It’s here! The long awaited Grand Final replay in season 2021 of the AFL is upon us as the Tigers host the Cats on Friday night in Round 8. As usual, PuntingInDanger has you covered with his full preview and betting tips for the clash below.
MCG, Friday 7th May 7.50pm (AEST)
After facing off in the Grand Final last season, the Cats and Tigers have both had inconsistent starts to the year but the form of the two teams won’t take an ounce of excitement out of this clash.
The Tigers had lost three of their last four games when they lined up against the Bulldogs on Friday night at the MCG. The Bulldogs were undefeated and entered the game as favourites but it was the Tigers who showed that they are still top dogs in the AFL, securing a 22 point win at home. They did so without some of their best players, most notably Dustin Martin, who will be back for the clash against the Cats.
The Tigers will be without Trent Cotchin, Kane Lambert, Dion Prestia and Ivan Soldo for the clash, but could get defender Nick Vlasutin back from a knee injury. The Cats have some injury concerns of their own, most noteably star midfielder Patrick Dangerfield along with Shaun Higgins and Jake Kolodjashnij.
As has been the case for a few seasons now, the Cats have looked absolutely unbeatable down at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong but have really struggled on the road. Including their home game against the Hawks at the MCG earlier this season, the Cats are officially 4-0 this season when playing ‘at home’ and 0-3 when away from home. They went down to the Swans in Sydney in Round 7 by just two points in one of the games of the season so far.
The Tigers start as 8.5 point favourites here, which is about right given their performance over the Dogs in Round 7 and the Cats tendency to struggle away from GMHBA Stadium. Finding it particularly difficult to separate these two sides, but I do like the under.
The Tigers and Dogs put up just 132 points at the MCG last week and in the seven games that either Richmond or Geelong have competed in at the MCG this season, the average total points has been just 147.2. I expect this game to be played pretty defensively, similar to the Grand Final last season, which resulted in just 131 points. These two teams have not gone over the 156.5 point mark in their last four meetings.
Jake Aarts is quietly becoming one of the more reliabel small forwards in the competition. He has not been held goalless in a single game so far this season, booting eight goals through seven games so far. Bit of a value play here but the Tigers forward to kcik the first goal of the game is enticing.
Mitch Duncan has been in fantastic form this season, racking up big numbers in his five games so far. He is averaging a very healthy 28.0 touches per game this year and his last two games against the Tigers with full length quarters, he has racked up 34 and 33 touches as well as 25 in the shortened Grand Final last season.
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