Sun, Sep 4, 1:01pm by Head Editor
After the AFL took an unprecedented one-week hiatus the football world is now salivating at the thought of the start of the finals series. The series will be kicked off in Perth with the first ever Thursday night final between West Coast and the Western Bulldogs.
24 hours later, the MCG will be packed to the rafters when the three time reigning champs face one of their greatest modern day rivals in Geelong with the winner given the huge reward of not only a week off but also a travel free finals campaign.
On Saturday afternoon the Giants make history when they take on their crosstown rivals in the Sydney derby and to wrap it all up North Melbourne heads to Adelaide to take on the might of the Adelaide Crows.
As tough as it was to have no football this weekend dare I say it but it will be worth the wait. Here’s a look at the early odds for the first week of the finals:
Second Elimination Final –West Coast v Western Bulldogs
Domain Stadium – 8:10pm Thursday 8 September
The Dogs head west for the second time in as many weeks to take on the Eagles in a do or die elimination final. The home side are coming off their best month of the season in which they’ve defeated fellow finalists Adelaide, Hawthorn and GWS and will be hard to beat.
Everyone’s second favourite team the Western Bulldogs have been incredibly brave all year, overcoming several injuries to key players. They will certainly give a good account of themselves as they’ve done all year but you just wonder if a second trip across the Nullarbor in as many weeks is a bridge too far.
Second Qualifying Final –Geelong v Hawthorn
MCG – 7:50pm Friday 9 September
Geelong made the most of Adelaide’s slip up last week beating Melbourne by 111 points to seal 2nd spot on the ladder. We all know their opponents, the reigning premier who defeated Collingwood by the smallest of margins.
The general consensus is that the champs aren’t playing well enough to claim the historic 4-peat but no one is confident enough to write them off completely. They are starting to look slower and older but if they can win this one then they are all but assured of a spot in the Grand Final.
This Cats group have also played a lot of finals so this is set up to be an absolute classic and the city of Melbourne cannot wait with the entire of level one all across the ground already sold out.
First Qualifying Final – Sydney v GWS
ANZ Stadium – 3:20pm Saturday 10 September
The AFL could not be happier with newest expansion club the Giants not only making their first finals series in just their fifth season but they’ve also made the top four. Waiting to spoil the party though is the big brother Swans who look sharp after topping the ladder with a huge percentage of 151.2%.
The venue of ANZ stadium has the potential to throw a spanner in the works as neither club played at the venue this year. The young Giants are sure to be nervous for the clubs first final and I think the Swans will be too strong.
First Elimination Final – Adelaide v North Melbourne
Adelaide Oval – 7:10pm Saturday September 10
The Crows would still be seething at letting a top four spot slide through their hands when they lost to the Eagles at home last week. Their opponent stumbled into September after winning only two of their past 11 games.
The bookies are more confident about this one than any other game in the first week of the finals. Sportsbet have installed Adelaide at $1.18 favourites with North at $5. The line is also the biggest of the weekend at 32.5.
Not many give North hope in this one and it’s easy to see why. They did produce some good football against the Swans a fortnight ago, going down by only nine points but the Crows should be too strong. It promises to be a tough night for the Roos defence with Adelaide the highest scoring team in the league.
AFL Week One Finals odds:
Stay tuned to www.australiangambling.lv over the coming days for betting previews including best bets and video previews and as we continue to preview the AFL finals.
Odds supplied by Sportsbet and were correct at the time of publishing*
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