Round 1 of the 2021 Australian Football League (AFL) season kicks off on Thursday and runs through until Monday. There are nine fixtures scheduled for play and our experts have you covered with our best bets from the key value games here. Good luck to everyone following us this season!
AFL Round 1 Betting Picks
Melbourne Demons vs Fremantle Dockers
MCG, Friday 10:45pm ET
Melbourne Demons come into this season with a lot less expectation surrounding them after a couple of lean seasons. They just missed out on playing finals last season (finished ninth), but that was considered a failure considering the heights they reached back in 2018 when they finished fourth.
Fremantle Dockers are still in rebuild mode but made some big strides last season where they finished 12th, climbing up the ladder for the second straight season. The Dockers youngsters showed some great signs in their recent campaign and there’s a lot of buzz surrounding the potential of their team this year as a result.
The Demons will start this game as slight favorites due to their higher finish in 2020, coupled with holding home ground advantage. We’re prepared to take them on here however, as we’re really high on the Dockers and see them as a potential top eight team this season. It should be a close game, but the away side are the value play in this one.
North Melbourne vs Port Adelaide Power
Marvel Stadium, Saturday 10:10pm ET
North Melbourne continued their slide down the ladder in 2020 to finish second last with just three wins to their name. Their list management team looks to have put them in a really tricky position where they now have no choice but to rebuild, but also don’t have that much young talent that have caught the eye.
Port Adelaide Power surged up the ladder in 2020 to finish as the minor premiers and came within a kick of making the Grand Final. They lost to the eventual premiers in the Tigers and that was obviously disappointing, but they still have a young(ish) list and look poised to challenge for the premiership for a few more years to come.
This is a match between a team expected to finish in the bottom two against a team that is on the other end of the spectrum. It’s hard to see North Melbourne putting up enough resist to challenge Port Adelaide here, so we’re really comfortably taking the favorites to cover the spread here.
GWS Giants vs St Kilda Saints
Giants Stadium, Sunday 12:20am ET
GWS Giants missed the finals for the first time in five years when they finished 10th in 2020. They struggled to wrestle back momentum once they lost it in a few too many games last season, perhaps due to a lack of leadership. Now their best forward in Jeremy Cameron has parted way, it could be another tough season for the Giants.
St Kilda Saints were one of the biggest surprises in 2020 with their sixth placed finish. A lot of their young guns made a big step forward in their development to bring about the Saints success and they’re only scratching the surface. The difference for them this year is they’re dealing with the expectation that they continue to improve and surge further up the ladder and potentially into premiership contention.
This is one of the tougher games to predict due to both clubs having a few key players out. We do give the Saints the slight edge in the H2H market, but we see greater value in taking the total points ‘under’ here. Both teams have a defense first mentality and we expect that to be prominent in the first round of the season.
More AFL R1 Picks
Richmond Tigers vs Carlton Blues (Thursday 4:25am ET)
Under 170.5 Points (-110 at PointsBet)
Collingwood Magpies vs Western Bulldogs (Friday 4:50am ET)
Western Bulldogs -3.5 (-110 at PointsBet)
Adelaide Crows vs Geelong Cats (Saturday 1:35am ET)
Geelong Cats 40+ (+170 at PointsBet)
Essendon Bombers vs Hawthorn Hawks (Saturday 4:25am ET)
Either Team By 15 or Less (+165 at PointsBet)
Brisbane Lions vs Sydney Swans (Saturday 4:45am ET)
Brisbane Lions -24.5 (-110 at PointsBet)
West Coast Eagles vs Gold Coast Suns (Sunday 3:10am ET)
Gold Coast Suns +27.5 (-110 at PointsBet)