AFL – Race to the 2014 Premiership

With 1 round remaining in the regular season, only a Power upset in their road match to the Dockers will change the makeup of the all-important Top 4. In the last 15 years, no team has played in a Grand Final after finishing the Home and Away Season outside the Top 4. With history as a guide, let’s break down the chances of the teams currently inside the Top 4

Sydney Swans (2.6 with – The form team of the season so far and boasting a skilled midfield, experienced defence and have the X-Factor Buddy Franklin up front. All but guaranteed a home final against the Fremantle Dockers, a fixture they won in Round 5 by 17 points, the Swans look a great chance to progress straight to the Preliminary final and with Buddy on fire and being fed quality ball by a quality midfield led by Josh Kennedy and Keiren Jack their chances can only get stronger. Sydney’s ability to play the ball in tight, get numbers behind the ball and break forward when the chance presents is the best in the competition

Hawthorn Hawks (3.15 with – The Hawks have been steady all year and will again press their claim for a preliminary final birth. Currently in 2nd spot, a loss to Collingwood this weekend, who themselves are pressing for a top 8 spot would see them drop to 3rd spot on the ladder barring an unlikely upset by the Lions over the Cats. If they get past Collingwood they have a good chance of going straight to the preliminary final with a victory over the Cats in Week 1 of the finals. They met only last week with the Hawks getting over the Cats by 23 points.

Geelong Cats (9.2 with – The Cats have the luxury this weekend of knowing that they can rest some players. The Hawthorn result on Friday and the Fremantle result on Saturday afternoon will be known prior to kick-off. If they get the chance to rest some of their squad this weekend they may have a fitness and freshness edge over Hawthorn in week 1 and they could well cause an upset, especially if Steven Johnson is fit and returns to the squad after missing last week’s matchup. If they have to play their full squad this weekend, they’ll struggle to reverse last week’s result against Hawthorn even with Johnson returning to the side to be a serious threat in beating the Hawks

Fremantle Dockers (6.4 with – With a couple of niggling injuries to stars Nathan Fyfe and Michael Barlow, both of whom should be right for week 1 of the finals, the Dockers have a great chance at the premiership. It’s a must-win match against a resurgent Power team. A loss will see them slip to 5th and recent history says that won’t bode well for their chances. A top 4 finish is vital for the Dockers as even if they lost in Week 1, they would score themselves a home final in week 2. This would be enough to get them through to the preliminary finals and a 50/50 chance of a grand final spot.

Of these 4 teams it’s hard to go past the Sydney Swans as the team to beat this year. Their path is a little clearer than the other 3 teams and they are no strangers to playing on Grand Final Day. For those looking for more generous odds, the Cats offer great value at 9.2 and if the 6.4 price is there about Fremantle next week, and they beat the Power this weekend may well be worth a nibble. The Hawks appear to be fairly priced but with their finishing position unknown it may make their task that little bit more difficult and the odds may prove to be too short.

Often the best bet is to lay a team, meaning that if they don’t win and any other team does your bet will result in a profit. Laying bets can be done on betting exchanges like WBX, where back and lay odds are offered on every AFL match, with a $35 free bet offer for new members.

Recommended bets: WIN Sydney Swans. LAY Hawthorn Hawks.

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