The 2018 AFL Preliminary Finals are here and we are in for a genuine treat this weekend.
Melbourne will come to a standstill on Friday when Richmond take on Collingwood in one of the most anticipated Preliminary Finals in recent memory before Melbourne travel to Perth for their first Prelim since 2000.
Both these games are fascinating betting contests and there is plenty of value to be found, so don’t miss out on our complete 2018 AFL Preliminary Finals tips that can be found below.
Richmond Vs Collingwood
Friday 21 September, 7.50pm, MCG
To think, these two historic clubs haven’t played September footy against each other since the 1980 Grand Final!
It’ll be a battle of epic proportions in front of what will no doubt be a capacity crowd at the G’, but we don’t have to rewind 40+ years to receive a taste of what might be in-store on Friday night.
The Tigers have had Collingwood’s number this season, cruising to a pair of comfortable victories in Round’s 6 and 19.
No prizes for guessing how Richmond won those games.
Pressure was the key, and it remains to be seen if the Pies can finally adjust after two home/away losses.
Don’t let the scoreboard fool you too much though, both encounters were reasonably close up until the fourth quarter.
The final term has been the Tigers’ bread and butter all year, but can Collingwood repeat their fourth quarter success against GWS for the second week in a row?
The midfield battle will be electric all night, and with names like Dustin Martin and Scott Pendlebury headlining, it’s safe to say the clearance tally will be relatively close.
For Collingwood, this game is really going to come down to inside fifties.
They demolished GWS in that department last week, in large part thanks to Steele Sidebottom’s 31-disposals.
Silencing Sidebottom will be Richmond’s main priority this week, and as we saw back in July, that’s no easy task.
Sidebottom racked up 38-disposals during Collingwood’s last clash with the reigning premiers, however the absence of Jordan de Goey proved too big a hurdle for Nathan Buckley’s side to overcome.
This time around things are fairly evenly matched with de Goey back, and the same goes for the crowd.
If anyone is going to beat Richmond, they need to take the crowd out of the equation, but the question is, can Collingwood do just that?
It should be a 50/50 crowd split, but the Pies haven’t beaten the Tigers since 2016, and as their 2-4 record suggests, Collingwood aren’t exactly a safe bet as the away underdog, either.
For Richmond, the head games continue surrounding Martin’s ghost injury, but they should be just fine in this game if they can spread the ball around like they did against Hawthorn two weeks ago.
Jack Riewoldt poses his own problems for Collingwood’s average back-line, however, when you throw Josh Caddy and Kamdyn McIntosh into the fold, things get even more tricky.
This game should be closer than previous meetings, but the Tigers should return to the G’ a week later to defend their crown.
Tip: Back Richmond 1-39 @ $2.08
Same Game Multi: Richmond 1-39, Steele Sidebottom 29 or More Disposals, Total Match Points: 150 or Below
West Coast Eagles Vs Melbourne
Saturday 22 September, 7.50pm, Optus Stadium
The Dees’ fairytale is well on its way, but one giant stands between Melbourne and a shot at the holy grail.
A well-rested West Coast side is dangerous enough without throwing in home-field advantage.
The Eagles survived a scare against the Pies a fortnight ago, but it looked as though full-forward Josh Kennedy was only beginning to warm up during his return to the side.
It’s likely Kennedy kicks more than just two goals this week, but can that be enough to get the Eagles over the line?
The bookies have West Coast as the slight favourite, but only just.
Round 22 is fresh in the mind of everyone, a game the Demons won to secure their spot in the finals, however the Eagles were without Kennedy and fellow star forward Jack Darling in that game.
Melbourne’s defence held up strong last week against Jarryd Roughead, Jack Gunston and the rest of Hawthorn’s playmakers.
Still, the Hawks lack the height West Coast possess down front, and more importantly, the midfield depth to continually push the ball forward.
Without Jaeger O’Meara last week, the Hawks looked lost.
This week the Demons are facing a West Coast side that are healthy, and that includes very talented midfielder Elliot Yeo.
As has been the case for the entire season, Max Gawn is the X-factor for both sides this week.
Shut him down and keep his clearances to a minimum, West Coast win.
Allow him to roam, win the clearances and also contribute in the back-line, the Demons can easily upset.
It’s a real coin flip this week, especially after both sides endured rough patches throughout the home/away season.
On form, both sides look about equal right now, but the Eagles’ 8-2 record as the home head-to-head favourite suggests they are a much safer bet.
In comparison, the Dees are 2-4 as the away underdog against the Eagles.
It’s easy to read into their Round 22 win at Optus Stadium and believe a road-win is possible, but this is still a huge test for defenders Sam Frost and Oscar McDonald, one that they probably can’t stand up to.
Tip: Handicap: West Coast 1-39 @ $2.35
Same Game Multi: West Coast 1-39, Josh Kennedy 3+ Goals, Over 169.5 Total Points
Both games in the AFL Semi-Finals were blowouts, but that looks highly unlikely to be the case this weekend.
Adelaide have been the benchmark in the AFL all season long and they will start their clash with Geelong as clear favourites, while Richmond may never have a better chance to qualify for their first Grand Final since 1982.
We have analysed both games set to take place this weekend in the penultimate week of the AFL season and our complete 2017 AFL Preliminary Final tips can be found below.
Adelaide Vs Geelong
Friday 22 September, 7.50pm, Adelaide Oval
The rivalry between Adelaide and Geelong has gone to another level in recent seasons and we are set for a fascinating Preliminary Final clash on Friday night.
Adelaide have been the most consistent side in the AFL in 2017 and they are clear favourites to qualify for their first Grand Final since 1998.
The Crows went into the finals on the back of losses at the hands of Sydney and West Coast, but they were far too strong in their Qualifying Final against Greater Western Sydney and they still have room to improve off that performance.
