Footy betting, line betting, afl analysis, AFL round 20. afl finals week 1

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 20 Preview for Sunday’s games.

Please note these previews were written prior to yesterday’s last-minute shuffling of games!

🍻 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 20: Gold Coast v Melbourne

A real test of the coaching and mentality of the playing group here. Even in COVID-affected times, not knowing where you are officially playing three days out from a match is absolutely wild. Clearly both teams are used to the uncertainty given the past two seasons, but some players will definitely deal with it better than others.

Get the feeling that Melbourne will relish the dryer conditions now that Queensland is the state of choice. It will give them an opportunity to keep honing their turnover game and go forward with speed when they win it back – under those scenarios you don’t need superstar forwards ahead of the ball to do something special, you just need them to work hard and be in the right spots to convert.

When Melbourne’s game style is working well, the goals are the easy part. It all depends on how well they can move the ball further up the ground, and how many times they can turn it over. The Suns have given up the second-most forward half turnovers in the last six weeks

In Round 19 against the Lions it was their own skill errors – you wouldn’t expect them to be as bad again but Melbourne are the exact team disciplined enough to continually force the Suns into giving the ball back. From there it’s a battle between the sticky Suns defenders and the Dees forwards who thrive on being constantly on the move.

Defensively you’d have to back Melbourne to cover off the Suns forwards. With any sort of discipline they should limit Gold Coast’s opportunities – it wouldn’t surprise to see large periods of the game where the ball just lives in Melbourne’s forward half.

A strong clearance side could find an edge over Melbourne. The Suns just don’t seem to be that side in the absence of Hugh Greenwood and a recognised ruckman. No choice but to strongly favour the Demons here

Pick Melbourne by 26
🍻 Pub bet
Quarter-by-quarter leader
$1.79 with

AFL Round 20: Hawthorn v Brisbane

What do we do with the Lions? Stacked with talent, missing their bookends in Hipwood and Adams, and playing like they are just waiting for the finals to begin. You obviously don’t want to be playing your best footy in July, but there are a few things they need to fix before we can consider them up to the other contenders.

Often your greatest strength is also your greatest weakness. For the Lions, the spread of scoring options is a genuine weapon – except for the fact that all of them want to be the goalkicker. For a quality visual example, check out Footy Classified from the 26th of July. If we thought the Giants were world record holders for burning their teammates last year, the Lions have definitely taken that title in 2021.

Down in Tassie, are the Hawks any hope? Perhaps if it turns into a bit of a grind and they can somehow find enough of a contribution from their forwards. Still feel like Marcus Adams missing has been criminally underrated in assessing the Lions’ recent form. They just aren’t defending as well without him holding down the last line of defence to free up Harris Andrews and co.

Between Koschitzke, Lewis and Breust, the Hawks have just enough quality to push the Lions. Will they get the ball down there enough? Dead last at Inside 50 differential (by a long way), playing the 2nd-ranked side this weekend. That alone should ensure the Lions put up a score the Hawks can’t match, as long as they don’t keep playing like millionaires and get back to basics.

As with a couple of other sides, there is a feeling the Hawks are trending downwards for the run home. The effort against Melbourne looks like a late-season peak, so the assumption is they won’t be able to reach that level again this year. Brisbane haven’t lost to a side in the bottom six all season. Tough to see it starting here.

Pick Brisbane by 33
🍻 Pub bet
Full-time Tri-Bet
Lions by 25+ points
$1.72 with

AFL Round 20: Essendon v Sydney

Arguably the match of the round – the Bombers finals hopes are still alive, even though it might be in their best interests to miss out this year. The Swans are still everyone’s second favourite team and look to be incredibly dangerous they way they are playing.

There have been significant danger signs in Essendon’s last two weeks – bottom four in pressure, bottom two at conceding uncontested marks, only breaking even at midfield turnovers despite playing 18th and 12th at the time. The step up to the Swans will exploit their lack of defensive intent if they don’t improve – no one has a bigger midfield turnover score differential than the Swans.

