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 18 Preview for Sunday.

🍻 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 18: North Melbourne v Essendon

Another game moved to Queensland, in the early lunchtime slot of 12:35! At least in Victorian lockdown we have something to watch after another enforced sleep-in. Too bad it doesn’t look like the greatest game on paper.

North take the field without Ben Cunnington for the first time since Round 2. They lose a lot in his absence – he’s their best clearance player, fourth-highest disposal winner and their best tackler. They don’t really have anyone else like him to pick up the slack. That alone puts them on the back foot against the Essendon midfield.

While Marvel Stadium would have obviously suited the Bombers far more than Metricon, it is still a venue where they can use their best weapons – run, spread and youthful exuberance against average opposition.

It was party time in Round 10 when these two last met – Wright, Hooker, Waterman, Jones and Cox all managed multiple goals. Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti cleaned up everything that wasn’t marked and kicked three himself. Admittedly the Roos have improved since that time, but that sort of potency promises to cause them serious headaches again.

The ticket for a Roos win is a locked-down, dour contest. The rain suited them last week against a team that shrinks in the wet. No rain on the horizon in Queensland so their challenge will be containing the Bombers and their uncontested possession chains. The first quarter should give us a fair indication as to whether it’s possible…

Pick Essendon by 29
🍻 Pub bet
Essendon -22.5
$1.90 with TopSport

AFL Round 18: Collingwood v Carlton

Such a shame these two will do battle in front of an empty stadium. Even though the Pies’ finals chances are gone and the Blues are hanging by a thread, the two traditional rivals always produce something worth watching. This time it has to be from home, unfortunately.

Clearly these two are impossible to assess – Carlton are 2-2 in the past four weeks, yet have won only four quarters. In total. Trying to work through that sort of record is incredibly tough. The Pies haven’t won a first term in the past four weeks, yet they have somehow managed 20 goals to 6 in last quarters over the same period, winning all of them.

So what happens here? No idea. It’s even hard to determine who has the better formline. The Pies stormed over the top of a Tigers side going terribly last weekend, while the Blues beat themselves with inaccurate kicking against the Cats. The week prior they should have dropped the four points except for some brilliant individual efforts in the final term.

Would you say Carlton are a better side at this point in time? Only just. Collingwood might finally be starting to play with a bit of belief and freedom after three games under their new coach. Have they clicked? If they have, they could be one of the hardest teams to face outside of the finalists in the run home. And they could definitely win here.

Absolutely no idea which way this will go. Flip a coin.

Pick Collingwood by 2
🍻 Pub bet
Full Time Tri Bet 12.5
Either team by under 12.5 points
$2.91 with TopSport

AFL Round 18: Adelaide v West Coast

The Adelaide forecast suggests there is a 50% chance of rain, but only a couple of millimetres. Perhaps the Crows should turn the sprinklers on a few hours before the game.

The Eagles travel to face a Crows side in arguably worse form than West Coast. Surprisingly, Adam Simpson hasn’t been too savage at the selection table – he is backing in all the class and experience to finally start playing up to their reputations. Big call.

The inclusion of Taylor Walker and Darcy Fogarty will help the Crows. They need all the firepower they can get, given the Eagles still have all of their goalkicking weapons up the other end.

It all comes down to how well the Crows can defend. They have the third-worst inside 50 differential for the season, so any sort of figure around the average for West Coast and they should be able to convert supply into a reasonable total.

Neither side is any good at winning the ball back in their front half, keeping the ball away from their opposition (remarkably, West Coast are 17th at disposal differential), or enjoying enough contested possession to turn things around if it’s not going their way.

Just don’t know how much longer we can keep expecting this Eagles team to play competitive football. If the game is on their terms and the Crows don’t apply enough pressure, then they might start feeling good about themselves again and win this game. But if it gets too hard and Adelaide can somehow make it at least half difficult for them, then the Crows are a definite chance.

Stacking up both forward lines you have to lean to West Coast. Stacking up effort and intensity it’s nearly a nil-all draw on recent form. If the Adelaide coaches aren’t focusing on their players producing a world-record pressure rating this weekend, then we would be very surprised.

Feel sick picking West Coast. In some ways, we hope we are wrong.

Pick West Coast by 13
🍻 Pub bet
West Coast H2H
$1.77 with TopSport

AFL Round 18: GWS v Sydney

Another team blessed by a venue switch – wintery Ballarat is swapped out for sunny Metricon Stadium. That has absolutely played into the hands of the Swans – dry conditions to unleash the same sort of ball-winning ability and foot skills as they did only six days earlier.

The Giants lose Whitfield but regain Coniglio. Their midfield definitely has the kind of personnel to trouble Sydney – it’s just a matter of whether that can translate into a competitive score against a side that has consistently shown an ability to post above average totals.

The likes of Greene, Himmelberg and Finlayson will enjoy conditions much more conducive to scoring this weekend. The four-goal wind in Ballarat saw them starved of opportunity for a whole half of football. The neutral venue at Metricon will be helpful to them, but also incredibly helpful to Sydney given their game style. That’s why you simply have to side with the Swans to deliver.

A Giants win wouldn’t shock but it would have to come on the back of restricting Sydney to a manageable score. The more likely scenario is the Swans are able to continue to use their speed and kicking skills to bank another win and march towards the finals.

Pick Sydney by 19
🍻 Pub bet
Sydney -11.5
$1.90 with TopSport

Don't spend this season making donations to the bookies. AFL Tips is back for 2022: get on board now and start betting with an edge.

Player Bets: Why they’re a soft target and so profitable

Bookies offer a stack of side bets, player bets and other prop markets for all of the major sports. You’ve…Read More

6 punting tips: How winning punters do it

6 invaluable punting tips Here are six punting tips from David Duffield to show you how winning punters make a…Read More

AFL 2021 with Brett’s Betting Syndicate – Betting 360 Podcast

Long-time Champion Bets analyst Brett joins us on the podcast to talk about the AFL 2021 season and his two…Read More