AFL finals betting preview: Full MCG house assured for Tigers, Cats epic

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Updated: September 8, 2017

A full house of 95,000 fans is expected at a cold and probably wet MCG tonight as Geelong and Richmond aim to join last night’s winner Adelaide in hosting a preliminary final in a fortnight’s time. In what is likely to be a low scoring grind, the Tigers will be chasing a first final victory since they defeated Carlton at this venue in 2001. Meanwhile the Cats are well positioned to pursue a fourth flag since their drought-breaking Grand Final appearance 2007; overall record: 71-4-50, +44.8 units

 

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 ® -2.5
Confirmed bet: -163.5 (three units @ $1.90), Richmond WIN (one unit @ $2.10)

TIW says: The set-up for this game has been well written. Let’s start with the Tigers. You know the deal – 37 years without a premiership, 16 years without a finals win including three finals appearances under Damien Hardwick. After an 8-14 record in 2016 that probably flattered them, the Tigers started this season with a five-game unbeaten streak before losing four on the trot. ‘Here we go again,’ thought the Tiger army. But in a very un-Richmond-like, they fought back to finish the season 10-3 to claim their first top-four finish since 2001. Much has been made of Richmond’s defensive numbers – they finished the home and away season with the third-best defence, conceding 76 points a game and giving up 100 points in a game only twice.

 

All-Australian captain Alex Rance, Dylan Grimes, David Astbury and Nick Vlaustin have been terrific for the Tigers in the back half. But the first line of that defence is at the other end of the ground where the mosquito fleet led by Daniel Rioli, Dan Butler and Jason Castagna have made it extraordinarily hard for opposition sides to clear their 50-metre zone. The midfield led by Dustin Martin and skipper Trent Cotchin has been consistently good while recruit Toby Nankervis, Dion Prestia, Josh Caddy (who returns tonight) and breakout forward Jacob Townsend have all proved astute acquisitions. No wonder the Tiger fans are up and about.

But the Tigers have a massive road hump to overcome. Geelong have won the past 13 match-ups dating back to the Tigers’ last win in round nine, 2006. Worse still, the Tigers haven’t defeated the Cats at the MCG since 1999. Richmond suffered the latest setback in round when, despite missing injured captain Joel Selwood and suspended pair Tom Hawkins and Mitch Duncan, the Cats found a way to win in a cauldron-like atmosphere at Simonds Stadium. Harry Taylor was the star, kicking four goals and minimising the influence of Rance. The Tigers were beaten up in the midfield and, in one of their poorer performances for 2017, lost by 14 points.

 

Selwood returns to the side tonight along with Zach Guthrie with Daniel Menzel a shock omission alongside Wylie Buzza. The League’s two most dominant players will be on the park tonight – Martin and 2016 Brownlow Medal winner Patrick Dangerfield. The Geelong superstar plays his 200th game and ninth final with so much riding on his shoulders. He was enormous in the 2016 finals, winning 39 possessions (21 contested) and nine clearances in the preliminary final loss to Sydney. The Cats have lost just three of their past 14 games and have conceded 70 or fewer in four of their past five. Five of the past six Cats-Tigers clashes have played ‘under’ the total.

 

Week 1 finals results update: 0-0-1, -1.0 units

Adelaide v GWS Giants +10.5 (one unit @ $1.92) LOSE (84-48)

Overall results

Three-unit bets: 19-1-6, +33.5 units
Two-unit bets: 22-2-17, +9.0 units
One-unit bets: 30-1-27, +2.3 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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