Predictions and Picks for AFL Round 5 (April 15-18, 2021)
Following another pulsating weekend of footy, three teams remain unbeaten in 2021. The Bulldogs, Melbourne, and Sydney have yet to taste defeat this season, with the former leading the way at the summit of the AFL ladder.
The Sydney bragging rights are on the line this weekend, and the Swans are expected to see off GWS in the Battle of the Bridge. Elsewhere, the Doggies face the Suns, while Melbourne’s 100% record will be tested by Hawthorn.
Can the Tigers bounce back from their defeat to Port Adelaide last weekend? Will Adelaide’s revival continue against Fremantle? Can North Melbourne finally win a game of footy? I answer those questions – and more – in my AFL predictions for Round 5.
After giving my AFL Round 5 predictions, I also share my top picks and best AFL bets for Round 5. Let’s start with my St. Kilda vs. Richmond prediction.
Richmond to Beat St Kilda
It’s fair to say that both Richmond and St Kilda have made an indifferent to the season, with both sides registering two wins and two losses so far.
The Tigers secured back-to-back victories over Carlton and Hawthorn before succumbing to the Swans in Round 3.
Eleventh-place St Kilda kicked off the campaign by seeing off GWS, with an 18-points loss to Melbourne and a 75-point crushing at the hands of the Bombers following soon after. The Saints came from behind to seal an impressive victory over West Coast last time out, although the Essendon thrashing still feels fresh.
I’m backing the Tigers to get the better of St Kilda on Thursday. Damien Hardwick’s men have competed in every game this season, while the Saints have been hit-and-miss in 2021.
West Coast to Beat Collingwood
As I just mentioned, the Eagles were stunned by the Saints last weekend. But let’s not forget about their wins against Gold Coast and Port Adelaide this year. The Western Australians even pushed the high-flying Bulldogs all the way in Round 2, so they are clearly series contenders this year.
On the flip side, the Magpies have only managed to win one of their four matches this term. Collingwood beat Carlton in Round 2 but suffered a humiliating defeat to the Giants last weekend – losing by 30 points.
The Pies are in poor form right now, so I can see the Eagles claiming their third win of the campaign in Round 5.
Sydney to Beat GWS
The Swans hammered the Giants by 44 points in the last Sydney Derby, with GWS kicking just three goals back in August 2020. When you look at the current AFL standings, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that I expect a similar outcome this time around.
Having seen off Brisbane, Adelaide, Richmond, and Essendon, the Swans have taken 16 points from a possible 16 this season. With Buddy Franklin leading the way, it isn’t easy to imagine anyone stopping John Longmire’s side at the moment.
The Giants finally picked up their first win of the campaign in Round 4, with Toby Greene kicking five goals against Collingwood last weekend. After hefty losses to St Kilda, Fremantle, and Melbourne, it is clear that GWS is a level or two below the Swans.
The Sydney bragging rights are likely to remain with the Swans for now.
Western Bulldogs to Beat Gold Coast
Along with the Swans, the Bulldogs boast a 100% record in 2021. Thanks to their enormous percentage (171.1), they find themselves at the top of the pile after four big wins.
Jack Macrae – who tops the disposals leaderboard – has shone in midfield so far this term, while Josh Bruce already has 15 goals to his name, having booted ten in the Doggies’ 167-39 demolition of North Melbourne in Round 3.
The Suns’ recent performances don’t exactly reflect their record of one win and three losses for the season. But at the end of the day, the ladder doesn’t lie. Gold Coast is down in thirteenth place following an 11-point loss to Carlton last time out.
Ultimately, I just can’t see the Bulldogs’ winning streak coming to an end against the Suns.
Essendon to Beat Brisbane
It is no secret that Brisbane is struggling right now. After finishing second on last season’s ladder, the Lions were expected to further cement their status as a genuine AFL force this year. But that hasn’t happened so far.
Having lost three of their opening four games, the Lions find themselves third from bottom in the standings. After beating Collingwood in Round 3, they put in another solid performance against the Doggies. Still, they were unable to prevent defeat last time out.
