Predictions and Best Bets for AFL Round 18 (2021)

| July 13, 2021 10:36 am PDT

The Sydney Derby headlines another exciting weekend of footy, with the Swans and GWS heading south to Ballarat for the latest Battle of the Bridge.

Elsewhere, the ladder-leading Demons come up against second-bottom Hawthorn, while the Saints search for their fourth consecutive win against Port Adelaide.

As things stand, the top six sides look set to secure a finals berth. But with only four points separating seventh-place Fremantle and Richmond down in twelfth, the remaining two finals spots are well and truly up for grabs.

Anyway, let’s get stuck into my Round 18 AFL predictions. We’ll start by looking at my Fremantle Dockers vs. Geelong Cats prediction before going over the rest of my AFL predictions for Round 18.

Oh, and if you’re betting on the footy this weekend, make sure you stick around for my Round 18 AFL picks at the end of this piece.

Geelong to Beat Fremantle

The Cats secured their eighth win in nine games with a relatively straightforward victory over Carlton last time out.

Alongside the Dogs, Geelong sits just four points behind first-place Melbourne.

If Chris Scott’s men continue to pick up wins, they will give themselves an excellent chance of clinching their second minor premiership in three years.

In fairness, Fremantle has also claimed some impressive results recently. The Dockers sealed their third win in four matches last weekend, with Rory Lobb (4.3) and Bailey Banfield (3.0) starring in a 62-point thrashing of Hawthorn.

Freo may find themselves in seventh place, yet they are still 16 points behind Geelong. I expect the hosts to give the visitors a run for their money in WA, but I can’t see the Cats losing this one.

Brisbane to Beat Richmond

Both Brisbane and Richmond suffered a shock defeat in the previous round, with Brisbane losing to St Kilda and Collingwood downing Richmond. But while the Lions recorded their first loss in four games last time out, the Tigers were handed their fourth defeat in a row.

As a result, the reigning premiers now find themselves twelfth on the ladder – four points outside the top eight. With seven wins and nine losses to their name this year, the Tigers are in real danger of missing out on the finals altogether.

On the flip side, Brisbane has registered 11 wins and five defeats this season. Although they suffered a narrow loss to the Saints last weekend, the Lions will be confident of returning to winning ways on Friday, especially with off-from Richmond up next.

I’m backing Brisbane to inflict a fifth straight defeat on the Tigers in Round 18.

Sydney to Beat GWS

Due to coronavirus issues in New South Wales, Ballarat’s Mars Stadium will host the Battle of the Bridge this weekend – almost 1000km away from Sydney.

Greater Western Sydney got a taste of Mars Stadium last weekend but eventually suffered a one-point loss to the Suns. The Giants have now won just two of their previous six outings and have slipped to tenth in the standings.

Meanwhile, the Swans secured a hugely impressive victory over the Dogs in the last round, with Jordan Dawson kicking three goals to down the second-place side. Following a sticky patch, John Longmire’s men have won four of their previous six matches and have all but cemented a top-eight berth.

Form generally goes out the window when these two rivals meet. That said, I think the in-form Swans have enough momentum behind them to get the better of GWS this time around.

Western Bulldogs to Beat Gold Coast

As I just mentioned, the Western Bulldogs were beaten by Sydney last weekend. But having crushed Gold Coast by 62 points back in April, they will view Saturday’s clash as an ideal opportunity to get back on track.

After losing just one of their opening ten matches in 2021, the Dogs have recorded three wins and three defeats in their past six games. Despite an inconsistent run over the past couple of months, they still sit second on the ladder – boasting the best percentage in the comp (142.2).

Gold Coast notched back-to-back wins for only the second time this season last time out, overcoming GWS by just a single point. The Suns booted three goals and two behinds in the final quarter to seal a remarkable comeback.

Still, Gold Coast hasn’t faced a team of the Dogs’ quality for quite some time. Although the Suns will be confident after securing two straight victories, they are likely to struggle to compete with Luke Beveridge’s side.

Melbourne to Beat Hawthorn

Melbourne remains four points clear at the AFL summit following a statement win over Port Adelaide in Round 17. Tom McDonald, Christian Petracca, and Kysaiah Pickett each kicked three goals in the 31-point victory, maintain their team’s lead at the top.

Sitting on a record of 13 wins and three losses this year, the Demons are on the cusp of clinching their first minor premiership since 1964. That’s almost 60 years ago!

At the other end of the standings, the Hawks find themselves second from the bottom. They conceded 108 points in a damaging loss to Freo last weekend, suffering their twelfth defeat of the year in the process.

This is undoubtedly the biggest mismatch of Round 18. With a mammoth 36-point gulf between high-flying Melbourne and struggling Hawthorn, the Demons should pick up their fourteenth win of the campaign without any issues on Saturday.

