Pete Roberts from Behind The Footy is sharing some of his great content with us for the 2021 AFL season. Pete spent fifteen years in AFL coaching boxes as an analyst. He now shares those insights with footy fans. Here’s his AFL Round 16 Preview.

🍻 Pub bets Watching a game and want an interest? We’ve thrown in the pub bet for that very reason… it might just be a smart way to play based on Pete’s excellent analysis!
AFL Round 16: Melbourne v GWS

The Giants blew a golden opportunity to stay level with the Tigers on seven wins last week. The rejuvenated Hawks defence was able to keep their forwards quiet – only 72 points on a sunny Sunday afternoon at the G wasn’t nearly enough.

They face an even better defence here. Yet strangely, 72 points could be quite competitive given the Dees have struggled to score themselves over the past couple of weeks.

So this becomes a matter of which offence can find a way. On form, you still have to side with Melbourne – they are used to winning ugly, have built a lot of belief over the course of the season, and can grind their way to another win as long as they turn their midfield brilliance into scores.

Waiting on teams for this one – the inclusion of Mumford might not be enough to contain Max Gawn. That edge alone is worth a significant amount for Melbourne. The rest of the midfield is relatively evenly matched, so Gawn’s dominance should see the Dees able to at least break even at stoppage after losing clearance differential in three of their past four games.

Had the Giants put in a convincing performance against Hawthorn last week, you could suggest they were in the right sort of form to challenge Melbourne. They didn’t, so it would take a reasonable form reversal for them to cause the upset. We’ve seen it plenty of times before so it pays to be wary given Melbourne aren’t blowing teams away offensively, but we still have to side with the ladder leader here.

Pick: Melbourne by 18
🍻 Pub bet
GWS +29.5
$1.85 with TopSport

AFL Round 16: Adelaide v Brisbane

This is another example of having to be wary of a top team putting in a flat one. The Lions have won nine of their past ten matches, with only a poor second half against Melbourne letting them down. Are they due for a lack of intensity or commitment at some point soon? Does the uncertainty of their immediate future play any part in their performance?

We saw the Crows lift for a big one against Melbourne and knock them off at home, albeit in front of a nearly-full home crowd at night. This time they land in the afternoon spot with the prospect of an empty stadium (or at best half-full), so it will be interesting if the Crows can find their spark against another top side.

It is going to take a massive defensive effort from Adelaide to contain the Lions in this one, without their best defensive midfielder in Rory Sloane. We saw how important he was in the upset win over Melbourne, and again when the Crows overrun the Saints in Cairns. Without him here, the task becomes even harder.

Only the Kangaroos have conceded more forward 50 marks than the Crows this season – look out if the Lions aren’t flat, because all of their marking players could run amok here. They managed 17 against Geelong’s defence. What are they capable of here?

Just wary of Brisbane not being on their A-game. That said, they should still be too strong for the Crows.

Pick: Brisbane by 23
🍻 Pub bet
Total over 165.5
$1.90 with TopSport

AFL Round 16: Fremantle v Carlton

The Dockers playing a home game against Carlton at the MCG on the same day as the Demons take on the Giants at the same venue. 2021 is getting wild.

Absolutely no idea what to do with this game. Carlton have the offence to trouble an undermanned Fremantle, but their lack of willingness to lock down on defence means the Dockers should get enough opportunities of their own.

Fremantle were embarrassed last time they played Carlton – Round 3 Marvel Stadium, the Blues’ second-highest score for the year. In that game, Carlton dominated the clearance count – 43-29, leading to a 64-43 inside 50 tally. With their go-forward style, Carlton have the exact weapon that can cause Freo a lot of problems.

The confidence levels of both these teams have changed dramatically since that time, though. Carlton have been clouded by off-field reviews and significant pressure on their performances. Fremantle have progressed quietly and banked wins along the way despite their injury issues, to the point where only percentage is keeping them out of the eight.

Last week’s win over Collingwood showed they are in the right form and up for the fight. With the change in venue and the uncertainty about when they might return home, the game becomes another watch on how the team will cope. It’s a factor we wish we didn’t have to consider, but it’s necessary.

The Blues couldn’t be any more different than the Pies, so this is an entirely different challenge for the Dockers. Their midfield has the quality to win enough contests through the middle and generate supply for their forwards, so it might come down to taking their opportunities in front of goal. If Fyfe returns, he might become the most fascinating part of the match – likely to stay forward for longer periods due to his suspect shoulder, so can he ditch the yips and kick a few?

Wish we could just assess these two purely on their merits. But venue switches and the mental aspect of being away from home for an undetermined period force us to side with Carlton when it probably should be the other way around.

Pick: Carlton by 5
🍻 Pub bet
Full time tri bet
Either team under 12.5
$2.96 with TopSport

AFL Round 16: Hawthorn v Port Adelaide

One of the more interesting games of the weekend – a resurgent Hawthorn against a shaky Port Adelaide, potentially with an open roof at Marvel Stadium on a wintery, rainy night in Melbourne. Makes things tricky from a game analysis perspective, that’s for sure.

Charlie Dixon’s status complicates things even further. Some of the criticism of him this year has been grossly unfair, judging him only on goals to measure his output. Not the right approach for a player of his type. Without him, their forward line definitely lacks a bit of brute force and class. Georgiades and Marshall would have to fill the void, which is a worry.

Port Adelaide’s best approach is to use their speed of ball movement and ability to turn the ball over in their front half. They come up against the worst forward half turnover team in the competition. That factor alone becomes the tipping point in favour of Port.

The Hawks’ renewed defence seems to have helped generate higher scores up the other end, making them far more competitive than earlier in the season – scores of 89, 73 and 90 in their past three weeks. A similar output on Saturday night would put them right in the game. Big job for their forwards to keep finding a way, and for Port’s defence to lock down and deny them the opportunity.

Clearly Port are a better side, equipped with enough pace and a superior skill level to get the job done. The absence of Dixon brings them down a notch, particularly as they haven’t set the world on fire offensively for a little while. Still have to be on their side though, given Marvel Stadium is a turnover ground and they clearly have the edge in that area compared to the Hawks.

Pick: Port Adelaide by 20
🍻 Pub bet
Port Adelaide -17.5
$2.00 with TopSport

Pete Roberts from Behind The Footy is sharing some of his great content with us for the 2021 AFL season. Pete spent fifteen years in AFL coaching boxes as an analyst. He now shares those insights with footy fans.

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