2021 AFL Round 1 – Tips, Predictions & Odds

We have expert betting tips for AFL Round 1, which starts with Richmond vs Carlton on Thursday, March 18.

We are happy that footy is back for 2021 and punters get nine quality games to bet on in the opening round.

The Richmond Tigers are out to defend their title, and it all starts on Thursday night.

All odds are with Sportsbet – our No. 1 rated bookmaker. You can join Sportsbet by clicking HERE.

AFL Round 1 Tips

Thursday 18/03/21

7:25pm Richmond Tigers vs Carlton Blues @ MCG

The Richmond Tigers kick off their premiership-defending season against Carlton and it’s a game they’re expected to win.

Richmond often gets their season off to a positive start and with the likes of Trent Cotchin, Nathan Broad, Dustin Martin and Tom Lynch in the team, they are tough to look past.

The Tigers boast an impressive roster and we thought they would be shorter in the head-to-head AFL betting markets.

Carlton is getting some respect, but this game should go the way of the defending champions.

Betting tip: Richmond Tigers to win @ $1.30Bet @ Sportsbet

Tigers by 19

Friday 19/03/21

7:50pm Collingwood Magpies vs Western Bulldogs @ MCG

Expectations are low for the Collingwood Magpies after a tough off-season. That is reflected in the betting markets as they’re only $1.88 in head-to-head markets.

We often like Collingwood to make a positive start to the season, but we’re tipping the Western Bulldogs on Friday night.

They could be in for a successful season, especially with their young stars. We think they are playoff bound and that could start with an opening win.

Betting tip: Western Bulldogs to win @ $1.92Bet @ Sportsbet

Bulldogs by 14

Saturday 20/03/21

1:45pm Melbourne Demons vs Fremantle Dockers @ MCG

2020 wasn’t an ideal year for the Melbourne Demons, but they have been confidently backed to beat the Fremantle Dockers.

It could be misguided money, as we don’t think Fremantle will be easy to beat on Saturday. They are still going through some issues on the field, but they looked decent at times last season.

Melbourne is a quality team when everything goes right, but our confidence levels are low about their chances this week.

Betting tip: Fremantle Dockers +13.5 @ $1.90Bet @ Sportsbet

Dockers by 7

4:35pm Adelaide Crows vs Geelong Cats @ Adelaide Oval

Adelaide had a shocking 2020 season, but they found form towards the end of the year and it could give them confidence.

The Crows aren’t expected to make much of a run this year, so beating teams like the Geelong Cats would be seen as a bonus. However, beating the Cats on Saturday won’t be easy.

The Cats come at you with power and plenty of scoring talent, and the Crows might not be able to keep up.

Playing at home will help but this game should be won by the Cats comfortably.

Betting tip: Geelong Cats –24.5 @ $1.90Bet @ Sportsbet

Cats by 33

7:25pm Essendon Bombers vs Hawthorn Hawks @ Marvel Stadium

A close game is expected between Essendon and Hawthorn. Both clubs are capable of showing up in Round 1 and both are equally as capable of pulling off a disappearing act.

The advantage should go with the Bombers, which often start the season on a positive note. They are a young side that should have matured with last season under the belt.

Hawthorn comes off a disappointing season where they finished 15th, and a similar position could be on the cards in 2021.

Betting tip: Essendon Bombers to win @ $2.10Bet @ Sportsbet

Bombers by 10

7:45pm Brisbane Lions vs Sydney Swans @ Gabba

A big season is again expected for the Brisbane Lions and they should have little trouble dispatching the Swans on Saturday.

Brisbane finished the regular season in second place last year, and the season ended in the Preliminary Final. The three-time premiership-winning franchise is desperate for another title, so expect big things.

Sydney has the ability to cause an upset, but after finishing 16th last season, they’ll need a mammoth turn around this season. The Swans could struggle in the opening rounds until they find their feet.

Betting tip: Brisbane Lions –23.5 @ $1.90Bet @ Sportsbet

Lions by 30

Sunday 21/03/21

1:10pm North Melbourne Kangaroos vs Port Adelaide Power @ Marvel Stadium

It could be another long season for the North Melbourne Kangaroos. They finished 17th last year and there isn’t much to get excited about.

The same can’t be said for Port Adelaide, who are the raging-hot favourites on Sunday. They are $1.17 in the betting, and although we don’t think they’ll be as good this season, they should win this game.

The Power are known for getting off to a fast start and they should be 30 points better than North Melbourne.

Betting tip: Port Adelaide Power –29.5 @ $1.90Bet @ Sportsbet

Power by 42

3:20pm GWS Giants vs St Kilda Saints @ GIANTS Stadium

Coming off a disappointing season where they missed the playoffs, the Giants are wanting to hit back in style this year.

GWS is a team capable of making a deep run in the playoffs, but they will need to regroup and focus on winning. That could be tough in Round 1 as they face the improving St Kilda Saints.

The Saints made the semifinal last season and that gave them a much-needed shot in the arm. They are trending upwards and we think they’ll open their account with a victory.

Betting tip: St Kilda Saints to win @ $2.10Bet @ Sportsbet

Saints by 12

6:10pm West Coast Eagles vs Gold Coast Suns @ Optus Stadium

West Coast was a touch disappointing in the playoffs last season, but they’re always capable of producing.

The 2018 premiership winners have a stacked roster, including Josh Kennedy and Nic Naitanui, who was crowned the AFL’s best player.

The Eagles have more going for them than the Gold Coast Suns, who are likely in for another long and enduring season at the bottom of the ladder.

Betting tip: West Coast Eagles –27.5 @ $1.90Bet @ Sportsbet

Eagles by 40

All odds are with Sportsbet – our No. 1 rated bookmaker. You can join Sportsbet by clicking HERE.

Our top rated and recommended bookmaker for round 1 of the AFL season is Sportsbet – JOIN HERE.
Other top rated bookmakers for AFL Round 1 include NedsPlayUp, and SportsBetting.

To find out our best bets for Round 1 of the AFL season, read our full round 1 preview and betting tips!

For detailed information on how to watch and live stream Round 1 of the AFL season, read our guide on how to live stream AFL!

Read our AFL Round 1 preview and bettings tips to find out all of the fixtures and locations for the round!

Daryl Curnow
About the Author: Daryl Curnow

After graduating from the University of Auckland (BA – English), Daryl was thrown into the world of sports and horse racing journalism.
Having worked as a racing journalist for two years, he decided to move into the online world of horse racing and sports writing. After years of honing his craft, Daryl became a professional punter in 2009 – with a focus on horse racing, NRL, AFL, NBA, Rugby, NFL, and US college sports. Daryl’s tips have been featured on various websites around the world before joining the GoBet team. When he’s not working, Daryl tries to avoid making bogeys on the golf course.



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