2023 AFL Grand Final Preview

One of the AFL’s great rivalries will be reignited on Saturday when the Brisbane Lions take on Collingwood in the 2023 AFL Grand Final.  

The two familiar foes famously played out a pair of classics in 2002 and 2003, both flags belonging to the Lions in what remains one of the most dominant eras in modern footy.  

Having occupied the top two spots on the ladder for most of the year, fans in the neutral camp will be delighted to have what is sure to be a competitive decider featuring a handful of key storylines.  

Can Pies coach Craig McRae win the flag against his former side? 

Or will history repeat itself with the Lions coming out on top? 

Our thoughts (and bets) ahead of Grand Final Day can be found here! 

Match Betting  

Brisbane Lions  

After beginning the year as a $9.00 chance in the Premiership market, the Lions now find themselves on the big stage for the first time under six-year head coach, Chris Fagan.  

A disastrous 1-2 start to the year saw Brisbane fall out of favour with the bookies, but a revamped list featuring superstar recruit Josh Dunkley, and a distinct home-field advantage at the Gabba helped turn things around. 

Having spent most of the year inside the top four, there’s no question Fagan’s side is well-deserving of a spot in the Grand Final, but the season hasn’t been without its hurdles.  

Rising Star favourite Will Ashcroft suffered a heartbreaking ACL tear midway through the year, while the club was also forced to make some tough decisions on veterans Jack Gunston and Daniel Rich.  

Brisbane’s biggest hurdle – winning at the MCG – is the glaring elephant in the room, but if they can play the same sharp, clean brand of footy that saw them come from behind to defeat Carlton in the Prelim, the Lions should prove hard to beat.  

On attack, Brisbane has been one of the most efficient teams in the league this year, ranked Top 5 in points and inside 50s per-game. 

That said, Brisbane has been its own worst enemy at times in front of the big sticks, an area that nearly cost them against Carlton.  

It has to be said though, this isn’t the same Lions team that has stumbled in years past.  

Brisbane is playing a rugged brand of footy that fans have been calling for, ramping up the pressure after trailing by four goals at quarter-time against Carlton last week, which in turn suffocated the Blues’ options moving the ball forward.  

For such a talented midfield, it’s surprising to learn the Lions rank so low in average tackles, but where they excel is applying pressure inside 50.  

Brisbane has been one of the best tackling sides in their own back half, which should come in handy against a lethal Collingwood forward line that is spoilt for choice.  

If the Lions are to win their first flag since 2003 against their old rivals, it will likely boil down to how quickly they can settle into the game, and whether they can prevent Collingwood from taking some big marks up forward.  

At times, Charlie Curnow and even Patrick Cripps had their own way inside the forward half last week, but on the other hand, if Charlie Cameron kicked straight, the Lions would have won by more.  

Over the last four of five years, most of Brisbane’s problems have been mental, but with two wins over Collingwood already this year, there’s nothing to say they can’t win the flag.  

There hasn’t been a better team in the competition when it comes to winning the clearances this year, and with so many of their star players really maturing into consistent performers, the Premiership will be everything but a cakewalk for Collingwood.  

Collingwood 

Favoured from the very beginning, the Pies set out to finish what they started on Saturday in front of a partisan crowd.  

After suffering a heartbreaking loss in the Prelim last year to Sydney, the Pies have basically played with a chip on their shoulder, opening the season a perfect 3-0 before running into the Lions on Easter Thursday.  

Before suffering a knee injury in Round 21, Nick Daicos was at the forefront of the charge, racking up a dizzying amount of disposals each week alongside some big goals from Brody Mihocek and the rest of Collingwood’s dominant form line.  

Just like last season, the Pies also made a habit of winning close games by 15 points or less, downing the likes of St Kilda, Essendon, and Adelaide by no more than a pair of goals.  

They say great teams find a way to win, and while the Pies are arguably the most impressive fourth-quarter team, they’ll need to bring it for a full four quarters if they are to knock off the Lions.  

On the plus side, the Pies have been one of the better tackling teams in the competition, and they’ve also made a habit of keeping their opponents to a low total, ranked second in points allowed.  

The key to Collingwood winning their first flag since 2010 is playing a clean brand of footy, something that has prevented them from beating Brisbane twice this season.  

The Pies were sloppy with the pill in their Easter Thursday clash, which allowed the Lions to get numbers forward and beat them over the top.  

Of course, the crowd is obviously Collingwood’s biggest advantage heading into this year’s decider.  

The Army has been in full voice all year, making this a tough assignment for a Lions team that has infamously struggled to perform at the MCG.  

Best Bet  

The history between these two clubs makes this such a fascinating match up.  

The Lions have won six straight over Collingwood, but it’s worth noting none of those games were played at the MCG.  

Lachie Neale’s shoulder injury he sustained during the Prelim is worth monitoring throughout the week, as is Collingwood’s plan up forward after it was announced Dan McStay will sadly miss this clash against his old club.  

Whether Craig McRae decides to move Mason Cox into more of a marking role remains to be seen, while on Brisbane’s front, Chris Fagan has to weigh up whether it’s worth tagging Nick Daicos.  

As mentioned, the Lions have been incredibly dominant around the clearances, currently averaging nearly six more a game in comparison to the Pies. Where Brisbane has also excelled is in the third quarter, currently averaging nearly five goals over their last five games. 

