AFL Finals Week 2 Preview: Betting, Predictions, Tips

That was some start to the AFL finals series. After such a close season it seemed inevitable that there would be a number of quality games throughout the month of September, but four from four in the first week of the finals was beyond anyone’s expectations. Just six teams now remain in the Premiership hunt, with four of them set to play this weekend. In this article, we’ll take a look over what went down last weekend, preview the upcoming games and offer up a couple of tips for them.


Finals Week 1 Recap

Brisbane vs Richmond:

The finals started with an enthralling game between the Lions and the Tigers at the Gabba, a high-scoring affair which bore few similarities to most post-season matchups. The see-sawing clash saw no less than 17 lead changes, with the biggest lead either side got 16 points, which the Tigers held in the second half of the third quarter. Brisbane clawed their way back, however, and with a couple of minutes to go were just three points down. A Tom Lynch set shot from close range resulted in one of the most controversial score reviews since the system was incepted, and with the goal being overturned the Lions remained in with a chance to steal victory. And steal it they did. A Joe Daniher goal on the goal line will be rued by the five Richmond defenders who surrounded him all off-season, with the enigmatic forward’s third giving the Lions an incredible 106-104 win and booting the Tigers from the finals.


Melbourne vs Sydney:

With the home ground advantage and coming off a dominant win against the Lions in Round 23, the Demons went into this game as favourites, but they were never going to have it all their own way. That was abundantly clear from the get-go, and for the first two and a half quarters neither side was able to establish a lead of more than 16 points. From that point onwards, however, the visitors switched into gear. They kicked four of the last five goals of the third quarter to establish a 12-point lead, and were able to kick away further in the last to record a famous victory and send themselves through to a home preliminary final – and resign the Demons to a cut-throat semi.


Geelong vs Collingwood:

Having dominated the second half of the season the Cats were always going to enter this game as pretty comfortable favourites, but as the Magpies have shown all year, underestimate them at your own peril. They shot out of the blocks with the first three goals of the game, but though the Cats worked their way back to within a point by half-time, that deficit extended back out to seven at the final break. A hotly contested, tense final quarter ensued, before the most unlikely of heroes emerged – the much-maligned Gary Rohan. He booted a brilliant goal to give the Cats the lead in the dying minutes before setting up another, playing a key role in their 78-72 victory.


Fremantle vs Western Bulldogs:

After three quality games this one was always going to struggle to meet the lofty expectations set by its predecessors, and when the Bulldogs jumped out to a 42-1 lead it seemed destined to fall well short. The Dockers, however, were not yet willing to accept their fate. In a run that must have felt eerily similar to last year’s grand final for the Dogs, Freo went on to boot 11 goals to two over the next two and a half quarters, grabbing a lead that they would never relinquish early in the final quarter. The loss saw the Dogs eliminated from the finals, while the Dockers move on to a tough semi-final clash with the Magpies; the second of this week’s two matchups, which we’ll preview below.


Melbourne Demons ($1.35) vs Brisbane Lions ($3.20)

September 9, 7:50pm @ MCG


It was just a couple of short weeks ago that these two sides last met at the MCG, and on that occasion the Demons were far too good, bashing the Lions from pillar to post en route to a 58-point victory. To many, that win signalled the return of Melbourne’s best form right on the eve of the finals; against an impressive Sydney outfit in their qualifying final, however, they were unable to do what many expected them to, and were sent into a semi-final instead.

The Lions, meanwhile, just barely scraped through to the second week of the finals after a see-sawing affair against the Tigers. Joe Daniher’s last minute heroics meant they live to fight another day, but as impressive as they were offensively in that entertaining game, they can’t afford to be as defensively lax as they were last Thursday night again. Melbourne may not be the most offensively damaging side in the league, but they won’t allow the Lions to score 106 points again either, so keeping them on the chain from a scoring perspective is a must for the visitors.

Lachie Neale was best on ground by a country mile for the Lions against the Tigers, and keeping his influence under wraps as much as possible will be a key point of focus for the Dees. Fortunately for them, they have the cattle to do just that. In Gawn, Petracca, Oliver and Viney they have one of the best contested midfields in recent memory, and if they’re to win this game it’s from this engine that their ascendancy will likely come. 



Collingwood Magpies ($1.48) vs Fremantle Dockers ($2.65)

September 10, 7.25pm @ MCG


It was inevitable that the Pies would eventually lose a close game, but they would have preferred it not to have been last week’s against the Cats. With a home preliminary final up for grabs they were as gallant as can be in defeat, but that will serve as little solace for this side. The underdog tag with which they have been labelled externally all year is likely not one with which they want to identify; they have Premiership aspirations, but to keep them alive they’ll need to get past a Dockers’ team coming off a stirring win last Saturday night.

That win demonstrated the two sides to Fremantle. The first saw them barely even look like troubling the scorers, unable to move the ball with any fluidity and failing to put on the defensive brakes to the extent that they have shown they are capable. The second, which booted 11 of the last 13 goals of the game, is one of the toughest teams in the league to score against and is more than capable of putting scores on the board. So which of those sides will turn up for the longest this Saturday night?

 When these sides met earlier in the year, it was the bad Fremantle which turned up, and Collingwood promptly pumped them by six goals at Optus Stadium. If they dish up a similar performance this weekend, they’ll likely be on the end of a similar result. Capitalise on the momentum they gathered during the second half of last week’s game, however, and it may well be a different story. It’s hard to imagine them winning comfortably; a strong Magpies win or close game seem the most likely outcomes, but if they bring their a-game the visitors are more than capable of causing an upset.



AFL Futures

Take a look at some of the most notable futures for the AFL finals below.


To Win the Premiership

Geelong Cats – $2.50

Sydney Swans – $3.20

Melbourne Demons – $4.60

Collingwood Magpies – $9.00

Fremantle Dockers – $15.00

Brisbane Lions – $21.00


To Make the Grand Final

Sydney Swans – $1.45

Geelong Cats – $1.60

Melbourne Demons – $2.75

Collingwood Magpies – $4.00

Fremantle Dockers – $8.00

Brisbane Lions – $9.00


AFL Finals Week 2 Tips & Predictions


Melbourne -18.5 @ $1.85

As exciting as the Lions’ victory was last week, the game still exposed their vulnerabilities in the defensive side of the game. They play an entertaining brand of footy and are dangerous offensively, but defence typically reigns supreme in finals, and last week’s shootout was an exception rather than the rule. The Demons have shown they can stand up in the biggest of games, and with their season on the line and once again on their home deck they should be able to win relatively comfortably.


Fremantle +12.5 @ $1.85

As mentioned in the preview to this game, the gap between the Dockers’ best and worst can be a little alarming, but it’s easy to forget that they have looked like a top four team for the majority of this season. It was only as a result of Collingwood’s one-point win in Round 23 that they fell to fifth and the Pies earned a double chance, and that has perhaps influenced the way these two teams are being perceived. Fremantle has been the better team for much of the year, and though the Magpies were fantastic last weekend, the Dockers’ line looks like a solid bet.