AFL Finals Week 3 Preview & Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for the preliminary finals of the 2018 AFL season.

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Friday, September 21


Richmond vs Collingwood

7:50 pm AEST, MCG
View a detailed form guide for Richmond vs Collingwood


The first preliminary final of 2018 has the Tigers hosting the Magpies in a monster Friday night clash under the MCG lights. The Tigers have been the best team all year; the Pies have battled adversity to make it this far, but they thoroughly deserve to be here. They were ever so close to beating the Eagles two weeks ago, and were clearly the better team against GWS despite probably not playing at the same level as they did against the Eagles. This week they’ll need to be at their absolute best if they’re any chance at all of causing an upset, because we all know how good the Tigers are. It’d be the upset of the year if the Pies were to pull it off and while it’s unlikely, funny things can happen in big finals and the Pies are good enough to make the Tigers sweat — in both their encounters this year the Pies were well and truly in the game at the final break but couldn’t keep up with the Tigers in the last quarter. It may be that a similar thing happens this week, but you’d think the Pies would find a way to keep going if they had a sniff late in the contest.

Both teams have had a few players under an injury cloud during the week, with star Richmond midfielder Dustin Martin struggling to recover from a heavily corked thigh, while Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury has been ginger from an ankle issue picked up in last week’s win over the Giants. All players at this time of year will be sore in some capacity, and fortunately it looks like both Martin and Pendlebury will be fine to take their places on Friday evening.

The stakes are high and the heat will be on come the first bounce at 7:50pm; whoever can handle the initial pressure best will put themselves in a strong position for the rest of the contest. The Tigers have proved all year they’re the kings of pressure footy, but the Pies aren’t far behind them. I think the victor of this game will go on to win the 2018 premiership and expect it to be an epic contest with no holds barred. The Tigers are favourites for good reason, but if the Pies get a full head of steam, anything’s possible — I’m going with Richmond by less than a few kicks.

Betting tip: Richmond By 1-24 @ $3.20 (UniBet)

Saturday, September 22


West Coast vs Melbourne

3:20 pm AEST, Perth Stadium
View a detailed form guide for West Coast vs Melbourne


The Demons were once again very impressive in their semi-final win over the more-experienced Hawks, but the big test awaits them this week. The Hawks were missing Ben Stratton and Jaeger O’Meara which made things much easier for the Dees, but they did it fairly easily. This week won’t be so easy. They went over to Perth late in the season and beat the Eagles, but that was a West Coast team missing Josh Kennedy and without Jack Darling for the majority of the match. Melbourne were great that day and will take confidence from their performance, but when you put those two guys back into the team the Eagles become a totally different beast, and the Demons defence will have their hands full. But so will the West Coast defence, as the Demons have been scoring at will over the past month and have plenty of forwards in career-best form; something that may have worked against poor Bayley Fritsch, who is an incredibly unlucky man — he makes way for Joel Smith as the Demons opt for an extra defender against the Eagles.

How the Demons handle the pressure will be telling in this contest; the Eagles are a fairly experienced side and you’d think they’ll settle early in front of their home crowd, but the Demons might be a little shaky in the group’s first preliminary final. They seem like a group that aren’t easily fazed, but the stakes this week are massive and the crowd will be unrelenting. I think they’ll steady themselves fairly quickly but wouldn’t be surprised to see them make a few errors early in the game — if the Eagles can take advantage they’ll have the Demons on the back foot from the get-go.

I’ve been really impressed by what the Demons have produced so far in this finals series, but I suspect their run will come to an end on Saturday afternoon. I’m sure they’ll push the Eagles all the way, but playing over there against a hungry West Coast team might be a bridge too far. The Eagles will have learnt from their recent loss to the Demons and would have been doing their homework for the past two weeks. I think they’ll come out with a plan and execute it to send the Demons packing and book a Grand Final berth.

Betting tip: West Coast to win @ $1.82 (Neds)


Best Bets of the Round

West Coast to win @ $1.82 (Neds)


Season Tally

All Bets:        -10.81 units

Best Bets:     -1.62 units

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