Their record at the ‘G can’t be overlooked, but after roaring back from the clutches of defeat against the Blues last week, this Lions team just feels different to the ones we’ve come to know.  

Tip: Back the Lions to Win @ $2.10 

 

Total Points 

The Over/Under line is set at 164.5 at time of publish, which seems right on the cusp given some of the recent scores between these two sides.  

Brisbane has struggled to defend Jamie Elliott during recent meetings, while the Pies have given up 10 goals to Charlie Cameron across both games this year.  

The Lions could have another dominant third quarter, and with Collingwood typically saving their best footy for the final term, this one has the makings of a high-scoring Grand Final.  

Tip: Over 164.5 Total Points  

 

 First Goal Kicker  

It’s one of the great crapshoots, but there are a few likable bets when it comes to the First Goal Kicker market this year.  

Joe Daniher has been one of Brisbane’s biggest question marks heading into the finals, but he’s responded in a big way snagging seven goals.  

Carlton fans tried their best to get in Joe’s head during warm ups last week, but after silencing some of the doubters, his confidence should be higher than it’s ever been.  

The other name worth rolling the dice on is Jordan deGoey. With McStay out, he should see more of the footy, while he’s also kicked the first for Collingwood five times over the last three seasons.  

Tip: Joe Daniher @ $8.50, Jordan deGoey @ $16.00  

 

Norm Smith Medal  

 Whether he’s 100% is the million-dollar question, but there was something different about Lachie Neale last week.  

He’s always been a hard winner of the footy, but even after hurting his shoulder in a tackle against the Blues, there was a certain sense of determination from the Lions captain that really shone through.  

With the game still in balance late in the fourth quarter, Neale won the footy on a couple of occasions and pushed forward out of the midfield, basically saying that the Lions weren’t going to lose the game if he had anything to say about it.  

Now in his fifth year with the club, a Premiership and a Norm Smith would just about cap off a pretty impressive resume for the 30-year-old from South Australia.  

Tip: Lachie Neale @ $7.50 

 

2022

The final stop on the road to the Holy Grail has arrived with Grand Final festivities already underway in Melbourne.

Saturday’s decider between the Cats and the Swans is set to be a cracker, and although the Cats have looked unstoppable throughout the year, there’s a genuine case to be made for a Swans upset not unlike their famous win in 2012.

This year’s Grand Final features a great mix of veteran leadership mixed with the excitement of some of the game’s young stars, while the general excitement of the big dance finally returning home to Melbourne is almost impalpable.

Who wins the flag? Our best bets and analysis for all the key markets ahead of the 2022 Grand Final can be found here!

Geelong Cats vs Sydney Swans
Saturday 24 September, 2.30pm, MCG

Match Betting

Geelong Cats

The Cats have been in the in-form team in the competition for most of the season and it is only fitting that they should head into Saturday’s decider as the firm favourite.

No team has come close to matching Geelong’s razor-sharp ball movement this year, which in turn has led to the Cats ranking second in points scored and first in inside 50 entries.

Most teams envy Geelong’s forward line, and it’s no wonder with tall timber like Jeremy Cameron and all 103kg’s of Tom Hawkins leading the charge.

Like always, the Cats’ midfield has been all-class this year, ranking second in disposals and fifth in tackles. Pressure around the contested footy has been at the very forefront of Geelong’s success, a key area that helped suck the life out of Collingwood and Brisbane respectively.

At 34 years of age, Joel Selwood still has plenty of good footy left to play, while Patrick Dangerfield is finally starting to show signs of his former self. In terms of who has impressed most, though, it’s been the young up-and-comers that have really turned this Geelong outfit from a top contender into a genuine powerhouse.

Tyson Stengle has added another weapon to an already stacked forward line, Mark Blicavs has been huge in the ruck, and Tom Atkins has provided some solid defence down back all year.

As we know, the Cats have been recruiting extremely well for the past 20 years, leaving Chris Scott with an abundance of depth to play with in all areas of the ground.

It’s doubtful we see him tinker with what’s worked so well, but from top to bottom, it’s almost impossible to find a chink in Geelong’s armour.

The one knock is of course Geelong’s record when it matters most, but with a few wily veterans set on winning another flag and a few young kids looking to prove themselves on the big stage, the Cats will be very hard to beat in their bid for 16 straight wins.

Sydney Swans

The Swans staked their claim as a dark horse back in June when snapping reigning premier Melbourne’s undefeated streak at the ‘G.

John Longmire’s side endured some ups and downs not long after, including losses to Port Adelaide and Essendon, but on paper, most Swans fans knew they just had to find form at the right time to be a genuine finals threat.

The Bloods didn’t inspire much confidence with a close Round 23 win over St Kilda, but their second triumph over the Dees a week later in the Qualifying Final basically put the rest of the league on notice.

Sydney’s pressure was immense in the 22-point victory, a recipe that again proved successful in last week’s win over Collingwood.

After falling away in the second half on their way to a nail-biting one-point win, it’s safe to say Swans fans wouldn’t want to play the Pies again, but there was still plenty to like about the way Sydney moved the ball through the midfield to set up some great looks at goal inside 50.

Up forward, the Swans have the talent to match the Cats, starting with the newly signed, Buddy Franklin.

The 1,000-goal superstar hasn’t set the world on fire during the finals, but he has provided a nice decoy to help set up the likes of Tom Papley and Issac Heeney, both of whom enjoyed a big day last week.

