AFL round 1, 2021: Richmond v Carlton betting tips, prediction & odds
Welcome to our Richmond v Carlton match preview, prediction and odds update for the AFL season 2021 opener at the MCG on Thursday, March 18.
This Tigers-Blues match has become the traditional opener for the AFL men’s season, though it’s frustrating for neutral fans as it’s been a long while since these two teams were evenly matched. The Tigers have won their past 10 matches against the Blues, while Carlton have not won the opening-round fixture since 2012.
David Teague’s Blues have been steadily improving but they face an early injury crisis that threatens to derail their 2021 campaign before it really gets started.
In the off-season the Blues said goodbye to veteran defender Kade Simpson, so often the glue that held together the Blues back line, in the off-season, along with ruckman Matthew Kreuzer, who both retired.
The Blues were aggressive in the trade period as they brought in some serious leg speed in halfbacks Adam Saad from Essendon and Zac Williams from GWS Giants. Williams is expected to play more as a midfielder at the Blues, though he is suspended from the opening match against the Tigers for delivering a high bump in a pre-season match.
Meanwhile, Richmond are hunting a third consecutive flag and fourth in five years and there is nothing to suggest they have lost desire for the contest. Their relentless style of pressure football was perfectly suited to the shorter matches of the pandemic-affected 2020 season, but the longer matches in 2021 also hold few fears for a team that relies more on its brand of football than any personnel.
The Tigers did not do a lot in the trade period, because they did not need to, though they did lose a handy depth player in Jack Higgins, who headed to St Kilda in search of more on-ball opportunities.
Tigers v Blues team news for round one
Carlton have a lengthy list of quality players unavailable for the season opener led by Zac Williams (suspension), Charlie Curnow (knee) and talented young Tom De Konig (back). The Blues also have quite a few players racing the clock to be fit for the season opener including star forward Harry McKay (ankle), Jacob Weitering (hip), Mitch McGovern (hamstring), Levi Casboult (knee) and mercurial forward Eddie Betts (calf).
Richmond have had a charmed run with injury through their golden period of three flags in four years and the list is in great shape heading into 2021, with Ivan Soldo (knee) the only regular senior player on the long-term injured list. Full-forward Tom Lynch (toe) and midfielder Dion Prestia (hamstring) are expected to be ready for the season opener, with veteran backman Bachar Houli (calf) the only best 22 player unlikely to be available.
Read on for our Tigers-Blues tips and winner prediction for their AFL clash on Thursday, March 18.
Richmond v Carlton
Kick-off: 7.25pm local time
Venue: MCG, Melbourne
Head to head odds: Richmond $1.33, Carlton $3.30
Line betting: Richmond (-20.5 points) $1.90, Carlton (+20.5 points) $1.90
Match total: 169.5 points: over $1.90, under $1.90
Richmond v Carlton free betting tips
Below our AFL betting experts have highlighted free Tigers-Blues betting tips for Thursday’s game.
Richmond -20.5 points/match total over 169.5 points
The Tigers just look in far better shape heading into the season opener. While they generally have not won this first-round match by huge margins, it’s usually comfortable enough. With almost a full list to pick from, the Tigers should sound an early warning that they won’t hand over their title as champions easily.
Tom Lynch to kick four goals or more
Lynch has been troubled by a toe problem but there is little doubt he is now the king of the Richmond forward line, with Jack Riewoldt rapidly approaching the end. He missed the Community Series win against Collingwood, but he is back for the real stuff and will be unleashed upon the Blues defence. We expect Lynch to get plenty of opportunities from his midfielders and with a clear night forecast he should clunk plenty of marks.
Richmond v Carlton prediction 18-3-2021
Carlton fans head into the season with great optimism about their team and a possible return to finals. And as a neutral fan we want to see a cracking, close contest to kick things off in the 2021 AFL season. But there is a danger of this one being a fizzer and of much of that Blues hope being crushed early. We really hope we are wrong but the relentless Tigers just look too strong and with Tom Lynch back up front they should win and win well. Our Tigers-Blues prediction: Richmond by 34 points.
Richmond v Carlton lowdown
Channel Seven, Fox Footy and KAYO will telecast the game.
All of the top International betting sites will offer markets on the AFL.
The Tigers-Blues match kicks off at 7.25pm local time.
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