Is there any sort of confidence that the Bombers can rise again after a flat couple of weeks? Unsure. Their window of opportunity might be turning the game into a stoppage battle, then finding enough marks up forward, but the Swans are so honest down there it will be incredibly difficult – only the Cats and Demons have conceded fewer forward 50 marks this season. Big statement from the Bombers dropping Cale Hooker – time for Wright, Stringer and Stewart to get it done.

If Essendon can lock down the contest and let their midfielders get to work, that’s their best chance of causing the upset. The Gabba does lend itself to favouring those who can win centre bounce, so in that respect the Bombers could find a way.

In a battle between the turnover game of the Swans and the stoppage threat of Essendon, we will always side with the more lethal turnover team. Sydney clearly fit that bill.

An Essendon win in a tight one wouldn’t shock, but loving what the Swans are doing at the moment. A happy team is a formidable team…

Pick Sydney by 17
🍻 Pub bet
Total over 161.5
$1.95 with

AFL Round 20: GWS v Port Adelaide

Chose this one as the match of the round, for obvious reasons. If we know Port Adelaide are a rung below the top contenders, where does that put the Giants in the pecking order? Not far off Port in our book. Sets up for a perfect prime time Sunday contest at the neutral ground of Metricon Stadium.

Finlayson and Greene return to give the Giants a bit more firepower. Their past fives scores have been between 64 and 72 points. Remarkably consistent, but they’ll need at least a couple more unless they completely shut down Port up the other end.

The couch critics call Port Adelaide flat track bullies. They haven’t beaten a current top eight team. The Giants are eighth. Here’s their chance. Obviously it’s not as straight forward as that. Just a slight drop off in offensive potency compared to last season has cost them so far – they’ve gone from 2nd in scoring in the 2020 shorter quarters to 6th overall in 2021. A couple of goals at both ends has made a huge difference to their fortunes against the better sides.

Do we call the Giants a good side or an also-ran? They are probably in the same boat as the Bombers, Tigers, Dockers and Saints. Enough talent to compete yet with a very mixed formline.

The one area the Giants have an edge is through the middle. They bat so deep with quality on-ballers who seem to get better the longer the game goes. If they can keep Parish and Merrett to season low disposal counts (yep, they did), can they do the same to Wines and Boak? They are slightly different players than the Bombers pair so it’s a solid test.

Really torn with this one. The stoppage game favours GWS, while Port have shown they can score more freely. Probably comes down to whether the Giants can save a couple of goals down back and turn them into scores of their own. Can’t wait to find out if they do.

Pick Port Adelaide by 6
🍻 Pub bet
Full-time Tri-Bet
Either team by <12.5 points
$3.15 with

AFL Round 20: Fremantle v Richmond

Another interesting game to finish. The Dockers go in as outsiders thanks to an unrelenting run with injury – imagine their team with Cox, Hamling, Hill and Lobb. Now add their latest absentees in Fyfe, Walters and Pearce. They are seriously cursed.

Of course the Tigers depth has been tested a fair bit as well – no Martin, Broad, Balta, Vlastuin or Houli. As we’ve said all along though, their forward line is largely untouched. And that’s where they do their damage.

The Tigers need a repeat of their 16 marks inside 50 against Brisbane two weeks ago. Last week the Geelong defence held them to half that figure. Fremantle aren’t close to either side defensively, so we can be confident the Tigers can find room up forward for Lynch, Riewoldt and Chol to control the air.

The Dockers’ best chance might be to lock this game down. A stoppage grind will be right up their alley with Darcy in red hot form and a midfield group that has shown they can compete with most sides, even without Nat Fyfe. No one has a better stoppage score differential than the Dockers in the past seven matches. That’s their golden chance to win the territory battle and figure out ways to score.

Went into this preview looking to make a case for the Dockers. They do have a stoppage edge, but it’s just so hard to see how they stop Richmond from scoring, particularly through their key forwards. Without Cox, Pearce and Hamling they are seriously stretched. Any side would find it difficult under that scenario.

Freo not without a hope in front of a home crowd. They will know the blueprint, it’s just a matter of execution. Really wish their scoring profile was a little bit better recently. If they can’t find avenues to score then the more potent forward line of Richmond should prevail.

Pick Richmond by 4
🍻 Pub bet
Full-time Tri-Bet
Either team by <12.5 points
$3.00 with

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