AFL Round 21: Saturday Night Match Previews & Betting Tips
A fascinating double-header on Saturday night with the Bulldogs and Bombers meeting with huge finals implications on the line for both clubs, while the Cats need to get back on track with a win at home against the Roos if they’re to hold on to a top-two spot.
Essendon v Western Bulldogs - Marvel Stadium - 7:25pm
With their season on the line, the Western Bulldogs will need to find a way to win when they tackle Essendon at Marvel Stadium.
The Bulldogs enter Round 21 one win and substantial percentage outside the top eight after falling by 18-points to Brisbane at the Gabba last weekend. Although the Bombers find themselves four points inside the September bracket, they could be the team to catch for the Dogs if their most recent performance is to go by.
A stunning 59-point home loss to Port Adelaide in which Essendon’s run of five come-from-behind victories, alongside injuries to key personnel, appeared too much to overcome. Adam Saad and Matt Guelfi have since been sidelined, making this contest a true test of Essendon’s depth. Furthermore, recent history between these clubs is on the side of the Bulldogs, with their last loss to the Bombers coming more than five years ago, although recent form suggests Essendon don’t turn in two stinkers in a row.
Key Stat: Essendon has covered the line in nine of its last 11 night matches following a loss
Tip: Western Bulldogs
Best bet: Either team under 15.5
Value bet: Sam Lloyd Most Goals
Geelong v North Melbourne - GMHBA - 7:25pm
Desperate to find its form after yet another upset loss, Geelong will welcome North Melbourne to GMHBA Stadium on Saturday night in search of a bounce back victory.
Although their 34-point loss to a previously out-of-form Fremantle side has seen many begin to question the Cats’ contender status and a loss in this fixture could see them even struggle to even finish in the top four, despite holding down top spot since Round 2.
However, Geelong hasn’t lost to a Victorian club at this venue since 2015, while its three such victories this season have come by an average margin of 50.3 points. Furthermore, the Cats triumphed by a 24-point scoreline when these teams met at Marvel Stadium in Round 8, but that was with Brad Scott in charge.
That result came despite the best efforts of Ben Brown, who finished with five goals. Brown was again in the goals last week, having booted four goals as his side came from 27 points down to defeat Hawthorn 86-64 last Friday. He will need another big performance if the Roos are to pull off the upset and keep their slim finals hopes alive.
Key Stat: Geelong has won 14 consecutive Saturday night fixtures at GMHBA Stadium
Best bet: North Melbourne +22.5
Value bet: Either team under 15.5