Like the Cats, tackling has also been the Swans’ strong suit this year, largely thanks to the pressure both Callum Mills and Luke Parker apply through the midfield.

Sydney has also been one of the tougher teams to score against this season, while the fact four of their last five games at the MCG have been decided by 15 points or less suggests they are more than capable of winning away from home.

There’s plenty to like about the Swans on Saturday and this is certainly a team that will be contending for years to come. Like last week, how they handle the momentum swings will be most telling, but with a win over Geelong already to their name, there’s definitely a case to be made for an upset.

Best Bet

Looking back, there is plenty we can learn from the last meeting between the Cats and the Swans in Round 2.

The Cats leaped out to an early lead in the first quarter, but the Swans responded well to lead by two goals at the first break. From there, it was all one-way traffic as Sydney ran out comfortable 30-point winners on the back of some good tackling and clean hands through the midfield.

Of course, Geelong will take plenty away from that previous meeting themselves, and it’s worth noting the Cats uncharacteristically kicked 10 goals and 17 behinds.

Most importantly, however, the Cats dominated around the stoppages – one of the key areas of weakness for the Swans throughout the year.

Winning the ruck battle will be crucial on Saturday, but surprisingly, this game might boil down entirely to the first quarter.

Geelong has made a habit of starting fast this year, ranking second in first quarters won. Sydney, on the other hand, have gone 12-9-1 in the first term – a worrying statistic against a Cats outfit that can hand out punishment in a hurry.

Tip: Back Geelong 1-39 @ $2.10

Total Points

The last five Grand Finals have all gone Under the Total, and there is reason to believe that trend might continue this year.

Rain is forecast on Friday and Saturday in Melbourne, and as we’ve already outlined, both the Cats and the Swans have been among the top five best tackling sides in the competition this year.

Tip: Under 164.5 Total Points @ $1.88

First Goal Kicker

If you’re a fan of either team this weekend, be warned: the team of the first goal-kicker has gone on to lose in seven of the last nine Grand Finals.

Even so, there’s genuine value to be found in this market, although there really isn’t a great deal of logic to be had.

Statistically, Tyson Stengle and Patrick Dangerfield have each kicked the first goal for Geelong once this year, while familiar faces like Errol Gulden, Luke Parker, and Isaac Heeney have all accomplished the same for the Swans.

If you’re looking for one at value, Issac Smith could be your man. He typically averages only a couple of shots on goal per game, but he nearly reeled off a beauty last week against the Lions with his booming left foot.

He’s been quiet throughout the finals, but he’s no stranger to the Grand Final stage and it wouldn’t surprise to watch Smith snag one early.

Tip: Back Issac Heeney @ $10 and Issac Smith @ $34

Norm Smith Medal

It’s almost impossible to predict this year’s Norm Smith with some genuine workhorses on both sides of the ball.

If the likes of Hawkins, Cameron, or even Buddy kick a bag, they’ll be tough to ignore, but if a midfielder like Luke Parker or Cam Guthrie rack up the disposals and also boot a goal, the honours will almost certainly go to a midfielder.

Guthrie polled exceptionally well at the Brownlow on Sunday, which is no surprise given he’s averaging nearly 25 touches per game.

For Sydney, the most obvious choice is Luke Parker.

The Swans’ superstar midfielder has averaged 25 himself in his last five meetings with Geelong and he’s also found the scoresheet in back-to-back weeks against Melbourne and Collingwood.

Tip: Back Luke Parker @ $10 and Cam Guthrie @ $15

2021

The Dees and the Dogs have been two of the top sides in the competition this year, and it’s only fitting that they should meet in this year’s Grand Final.

After clinching the minor premiership, Melbourne has cruised through the finals to arrive on the big stage in Perth, while the Dogs have gone about their business the hard way with a couple of upset wins after finishing outside the top four.

The Bulldogs won their first-ever premiership over Melbourne back in 1954 in front of a huge crowd at the MCG, and there will again be 60,000+ in attendance at Optus Stadium on Saturday.

These two sides boast a handful of the games top young talent, and there’s no question we could be in for a razor tight game to round out the season.

With the wait almost over, find out who we’re tipping to win the flag in our 2021 AFL Grand Final Preview!

Melbourne vs Western Bulldogs
Saturday 25 September, 7.15pm, Optus Stadium

Melbourne Demons

The Demons return to the Grand Final stage for the first time since 2000 following two convincing wins over the Lions and Cats leading in.

A perfect 9-0 start to the season saw the Dees into favouritism in our Premiership market, and it is Melbourne who will go into the decider as $1.73 favourites in Perth on Saturday night.

Simon Goodwin’s side has been one of the top goal-scoring teams all year, but perhaps more impressively, the Demons have been the toughest side to score against having allowed an average of only nine goals a game.

Melbourne got the better of the Dogs back in Round 11, largely due to a monster game from current Brownlow Medal fancy, Clayton Oliver.

Max Gawn dominated the ruck battle to help the Dees lead for the entirety, but things didn’t go quite as smoothly when the two sides met for a second time in July.

Big games from Marcus Bontempelli and Jack Macrae spurred the Dogs to a 20-point revenge win – two players Melbourne desperately needs to shutdown in the Grand Final.

Fortunately, the Dees have the defensive blueprint in place to limit the pair, much like they did against Geelong two weeks ago.