St Kilda to Beat Port Adelaide

All of a sudden, ninth-place St Kilda trails fifth-place Port Adelaide by just 12 points. On top of that, the Saints are now one of three teams locked on 32 points, with the two WA sides only sitting above them, thanks to their superior percentages.

After managing to register back-to-back wins on just one occasion before Round 13, the Saints looked set to miss out on a finals spot. However, they head into Round 18 on a three-match winning streak, having dispatched Richmond, Collingwood, and Brisbane in recent weeks.

Funnily enough, the Power enjoyed a three-game winning run of their before losing to Melbourne last weekend. Yes, they still hold a healthy lead over St Kilda. But they have struggled for consistency this season.

While I can see Port pushing St Kilda all the way this weekend, I’m confident the Saints will extend their hot streak to four matches on home soil.

Essendon to Beat North Melbourne

Archie Perkins (3.3) and Peter Wright (2.2) shone as Essendon secured an easy win over Adelaide in the previous round. Remarkably, the Bombers limited the Crows just 21 points while racking up 84 of their own.

The Bombers have now won five of their last eight games and sit just four points outside the top eight. With last-place North Melbourne up next, they will be confident of edging closer to the finals spots this weekend.

Believe it or not, North actually beat West Coast last time out. Thanks to a draw with GSW and a win over Gold Coast, the Kangaroos have only lost two of their last five games.

But when you look at the bigger picture, the Roos only managed to win three of their 16 matches this year. Trailing Essendon by 14 points, David Noble’s side is braced for another defeat this weekend.

Collingwood to Beat Carlton

Two underperformers of the 2021 AFL season meet at the MCG on Sunday, as fifteenth-place Collingwood plays host to thirteenth-place Carlton.

The Magpies secured a shock victory over Richmond last time out, with Jamie Elliott booting three goals to down the defending premiers. Consequently, the Pies have now won three of their previous five matches and are heading up the ladder.

Meanwhile, the Blues lost to Geelong in Round 17, meaning they have lost four of their last six games – and six of their previous nine!

Carry almost identical percentages; Collingwood (91.4) can leapfrog Carlton (91.5) with a win this weekend. With that incentive looming, I can see the Magpies beating the Blues.

West Coast to Beat Adelaide

West Coast picked up four wins in seven matches between early May and mid-June, cementing a top-eight spot in the process. But since then, three straight defeats have seen the club slide down the standings.

Thankfully for the Eagles, they come up against a miserable Adelaide outfit this weekend.

The Crows sit third from bottom on the ladder – 12 points behind West Coast – having lost each of their previous three outings. To make matters worse, they have tasted defeat in ten of their last 12 games.

This matchup provides the Eagles with the perfect chance to return to winning ways, so I’m backing them to heap more misery on Adelaide.

My Round 18 AFL Picks and Best Bets

That’s it for my Round 18 AFL predictions. If you’re looking for more footy betting advice this weekend, make sure you check out my AFL picks for Round 18 below.

Fremantle vs. Geelong

As you would expect, Geelong (1.53) is the bookies’ favorite to win this one, while Fremantle (2.50) is the underdog. While backing the Cats to win is a solid bet on its own, I recommend adding another line into the mix to up the value here.

Let’s not forget that Freo has won three of their last five matches. Yes, Geelong is strong enough to dispatch the Dockers. But I can see the Cats claiming a low-scoring victory over Fremantle this weekend.

  • Pick: Geelong to Win By 1-39 Points (2.10)

Gold Coast vs. Western Bulldogs

The Bulldogs (1.25) are heavy favorites to see off Gold Coast (3.75) on Saturday, but you would need to place a large wager on Beveridge’s men to get any kind of notable profit. For that reason, I’m backing the Dogs to thrash the Suns.

While the Dogs are the highest-scorers in the AFL, the Suns have the second-worst offensive record in the comp. If guys like Josh Bruce and Aaron Naughton get going, they will be difficult to stop.

  • Pick: Western Bulldogs to Win By 25+ Points (1.80)

Adelaide vs. West Coast

There is nothing fancy about the last of my Round 18 AFL picks. Given that Adelaide (2.25) has lost ten of their previous 12 games, I expect West Coast (1.62) to claim an easy victory this weekend.

Sure, the Eagles have lost each of their last three matches. But with the Crows enduring an even tougher time at the moment, odds of 1.62 for the West Coast win are worth taking advantage of.

  • Pick: West Coast to Win (1.62)
Ben Morris
Ben Morris

Ben is a sportswriter and tipster who specializes in soccer. Currently based in the UK, he has traveled all around the world watching – and betting on – his beloved sport.

Alongside his regular soccer content, Ben publishes blogs and picks for cricket, Formula 1, Aussie rules, darts, and various other sports.

Ben is a diehard fan of Nottingham Forest and England, so he hasn’t had much to cheer about in recent years!

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