Geelong have dominated Adelaide in recent memory, but Adelaide won the most recent meeting between the two sides earlier this season and their record at the Adelaide Oval is excellent.
The Crows have won eight of their past 11 games as home favourites and impressively they have the same record against the line.
Nobody gave Geelong a chance of beating Sydney last weekend, but they bounced back from their flat effort against Richmond to record a massive upset win over the Swans.
Patrick Dangerfield was the obvious standout for Geelong, but it was the effort of some of their less well-credentialed players that was the highlight for the Cats and if that group of players performs well again they are right in this clash with Adelaide.
The Cats have not been particularly impressive away from home this season, but they have won five of their eight games as away underdogs and they are 6-2 against the line in this scenario.
This is a game that the market looks to have got just about right, but their is still value to be found and that lies in the Total Points betting market.
It has been a fairly low-scoring AFL Finals Series to date and that looks set to continue in this clash.
The Under has been a profitable betting play in games involving either Adelaide or Geelong and the Total Points line of 167.5 points does look excessive.
Back Under 167.5 Points
Richmond Vs GWS Giants
Saturday 23 September, 4.45pm, MCG
This is a huge moment for both these Football clubs.
They tried to keep the lid on as long as possible at Richmond, but the lid was blown off and into smithereens with their emphatic win over Geelong and the Tigers will go into this clash with the Giants as clear favourites.
The defence pressure that Richmond showed during their win over Geelong was nothing short of incredible and it is that style of football that can trouble a Giants side that is used to winning the football comfortably.
Richmond really should have beaten Greater Western Sydney twice this season – they pulled a Richmond when they looked like they had the game won in May – and they have restricted the scoring of the Giants in both these clashes.
The Tigers have won six of their seven games as home favourites this season and they are 5-2 against the line in this scenario.
Greater Western Sydney looked like a side that was out of ideas when they lost to Adelaide in the opening round of the AFL Finals, but they bounced back to a semblance of their best form with an impressive victory over the West Coast Eagles.
There is no doubt that this will be a much tougher test and there is still a question mark over how they perform against the very best sides in the competition – they have won only won off their six games against Adelaide, Geelong and Richmond this season.
The Giants have been a losing betting play across just about every metric so far this season and they have won only five of their 12 games away from home, while they are 9-16 against the line across the board.
Richmond may never have a better opportunity to contest their first Grand Final since 1982 and they should be able to beat the Giants comfortably on Saturday night.
Back Richmond To Beat The Line (-9.5 Points)
We have reached the penultimate weekend of the 2016 AFL season and four teams are set to do battle in two very intriguing semi-finals.
Sydney did what was expected to set up a preliminary final clash with Geelong, while the Western Bulldogs scored a stunning upset win over Hawthorn to qualify for their first preliminary final since 2010?
Will Geelong and GWS meet in the Grand Final or will the finals upsets continue? I have analysed both preliminary finals and below you can find the best betting plays for both matches.
Geelong Vs Sydney Swans
Friday 23 September, 7.50pm, MCG
Geelong and Sydney have been two of the best teams in the AFL all season long and this preliminary final is set to be an absolute classic.
Geelong made it eight wins on the trot with their thrilling qualifying final victory over Hawthorn and they will go into this clash as clear favourites to make their first Grand Final since their 2010 triumph.
The Cats have been a tough team to assess throughout the 2016 AFL season, but it is fair to say that they have won plenty of big games and in the form of Patrick Dangerfield they have the best player in the competition.
Geelong really don’t have a home-field advantage at the MCG and they may have won three of their four games as home favourites at the venue, but they have not covered the line in any of these clashes.
Sydney did the job very comfortably against Adelaide last weekend and they will go into this clash with plenty of confidence.
It is far to say that Sydney have their share of injury problems in the form of Gary Rohan, Jarrad McVeigh and Kurt Tippett, but they are a list that has plenty of depth and a great deal of big-game experience.
Sydney beat Geelong when they played earlier in the season and they have proven to be a highly effective team away from home this season – winning both of their games as away underdogs.
I still have my question marks over just how good this Geelong side are and Sydney are great value to qualify for another Grand Final at the juicy price of $2.35.
Back Sydney To Win @ $2.35
GWS Giants Vs Western Bulldogs
Saturday 24 September, 5.15pm, Spotless Stadium
At the start of the season you would have been able to score a decent price for the GWS Giants and the Western Bulldogs to do battle in a Preliminary Final.
Greater Western Sydney got themselves to within a game of the Grand Final with their emphatic demolition of Sydney in the opening weekend of the final and the question is whether they can do the same to the Western Bulldogs.
The young Giants list has kept their composure this entire season, but it is fair to say that this is the biggest game that the majority of this side have played during their AFL careers to date.
In saying that, they did not let the occasion get the better of them against Sydney in the opening weekend of the finals and they have been a strong betting play at Spotless Stadium this season.
Greater Western Sydney have won six of their eight games as home favourites and more impressively have an identical record against the line.
The Western Bulldogs continued their stellar season with their upset victory over Hawthorn last Friday night and they are now the pick of the majority of neutral fans to win their first flag since 1954.
The question surrounding the Bulldogs is whether they played their Grand Final last weekend and whether this side is good enough to take the club to their first Grand Final since 1961.
Playing away from home has not proven to be an issue for the Bulldogs and they have won four of their seven games as underdogs this season for a very healthy profit.
There is no doubt that the Giants deserve to be favourites, but there is something special happening at Footscray and you can’t bet against the Bulldogs following their excellent performances against both West Coast and Hawthorn – especially at the quote of $2.85.
Back Western Bulldogs To Win @ $2.85