Week 1 of the 2019 AFL Finals is now upon us and we couldn’t be any more excited! The first match on our hands is an elimination final between the Eagles and the Bombers in Perth on Thursday night! This fixture will be followed by three more fixtures over the weekend to round out the first weekend of footy in September.
Here, we’ve previewed the West Coast vs Essendon match and provided our best betting tips from the major agencies in Australia. Make sure you check out our AFL Tips Page regularly to find all our other previews and tips for the first week of finals!
Thursday, 8:10pm AEST, Optus Stadium
The Eagles will start as the red-hot favourites in this first elimination final, which is no surprise considering they’re the home team and of course, the reigning premiers. However, the Bombers have shown the ability to wins games that no one gave them a chance in, which makes this a very intriguing Thursday night contest.
West Coast Eagles
The Eagles looked destined to finish in the top four and put themselves in a prime position to defend last year’s premiership, however, two costly losses to close out the season saw them drop to fifth spot on the ladder and set up a first week elimination final with the Bombers.
In Round 23 the Eagles seemingly had a favourable match-up at home vs Hawthorn, but it proved to be anything but as they went down by 38 points. They were smashed in the contested possession count (-14), which is usually an area they pride themselves on, such is the quality of their midfield.
Despite the recent losses, West Coast remains a force to be reckoned with in September. They have stars all over the field and recently had four players named in the 2019 All Australian team.
The Bombers only won one of their last four home and away games, but still managed to finish inside the top eight… just. Round 22 was the Bombers most crucial game of the season; coming up against a dangerous Dockers outfit after losing by 59 and 104 points in the two weeks prior. They managed to defeat the Dockers by a rather comfortable 32 points to clinch a finals berth with one week remaining.
With a top eight spot already locked in, Essendon rested plenty of key players in their Round 23 clash with the Magpies. It was a dangerous tactic by their coaching staff, and one that could have easily backfired, although they ended up making it a really competitive match that they ended up losing by just 11 points.
The Bombers haven’t won a final since way back in 2004 and they’re certainly the underdogs to break that streak here. However, they have shown the ability to match it with the best when they’re on song, and you’d expect that they’ll be up and about on Thursday night.
The Eagles won their only meeting with the Bombers this season, which was also in Perth, and also on a Thursday night. In fact, three of the last four times they’ve played have been in this exact time slot.
Last five meetings:
2019 R14 – West Coast (106) defeated Essendon (71)
2018 R14 – West Coast (52) lost to Essendon (80)
2017 R9 – Essendon (125) defeated West Coast (64)
2016 R15 – West Coast (130) defeated Essendon (52)
2015 R11 – West Coast (96) defeated Essendon (46)
Key Betting Statistics
- 12 of West Coast's last 13 matches have gone over the total match points line.
- The home team has won five of the last six matches between these two teams.
- The underdog has covered the line in eight of Essendon's last nine matches.
- Zach Merrett has recorded 30+ disposals in each of his last three appearances against West Coast.
This is a tough one to predict considering neither team finished the home and away season in good form. You would expect that the Eagles will get the job done on home soil, but there’s no value in the head to head market and the 28.5 line seems about right. Instead, we’ll be the playing the ‘overs’ market, which has hit in three of the last four matches between these teams and has also hit in 12 of West Coast's last 13 matches.
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