AFL Preview: Finals Week 1
|Wire to Wire – Any Other Result ($2.35)
Scorecast – Chris Masten to have 30 or more disposals and West Coast win the match ($4.85)
This one will be played like there’s no tomorrow because for the loser, there isn’t.
West Coast hits the finals as arguably THE form team in the competition, not just coming in off four straight wins, but the last three being against what were top four teams at the time, two of them away from home. The Eagles have beat Fremantle well, defeated GWS at Spotless, easily accounted for Hawthorn, and demolished the Crows in Adelaide.
The Bulldogs come into finals with three wins in their last four matches, but having lost to Fremantle in Perth in Round 23. Prior to that they had beaten Essendon by 40 points, Collingwood by 3 points and North by 14 points. Most troubling for the Dogs, they only averaged 75 points per game in that period, against fairly weak opposition.
Luke Shuey v Marcus Bontempelli
Bontempelli was named All-Australian last week, while Shuey was left out despite being named in the 40 man squad, and how they far will go a long way to deciding this match. Shuey is ranked top six in the AFL for clearances, goal assists and tackles, while Bontempelli isn’t as well known for his statistical dominance, but how he can shape the game with a perfectly timed tackle, clearance and goal.
Josh Kennedy v Fletcher Roberts
Kennedy was held to five touches and a goal from 100% game time the last time these sides met, when the Dogs saluted by eight points. Marcus Adams did the job that day, but won’t be playing on Thursday night, so the job is left to Roberts. He won’t be getting a lot of the ball himself, but if he can stop the Coleman medallist, it will give his Dogs a chance.
DT Talk Player Prop Bets
Kicking off the AFL Finals series are the Eagles and Dogs tonight from Domain Stadium. The league’s leading tackler Matt Priddis, will be tough to stop at $3 and even clocked up 12 against the Dogs when they met in round 11. For value, Josh Dunkley ($6.50) is worth a look in the same market after claiming 10, 8 and 13 tackles in his last three games.
Lachie Hunter found the pill 38 times in their round 11 clash and you can double your money on him tonight if he can crack the magical 30+ mark again.
In the AFL Fantasy market, it’s tough to look past Priddis ($4.50) once again. He had 124pts in the final round of the year and even had 114 back in round 11.
But if it’s value you are after then why not take a punt of Elliot Yeo? Boy can he be frustrating, but at home he plays like a different man. To have 17+ disposals he’s paying $1.88. However, to win the Group B market, he is paying a whooping $26. Yes, this is very unlikely to happen, but hey… he’s at home and can be huge on his day.
Stats That Matter
West Coast have won six of the last nine clashes between the sides. The Eagles have won all four matches at Domain Stadium in that time. The last six games between them have been split 3-3 with the home side winning each time.
West Coast are +15% POT in 2016, ranked #3 in the league. They have won 11 from 12 at Domain Stadium this season, at +12% POT and 83% ATS. They average 112 points for there, and 65 points against. The Eagles have started $1.30 or less at Domain 18 times under Adam Simpson, winning all of them, and covering the line 16 times.
Western Bulldogs are +8% POT in 2016, ranked #6 in the league. They’ve won three from five interstate this season, at +26% POT and 60% ATS. They are five from 11 interstate under Luke Beveridge. The Dogs have lost their last seven matches at Domain Stadium, and haven’t won there since Round 13, 2010.
West Coast couldn’t have finished the home and away rounds with any more momentum, while the Bulldogs limped across the line with an ever-growing injury list. For the Eagles, the pre-finals bye came at exactly the wrong time, but for the Dogs is came just when it was needed most.
West Coast were able to use that momentum to keep winning even through the loss of Nic Naitanui, but his absence will be most keenly felt against a Bulldogs ruck combo he was set up to dominate. The Dogs midfield has been able to nullify opposition ruckmen for most of the season, but they will now find it easier to get on top.
West Coast have pressured fiercely in their recent run of form, but the Bulldogs are a high pressure side themselves, so a nil-all draw may be forced in this area, and the Dogs have greater depth in their midfield to call on to work the ball forward. Their all-ground defence is going to be even more important given the potency of the Eagles forwards, while they themselves have struggled to score.
Luke Beveridge is already proving himself more master than apprentice when it comes to the coach’s box, and he will no doubt have used the extra week of preparation to find a way to shut down West Coast’s ball movement, and keep his own men in the game.
Expect this one to be a lot closer than most think, but home ground advantage should be just enough for the Eagles to get the win.
How It’s Shaping Up
West Coast by 14 points
Western Bulldogs Line +28.5 ($1.91)
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