Oliver, Christian Petracca and Jack Viney were electric through the midfield, while Gawn went into ‘Mad Max’ mode with a stunning five-goal performance.

Aside from stats and individual performances, there’s a strong sense of belief among this Demons outfit that hasn’t been felt in a very long time.

The pressure of a 57-year premiership drought is immense, but there’s no reason to doubt the Dees based on everything we’ve seen this season.

Western Bulldogs

The Dogs pulled off a remarkable 71-point win over Port in the Prelim, but just like in 2016, Luke Beveridge’s side will still head into the Grand Final as the +7.5 underdog on Saturday night.

The Bulldogs limped into the finals on the back of three straight losses, but a blowout Elimination win over the Bombers seemingly flicked the switch on the way to a memorable one-point victory over the Lions in the Qualifier.

The Dogs haven’t spent a lot of time as the underdog this year, but they should prove very dangerous if they can play with a chip on their shoulder like they did in Adelaide.

Even without star forward Josh Bruce, the Dogs still managed to kick seven goals in the opening term in what turned out to be another huge day for Bailey Smith.

The man with the mullet has played a huge part in each of the Bulldogs’ last two games, and there’s no doubt he’ll be called upon again to help combat Melbourne’s star-studded midfield.

On paper, the Dogs have enough talent to handle Melbourne’s ‘Big 3’ of Petracca, Olvier and Gawn, but they’ll need to win the ruck battle if they hold any hope of claiming the flag.

Tim English and Stefan Martin did a number on Port in the Prelim, but the jury remains out on whether they can dominate Gawn.

The Doggies’ biggest strength this year has been their goal-kicking and the way they move the ball forward inside 50, two areas the Demons have defended well all year.

That said, if the Bulldogs can put their nerves aside early like they did against Port, and also rely on some big individual performances from Smith and Marcus Bontempelli, they’ll be very much in this.

Betting Pick: Demons (-7.5)

You could argue either side has momentum heading into the Grand Final, but the edge belongs with Melbourne for a couple of different reasons.

Firstly, the Dees have shown they can handle playing off a bye during the finals, while the Bulldogs haven’t.

More importantly though, the Dees have been the top tackling side in the competition all year, meaning their pressure should make things difficult at times for Smith and Bontempelli.

Lastly, and this might be overrated, but the Dees have the added advantage of having played at Optus Stadium last week.

The Dogs have adjusted beautifully to the Gabba and Adelaide Oval in recent weeks, but on a much wider ground in front of a packed house, you have to expect the Dees to handle it all a little better.

Total Points

Eight of the last 12 games between the Dees and the Dogs have gone Over the Total, while the average combined Total at Optus Stadium this year has been 158 points.

The Dogs and the Dees have both allowed the fewest points to opponents this year though, which leant itself to a low-scoring game when they last met.

Both sides managed to put up triple-digits in their respective Prelim wins, but given the nerves of Grand Final day, it’s hard to imagine either team kicking clear early in the first term again.

Take it with a grain of salt, but five of the last six Grand Finals have gone Under the Total, so a low-scoring game looks a good bet.

Tip: Under 155.5 Total Points @ $1.88

First Goal Kicker

The First Goal Kicker market is always a dart throw, so let’s lock in Gawn winning the opening clearance and Petracca spearing a pass inside 50 to the waiting arms of Kysaiah Pickett.

If you’re on the Dogs, Aaron Naughton is hard to go past as the favourite.

He came roaring home late in the season to finish only two goals behind Josh Bruce, while he’s also kicked six already during the finals.

As far as smokies go, Charlie Spargo might be worth something small.

The little man has kicked a goal in each of Melbourne’s last four games and looks a very handy price at $19.00.

Tip: Kysaiah Pickett @ $12.00, Aaron Naughton @ $9.00, Charlie Spargo @ $19.00

Norm Smith Medal

No surprise to find Petracca ($6.00), Oliver ($7.00) and Gawn ($8.00) atop the market for the Norm Smith.

A case could be made for all three, but Petracca is probably the safe bet based on his natural skill and knack for the ball.

The 25-year-old cracked 30 disposals and kicked a goal against both the Lions and Cats, and a similar performance on the Grand Final stage would make him very tough to ignore.

We mentioned him earlier, but Kozzie Pickett might be over the odds here coming off a three-goal game against Geelong.

He’s the kind of player that can take hold of a game and snap a few quick goals, and since he’s from Western Australia, you can bank on him wanting to put on a show.

Tip: Christian Petracca @ $6.00, Kysaiah Pickett @ $41.00

2020

Richmond and Geelong will meet in the Grand Final for the first time since 1967 on Saturday as the Gabba hosts two of the AFL’s most familiar rivals.

A crowd of 30,000+ is expected to fill the venue to conclude a season nobody is likely to forget in a hurry.

A win for Richmond would almost certainly cement their spot on the AFL’s Mount Rushmore as one of the all-time great dynasties, while the Cats have a chance to not only add to their already large trophy case, but also send Gary Ablett off in style.

With anticipation building, we’ve analysed all the key markets in our 2020 AFL Grand Final Preview below!

Richmond vs Geelong Cats
Saturday 24 October, 6.30pm, Gabba

Head to Head and Line Betting

Richmond’s impressive track record against Geelong has seen the Tigers open as -2.5 favourites at the line and $1.80 in the head-to-head market.

Damien Hardwick’s side has won five of its last six games against Geelong, the most recent of which was a 26-point victory back in Round 17.

