The 2015 AFL Finals have arrived and it’s shaping up to be one of the most interesting months of footy in a long time. Can the reigning champion Hawks stop the domination from the West? Will the Tigers, Roos or Dogs shock us all and come from outside the top four? Or will the Swans regain the glory of 2012? It all starts here as we offer up our 2015 AFL Finals Week 1 betting tips.
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West Coast Eagles Vs. Hawthorn Hawks (Friday, September 11 at 6:20pm AWST)
The Hawks travel to Domain Stadium for a qualifying final against the Eagles. Lose this one and it will no doubt be very hard for the Hawks to win their third premiership in a row.
I think it’s very clear the Eagles need to win this game if they are going to win the flag. That week off next week and a home preliminary final is simply going to be the difference between glory and wondering what could have been. They will give this game everything in front of a home crowd and I wouldn’t be surprised if they win. However, the bottom line is that this is the Hawks we are talking about. They have all the September experience and a great record against the Eagles. They travelled to Domain in Round 19 and won by 14 points. It must be noted, however, that the Eagles were without Nic Nat in that game which could be the difference.
The Hawks get Rioli, Bruest and Hodge back in the side this week, but there are question marks over Isaac Smith even though he has been named. The Eagles, meanwhile, lose Chris Masten and find Schofield and McGovern in doubt.
Personally I think the experience of the Hawks overrides the fact this game is at Domain. The stadium hasn’t worried them in the past and shouldn’t worry them this Friday night. This is going to be such a great game and an amazing way to kick off the 2015 AFL finals. It could go either way, but I think you have to lean towards the September experience here and give the edge to the Hawks.
Tip: Hawks by 1-39 points (under 39.5) - $2.30 at Sportsbet
Fremantle Dockers Vs. Sydney Swans (Saturday, September 12 at 1:20pm AWST)
Just around 16 hours after the Hawks and Eagles march off the deck at Domain Stadium and the Dockers and Swans will begin their own battle on the same ground.
Much of the talk around this game has focused on the absence of Buddy Franklin and his off field struggles. Punters jumped on the Dockers when it was announced Franklin wouldn’t be playing with their odds now as little as $1.30. I’m not sure the Dockers should be such heavy favourites, but there is no doubt the Swans will find this one hard, especially without Keiran Jack and Luke Parker as well.
The Dockers won the last time these two teams met at Domain Stadium in Round 4 this year. They won by 14 points, which is about the margin I expect them to win this game. The majority of the Dockers’ superstars are fresh after a rest last week and while I still have some question marks around their scoring ability, I’m expecting the Dockers to win this one and secure the home preliminary final.
Tip: Fremantle by 1-39 points (under 39.5) - $2.00 at Sportsbet
Western Bulldogs Vs. Adelaide Crows (Saturday, September 12 at 7:20pm AEST)
The Crows travel to the MCG on Saturday night to take on the young and fired up Western Bulldogs. There has been much talk in the media and from fans that the Bulldogs should be playing this one at their favoured Etihad Stadium. There is no doubt they play their best footy at Etihad - even smashing the Crows there earlier this year – but I don’t think playing at the MCG will worry the Dogs.
The Bulldogs aren’t at full strength without Jason Johannisen and Jordan Roughead, but welcome back Dale Morris, Matthew Boyd, Robert Murphy and Will Minson – all players who have finals experience. Of this bunch Minson is the surprise with the big fella barely getting a game this year. He will no doubt be relishing the chance to prove himself back at AFL level after playing VFL the majority of the year. Minson was an All Australian ruckmen just two years ago and if he can gel into the Bulldog’s game plan, might be the difference between a win and a loss. He will have stiff competition in Adelaide’s Sauce Jacobs, however.
This is another tight game that could go either way, but ultimately I give the slight edge to the Dogs. The game is in Melbourne and the Crows have struggled to start games well enough this year to get on top of the Dogs early. Jake Stringer has been huge this year and caused headaches for the Crows last time around, kicking six. As long as the Dogs can stop Taylor Walker and Josh Jenkins, I expect them to get the win here.
Tip: Western Bulldogs by 1-39 points (under 39.5) - $2.50 at CrownBet
Richmond Tigers Vs. North Melbourne Kangaroos (Sunday, September 13 at 3:20pm AEST)
The first weekend of the AFL Finals concludes with a massive clash at the MCG as a huge crowd will watch the Tigers take on the Kangaroos. I think both teams need to win this game to consider the year a success. A loss from either team, and on paper at least, you have to wonder if each coach is the right man for the job. The Roos made it to the preliminary finals last year and anything less than that this year is a failure, while the Tigers will be desperate for some finals success. That’s what makes this game such an exciting prospect. The intensity is going to be ferocious.
Let’s put last week behind us when the Roos rested most of their best players. It’s hard to know what to take from that game. Let’s also not read too much into the Round 6 game when the Roos beat the Tigers down in Hobart. Let’s look at this with a clean slate.
It is true the Roos have a fantastic record against the Tigers, winning the last four. They also have more finals experience, winning two last year, as well as Waite playing finals at Carlton and Higgins playing in preliminary finals at the Bulldogs. However, I think the Tigers have far more class on their list and if Deledio, Cotchin and Martin are at their best, the Roos have no one to stop them. Martin tore them apart last week and if he does the same again this week, the Roos will struggle. Rance also caused problems for the Roos forwards last week and the Roos showed how vulnerable they are against a running goal kicking style a fortnight ago against the Dogs. I think the Tigers can cause them similar headaches. Regardless, this is going to be a cracker of a game!
Tip: Richmond by 1-39 points (under 39.5) - $2.20 at Sportsbet
Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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