AFL Preview: Grand Final
|Best: Sydney -11.5 ($1.90)
Other: Under 166.5 points ($1.90)
Value: Sydney 40+ ($4.40)
The classic David vs Goliath battle. Have the Dogs got one more upset in them after taking out three more fancied opponents to get here?
Sydney had won six in a row coming into the finals series, but their best football couldn’t be found in week one of the finals when going down to GWS by 36 points, and looking all at sea from halfway through the second quarter. They put any doubts about their legitimacy to bed in the last two weeks, blowing Adelaide and Geelong away early, stamping their authority all over the finals series.
The Bulldogs have been the September fairytale, with three wins as underdog. Ferocity has been their trademark, best seen when catching West Coast unawares off the bye in the elimination final. They were too good for Hawthorn in their semi, and then dug deep to fight back against GWS last weekend.
Josh Kennedy v Tony Liberatore
The tone is set early in finals, and these two represent their respective sides contested possession and clearance winning abilities. Kennedy has had 15 contested possessions in each of his two grand final appearances, while Liberatore is playing his first. Whoever can get first hands on ball can give their team critical drive.
Gary Rohan v Easton Wood
Easton Wood is one of the Dogs most important players as acting captain and number one intercept marker in the back half, the generator of much of the Bulldogs run. Gary Rohan has mixed his September performances, often struggling for any impact at all, but he is coming off his best individual final, and will be required to negate Wood’s drive, while still hitting the scoreboard himself.
Stats That Matter
Sydney has a 7-3 lead in the two teams last 10 meetings, but the Bulldogs under Luke Beveridge have won the last two. Prior to Beveridge’s arrival, the Swans had won six in a row against the Dogs. The two sides met in Round 15 this year, when the Dogs won by 4 points at the SCG.
The Dogs are three from three at the MCG this season, at +83% POT and 100% ATS, with 33% at the under. Sydney are two from three at the MCG in 2016, at +43% POT and 66% ATS.
The Swans have won 8 of their last 14 finals, at -7% POT and 64% ATS. The Dogs are winning at +210% POT and 100% ATS.
Under Luke Beveridge, the Dogs have started $2.30 or longer 19 times, for 11 wins at +81% POT and 68% ATS. Sydney have lost four times as favourite this year.
Eight of the past 12 Grand Finals have finished with a total score of less than 173-points.
DT Talk Player Prop Bets
In the player markets, you must have a dabble on who will win the Norm Smith Medal. Our tips from each team are simple. Dahlhaus ($17) has been in awesome form and is coming off 32 touches against the Giants last week. When the Swans met the Cats in the first Preliminary Final, Dangerfield and Selwood racked up touches with ease, accumulating 39 each, with 46 contested possession between them. Dahlhaus along with Bontempelli ($8) are the best contested players the Dogs have, and at $17, Dahlhaus gets the nod from us, just ahead of ‘the Bont’.
Based on these stats from what Selwood and Dangerfield did last week, we can’t ignore these boys in the possession markets either. Dahlhaus ($7) can be found in the ultra-competitive group A and will certainly give that a shake but for safety, do not overlook Bontempelli ($4.50) in group B. He had 29 on the Swans earlier this year and will not receive any attention whatsoever this week.
But if you believe the Swans are going to win, then look no further than Lance Franklin ($9). He kicked 5.4 goals against the Dogs in round 15 and has been in blistering form. Last week, Patton and Lobb combined for seven goals against the Dogs and Buddy will be firing on all cylinders on the big stage. You can also get him at $2.30 to kick the most goals, which is basically the biggest sure thing of the day.
In the marks market, Dane Rampe ($9) is a nice outsider to consider after his 11 marks last week. The Dogs traditionally give up plenty of the ball to their opposition defenders and at those odds, he’s worth a look.
Isaac Heeney has been scoring AFL Fantasy points with ease in his new role, floating of the halfback and at $3.35, he’s the worthy favourite in group B. He has scored 132 and 116 in his last two games and if he’s running free again, expect another 100+ score.
The Western Bulldogs have been great for the Wolf Pack this finals series, with our suggested bet in their games saluting every time, but the fairy tale might be over now. They are yet to play a team of Sydney’s calibre, with strength in every area of the ground.
Sydney and the Dogs were ranked one and three respectively for defence across the home and away rounds. The Swans are known to absorb inside fifty’s, often losing that stat while winning the game, as they’ve done in their last two finals. The Dogs defend by controlling the ball and denying their opposition.
Sydney were ranked fourth for points for, while the Dogs came in at a lowly 12th. But the Dogs have lifted their offensive rating in the finals, averaging 98 points per game, while the Swans have come in at 90 across the three weeks. But across their last eight matches, the Swans have averaged 113 points for.
Grand final experience must count for a lot, as we’ve seen Hawthorn display over the last three seasons. Sydney will have a dozen players who have played on the biggest stage before, with several of them having done so multiple times, while the Dogs will only have Matthew Suckling if he comes up.
The Swans have been the fastest starters in the AFL, which they’ve proven over the last two weeks, and if the Dogs do struggle with nerves early, this could be the case again. If the young pups don’t get overawed then they have a chance to stick with Sydney and restrict their ball movement and midfield dominance.
The Dogs have been punching above their weight, but the Swans are a better team, with an abundance of grand final experience to call on. The combination should be enough to secure a comfortable victory.
How It’s Shaping Up
Sydney by 37 points
Sydney -11.5 ($1.90)
Other Recommended Bets
AFL Grand Final Full Covereage
If you are a stats guru don’t forget to check out our AFL betting database complete with historical data and stats.