It’s fair to say the Tigers haven’t been quite as dominant this season, but as we’ve witnessed over the last three weeks, Richmond still has the ability to lift when it matters most.

The Tigers opened the season as the favourites in Premiership betting before an early season slump saw them get out to double figures.

Geelong’s season has followed a similar trend of ups and downs, which likely explains the $2.10 quote about the Cats in betting.

Chris Scott’s side closed out the regular season with a flat win over the Swans before a disappointing display against Port in the Qualifier, only to pull a complete 180 with two comfortable wins over Collingwood and Brisbane.

Scott claimed after Round 17’s loss that Richmond can be beaten, but it’s hard to forget Geelong blowing a 21-point half-time lead against the Tigers during last year’s Preliminary Final.

The Cats obviously have a lot to play for in Gary Ablett’s final game, so on the flip side, it’s difficult to see them losing by much.

Geelong should also feel pretty confident knowing they’ve won all five of their games at the Gabba this season, but unfortunately, the Tigers boast a pretty strong record in Brisbane themselves.

Richmond has covered the line in eight of their last 10 games at the Gabba and lost only once in Queensland this year.

The Tiger Army could also make this game tough for Geelong with a strong fan base in Brisbane.

With an extra day of recovery and a very profitable record as the favourite, Richmond look well on their way to their third flag in the last four years.

Tip: Back Richmond 1-39 @ $2.05

Total Points

Rain is forecast for Saturday in Brisbane, so there’s a good chance of some low-scoring, wet weather footy in this year’s Grand Final.

The trends also favour a bit of a stalemate with the last three games between Richmond and Geelong all going Under the Total.

Not surprisingly, the Tigers allowed the fewest goals on average to opponents during the home and away season, while the Cats weren’t disgraced themselves allowing the third fewest.

All things considered, back the Under.

Tip: Under 117.5 Total Points

First Goal Kicker

There are two players worth serious consideration in the First Goal Kicker market: Jack Riewoldt and Tom Hawkins.

Riewoldt has been the first goal kicker in three of Richmond’s last four games at the Gabba, a record he nearly added to in the Qualifier against the Lions booting the second goal of the game.

Hawkins, well what can we say?

The big man has an outstanding record in Brisbane kicking 2+ goals in each of his last five games at the Gabba.

Hawkins kicked a behind to open last week’s contest against the Lions, so you can expect the Cats to try and get the ball to him nice and early with some more quick inside 50 entries.

Tip: Tom Hawkins @ $7.50 & Jack Riewoldt @ $8.00

Norm Smith Medal

Dustin Martin can become the first player in AFL history to claim three Norm Smith’s and it is no surprise to find him as short as $4.00 in the market.

Dusty was enormous in last year’s Grand Final kicking four goals against the Giants, and based on his game last week against Port, there’s a chance he posts similar numbers on Saturday.

Patrick Dangerfield has enjoyed a huge second half to the season, one that saw him finish Top 5 in Brownlow voting last Sunday.

Danger remains the only other player at single digit odds and is a very live chance to add a Norm Smith to his growing resume.

If you’re looking for a player at longer odds, don’t sleep on Shai Bolton.

The 21-year-old finished with 18 disposals, six tackles and 11 contested possessions when these two sides last faced each other back in Round 17.

The impressive small forward also kicked three goals against the Saints a fortnight ago and could just as easily make another big impact on the grandest stage.

Tip: Dustin Martin @ $4.00, Shai Bolton @ $21.00

2019

The 2019 AFL Grand Final is here!

It has been one of the most open seasons in the recent history of the AFL and both Richmond and the GWS Giants were considered unlikely premiers at certain stages during the regular season.

Richmond have battled injuries all season long and got out to as long as $21 in AFL Premiership betting, while the Giants were dismissed by the majority of experts and punters heading into the finals.

It is no surprise that Richmond will start as clear favourites in 2019 AFL Grand Final betting, but they won’t have things their own way against a GWS outfit that has defied expectations three weeks in a row.

We have analysed all the key markets and our complete 2019 AFL Grand Final tips can be found below!

Richmond vs GWS Giants
Saturday 28 September, 2.30pm, MCG

It is Richmond that have opened as clear favourites in AFL Grand Final betting and they are now $1.36 to claim their second Premiership in three seasons.

It has been a very interesting season for Richmond.

They started the year as Premiership favourites, but lost that mantle when Alex Rance suffered a season-ending ACL injury in the opening round of the season.

A string of other injuries followed and the Tigers were a middling 7-6 after they lost to Adelaide in Round 13.

They haven’t looked back since.

The Tigers go into the Grand Final on the back of 11 straight victories and they have always looked to have another gear left in them.

They have now won Richmond have won 34 of their past 37 games at the MCG and they have never lost to Greater Western Sydney at the venue.

Richmond have won their past ten games as favourites and they are an even more impressive 9-1 against the line in this scenario.

They have been the best team in the competition for three seasons and they will be extremely tough to beat in the 2019 AFL Grand Final.

The GWS Giants have also had an up and down year.

Their Premiership odds changed significantly on a number of occasions throughout the season and the majority of punters ruled them out of contention after they suffered back-to-back losses against Hawthorn and the Western Bulldogs.

The Giants have since proven the doubters wrong.

They showed their quality when they dismantled the Western Bulldogs in their Elimination Final and they have shown a huge amount of heart to see off both the Brisbane Lions and Collingwood in genuine thrillers.

