WEEK One of the AFL Finals has thrown up four mouth-watering clashes, with betting value present in each.
Minor Premiers Adelaide head into their Qualifying Final against GWS on the back of consecutive losses, while second placed Geelong ‘host’ Richmond on the Tigers’ home turf.
Meanwhile, the Swans will be hoping for a smoother ride than their last clash with Essendon in the first Eliminator, before ‘flat track bullies’ Port and West Coast will look to end each other’s seaons.
Adelaide $1.48 v Greater Western Sydney $2.67
Minor premiers Adelaide are well fancied to take out the first qualifier but they will have to do it the hard way without star midfielder Rory Sloane.
The Crows vice captain is unlikely to play after emergency surgery to remove his appendix last week and that may leave the home side vulnerable against the talented Giants midfield. But GWS too will have their work cut out to stem the Crows’ slick ball movement to their talented forward line.
With both sides suffering losses in the final round, this fixture match appears as open as any this weekend and for that reason the value may lie with the Giants at the start.
Betting tip: Giants +13.5 @ $1.91
Geelong $1.74 v Richmond $2.10
Geelong have been impressive of late and take on Richmond, a side they beat a month ago, in the second Qualifying Final.
But the key difference right now is the venue switch from Simmonds Stadium to the MCG, which suits the Tigers style of play. Damien Hardwick’s men have only lost twice at the G this year, and both times they controlled the match for long periods.
Richmond has a number of ‘good’ selection dilemmas this week with a fit and thriving list, but arguably the biggest ‘in’ of all will be Geelong skipper Joel Selwood returning to the fold. This one will go right down to the wire.
Betting tip: Richmond +4.5 @ $1.91
Sydney $1.19 v Essendon $4.80
The Swans host the first Elimination Final at the SCG and despite being the undoubted form side in the competition, this looks anything but clear cut.
Essendon returns to the scene of its dramatic one-point Round 14 loss, squandering a 19-point lead with 10 minutes left on the clock. While the Bombers scraped into the eight on percentages, the Swans have lost just once since, beating the first, second and fourth placed sides in the process.
Sydney’s style of footy is perfectly tailored to the smaller SCG confines and their defensive pressure looks like being a bit much for the Bombers here. That said, 32.5 is a bit handicap to overcome.
Betting tip: Essendon +32.5 @ $1.91
Port Adelaide $1.45 v West Coast $2.78
The ‘flat track bully’ tag that follows both of these sides around looks set to be shed (perhaps temporarily) by one on Saturday night when they face off in the second Elimination Final.
Port has recorded some monstrous recent wins against dead-and-buried opposition but face a tougher test against the Eagles who have beaten them in five of their past six.
These two sides are very evenly matched but a positive Round 23 victory over the minor premiers swings this in West Coast’s favour at the price.
Betting tip: West Coast to win @ $2.78