AFL Futures: Looking ahead to week one of the 2014 finals

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Updated: September 2, 2014

It’s the first week of the AFL finals for 2014 and the big story is … Port Adelaide won’t be wearing its home strip for Sunday’s elimination final (good to see the mainstream media again have their priorities in order)! Richmond’s stunning round 23 win over Sydney ensured the Tigers a finals berth for the second successive season, while Fremantle snared fourth spot with a narrow win over Port in the final round. Let’s take a look at some of the stories that will have a bearing on this week’s games, and particularly the betting markets.

 

The loss of Michael Johnson (pictured) for the duration of the 2014 AFL finals is a major blow to Fremantle's premiership hopes

The loss of Michael Johnson (pictured) for the duration of the 2014 AFL finals is a major blow to Fremantle’s premiership hopes

Note: The Inside Word team enjoyed another successful home and away season of AFL betting. From a total of 101 bets, we picked 63 winners for a win-rate of 62.4 per cent. Our return on investment was an excellent profit of 21.4 per cent – more than double our expected return.

 

Qualifying final: Hawthorn v Geelong; MCG, Melbourne, Vic; Friday, September 5, 7.50pm (odds: Hawthorn $1.52, Geelong $2.60 (line 13.5) – strong lean: Geelong +13.5)

Hawthorn skipper Luke Hodge (knee), Brad Hill (quad) and Ben Stratton (calf) should come straight back in, while half-back Matt Suckling (knee) is also pushing for a recall. Unless Brian Lake (corked hip) fails to come up, it means four Hawks who played in the 65-point win over Collingwood are potentially facing the axe. The Cats will regain ruckman Hamish McIntosh and midfielders Allen Christensen and Steven Motlop for Friday night’s qualifying final against Hawthorn at the MCG. Steve Johnson is also expected to return after three weeks on the sidelines with a foot problem, although Johnson still has to pass a number of fitness tests. We’ll almost be betting the Cats at the line.

 

Qualifying final – Sydney v Fremantle; ANZ Stadium, Sydney, NSW; Saturday, September 6, 2.45pm (odds: Sydney $1.50, Fremantle $2.65 (line 12.5) – lean: Sydney)

Some of the Swans’ biggest names are set for recalls this week. Lance Franklin, who kicked four second-half goals in a pivotal role when they last met Fremantle, will be back after his troublesome knee was given another week’s rest. Mike Pyke, Josh Kennedy and Ben McGlynn are also expected to be named on Thursday. In a massive blow for the Dockers, Michael Johnson will miss the entire finals series with a back injury. The immediate replacement is Alex Silvagni who was squeezed out on match-ups last week. Luke McPharlin has not played since round 20 due to a calf problem and is highly unlikely to return. Those absences in the Freo defence are a major concern.

 


Elimination final – North Melbourne v Essendon; MCG, Melbourne, Vic; Saturday, September 6, 7.15pm (odds: North Melbourne $1.72, Fremantle $2.15 (line 5.5) – lean: North Melbourne)

Lachlan Hansen (hip) is the Roos’ biggest injury concern, but Leigh Adams (concussion) and Nathan Grima (corked quad) will also need to prove their fitness ahead. The competition for spots will be intense given Levi Greenwood (calf) and the four players rested from last Saturday’s win over Melbourne (Todd Goldstein, Lindsay Thomas, Luke McDonald and Michael Firrito, are expected to be available). David Myers will return to the Essendon line-up after missing last week with illness, but it’s unlikely there will be too many changes to the Bombers’ side this week. Jake Carlisle has already been ruled out with a hamstring injury. Roos have been the more impressive side over the past month.

 

Elimination final – Port Adelaide v Richmond; Adelaide Oval, SA; Sunday, September 7, 3.20pm (odds: Port Adelaide $1.42, Richmond $2.90 (line 16.5) – strong lean: Richmond +16.5)

Former Tiger Matt White has been declared fit to play. White was substituted last weekend against Fremantle but the club said that decision was simply part of his ongoing management of a groin issue. White’s fitness means Ken Hinkley has virtually a full list from which to pick. The Tigers will have to decide on whether to play Dan Jackson, after his return from a hip/groin injury was stalled last week when he was suspended for an incident in the VFL. Ty Vickery is in a similar boat but it’s a hard team to break into at the moment given the Tigers haven’t lost since round 14. The bookies aren’t giving the Tigers much credit for their nine-game winning streak here.

 

Latest premiership market

Sydney $2.60

Hawthorn $3.00

Fremantle $5.00

Geelong $8.00

Port Adelaide $23.00

Essendon $41.00

North Melbourne $41

Richmond $51

 

Most recent results: 3-1, +1.64 units; total record: 63-38, +21.62 units

Saturday: Carlton v Essendon -19.5 (one unit @ $1.92) LOSE (90-90)

Saturday: Fremantle v Port Adelaide +13.5 (one unit @ $1.92) WIN (105-97)

Saturday: Sydney v Richmond +19.5 (one unit @ $1.92) WIN (65-68)

Sunday: Adelaide v St Kilda +192.5 (one unit @ $1.80) WIN (41-62)

• Selections are listed in three categories – 1) Suggested (likely bet but yet to be finalised); 2) Confirmed (locked in at the price listed); and 3) Leans (tips, but not recommended bets); all times quoted are Australian Eastern Time (AET); prices with thanks to Tom Waterhouse (except where markets are not available), correct at time of publication. Results/comments on today’s games/races will follow in the next post.

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