Blues 25+$2.30
Bet $10 for $83.03 with PlayUp

Hawthorn Hawks vs Collingwood Magpies

Most ways you look at it, this should be a pretty one-sided encounter, but the Hawks at their best have been a fun and surprisingly dangerous side this year. Unfortunately, that form seems to be something that they bring only once every few weeks. They brought it for three quarters against the Tigers a fortnight ago, when they jumped out to a six-goal lead only to have it reeled back in the last quarter. Then last week, they conceded nine goals in the first quarter to the Saints, switched on thereafter and fought back, only to be blown out late. The Magpies are coming off a rare loss against the rampaging Blues, but they’re still the best team in the eyes of most and will make the Hawks pay severely for any lapses in concentration. Most likely they will be far too strong in this one, but the Hawks will likely throw caution to the wind against the game’s best and might be able to cause some damage through certain periods of the game. If they put in a performance the likes of which saw them beat the Lions a few weeks ago, this could be an entertaining game, but regardless, it seems like a question of the Magpies by how much.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Magpies to win$1.18
Over 166.5 total match points$1.91
Magpies -30.5$1.87

Predicted Squads

Hawthorn Hawthorn Hawks: B: B.Hardwick, S.Frost, S.Mitchell HB: J.Impey, J.Sicily - C, F.Maginness C: W.Day, J.Worpel, J.Weddle HF: C.Nash, C.Wingard, T.Brockman F: D.Moore, M.Lewis, L.Breust FOLL: L.Meek, J.Newcombe, J.Ward I/C: C.Mackenzie, B.Ryan, L.Bramble, C.Macdonald

Collingwood MagpiesCollingwood Magpies: B: J.Howe, D.Moore - C, I.Quaynor HB: B.Maynard, N.Murphy, J.Crisp C: S.Sidebottom, N.Daicos, O.Markov HF: J.De Goey, B.Mihocek, P.Lipinski F: J.Elliott, D.McStay, T.Adams FOLL: D.Cameron, T.Mitchell, S.Pendlebury I/C: J.Daicos, J.Noble, B.McCreery, M.Cox

Geelong Cats vs Port Adelaide Power

This could well be the game of the round. The Cats have long been seen as the best hope to win the flag outside of the top four, but a shocking loss to the Dockers in Geelong last weekend has seen them drop outside of the eight and put their chances of playing finals in jeopardy. They’ve got a massive fortnight coming up against the league’s top two teams, but it could be a good time to come up against the Power. After winning 13 in a row, Port lost their third consecutive game last weekend in their worst performance since the beginning of the year – ignoring the Blues loss, in which they had a significant number of outs. What’s more, the club is having to deal with a whole lot of questions about how they handled the Aliir Allir and Lachie Jones collision, an added pressure which they don’t exactly need given how the last three weeks have panned out. Despite those losses, however, they still sit in second place and have a home Qualifying Final at their disposal if they want it, but they’ll need to play a hell of a lot better this weekend than they did last if they want to hang on to that spot for another week. There have been a couple of famous games between these two teams at the Cattery in the past, and hopefully this is another one. With neither side playing near their best it’s a tough one to pick, but on their home turf and with finals on the line, Geelong can hand Port their fourth consecutive defeat.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Cats to win$1.52
Under 164.5 total match points$1.91
Cats -11.5$1.87

Predicted Squads

Geelong CatsGeelong Cats: B: J.Kolodjashnij, J.Henry, G.Rohan HB: Z.Guthrie, S.De Koning, T.Stewart C: M.Duncan, I.Smith, T. Atkins HF: G. Miers, O. Henry, T.Stengle F: Z.Tuohy, J.Cameron, B.Close FOLL: R.Stanley, P.Dangerfield - C, M.Holmes I/C: J.Bowes, E. Ratugolea, T.Bruhn, S. Menegola

Port Adelaide PowerPort Adelaide Power: B: D. Williams, T.McKenzie, D.Houston HB: K.Farrell, T. Jonas, R.Burton C: M.Bergman, W.Drew, X.Duursma HF: Z.Butters, T.Marshall, J.McEntee F: D.Byrne-Jones, C.Dixon, S.Powell-Pepper FOLL: S. Lycett, O.Wines - C, C.Rozee I/C: W. Rioli, J.Finlayson, J.Horne-Francis, F.Evans

