The following are previews with betting tips for Finals Week 2 of the 2018 AFL season.
Friday, September 14
Hawthorn vs Melbourne
7:50 pm AEST, MCG
The Demons are the talk of the town after demolishing the Cats in last Friday night’s elimination final at the MCG, and their form — along with Hawthorn’s poor effort combined with the hamstring injury to Ben Stratton — has propelled them into warm favouritism for this match. It’s not hard to see why; the Dees were harder at the contest than Geelong and were incredibly dangerous up forward, albeit mostly in spurts. It’s the type of footy that wins premierships, and with a bit of luck falling their way they have the potential to go all the way in 2018. I don’t think they will, but I reckon they might beat the Hawks this weekend and make it to a preliminary final show-off against the Eagles.
Hawthorn have had a good season, but a soft draw and some other results falling their way have probably made them seem better than they actually are, at least in terms of ladder position. That’s not to say they haven’t played some great footy because they have, but right now at the pointy end of the season they don’t appear to be at the top of their game, and I think they’d need to be close to that in order to beat the Demons, especially with the shock omission of gun midfielder Jaeger O’Meara.
It’s a tough run, coming up against the reigning champs followed by the red hot Demons, and if the Hawks want to ensure they don’t go out in straight sets they’ll need to tidy up on some of the sloppy errors they made against the Tigers. Simple shots on goal that were missed by the ever-reliable Shaun Burgoyne and Luke Breust hurt deeply, as did missed handballs and costly fumbles throughout the entire contest. If they can tidy their game up and apply more pressure when they don’t have the ball they’ll be much more competitive this week, but I think it’s going to be difficult — the Demons have their tails up and have plenty of players in career best form; another important factor in making a charge towards an unlikely flag. If guys like Sam Weideman and James Harmes continue playing as they have been, there’s no reason the Demons can’t book themselves a date against the Tigers on grand final day. There’s a long way to go until then, but I suspect they’ll take care of the Hawks on Friday night fairly comfortably.
Betting tip: Melbourne to win @ $1.42 (Bet365)
Saturday, September 15
Collingwood vs GWS
7:25 pm AEST, MCG
The Pies should be incredibly proud of their efforts against the Eagles last weekend; with a bit of luck they could be enjoying a week off right now leading into a home preliminary final, but it wasn’t to be in the end. The Eagles finished strongly, and the Pies couldn’t quite stop them from storming over the top. It was a great effort, but they need to lick their wounds and move on pretty quickly, because it’ll take another one of their best efforts to beat the Giants this weekend.
GWS overpowered the Swans in what was supposed to be a fairly even contest even without their best midfielder in Josh Kelly, who left the field early in the part with a knee injury and did not return. Kelly won’t play this week either and despite their strong showing without him, I’m not sure they can beat the Pies without his run and carry — although ex-Bulldogs’ captain Ryan Griffen is a solid enough replacement.
Sydney clearly aren’t the team a lot of people thought they were, but the Pies will provide GWS with much greater resistance this weekend. The midfield is a strength of Collingwood’s and that should stop GWS from getting on top as comfortably as they did against the Swans. The Giants will still prove dangerous once they get the ball in their forward half, but the Pies will do the same, and both teams should get plenty of opportunities. I expect this to be a great game of footy with plenty of scoring at both ends of the ground, but I just can’t see GWS getting the job done at the MCG. Collingwood are a genuinely good footy side in 2018, and I expect them to progress through to a preliminary final even if they do cop a few stray kicks to the face along the way.
Betting tip: Collingwood to win @ $1.65 (Neds)
Best Bets of the Round
Collingwood to win @ $1.65 (Neds)
All Bets: -11.88 units
Best Bets: -2.27 units