AFL Week One Finals Tips, Predictions and Preview
AFL Week One Finals preview and tips
Bet for Free previews AFL Week One Finals as we provide our best tips and predictions.
Read on for a preview of each match and our best bet.
Eagles vs Bulldogs Preview
Venue: Domain Stadium
Last time they met: Round 11, 2016 – Bulldogs defeated Eagles 83-75.
In the first final of 2016, the West Coast Eagles host the Western Bulldogs at Domain Stadium. For the winner a matchup with either the Cats or Hawks awaits next week.
West Coast look in fantastic finals form after they upset the Crows away from home last round. With wins over the Crows, Giants and Hawks in the last three, West Coast are the best chance of making the Grand Final from outside the top eight.
The Eagles are ranked 2nd in the AFL for hitouts per game in 2016, however they’re missing big ruckman Nic Naitanui. His replacement Jonathan Giles played well against the Crows and will need to give the Eagles first use of the ball against the Dogs this week.
The Western Bulldogs travel to Perth for the second straight week after losing to Fremantle in the last round of the season. The Bulldogs last win over the Eagles in Perth was in Round 13, 2000 when they won by 10 goals. They have won the last four against the Eagles at Etihad.
The Bulldogs leading goal kicker this season, Jake Stringer (37 goals) should return to the side after being dropped to the VFL a few weeks ago. Also a chance to come back into the team are key midfielders, Tom Liberatore and Jack Macrae.
Prediction: Eagles by 26 points.
Best Bet: Eagles -18.5 ($1.58)
Cats vs Hawks Preview
Last time they met: Round 1, 2016 – Cats defeated Hawks 116-86.
The Hawks and Cats continue their modern day rivalry as they clash in the first qualifying final on Friday Night at the MCG. The winner moving onto the Preliminary final at MCG, while the loser plays either the Eagles or Bulldogs in Melbourne.
The Cats easily handled the Demons last week and head into the finals with a few soft wins under their belt. After winning 11 in a row against the Hawks from 2009 to 2013, Geelong have only won 2 of the last 7 against Hawthorn since.
One of those wins came this season when new recruit Patrick Dangerfield showed why he’s a superstar of the competition. He racked up 43 disposals and has averaged 31.3 disposals per game this season. Easily the Brownlow favourite in a stellar season.
The Hawks were extremely lucky last week as they defeated the Magpies in the last minutes by 1 point to secure third spot on the ladder. Former Melbourne ruckman Jack Fitzgerald was the hero with a massive 70m goal with one minute remaining in the last quarter.
Hawthorn have a great recent record against the Cats, winning 5 of the last 7 matchups. Isaac Smith is one of the keys in this match as he provides outstanding outside run for the Hawks midfield. He is ranked fifth in the AFL for total bounces.
Prediction: Cats by 7 points
Best Bet: Cats 1-39 ($2.20)
Swans vs Giants Preview
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Last time they met: Round 12, 2016 – Giants defeated Swans 105-63.
To the AFL’s delight, the GWS Giants will play their first finals match against cross town rival the Sydney Swans. The winner of this match will get a week off and a home final, whereas the losing team will play the winner of Adelaide vs North Melbourne.
Sydney Swans ($1.43)
Sydney secured the minor premiership with an emphatic victory over the Tigers in Round 23. In their 10 matches against the Giants, they hold an 8-2 record. However, the Giants produced Sydney’s largest loss this season with a 42 point win in Round 12.
Lance Franklin will play finals this season after missing last year due to illness. He enjoys playing the Giants with 23 goals in 7 games and has kicked 74 goals in 2016.
This will also be the Swans last finals game at ANZ stadium.
GWS Giants ($2.90)
The Giants got help from the Eagles and won their way into the top four after defeating the Kangaroos by 6 goals at Etihad. The 2016 finals series will be their first in history since joining the AFL in 2012.
The rebounding ability Heath Shaw provides the Giants can’t be understated as he ranks number 1 in the AFL for total kicks, total bounces and total rebound 50s. While averaging 24.5 disposals per game as a running defender.
Prediction: Swans by 15 points
Best Bet: Swans 1-39 ($2.10)
Crows vs Kangaroos Preview
Venue: Adelaide Oval
Last time they met: Round 13, 2016 – Crows defeated Kangaroos 100-67.
In the last final match of week one, North Melbourne face Adelaide at Adelaide Oval. For the winner a semi final awaits in Sydney against either the Swans or Giants.
The Crows and Kangaroos have met twice already this season with both teams winning at their home ground.
The Crows produced an error-filled match last round as they wilted under the Eagles high pressure game plan. As a result the Crows fell out of the top four and face the Kangaroos, a team they beat recently in Round 14.
Key player Rory Sloane returns from suspension for this match and has been the leader of the Crows midfield without Dangerfield in 2016. He averages 25.5 disposals per game and 7.2 tackles a game. He ranks third in the AFL for tackles with 152 in 2016.
North Melbourne ($4.80)
It’s hard to believe the Kangaroos were on top of the ladder after Round 9 after their last few performances. Last round, the Giants ran all over the Roos at Etihad for a 37 point win. They just snuck into the top eight by percentage over the Saints.
The Kangaroos have a very poor record in Adelaide against the Crows, losing their last nine matches at Adelaide Oval and Football Park.
It could be the last game of Brent Harvey’s career after he was not given another contract for next season. Also on that list is Drew Petrie, Nick Dal Santo and Michael Firrito. It will be interesting to see if coach Brad Scott makes a few tough team selections for this match after a poor showing from the forward line last week.
Prediction: Crows by 30 points
Best Bet: Crows -20.5 ($1.54)
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