GWS Giants vs Sydney Swans

The Battle of the Bridge has only had a little over a decade to develop into any sort of rivalry, but a number of tight results has certainly helped to hasten that process. The numbers over the past eight incarnations of the clash are incredible; the teams are locked at four wins apiece in that time, but while all of Sydney’s wins have been relatively comfortable, the Giants’ have come by 1 point, 1 point, 2 points and 2 points. Those kinds of results are enough to fuel a bit of fire among any teams, let alone the only two to reside in the nation’s biggest city. What’s more, there is an enormous amount at stake for both teams this weekend, with each of them finding themselves in the logjam of teams fighting for spots in the lower part of the eight. The Giants, of course, have put themselves in a great position after coming from a long way back against the Dogs last week to record their seventh victory in a row, moving to sixth place in the process, but the Swans too have hit some form. They very nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory last weekend, but held on against a fast finishing Essendon to record a third straight win of their own and move back to reaching distance of the eight. They’re now just half a game out, and with a win this weekend will very possibly jump inside it. This may be yet another one which goes down to the wire, but after seven straight it’s hard to go against the Giants. They can record yet another tight win against their crosstown rivals this Saturday.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Giants -1.5$1.90
Giants 1-39$2.40
Giants to win$1.85

Predicted Squads

GWS GiantsGWS Giants: B: J.Buckley, S.Taylor, I.Cumming HB: L.Ash, H.Himmelberg, L.Whitfield C: J.Kelly, C.Ward, F.Callaghan HF: D.Lloyd, J.Riccardi, T.Bedford F: B.Daniels, A.Cadman, T.Greene - C FOLL: K.Briggs, H.Perryman, S.Coniglio I/C: C.Brown, L.Keeffe, C.Idun, R.Angwin

Sydney SwansSydney Swans: B: D.Rampe, T.McCartin, H.Cunningham HB: J.Lloyd, N.Blakey, O.Florent C: B.Campbell, L.Parker, E.Gulden HF: I.Heeney, L.McDonald, S.Wicks F: T.Papley, W. Hayward, J.Amartey FOLL: H.McLean, Ch.Warner, C.Mills - C I/C: R.Fox, J.McInerney, J.Rowbottom, W.Hayward

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North Melbourne Kangaroos vs Melbourne Demons

It’s hard not to feel sorry for the Kangaroos. They’ve now lost 17 games on the trot, many of them close, and they failed in their best opportunity since Round 2 to get back on the winners’ list last weekend against the Eagles. That game was a hugely disappointing one for the first three quarters at least, though the way they charged home at least would have left some semblance of optimism in the minds of long-suffering Roos’ fans. This weekend they also get Clarko back, which should give them a bit of added incentive, but incentive won’t be enough for this team against the Dees. Melbourne, for a large chunk of last week’s game against the Tigers, looked like they might be the fourth member of the top four to go down in Round 20, but they rallied late to win by five goals on the back of six goals to Harrison Petty, four to Jacob van Rooyen and four to Jake Melksham. That result sent them two games and percentage clear in the top four, and only a solitary win behind the Power in second. It could hardly have been a better round for them, with top two now well and truly on the cards courtesy of the losses to the three teams above them. Their percentage is far superior to that of Port so won’t be relevant against them, but there is less than 1% between them and Brisbane – who are on the same win/loss record – so it will feasibly determine where they finish come season’s end. They’ll win this game, and with the margin potentially relevant to their fortunes this year, expect them to do it by a big margin.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Demons to win$1.10
Demons 25+$1.37
Demons -42.5$1.87

Predicted Squads

North Melbourne KangaroosNorth Melbourne Kangaroos: B: A.Corr, B.McKay, La.Young HB: J.Goater, T.Thomas, L.McDonald C: E.Ford, L.Davies-Uniacke, B.Scott HF: C.Taylor, D.Tucker, J.Stephenson F: W.Phillips, N.Larkey, P.Curtis FOLL: T.Xerri, H.Sheezel, J.Simpkin - C I/C: T.Goldstein, H. Greenwood, K.Turner, R.Hansen Jr

