AFL finals early mail: Crows top pick to take out 2017 premiership

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Updated: August 29, 2017

The line-up for the 2017 AFL finals has been set with the Crows securing the minor premiership despite losing to the Eagles in the final round. Thanks to that win, West Coast fell over the line into eighth spot. We take an early look at the first week of the AFL finals (which follows the ridiculous bye week), with our late mail preview to follow next week; overall record: 71-4-49, +45.8 units – latest premiership market with thanks to William Hill (Adelaide $3.30, Sydney $4.75, GWS Giants $5.25, Geelong $5.75, Richmond $6, Port Adelaide $15, Essendon $51, West Coast $51)

 

AFL first qualifying final: Adelaide (15-1-6) v GWS Giants (14-2-6)
Where: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, SA
When: Thursday, September 8, 7.50pm (AET)
Line: Adelaide -13.5 (as at August 29)

TIW says: For much of this season, Crows and Giants were considered the likely grand finalists. While Adelaide finished minor premiers, they have lost their past two games. Alex Keath will enter the concussion protocol but should be available while Daniel Talia and Taylor Walker, no risked against the Eagles, will return. There are also question marks over the Giants, who surrendered home-ground advantage for the start of the finals with a 44-point loss to Geelong.

Toby Greene and Jacob Hopper picked up nasty knocks to their backs but they should be OK given the extra week’s rest. The Giants have defeated the Crows just once (two years ago at Spotless Stadium) with Adelaide dominating their most recent meeting back in round 1 by 56 points. The ‘over/under’ is 7-1 dating back to the Giants admission to the league in 2012. We have a strong lean the Crows here – GWS have been winning but have rarely displayed their best football in 2017. A near to full-strength Adelaide outfit on their home deck with Walker and Talia returning look very hard to beat.

 

AFL second qualifying final: Geelong (15-1-6) v Richmond (15-7)
Where: MCG, Melbourne, Vic
When: Friday, September 8, 7.50pm (AET)
Line: Geelong -4.5 (as at August 29)

TIW says: The venue is contentious, given Geelong are the “home” team, but they will have no fears about playing at the MCG as they boast a stellar record against the Tigers – 13 wins in a row and only one loss in their past 21 meetings. Momentum is everything and Geelong have impressed with three successive wins, including a comprehensive 44-point win over the Giants last Friday night. The Cats could have Joel Selwood available for this final but Nakia Cockatoo is rated 50/50 at best.

The Tigers have lost only once since the round 16 shocker against St Kilda, culminating in a revenge win over those same Saints at the MCG on Sunday by 41 points. Richmond return to the top four for the first time since 2001, and their extraordinary run with injuries means only Josh Caddy is missing from their best 22, and he should be available for this match-up. The Tigers lost to the Cats by 14 points at Simonds Stadium in round 21 but it was one of their poorer displays of 2017. They look great value on their home deck.

 

AFL second elimination final: Sydney (14-8) v Essendon (12-10)
Where: SCG, Melbourne, Vic
When: Saturday, September 9, 4.20pm (AET)
Line: Sydney -27.5 (as at August 29)

TIW says: The Swans are the biggest favourites in week one of the finals. They are the first team to make the finals after a 0-6 start to the season and they have lost only twice since, culminating in a round 23 victory over Carlton by 81 points. Dan Hannebery and Tom Papley will be back while Kurt Tippett and Callum Sinclair, who picked up ankle injuries in the season finale win over the Blues have been cleared of serious damage. Sam Naismith could also be in the selection mix.

Sydney have beaten Essendon in nine of their past 10 meetings including that staggering comeback to pinch victory in round 14. The Swans have reached the finals in every season since 2010. Essendon have done well to reach the top eight for the first time since 2014, but this looks as far as they will go. They should have Orazio Fantasia, Michael Hurley and Heath Hocking available and return to the finals for the first time since 2014 in the wake of the supplements scandal. Anything less than a five-goal line appears excellent value for the Swans to cover.

 

AFL first elimination final: Port Adelaide (14-8) v West Coast (12-10)
Where: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, SA
When: Saturday, September 9, 7.50pm (AET)
Line: Port Adelaide -14.5 (as at August 29)

TIW says: Credit to the Eagles for an incredible final round win over the Crows to pinch eighth spot from the grasp of the Demons. And they’ll fly east to Adelaide to face the Power with a fair degree of confidence. West Coast have defeated Port on their previous three visits to the Adelaide Oval albeit by margins of 10, eight and 10 points. Adam Simpson’s side were expected to be among the premiership contenders in 2017 but they’ve been too inconsistent to be a serious challenger, failing to win successive games since round 8.

Port will start favourites in this game after stringing together three wins in a row including an impressive win in the cold of Ballarat to end the premiership defence of the Western Bulldogs. Despite West Coast’s favourable record in Adelaide, the Power won the most recent match-up in Perth six weeks ago. Incredibly, Ken Hinkley has essentially a full list to consider while the Eagles will have Jeremy McGovern available despite hurting his left shoulder in the clash against the Crows. Nic Naitanui remains a theoretical chance of featuring later in the finals should the Eagles progress.

 

Round 23 results update: 3-0-0, +5.73 units

Collingwood +22.5 v Melbourne (one unit @ $1.92) WIN (99-83)
Brisbane v North Melbourne +200.5 (two units @ $1.88) WIN (79-130)
Port Adelaide 60+ v Gold Coast (three units @ $2.05) WIN (135-20)

 

Overall home & away season results

Three-unit bets: 19-1-6, +33.5 units
Two-unit bets: 22-2-17, +9.0 units
One-unit bets: 30-1-26, +3.3 units

 

 

• 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 William Hill (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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