Add in the fact that they get Toby Greene back from suspension and potentially Lachie Whitfield back from injury and there is an argument to be made that the Giants are serious value.

They have now won four of their past seven games as away underdogs for a big profit and they have won two of their past three games against the Tigers.

Their overall record at the MCG is poor and they have never beaten Richmond at the venue, but they really should take huge belief from their win over Collingwood.

The question is how do the Giants bounce back from the emotional high of that win and the extra day of recovery does give the Tigers a small edge.

There is no doubt that Richmond have been the best team in the competition in the second half of the season and it is impossible to bet against them in this contest.

Back Richmond To Cover The Line (-18.5 Points)

https://www.ladbrokes.com.au/sports/australian-rules/afl/richmond-vs-gws-giants/638b655c-d3f4-4f0b-97ba-07f62eded73d

Richmond vs GWS

There is expected to be a little bit of rain in Melbourne on Saturday and the Total Points line has been set at 153.5 Points.

More than 153.5 points has been scored in the past four games played between Richmond and the GWS Giants, but it would not surprise if this was a low-scoring game.

The Under has saluted in eight of the past 12 home games played by Richmond as well as ten of the past 13 GWS away games.

A dogfight, similar to that between GWS and Collingwood, could be on the cards.

Back Under 153.5 Points

First Goal Kicker

It is Tom Lynch that is favourite in our AFL First Goal Kicker betting market at $7.50 from Jack Riewoldt and Jeremy Cameron at $8.50, Dustin Martin at $11, Harrison Himmelberg, Jeremy Finalyson and Toby Greene who are all $15.

Jack Riewoldt have a night to forget against Geelong last Friday night, but he is a great bet to bounce back to his best form in the 2019 AFL Grand Final.

The Giants will have a very tough time keeping both Tom Lynch and Riewoldt quiet.

Finalyson is well and truly over the odds at $15.

The Tigers will focus a large amount of their defensive attention on Jeremy Cameron as they should, but Finalyson kicked five goals when these two sides met earlier this season and he can’t be ignored.

Back Jack Riewoldt @ $8 and Jeremy Finlayson @ $15

Norm Smith Medal

Dustin Martin is a dominant favourite in Norm Smith Medal betting at $5 from Dion Prestia at $9 and the group of Bachar Houli, Josh Kelly, Toby Greene and Tom Lynch at $11.

There is no better big game player in the AFL than Dustin Martin and he is favourite for a reason.

It will take an enormous effort for the Giants to keep Martin quiet and you know that the AFL will wait to give him the medal, if he is anywhere near the best on ground.

The value in this market lies with Jeremy Cameron.

Cameron kicked seven goals when the Giants beat the Tigers this season and if the Giants are going to be any chance, he needs to have another enormous game.

Back Dustin Martin @ $5 and Jeremy Cameron @ $17

2018

It has been another incredible season in the AFL and it will all culminate on Saturday when the West Coast Eagles take on Collingwood in the 2018 AFL Grand Final.

It is fair to say that the majority of experts did not expect either of these two teams to have qualified for this stage of the season, with Bruce McAvaney a notable exception, but these teams earnt their place in the Grand Final with a pair of outstanding Preliminary Finals performances.

Collingwood stamped themselves as the real deal with a stunning upset win over Richmond, while the West Coast Eagles were nothing short of outstanding against a shell-shocked Melbourne.

Will West Coast conquer the MCG and claim a fourth flag or will Collingwood deliver coach Nathan Buckley the Premiership that he missed out on as a player?

West Coast Eagles vs Collingwood
Saturday 29 September, 2.30pm, MCG

It has been an AFL season full of surprises and that continued right up until the penultimate weekend of the season.

Not only did Collingwood end Richmond’s incredible winning streak at the MCG, but they did show in absolutely emphatic fashion.

Mason Cox and Steele Sidebottom received plenty of plaudits for their outstanding performances, rightfully so, but there was a single poor Magpie on the field and they outpointed Richmond in just about every metric.

The question for Collingwood is whether they can replicate that effort?

It is fair to say that there is little chance Cox is able to perform at the same level again.

West Coast were able to keep him very quiet when these two sides met a fortnight ago and Cox faces a huge challenge up against the likes of Jeremy McGovern and Tom Barrass.

That puts the pressure on Jordan De Goey and you have to think that he’ll need to have a huge game if the Magpies are going to win the flag.

Collingwood will go into this clash as favourites and that is definitely one position in which they have thrived this season.

The Magpies have won 14 of their past 15 games as the punter’s elect and they have covered the line in nine of these victories.

However, that one loss as favourites did come against West Coast and they were comprehensively beaten on that day.

West Coast did start their preliminary final clash with Melbourne as narrow favourites, but nobody expected them to be as good as they were on Saturday afternoon.

The Eagles flew out of the blocks and they never really slowed down.

Josh Kennedy, Jack Darling, Jack Redden and Shannon Hurn were all brilliant, but it has been the way that the ‘bottom six’ in the West Coast list have stepped up over the past month that has propelled them into another Grand Final.

If this game was being played at Optus Stadium, which most West Coast fans think that it should be, the Eagles would start this game as clear favourites.

The question is just how much does the home-field advantage benefit Collingwood?

