AFL Predictions and Best Bets – Round 20, 2021
For the first time since Round 3, the Demons find themselves outside the top two. A two-game winless run has seen Melbourne slip to third on the ladder – two points behind the Western Bulldogs and Geelong.
The top three have favorable fixtures this weekend, though, with all of their opponents currently sitting in the bottom five.
Elsewhere, the Swans will aim to extend their winning streak to five matches when they face off against Essendon on Saturday, July 31.
With the two sides locked of 32 points just outside the finals spots, Sunday’s clash between tenth-place Richmond and eleventh-place Fremantle also promises to be a thriller.
Anyway, you’re here for my Round 20 AFL predictions, right? Below, I share my thoughts on all the weekend’s game before looking at the top AFL betting picks for Round 20.
St. Kilda to Beat Carlton
The Saints pushed West Coast all the way last weekend, only to suffer a narrow eight-point loss. But let’s not forget that St Kilda has won three of their previous five outings and only sits two points shy of the top eight.
Although Carlton is now just four points behind the Saints, there is no hiding from the fact that the Blues have lost 11 of their 18 outings this year. Oh, and they also conceded 116 points to North Melbourne last time out.
I’m sure this will be a relatively tight encounter, but St Kilda should come out on top.
Western Bulldogs to Beat Adelaide
Having dispatched Melbourne in the previous round, the Western Bulldogs now find themselves at the top of the pile. Not only have they won 14 of their 18 matches this season, but they also boast the best percentage in the comp by a considerable margin (139.9).
The Crows, on the other hand, have lost four of their last five games. In fact, they have only managed to pick up six wins all year and sit a whopping 32 points behind the Bulldogs as a result.
With superstars like Marcus Bontempelli and Jack Macrae in red-hot form at the moment, the Dogs are set for another comfortable win this weekend.
Geelong to Beat North Melbourne
With ten victories coming in their previous 11 matches, the Cats look like the Bulldogs’ main challengers for the minor premiership. Geelong saw off Richmond with ease last weekend, with Tom Hawkins and Esava Ratuholea both booting four goals.
The Cats secured a comfortable 30-point victory over North Melbourne in the reverse fixture back in April. If Geelong’s recent results are anything to go by, the margin should be even bigger this time around.
Melbourne to Beat Gold Coast
It is no secret that Melbourne has taken a turn for the worse recently. After securing nine straight wins at the beginning of the campaign, the Demons have only managed to win four of their previous nine games, with one victory coming in their last four.
Thankfully for the Dees, the struggling Suns are up next.
Gold Coast has won just six matches all year and has suffered five defeats in their past seven outings. The Queenslanders have also conceded a combined total of 210 points across their last two matches, suffering a 120-70 loss to rivals Brisbane last weekend.
This matchup provides Melbourne with the ideal opportunity to return to winning ways and get back on track.
West Coast to Beat Collingwood
When the Eagles recorded their third successive defeat earlier in the month, their chances of securing a top-eight berth took a huge hit. However, they head into Round 20 on the back of two straight wins, having notched 90+ points in each of their previous two outings.
Collingwood appeared to have turned the corner, too, with back-to-back wins coming against Adelaide and Melbourne last month. But since then, they have lost four of their five matches and sit third from bottom on the ladder – 20 points behind West Coast.
The Eagles racked up 103 points as they crushed the Magpies earlier in the campaign; I expect a similar outcome on Saturday.
Sydney to Beat Essendon
Heading into Round 20 on the back of four successive victories, Syndey is undoubtedly one of the AFL’s in-form teams. Following wins over West Coast, the Dogs, and GWS, the Swans thrashed Fremantle last weekend, with Isaac Heeney kicking five goals.
In fairness, the Bombers have also produced some eye-catching performances of late. They have won two of their last three encounters, although they still sit 16 points behind the Swans.
Buddy Franklin was supposed to be suspended this weekend, but the key forward’s ban has been overturned. Even without Franklin on the field, Essendon would have struggle to compete. But with Franklin set to play, I’m confident that Sydney will down the Bombers.
Brisbane to Beat Hawthorn
Fifth-place Brisbane secured a much-needed victory over Gold Coast in Round 19, ending a two-match losing streak in the process. Lincoln McCarthy (4.2) and Charlie Cameron (3.2) starred last weekend, humiliating the Suns in a 51-point win.
On the flip side, seventeenth-place Hawthorn find themselves 30 points shy of the Lions on the ladder after failing to win any of their previous four matches.
Despite sitting fifth in the standings, the Lions are now the second-highest scorers in the comp. The Hawks, meanwhile, have the third-worst defensive record this year.
Need I say more?
Port Adelaide to Beat GWS
When you look at the standings, Port Adelaide is only four places above Greater Western Sydney. But when you look a little closer, you will notice an 18-point gap between the teams.
The Power have only lost two of their previous nine games, with five wins coming in their last six encounters. On the other hand, the Giants have only managed to win four of their past ten matches – suffering three defeats in their last five outings.
With Port in seemingly unstoppable form and GWS stuttering at the moment, I’m backing the Power to overcome the Giants on Sunday.
Richmond to Beat Fremantle
With Richmond and Fremantle locked on 32 points, this is undoubtedly the toughest matchup to call in Round 20.
Following four consecutive defeats, the Tigers finally snapped their losing streak in Round 18 – beating Brisbane by 30 points. But they swiftly returned to losing ways last time out, suffering a 95-57 defeat at the hands of Geelong.
The inconsistent Dockers have registered three wins and three losses in their last six matches but head into Round 20 on the back of successive defeats. Having conceded 198 points in their previous two games, Freo’s top-eight hopes are hanging by a threat.
Neither side has impressed in recent weeks, but I’m confident the Tigers’ superiority will shine through in WA.
Best AFL Bets for Round 20
That concludes my AFL predictions for Round 20 – but we’re not finished yet! Let’s wrap things up by checking out my top AFL Round 20 picks.
Western Bulldogs vs. Adelaide
Over at the top Aussie rules betting sites, you can get odds of 1.10 for the Bulldogs to beat Adelaide, while the Crows are priced at 7.00. Needless to say, the odds for the home win aren’t worth bothering with.
Instead, I recommend adding the 40+ points market onto the Dogs win. Luke Beveridge’s men are highest scorers in the comp, meaning they are likely to thrash off-from Adelaide in style.
- Pick: Western Bulldogs to Win By 40+ Points (1.91)
North Melbourne vs. Geelong
Let’s face it – Geelong (1.20) should beat North Melbourne (4.50) without any issues. I mean, the Cats have won ten of their last 11 games and sit second in the standings – 38 points ahead of last-place North Melbourne.
The Kangaroos have won three of their previous five matches, though, so Geelong isn’t likely to completely annihilate the home team. For that reason, I suggest throwing the 25+ points market into the mix to enhance the odds.
- Pick: Geelong to Win By 25+ Points (1.73)
Collingwood vs. West Coast
The last of my Round 20 AFL picks concerns Collingwood vs. West Coast. I’m not going for anything fancy here, as I think odds of 1.60 for the West Coast win are pretty generous.
With seventh-place West Coast sitting 20 points ahead of third-bottom Collingwood, the gulf between these two sides is difficult to ignore. Plus, the Eagles head into Round 20 on a two-match winning streak, while the Magpies have lost four of their previous five games.
- Pick: West Coast to Win (1.60)