The Bombers also sit on four points, although nobody expected them to hit the ground running this term. Having said that, a massive 75-point victory over St Kilda in Round 3 proved that Essendon is capable of destroying teams.
The Bombers only lost by one point against the Hawks before losing by just three points to in-form Sydney last time out. With that in mind, I can see Essendon edging struggling Brisbane.
Port Adelaide to Beat Carlton
Following big wins over North Melbourne and Essendon, Port Adelaide was outclassed by West Coast in Round 3. But the Power immediately bounced back by sealing a statement victory over the reigning premiers last weekend.
Meanwhile, Carlton beat the Suns in the previous round. The Blues head into Round 5 on the back of two straight victories, although extending their winning streak to three games against the 2020 minor premiers won’t be easy.
With guys like Travis Boak, Dan Houston, Scott Lycett, and Robbie Gray all firing at the moment, I expect the Power to beat Carlton and make it four wins from five games this year.
Adelaide to Beat Fremantle
Given that Adelaide finished rock bottom of the AFL ladder last season, the club’s recent resurgence has arguably been the story of the 2021 campaign up to now.
Victories over Geelong, Gold Coast, and North Melbourne mean that Matthew Nicks’ men are currently sitting pretty in fifth place – thanks in large part to Taylor Walker, who stands a whopping five goals clear at the top of the Coleman Medal leaderboard.
On the other hand, the Dockers have been very unpredictable this term. They looked poor in losses to Melbourne and Carlton but showed glimpses of real quality in wins against GWS and Hawthorn. It is difficult to predict which Freo will show up in South Australia this weekend.
I really like the look of the Crows at the moment, so I’m backing them to get the better of Fremantle.
Melbourne to Beat Hawthorn
The Demons maintained their winning start to the campaign by seeing off Geelong in Round 4, with Bayley Fritsch (4.1) damaging the Cats at the MCG. The 24-year-old now has ten goals under his belt in 2021 and has led from the front this season.
At the other end of the ladder, the Hawks find themselves second from the bottom. Having beaten the Bombers in Round 1, Hawthorn has since suffered defeats to Richmond, Geelong, and Fremantle – underlining the club’s struggles.
Needless to say, this matchup provides the Dees with the ideal opportunity to extend their 100% record this term.
Geelong to Beat North Melbourne
Well, what do you want me to say here? Do you really think that North Melbourne is capable of winning a game of footy right now?
Not only have the Kangaroos lost each of their four matches this season, but they have also conceded 100+ points on three occasions. Oh, and let’s not forget that Gold Coast notched up 98 points against them in Round 2.
Granted, the Cats haven’t been at their best this year. Geelong has registered two wins and two losses in 2021, although adding another win to their tally should be pretty easy this weekend.
The Roos put in somewhat of an improved performance against Adelaide last time out, but they are likely to suffer another heavy defeat to the Cats at GMHBA.
Top Betting Picks for AFL Round 5
That’s it for my AFL Round 5 predictions. Below, I share my top best value bets for Round 5 of the 2021 AFL season.
- Sydney vs. GWS – Sydney to Win (1.50)
- Brisbane vs. Essendon – Essendon to Win (3.40)
- Carlton vs. Port Adelaide – Port Adelaide to Win (1.73)
The Battle of the Bridge is destined to dish up plenty of drama, although I’m certain that GWS (1.50) will be on the receiving end of the majority of it. The Swans (1.50) have started the season in flying form, so I can see them claiming the Sydney bragging rights at the SCG.
Brisbane (1.30) heads into Round 5 as the bookmakers’ clear favorite to beat Essendon (3.40). But when you consider the Lions’ recent run of poor results, the home win price offers very little value. For that reason, backing the Bombers makes a lot of sense to me.
The Power (1.73) flexed their muscles with an impressive victory over Richmond last time out, meaning Ken Hinkley’s men have now won three of their four matches this season. I expect Port to get the better of the Blues (2.10), who have struggled for consistency in 2021.
If you’re betting on AFL Round 5, remember only to use the best Aussie rules betting sites.