The MCG hoodoo was definitely an issue for West Coast a few seasons ago and they were haunted by their Grand Final loss against Hawthorn in 2015, but they won both of their games at the MCG this season and their interstate form has been excellent.

One of those wins at the MCG was against Collingwood and West Coast have actually won five of the past seven games between the two sides, which includes a pair of victories at the MCG.

I really don’t think that there is much between these two sides and that makes the $2.30 available for a West Coast victory.

Back West Coast To Win @ $2.30

First Goal Kicker

Josh Kennedy ($8) is favourite in our First Goal Kicker betting market from Jordan De Goey ($9), Jack Darling ($10), Brody Mihocek ($13), Jaidyn Stephenson ($15), Jamie Cripps ($15), Josh Thomas ($15), Liam Ryan ($15), Mark Lecras ($15), Mason Cox ($15), Will Hoskin-Elliot ($15) and Willie Rioli ($15).

There is a reason that Kennedy is on top of betting.

He remains one of the best forwards in the competition and he was able to kick the first goal in the Preliminary Final demolition last weekend.

He does look like the safe betting option.

The value selection is Travis Varcoe.

Varcoe was nothing short of outstanding against Richmond last weekend and he can prove to be a very dangerous player going forward.

The $23 on offer for him to get the Magpies off to a flying start is outstanding value.

Back Josh Kennedy @ $8 & Travis Varcoe @ $23

Norm Smith Medal

Steele Sidebottom is on top of our 2018 Norm Smith Medal betting market at a quote of $7 from Adam Treloar ($9), Brodie Grundy ($9), Scott Pendlebury ($9) and Josh Kennedy ($10).

Sidebottom was the best player of the ground against Richmond last Friday night and he ran his rivals absolutely ragged in the midfield.

There are few better big-game players in the entire competition and he was Collingwood’s best when these two sides met in the first week of the finals.

Sidebottom is the type of player that is capable of winning a Norm Smith Medal without even playing in the winning side.

Elliot Yeo has developed into one of the best players in the AFL and the Grand Final is his chance to stamp himself as a genuine superstar on the big stage.

Yeo had 36 disposals against Collingwood three weeks ago before he was a touch on the quiet side against Melbourne last weekend.

He may be the most influential player in this West Coast side and is a good bet to win the Norm Smith Medal.

Back Steele Sidebottom @ 7 & Elliot Yeo @ $9


2017

The match we have all been waiting for is finally here and there is going to be genuine scenes at the MCG on Saturday when Adelaide and Richmond do battle in the 2017 AFL Grand Final.

The headlines have absolutely been dominated by Richmond as they head into their first Grand Final since 1982, but it is Adelaide that will start this clash as clear favourites following their dominant win over Geelong last Friday night.

Will Richmond finally deliver their long-suffering fans another flag or will Adelaide do as the market expects and end the fairytale? We have analysed both teams and our complete 2017 AFL Grand Final tips can be found below.

Adelaide vs Richmond
Saturday 30 September, 2.30pm, MCG

We have been treated to arguably the most exciting AFL season in recent memory and it would be fitting if this Grand Final lived up to the hype.

Adelaide have been the most consistent side in the AFL all season long and they head into this Grand Final on the back of two fairly dominant performances against Greater Western Sydney and Geelong.

It is tough to find a weakness in this Crows outfit – they have so many players that are capable of kicking goals and their midfield has developed into one of the best units in the entire competition.

There is no doubt that it is very difficult to score points against Richmond, but Adelaide did it comfortably when they met earlier this season and it is very tough to keep all of the Crows forward weapons under wraps.

Winning away from home has not been an issue for Adelaide this season – they have won seven of their ten games as away favourites and they are 6-4 against the line in this scenario for a clear profit.

The turnaround of the Richmond Football Club in the past 12 months has been nothing short of extraordinary and they could cap off what has been a truly stunning season with their first Premiership win since 1980.

There was always a question about how Richmond would handle the pressure of expectation during the AFL Finals and there were times in their games against Geelong and Greater Western Sydney where the old Tigers would have found a way to implode, but the way they have put their rivals away in the final quarter has been most impressive.

The big challenge for Richmond will be restricting the scoring power of Adelaide and their defensive pressure will need to be nothing short of outstanding.

Trent Cotchin was the obvious elephant in the room for Richmond, but he has been controversially cleared by the Match Review Panel for his contact with Dylan Shiel and will take his place in the 2017 AFL Grand Final.

This is huge for Richmond on a number of levels – Cotchin has been enormous during the AFL Finals to date and we wouldn’t know what sort of affect Cotchin’s absence would have had on the mental state of his teammates.

Richmond have been particularly impressive at the MCG this season and their record as home underdogs is outstanding – they have won three of their past four games in this scenario for a massive profit.

The market does look to have got this clash just about right, but there is a betting play that I am very keen on – the Under in the Total Points betting market.

The Under has saluted in 15 of the past 22 games played by Richmond and 13 of the past 22 played by Adelaide, while Grand Finals can often prove to be nervy, low-scoring affairs.

Back Under 170.5 Points

First Goal Kicker

The First Goal Kicker betting market is an interesting one as Adelaide in particular have so many players that are capable of kicking goals.

Jack Riewoldt was quiet for Richmond against Greater Western Sydney, but he is the obvious target for Richmond and it is rare to see him produce poor performances back-to-back.

Riewoldt is a deserving favourite in this betting market and he is genuine value at the current price of $8.

