Despite all the chaos off the field, Round 11 still has some action-packed matches – and almost all of them have some upset potential. Here’s what you need to know ahead of this weekend’s matches.
Western Bulldogs vs Melbourne
How about first vs second on the ladder to kick off the weekend? This season’s best sides – with identical 9-1 records – go head-to-head for the first time, but Melbourne’s shock loss last weekend means punters are flocking to the Bulldogs.
In fairness, that’s probably a good call. If you name a stat, the Doggies are probably first in the AFL for it. They’re the runaway premiership favourites at this stage and, even without Adam Treloar, should have the class to put the Demons away. Both teams are very high-scoring, so expect the scoreboard to keep ticking over.
Bulldogs by 11 $1.62 at PlayUp
Collingwood vs Geelong
Collingwood’s quest to get out of their tailspin looks pretty difficult, with the third-placed Cats visiting the MCG.
Neither side has been that exciting to watch this season and the Magpies are pretty good at dragging other sides down to their level, so this could be a bit of a snooze.
Still, if you’re after a smart bet, five of Geelong’s seven wins have come by under five goals, while the Magpies only have an average losing margin of 20 points despite dropping eight games. Cats by under four goals could be on here.
Cats by 21 $1.28 at PlayUp
Brisbane vs GWS Giants
If anyone’s going to challenge the Doggies and Dees at this stage, it looks like the Brisbane Lions. They’re hotter than hot right now and last week’s win over Richmond was seriously impressive.
The Giants deserve a tonne of credit for getting over the line without Toby Greene on Sunday, but their injury list just keeps growing and growing. GWS haven’t lost at the Gabba (to the Lions) since 2013, but that streak surely ends this week.
Lions by 29 $1.20 at PlayUp
St Kilda vs North Melbourne
If you’re still confused by St Kilda in 2021 – don’t be. There’s a very simple method to working out if they’re going to get up each week.
If they’re playing a good team, they will get completely and utterly bulldozed. A ten-goal margin can be counted as a success.
If they’re playing a bad team, they will run rings around their opponent and trick more people into thinking they’re still good. They’re not.
North Melbourne, as we all know, are a very bad team. So, you can (and should) tip the Saints – just don’t let anything you see fool you into thinking they’re worth a tip next week.
Saints by 37 $1.22 at PlayUp
Gold Coast vs Hawthorn
This is one of the trickier matches to tip this weekend.
Hawthorn has been completely hopeless in 2021 but, as bad as they’ve been, nobody ever feels truly comfortable backing the Suns – especially in matches they’re picked to win.
That said, Gold Coast did themselves proud with a valiant showing down in Geelong, whereas the Hawks haven’t done a lot to deserve your backing.
Suns by 14 $1.41 at PlayUp
West Coast vs Essendon
Like St Kilda, there’s a very simple method to working out whether you should back West Coast each week.
If they’re playing at home, back them without hesitation.
If they’re on the road, avoid them at all costs.
The Eagles have won all five home games this season by an average of six goals, while the Bombers don’t particularly enjoy playing here. Should be cut and dry.
Eagles by 34 $1.27 at PlayUp
Richmond vs Adelaide
This game no longer being at the MCG could be a huge difference-maker. With all reports indicating the Tigers and Crows are now playing at Giants Stadium, it could be a lot closer than we expect.
Richmond hasn’t won at this venue since back in 2014, losing on their last four visits. Adelaide, on the other hand, is jumping for joy that they don’t have to play at the MCG – a ground they haven’t won at in four years.
The Tigers should still have the edge here, but the Crows will push them all the way.
Tigers by 8 $1.30 at PlayUp
Sydney vs Carlton
Sydney should come out breathing fire after dropping a match to Freo last week that they really should’ve won. They’re still in good touch, but a lot of punters still have doubts they can keep their form up all season and think they could be vulnerable.
The home ground advantage is massive here, however. Carlton has a truly horrendous record in Sydney. They won on their last visit but had lost a whopping 17 of 18 before that.
Swans by 16 $1.47 at PlayUp
Port Adelaide vs Fremantle
Both sides got up in absolute thrillers last week, so it’ll be interesting to see who’s got more left in the tank. Port haven’t been quite at their best so far this season and will look to make a statement here.
Luckily, for them, the Dockers have never beaten them at the Adelaide Oval – losing all five encounters by an average of 53 points. It probably won’t be that lopsided this time, but Port should get up comfortably.
Power by 46 $1.24 at PlayUp
A version of this preview was originally published over at The Roar https://www.theroar.com.au/2021/05/27/the-roars-afl-expert-tips-and-predictions-round-11-5/