It’s the first of the bye-rounds, with just the six games of footy and the COVID situation placing a couple of games in different locations.

Melbourne Demons v Brisbane Lions

Friday 4/6/21

A blockbuster clash to kick off round 12 with premiership fancies Brisbane and Melbourne facing off at Giants Stadium (due to COVID restrictions). The Lions are the form team of the competition, but still it’s Melbourne who are installed as not only favourites for this match, but the premiership elect with bookies. The Lions have won seven straight and are now further strengthened with Brownlow Medallist Lachie Neale back for this clash. There’s a slight query in that the Lions have only been beating mostly mediocre sides during their winning run. They now get a real test against a Melbourne side which was too good for the Bulldogs last week. This is a very evenly-matched contest so with a better price on offer for the Lions, I must side with them.

Suggested bet – 1u Brisbane win at $2

Sydney Swans v St Kilda Saints

Saturday 5/6/21

Despite beating Carlton last week, the Swans have rung in the changes for this clash with the Saints. Logan McDonald and ruckman Tom Hickey are among the inclusions which should bolster their strength around the ground. The Swans have somewhat plateaued after a flying start to the season but remain the more consistent side of these two. They will also benefit from this being played out at the SCG. The Saints limped past the Roos last week and if they don’t improve drastically they won’t keep up with the Swans – and we know they can get blown out of the water if things don’t go their way.

Suggested bet – 1.5u Swans -21.5 at $1.90

Adelaide Crows v Collingwood Magpies

Saturday 5/6/21

After Adelaide’s quick start to the season, they’ve produced a number of creditable performances against good sides but been unable to convert it to victories. This time they get home ground advantage and a much easier opponent with the Pies losing eight of their past nine. The Crows have also lost six of their past seven but have beaten Melbourne and tested the likes of Richmond and West Coast. It will be interesting to see how this clash plays out, with the Crows one of the most-intense and free-flowing teams in the competition. In contrast, the Pies are responsible for a dull and defensive brand of footy. If the Crows can crash through the Pies slow-down style this could turn into a bloodbath. The Pies are also without key ruckman Brodie Grundy but Jamie Elliott and Chris Mayne make a return.

Suggested bet – 1.5u Crows -12.5 at $1.90

Essendon Bombers v Richmond Tigers

Saturday 5/6/21

Essendon have become the latest hype team after knocking off West Coast in Perth last week. It’s quite amazing the level of hysteria for a side which prior to that win had only beaten some very, very mediocre sides. It means we get a better-than-expected price about Richmond who will enjoy having stars Shane Edwards and Marlion Pickett back for this Dreamtime clash. The query is how much of an advantage Essendon have from being able to stay in Perth all week. But the damning stat of Essendon being unable to defeat Richmond in their past 10 encounters is enough to counteract the fact Richmond must travel west.

Suggested bet – 3u Richmond win at $1.52

Carlton Blues v West Coast Eagles

Sunday 6/5/21

Last week’s performances by West Coast and Carlton sum up their seasons. West Coast fell at home to Essendon, while Carlton tried valiantly but didn’t have the composure to beat the Swans. West Coast have been awful away from home this season and now travel to Sydney without the injured Tim Kelly, Josh Kennedy, Brendon Ah Chee, Jarrod Brander and Oscar Allen. While these losses are a huge concern for the Eagles, the Blues simply haven’t shown enough to be a betting proposition this season, especially as favourites.

No suggested bet

Fremantle Dockers v Western Bulldogs

Sunday 6/5/21

Fremantle play host to the Bulldogs in Perth, with both sides coming off losses. The Dogs fell to ladder-leaders Melbourne, while Freo were no match away from home to Port Adelaide. It’s no shock the Dogs are clear favourites, but I think the $1.40 is a touch generous. The Dogs will be keen to hit back after last week’s loss and have won the last two clashes between these two sides. While the Dockers have won the past two clashes between the pair at Optus Stadium, they have now lost four out of their last five, while the Dogs have only lost twice this season.

Suggested bet – 2u Bulldogs win at $1.40