There are a number of different options for Adelaide and they do dominate this betting market, but it is tough to go past Eddie Betts.

Betts has waited his entire career to play in an AFL Grand Final and it really would not surprise if he is able to put his early mark on this clash.

Back Jack Riewoldt @ $8 & Eddie Betts @ $8.50

Norm Smith Medal

It should come as no surprise that Dustin Martin is a clear favourite in our 2017 Norm Smith betting market.

No player has ever won the Brownlow Medal and the Norm Smith medal in the same year, but no player has had a better opportunity to do just that than Martin.

If Richmond are any chance of winning this game, Martin will need to have a blinder and there is still value at his current price of $5.

Rory Sloane ($6.50) and Matt Crouch ($7) are the obvious contenders for Adelaide, but there is some value to be found deeper in betting and that is Sam Jacobs at $21.

Jacobs has been nothing short of outstanding for Adelaide this season and he really should be able to dominate the ruck contest.

If he is able to contribute with a couple of key goals at big moments he will be in the Norm Smith Medal picture at a juicy price – although ruckmen don’t have a great record in the Norm Smith Medal.

Back Dustin Martin @ $5 & Sam Jacobs @ $21


2016

There is arguably no bigger day on the Australian sporting calendar than the AFL Grand Final and the 2016 AFL Grand Final is set to be extra special.

The Western Bulldogs have recorded upset wins over West Coast, Hawthorn and Greater Western Sydney to qualify for the Grand Final for the first time since 1961 and they are the sentimental favourites heading into this clash.

Sydney will go into the 2016 AFL Grand Final as clear favourites and they were simply outstanding against Geelong in the Preliminary Finals.

Can the Western Bulldogs fairytale continue or will Sydney prove too strong? I have analysed both teams and come up with betting suggestions for a host of different markets.

Sydney Swans vs Western Bulldogs
Saturday 1 October, 2.30pm, MCG
Sydney Swans 67 - Western Bulldogs 89

The Sydney Swans have been the most consistent side during the 2016 AFL season and they will go into the Grand Final as clear favourites.

Sydney bounced back from their surprise defeat against Greater Western Sydney to record dominant wins over Adelaide and Geelong and it may have been the loss that they needed to have.

The Swans have a list that is packed full of players with Grand Final experience and the memory of the 2014 Grand Final will ensure that they don’t take anything for granted.

Sydney have won 16 of their past 22 games as favourites for a narrow profit and they are 13-9 against the line in this scenario, while they have won four of their past six games as favourites at the MCG.

The worry for Sydney fans is that their side has lost their past two games against the Western Bulldogs and that is one of many reasons that the Victoria outfit will go into this game as finals fodder.

Very few AFL experts gave the Bulldogs any chance of beating West Coast in the first week of the AFL Finals – myself included – and not only did they do that, but they also accounted for Hawthorn and Greater Western Sydney.

Their performance against Greater Western Sydney was particularly gusty.

There were several occasions when the Giants seized control of the game and looked as though they would run away with things, but the Bulldogs refused to give in and toughed out an historic victory.

The return of Matthew Sucking is a big boost for the Bulldogs defence that was already outstanding against the Giants and he could prove key in what I expect to be a low-scoring game.

The Bulldogs have won six of their past 11 games as underdogs for a healthy profit and they have won all three of their games at the MCG this season.

There is plenty of data to suggest that the Western Bulldogs are more than capable upstaging Sydney and when you add in the momentum they have than they are great value at their current price.

Back Western Bulldogs To Win @ $2.55

First Goal Kicker

Lance Franklin ($7) is the obvious favourite in first goal kicker betting markets and there is then a fair gap to the likes of Jake Stringer ($10), Gary Rohan ($11), Tory Dickson ($11), Kurt Tippett ($13) and Tom Papley ($13).

Franklin kicks plenty of goals, but he is definitely under the odds at his current price – he has not kicked the first goal since Sydney beat Port Adelaide in round 20.

The value for Sydney lies with Gary Rohan.

Rohan has kicked the first goal in three of the past ten games played by the Swans and he is a prolific goal-kicker in his own right.

Clay Smith has been in outstanding form during the AFL Finals to date and he has kicked the first goal in two of the past four games played by the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs have proven to be slow-starters this season and they don’t kick the first goal very often, but if they do Smith is generally involved.

Back Gary Rohan @ $11 & Clay Smith @ $15

Norm Smith Medal

Sydney dominated the Norm Smith Medal betting market and Dan Hannebery, Josh Kennedy, Lance Franklin and Luke Parker are on top of betting from Western Bulldogs star Marcus Bontempelli.

Hannebery, Kennedy, Franklin and Parker all had big games in a losing effort against the Bulldogs earlier this season and it is highly likely that one of those four will be the star if the Swans are successful on Saturday.

The Swans have only played three games at the MCG this season and in all three of those games Hannebery finished with the most disposals for the Swans, while he is a proven big-game player.

I have looked a bit deeper for the value when it comes to a Western Bulldogs player in Norm Smith betting markets.

If the Bulldogs are to win this clash they will have to be excellent in their backline and it would not surprise to see another very big effort from Jason Johannisen.

Back Dan Hannnebery @ $8 & Jason Johannisen @ $26

AFL Grand Final Money Wire

The Ladbrokes Money Wire delivers you information on the big bets, key markets and all the moves ahead of the AFL Grand Final.

https://vimeo.com/184779226