AFL Round 1 odds, schedule and times
The 2021 AFL season kicks off on Thursday, March 18, with the traditional Richmond-Carlton clash at the MCG, and round one runs until Sunday evening. Our AFL betting experts have examined the odds in our regular Monday column taking an early look at the matches for the week ahead.
While the match between old rivals Richmond and Carlton looms as a blockbuster to start the season, the Friday night match-up between Collingwood and Western Bulldogs is probably the most eagerly anticipated match of the round.
Former Magpies favourite Adam Treloar was pushed out of the club in the off season by a salary cap squeeze and is scheduled to line up for his new club the Bulldogs at the MCG. So many Dogs and neutral fans will be tuning in in the hope Treloar will have a big match and stick it to the club that spurned him.
Bookmakers cannot split the Magpies and Bulldogs in head-to-head betting but there is little doubt there are many question marks over the Magpies as they shed quality players such as Treloar, Tom Phillips (Hawthorn) and Jaidyn Stephenson (North Melbourne) in the trade period.
For all teams though in round 1 there is the promise of new players emerging.
Defending premiers Richmond have been rated $1.35 favourites to win their season opener against the Blues ($3.20) in a match that has lost some of its gloss thanks to a suspension to star Blues recruit Zac Williams and a mini-injury crisis. Given the Tigers have won the past 10 clashes between these teams, it would be a major upset if the Blues can start with a win.
There are four matches on Saturday in a feast of AFL to really get the season running, with the pick of the matches probably the Essendon-Hawthorn clash. Not because either team is likely to contend, but because they are the most evenly matched and have a long history of dislike between the clubs and also will be unveiling a plethora of new talent.
The action continues on Sunday with wooden spoon favourites North Melbourne facing Port Adelaide, a team this correspondent believes should be the favourites to lift the premiership cup come September. The Power are loaded and ready for an assault and just need the injury gods to smile on them.
Greater Western Sydney host St Kilda and the bookies have surprisingly made the Giants favourites. They will need to adjust quickly to life after star forward Jeremy Cameron, who has joined contenders Geelong. The Saints are on the rise and look great value to us at around $2.10 or with 5.5 points start at $1.90.
The round concludes with the West Coast-Gold Coast match-up in Perth. Many expect the Suns to finally reach the finals this year and this toughest of road trips will provide early insight into their prospects for the season.
All eyes will be on Suns sensation Matt Rowell, who dominated his first few games of senior AFL football before suffering a shoulder injury that ended his season. He is a red-hot favourite to win the AFL’s Rising Star Award, but is at unbackable odds of around $1.40. There is no value there given what happened with his shoulder in 2020 and the danger it could happen again.
Geelong have loaded up with more veterans in their premiership tilt, and they will be fascinating to watch with their new-look two-pronged big man set-up, with Cameron joining Tom Hawkins up front. Of course, they have quality talls to play at the feet of the two big men as well. More than any other team in the comp, their prospects will be decided on their run with injuries, with so many players on the wrong side of 30.
AFL Premiership odds before Round 1
No surprises in the premiership betting market with the Tigers at the top as they chase a third flag in four years. They have shed a couple of fringe players in the off-season but it is their system more than anything that makes them such a tough side to beat come finals time. And Dustin Martin, of course, who if he sets his mind to it could be the value in Brownlow Medal betting.
As we have mentioned, we think the Power will take some beating and will be having a small wager on them at the $8.50 available now, while we give West Coast little chance of going all the way.
Brisbane have been dealt a blow before the season has even started with former No.1 draft pick Cam Rayner ruled out for the year with a serious knee injury. The addition of Joe Daniher has the potential to be a masterstroke, or a bust given his chequered injury history.
The best value lies with the likes of Western Bulldogs and St Kilda, who both played finals last year and have made useful additions in the off-season. They certainly now have the talent to match it with the big teams.
Carlton loom as the team most likely to move up the ladder substantially, if they can get their stars on the park. Injury prone forward Charlie Curnow is a rare talent but is not expected to be available until the second half of the season as he recovers from another knee issues.
AFL title odds 2021
$4.25 Richmond Tigers
$4.50 Geelong Cats
$7 Brisbane Lions
$8.50 Port Adelaide Power, West Coast Eagles
$15 Collingwood Magpies, Western Bulldogs
$17 GWS Giants
$19 St Kilda Saints
$29 Melbourne Demons
$34 Carlton Blues
$51 Hawthorn Hawks
$67 Fremantle Dockers
$81 Essendon Bombers, Gold Coast Suns
$101 Sydney Swans
$151 Adelaide Crows
$201 North Melbourne
AFL Round 1 fixture, odds and times (all times AEDT)
AFL round one will run from Thursday, March 18, to Sunday, March 21, with bookmakers having odds available now. Be sure to check out our AFL betting tips before wagering on this week’s games:
Thursday, March 18
- 7:25PM: Richmond $1.35 v Carlton $3.20 Match preview
Friday, March 19
- 7.50PM: Collingwood $1.91 v Western Bulldogs $1.91
Saturday, March 20
- 1.45PM: Melbourne $1.45 v Fremantle $2.75
- 4:35PM: Adelaide $4.20 v Geelong $1.23
- 7:25PM: Essendon $2.18 v Hawthorn $1.68
- 7:45PM: Brisbane Lions $1.25 v Sydney Swans $4
Sunday, March 21
- 1:10pm North Melbourne $5 v Port Adelaide $1.18
- 3:20PM: Greater Western Sydney $1.73 v St Kilda $2.10
- 6:10PM: West Coast $1.17 v Gold Coast $5
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