Melbourne DemonsMelbourne Demons: B: T.Rivers, S.May, J.Lever HB: C.Salem, A.Tomlinson, J.Bowey C: L.Hunter, J.Viney, E.Langdon HF: K.Chandler, J.Melksham, J.Jordon F: A.Neal-Bullen, J.van Rooyen, K.Pickett FOLL: M.Gawn - C, A.Brayshaw, C.Petracca I/C: J.Harmes, H.Petty, T.Woewodin, J.McVee

St. Kilda Saints vs Carlton Blues

Yet another eight-point game takes centre stage on Sunday afternoon, with the fifth-placed Saints taking on the seventh-placed Blues. But while those ladder positions signal a close game, the Saints would do well to get close to Carlton in this one. St. Kilda has now won two games in a row and looked better against the Hawks last week, but nonetheless their form has been really average for an extended period now and they hold onto a spot high on the ladder courtesy predominantly of the wins they banked early in the season, and defeats of the bottom three teams on the ladder over the past few weeks. Things get a little harder from here on in, beginning with this game. A few weeks ago the Blues had lost eight of nine games and were the subject of as much criticism as nearly any team in the league, but fast forward to now and they are almost inarguably the in-form team in the competition. They’ve won six on the trot, and in the past three weeks have knocked off the top two teams in the league. Last week they were simply too good for the Pies, a sentence which has hardly been uttered all year, and though they do have a couple of injuries they are humming on enough cylinders to overcome those issues. They should be too good for the Saints in this one and can potentially jump up to fifth with a solid win.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Blues to win$1.41
Blues 25+$2.30
Blues -15.5$1.87

Predicted Squads

St. Kilda St. Kilda Saints: B: J.Battle, C.Wilkie, J.Webster HB: M.Windhager, J.Sinclair, N.Wanganeen-Milera C: R.Byrnes, Z.Jones, M.Wood HF: J.Higgins, D.Butler, M.Phillipou F: M.Owens, A.Caminiti, C.Sharman FOLL: R.Marshall, J.Steele - C, B.Crouch I/C: H.Clark, T. Membrey, L.Stocker, J.Billings

Carlton BluesCarlton Blues: B: B.Kemp, J.Weitering, N.Newman HB: S.Docherty, M.McGovern, A.Saad C: B.Acres, P.Cripps - C, O.Hollands HF: L.Fogarty, T.De Koning, D.Cuningham F: J.Martin, C.Curnow, M.Owies FOLL: M.Pittonet, A.Cerra, G.Hewett I/C: C.Marchbank, A.Cincotta, M.Cottrell, J.Motlop

Fremantle Dockers vs Brisbane Lions

The Dockers seemed to have been the fourth team to write themselves out of finals contention this year, and realistically it’s still very unlikely that they’ll make it, but a win last weekend against the Cats in Geelong that very few predicted has given them a pulse, albeit a very faint one. They’ll need to win all four of their remaining games and hope that other results go their way, however, so their season may very well come to an official end this weekend. The Lions are coming off a disappointing loss against the Suns and have now lost two of their last three, but the first of those losses was by just one point to the Demons and aside from last week, have been looking very good, very consistently. They missed out on an opportunity to jump inside the top two last weekend, but with Port playing a tough game in Geelong they may very well have another chance on Sunday. The Dockers’ random performance last weekend makes them a little tough to predict, but based on how they have played for much of the season it’s tough to see them knocking off the Lions.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Lions to win$1.44
Lions 25+$2.27
Lions -16.5$1.87

Predicted Squads

Fremantle DockersFremantle Dockers: B: J.Hamling, A.Pearce - C, E.Hughes HB: J.Clark, L.Ryan, H.YoungC: L.Henry, J.O’Meara, J.Aish HF: S.Switkowski, J.Treacy, L.Schultz F: S.Sturt, J.Amiss, M.Walters FOLL: L.Jackson, C.Serong, A.Brayshaw I/C: M.Frederick, J.Corbett, N.Erasmus, C.Wagner

Brisbane LionsBrisbane Lions: B: B.Starcevich, H.Andrews - C, J.Payne HB: C.McKenna, R.Lester, K.Coleman C: H.McCluggage, J.Dunkley, J.Berry HF: C.Cameron, E.Hipwood, L.McCarthy F: D.Zorko, J.Daniher, J.Gunston FOLL: O.McInerney, L.Neale, C.Rayner I/C: K.Lohmann, C.Ah Chee, J.Fletcher, D.Wilmot

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