2018 AFL Finals Week 1 Predictions and Betting Preview

Richmond Tigers v Hawthorn Hawks

Thursday, Sep 6 7:20pm, MCG

The finals kick off at the MCG with the Richmond Tigers taking on the Hawthorn Hawks on Thursday night footy. After winning the flag in 2017, the Tigers haven’t slowed down in 2018 as they easily captured the Minor Premiership. Their record at the MCG is flawless this season with 14 straight victories, which extends to 21 since last year. The key will be Alex Rance locking down Roughead and the likes of Breust/Gunston on the side. I don’t believe Dusty Martin had his best season but I think he’ll be primed for a big one against the Hawks. Meanwhile, the Hawks earned a double chance with an impressive end to the season. They’ve rattled off 6 straight wins and have survived close games against the Swans and Cats recently. It’s been an incredible rebuild by the Hawks after their dominance just a few seasons ago. In the only meeting of the season, Richmond got the job done at the ‘G in Round 3 with a 13 point victory. Which I believe will be a similar type of game in this final. Overall, they’ve won the past 2 against the Hawks by 1-39 and there’s a high chance that happens again. Richmond has the best overall team in the AFL and they’re experienced at closing out these type of games. I don’t see the Hawks getting smashed and this should be a close final with the Tigers getting the job done.

Stadium Record

Richmond are 21-0 at the MCG since last season. Hawthorn went 7-2 at the ‘G this season and 4-2 against top 8 sides.

Head to Head Record

The Tigers defeated the Hawks in Round 3 by 13 points. Since 2010, the two sides have both won 5 games against each other.

Best Bet

Tigers 1-39 $2.15


Melbourne Demons v Geelong Cats

Friday, Sep 7 7:50pm, MCG

The finals continue on Friday night with a do or die clash between the Demons and Cats at the MCG. Melbourne finally ended their finals drought of 12 years with an impressive ending to this season. After missing the finals by percentage in 2017, they produced the goods in 2018. Over in Perth, they knocked off the Eagles by 17 points and smashed the Giants by 45 points in the last round to secure a home final. For Geelong, they had an up and down season which saw them finish 8th. After adding Gary Ablett to one of the best midfields in the season, I would say they would of expected a better result than 8th. While they finished the season with consecutive 100 point flogging of the Suns and Dockers, it will be interesting to see how they perform in a tense final. Especially since they’ve lost to the Tigers and Hawks at the MCG in recent top 8 games. This season, the two sides have played together twice and both games were decided by a single kick. In Round 1, Max Gawn missed a set shot and the Cats won by 3. Then in Round 18 at the Cattery, Zach Tuohy kicked a goal after the siren to again sink the Dees. But in the end, the trend in this matchup is close finishes, which makes this a tough head to head bet. So I like the any other result bet for this final with either team winning by under 24.5 points. It has easily saluted in both games between the pair in 2018 and I expect another close encounter with the added pressure of finals.

Stadium Record

The Demons struggled against top 8 sides at the MCG this season with a 1-5 record. Also, the Cats went 2-5 at the MCG in 2018.

Head to Head Record

Geelong holds a 9-1 record against the Demons since 2010 and have won 4 on the trot.

Best Bet

Triple Margin II – Any Other Result $1.78


Sydney Swans v GWS Giants

Saturday, Sep 8 4:20pm, SCG

The Battle of the Bridge takes place on Saturday as the Swans host the Giants at the SCG from 4:20pm. For the home side, they’ve rebounded from a shock loss to the Suns with a good month of footy. They beat the Magpies and Demons by under 10 points. Then, Buddy Franklin led the way with a 20 point win over the Giants in Round 22. He missed the last game against the Hawks, which probably cost the Swans a top 4 spot. But they should enjoy home advantage at the SCG. Meanwhile, the Giants head into the finals with 2 straight defeats and a number of injury concerns. Which could hurt them against the Swans, especially Phil Davis who’s been banged up most of the season. Other guys who’ve been in the wars are Lachie Whitfield who’s finished the season slowly and Josh Kelly’s concussion a few weeks back. In the end, the Swans love playing finals at this venue and that should be the difference. Last year, they crushed the Bombers by 65 points and have won 3 finals in a row here since the epic 2005 victory against Geelong (the Nick Davis special). So I’m liking the head to head odds for the experienced Swans. They’re 3-0 against the Giants and hold a 5-1 record when they meet at this venue. The week off probably would have helped Franklin (as well as Luke Parker) and he should be the major difference maker once again.

Stadium Record

Sydney went 5-6 at the SCG this season but won 3 of 5 against top 8 sides, including the Giants. GWS are 1-5 in their history here.

Head to Head Record

The Swans defeated the Giants a few weeks ago by 20 points and have won 3 in a row.

Best Bet

Swans WIN $1.76


West Coast Eagles v Collingwood Magpies

Saturday, Sep 8 8:10pm, Optus Stadium

The finals conclude in Perth with it’s fair to say, an unexpected finals matchup between the Eagles and Magpies. Many picked the Eagles to miss the finals (including me) after losing so much experience in the offseason. But credit goes to the coaching staff as they’ve been impressive all season, especially with key injuries and suspensions to deal with. The key has been the form of Jack Darling up forward, Andrew Gaff in the midfield (suspended now) and the lockdown defence headed by Shannon Hurn/Jeremy McGovern. They head into this home final with a 9-3 record at Optus Stadium, which has continued their dominance over in Perth (similar to Subiaco). But the Magpies should be up for the fight. They’re finals exile is finally over after a great season and sticking by club legend Nathan Buckley has paid off. They finished off the season with 3 straight wins and shouldn’t mind travelling to Perth again. Because they’re 4-1 when they head Interstate in 2018. However, I just think the Eagles have a huge advantage at home and especially looking at the last meeting between the two sides. In Round 17, the Eagles shocked the Magpies at the MCG with a 35 point victory. Now in Perth, the Eagles are 3-0 against the Magpies since 2010. Winning in Perth is always tough and that will probably comeback to hurt the Pies in a close loss. So I like the value for the Eagles 1-39 margin.

Stadium Record

West Coast are 9-3 at Optus Stadium. In the last round, Collingwood travelled here and beat the Dockers by 9 points.

Head to Head Record

The Eagles hold a 4-2 head to head record since 2014. In Perth, they’re 3-0 since 2010. They also defeated the Pies earlier this season in Melbourne.

Best Bet

Eagles 1-39 $2.25


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