2021 AFL Finals Series Predictions and Best Bets (August 27-29)
The 2021 AFL Finals Series gets underway this Friday, August 27, as the remaining eight teams battle it out for the flag.
Fresh from sealing their first minor premiership since 1964, the Demons face off against Brisbane in the first qualifying final. But before Melbourne returns to action, we have a tasty Sydney Derby to get our teeth into.
Before we get to my 2021 AFL Finals Series predictions and betting picks, let’s take a look at the week one fixture list.
- Friday, August 27 – Port Adelaide vs. Geelong Cats (Second Qualifying Final)
- Saturday, August 28 – Sydney Swans vs. GWS Giants (Second Elimination Final)
- Saturday, August 28 – Melbourne Demons vs. Brisbane Lions (First Qualifying Final)
- Sunday, August 29 – Western Bulldogs vs. Essendon Bombers (First Elimination Final)
Port Adelaide and Geelong kick off the postseason with a hugely exciting clash in the second qualifying final. On Sunday, the Dogs and Essendon wrap up week one.
If you’re planning to bet on the AFL Finals Series in 2021, you should definitely keep reading. Below, I share my AFL predictions for week one of the 2021 Finals Series and also explore the top AFL picks for this weekend.
Let’s start with my Port Adelaide vs. Geelong prediction.
Port Adelaide to Beat Geelong (1.73)
It’s safe to say that Port Adelaide and Geelong head into the finals in contrasting form.
On the one hand, the Power have claimed nine victories in their last ten outings and are currently enjoying a six-match winning streak. On the other, the Cats have lost two of their previous three games and threw away the minor premiership last weekend.
The Cats suffered an unthinkable 44-point collapse against Melbourne at GMHBA Stadium, eventually losing by four points. They could have been crowned minor premiers on the final day of the regular season, but they ended up finishing third on the ladder.
Meanwhile, Port edged out the Dogs to extend their winning run to six games last time out. It feels as though the 2020 minor premiers are peaking at just the right time.
The best Aussie rules betting sites view Port as the favorite to win this one – and I agree. I’m backing the Power to overcome Geelong and book their place in the preliminary finals.
Sydney to Beat GWS (1.62)
For the second time in just over a month, the Swans and the Giants go head-to-head on Saturday. But this time around, the importance of the result is immeasurable.
In their previous meeting, Sydney got the better of GWS, sealing a 26-point victory over their crosstown rival. That said, it is important to remember that GWS beat Sydney earlier in the year.
The Swans ended the regular season on a high, though, winning seven of their final eight games. They racked up 90+ points on no fewer than six occasions in that time, with last weekend’s mammoth 87-point thrashing of Gold Coast underlining their strength.
By contrast, the Giants stumbled across the finish line. They only managed to win six of their final 12 regular season matches and finished 14 points behind Sydney on the ladder as a result.
Although GWS will surely rise to the occasion on Saturday, Syndey should be too hot to handle.
Melbourne to Beat Brisbane (1.67)
Well, 2021 has been a rollercoaster ride for Melbourne, hasn’t it?
After starting the season with a nine-match winning streak, the Demons endured a mid-season slump between May and July – picking up just four victories in nine outings. However, a run of four consecutive wins at the end of the regular season saw them clinch the minor premiership at the eleventh hour.
And when I say the eleventh hour, I mean the eleventh hour. Max Gawn booted the winning goal against Geelong after the siren had sounded, capping off one of the most memorable comebacks in AFL history.
On the other hand, Brisbane suffered three losses in four outings before winning their final three games. The Lions’ run to the finals has been far from perfect, but with star man Lachie Neale back from injury, they should give the minor premiers a run for their money.
While I’m confident that Brisbane will put in a battling display on Saturday, I can see Melbourne edging this one. The Dees will be brimming with belief after triumphing last weekend, giving them an edge in the finals.
Essendon to Beat Western Bulldogs (2.50)
If Brisbane’s run to the finals has been far from perfect, then the Western Bulldogs’ recent results have been dreadful. Indeed, Luke Beveridge’s men head into the postseason on the back of three straight defeats.
Of course, the season-ending injury to 48-goal Josh Bruce hasn’t helped the team in any way. But with key players like Marcus Bontempelli underperforming in recent weeks, the Dogs are not in a good place right now.
On the flip side, Essendon will be full of confidence after sneaking into the top eight just in the nick of time. The Bombers suffered four defeats in six games before winning their final three matches – finishing four points ahead of ninth-place West Coast.
Let’s not forget that Essendon kick-started their three-game winning streak with a 13-point victory over Beveridge’s side. If they rack up 97 points against the struggling Dogs again, they could find themselves in the semi-finals.
I’m going with the recent form guide and backing the confident Bombers to get the better of the Dogs on Sunday.
Top 2021 AFL Finals Series Betting Picks
Sure, backing Port Adelaide, Sydney, and Melbourne to win makes sense. I mean, they are all expected to win their respective games – and the bookies’ prices reflect that. But if you’re looking for juicier odds, check out my AFL Finals Series bets below.
Sydney vs. GWS
Sydney is priced at 1.62 to win this one, while the GWS win is at 2.25. However, I recommend adding the 25+ points market onto the Syndey win to enhance the odds.
The Swans beat the Giants by 26 points last time around and have recorded several high-scoring victories recently. Having notched at least 90 points in six of their last eight games, I can see John Longmire’s men sealing a big win on Saturday.
- Pick: Sydney to Win By 25+ Points (2.88)
Western Bulldogs vs. Essendon
Although the Dogs are the bookies’ favorites at 1.53, they head into the finals on a three-game losing streak. Oh, and did I mention that they suffered a 13-point defeat to Essendon earlier in the month.
The Bombers, meanwhile, have won each of their previous three matches. After dispatching both Gold Coast and Collingwood in style, I’m backing Essendon to upset the AFL odds once again and beat the Dogs this weekend.
- Pick: Essendon to Win (2.50)