AFL Preview: Finals Week 3
|Best: Western Bulldogs Line +20.5 ($1.93)
Other: Bulldogs 1-24 ($5.00)
Value: Qtr by Qtr – Bulldogs/GWS/GWS/Bulldogs ($34)
One way or the other, we’re going to be seeing a young fresh side in the grand final.
GWS have won their last three matches, and seven of their last eight, so their form is extremely solid at the right time of year, and their only loss in that time was by one point to a hot West Coast on the last kick of the day. Their most impressive win was their latest, comprehensively outplaying Sydney by a 36 point margin that could have been bigger. That result came off the back of a 37 point defeat of North Melbourne at Etihad in Round 23.
The Bulldogs just keep on keeping on, winning twice as significant underdog in their finals matches so far, and doing it easily too. They demolished West Coast in their elimination final, hunting in packs from the outset and never allowing them back in the match. Against Hawthorn last week, they had to back up that effort and intensity, and did so, never wavering in their commitment even when the Hawks pushed their lead out to four goals.
Shane Mumford v Jordan Roughead
Shane Mumford is the player that makes his fellow Giants walk taller, asserting a physical presence unmatched across the league. He makes no secret of liking to hurt opposition players and doing so with a grin on his face. Roughead needs to push forward where possible, to take Mumford out of the congestion he operates so well, and must also put himself in between Mumford and his Dogs on-ballers at stoppages. Roughead has had a great finals series so far, and must use his athleticism to combat Mumford’s strength and guile.
Heath Shaw v Liam Picken
Liam Picken has almost been the player of the finals so far, with 47 disposals, 17 marks and five goals, and the Dogs might ask more of him again, with a defensive forward role on Heath Shaw, where he can be the perfect blend of shut-down and ball-winning, which the best forwards can do. Shaw is a weapon that sets up many a GWS foray from the back half, but he can be kept quiet, and put off his own game if the opposition attacks through his opponent. This is a match-up that can decide the game.
Stats That Matter
GWS and the Dogs have met six times, with the Dogs leading 4-2, but the Giants winning two of the last three. Their only meeting at Spotless Stadium was earlier this year, when GWS ran out winners 98-73.
GWS are +15% POT this season, ranked #4 in the AFL, and they are 65% ATS, ranked #1. The Giants have won six from eight at Spotless this season, and 12 of 16 over 2015-16, but have lost two of their last three there, both times starting as favourite. They have played 15 Saturday twilight games in the last two years, winning seven of 15 at -24% POT and 60% ATS.
The Bulldogs are +26% POT this season, ranked #1 in the AFL. They are +39% POT under Luke Beveridge’s command, also ranked #1 with only one other side in positive double figures. The Dogs have won six of 12 interstate under Beveridge, at +46% POT and 50% ATS. They have started $2.60 or more 14 times in the last two years, winning eight at +100% POT and 64% ATS.
DT Talk Player Prop Bets
The first thing that caught my eye when I crunched the numbers in this game was the fact that Heath Shaw went bananas last time he met the Dogs back in round nine. He had 38 touches that day and to crack the 30+ mark again, and can be snapped up at juicy odds of $4.10.
The Dogs will be desperate and when it comes to applying pressure, there isn’t many better than Luke Dahlhaus. He has had 7 and 9 tackles in his finals games so far and at $5.50, he’s certainly worth a dabble. In Fantasy, you can find him way down in Group B as the favourite at $3.
Fresh off 39 touches against the Hawks last week, Jack Macrae ($4.50) is great value to get the most touches. He’ll find plenty of uncontested ball and will be right up there with the leaders.
At $3.25, you can’t go past Marcus Bontempelli in group B when it comes to disposals. He’ll attract some attention, but when doesn’t he? Group B is always a weak field and in there, Bont is the only shining star capable of a 30+ game.
2016 Line: GWS, Bulldogs 14-10
2016 Over/Under: GWS, Bulldogs 8-16
Both of these sides have played with a belief in this finals series that has defied their lack of September experience.
GWS made a physical statement in their win over Sydney, battering them around the contest, and then running them off their feet on the outside. The Bulldogs have also won the physical battle in their wins over West Coast and Hawthorn, but just as importantly have been superb with the ball in hand.
If we had to separate the sides, it would be that the Dogs are slightly more ferocious in the contest, and the Giants move the ball a touch more slickly, but there isn’t much between them either way. GWS will have the benefit of home ground advantage, but it is worth noting they have lost two of their past three matches there.
The big question is how the extra week off after the post-Round 23 bye will affect the Giants, and whether they will display some ring-rust early. The Dogs usually come out hot and are now battle-hardened after two finals in a row. And how have GWS dealt with the emotional high of their first ever finals win? We know the Dogs can back it up.
The Bulldogs have been good to us over the last couple of weeks backing them at the line, and there’s no reason to lose faith in them now.
How It’s Shaping Up
Western Bulldogs by 9 points
Western Bulldogs Line +20.5 ($1.93)
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