Dusty Lines for Footy Inc.
Week 1 of finals has thrown up some pretty even contests – only the Sydney vs Essendon match has a big line with the Swans starting 32.5 point favourites.
Underdogs and Away Teams have been getting it done at the line all season running at 57.1% and 54.5% respectively throughout the home and away rounds. On the team line ladder the Tigers and Crows have been the best performing sides (full table below).
LINES – FINALS WEEK 1
Adelaide -13.5 / GWS +13.5
After a week off from footy with the bye last weekend, the Crows and Giants kick off the 2017 finals series on Thursday night. A spot in a home preliminary final is on the line.
Both teams ended the home & away season with disappointing defeats. An undermanned Crows lost to West Coast in Perth by 29 points (much to the disgust of Melbourne supporters with that result keeping the Demons out of the finals) and the Giants were given a hefty beating (44 points) by Geelong.
These two teams played against each other in round 1 at the Adelaide Oval and the Crows were convincing 56 point winners. They also played in Adelaide last year (round 10) and the Crows won by 22 points. Adelaide’s home record against all teams in 2017 has been very good with a win/loss of 9-3 so expect them to be very hard to beat.
The Giants have struggled with injuries right throughout the season but now have an almost full list to choose from. Adelaide made some cautious decisions in round 23 and ‘managed’ star players Taylor Walker and Daniel Talia but they should also be back close to full strength for this huge final with the exception of their gun midfielder Rory Sloane who will miss after appendix surgery.
Sloane is a huge loss but I’m sticking with the Crows to cover the -13.5 point line.
Adelaide -13.5 points – Dusty, Big O, Moose Dogs, Shan, TRM
GWS +13.5 points – Hollywood, Ding Dong
Geelong -4.5 / Richmond +4.5
Geelong supporters should be seething that they have been forced to give up home ground advantage for this qualifying final. Less than a month ago, an undermanned Cats team beat a full strength Richmond side down at Simonds Stadium so they know they have the edge down in Geelong. The MCG factor though opens things up significantly and unsurprisingly the line is very tight – Geelong will start 4.5 point favourites.
For the Tigers, the top 4 placings and the scheduling of finals could not have worked out any better. Playing a qualifying final in Adelaide or Sydney seemed the most likely outcome in the last few weeks of the home & away season, but instead to be matched against Geelong at the MCG is an absolute dream.
The winner here will lock in a preliminary final in Melbourne and will get the chance to step through the finals with no travel – just three straight games at the MCG.
This should be a cracking match. With wet and cold conditions forecast I’m leaning toward the Tigers and their speedy forward line who have knocked off West Coast (round 3) and GWS (round 18) in wet conditions at the ‘G this season.
Geelong -4.5 points – TRM
Richmond +4.5 points – Dusty, Big O, Moose Dogs, Hollywood, Shan, Ding Dong
Sydney -32.5 / Essendon +32.5
Essendon have fought bravely this year and finishing 7th after the home & away season is a great accomplishment under the circumstances. But an elimination final in Sydney against a red hot Swans is a tough break and it seems likely that their good run will end this weekend. The Bombers will start 32.5 point underdogs.
When these two teams played in June at the SCG the Swans came from behind to pinch the win by just one point. Since then the Swans have gone on a 8-1 run and are the in-form team of the competition going into the finals. Add to that the injury concerns for the Bombers (including Fantasia, Hurley and Hooker) and there is no surprise that the Swans are heavy favourites.
In the back end of the season the Swans have chalked up some really big wins and might just cruise past the -32.5 point line in this one.
Sydney -32.5 points – Dusty, Hollywood, Shan
Essendon +32.5 points – Big O, Moose Dogs, TRM, Ding Dong
Port Adelaide -15.5 / West Coast +15.5
The second match at Adelaide Oval in week one of the finals has the Power starting 15.5 point favourites against the Eagles.
West Coast’s form since the mid-point of the season has been very patchy – since round 11 they have gone L-W-L-W-L-W-L-W-L-W-L-W. Based on that pattern they are due to lose this one. Their record at the Adelaide Oval in recent times however has been very good having won 5 of their last 6 matches at the ground (including 3 from 3 against Port Adelaide).
Port Adelaide did however beat West Coast by 32 points in their most recent match which was in round 16 in Perth. The Power also had a win/loss of 8-3 in the last 11 rounds of the home & away season so their recent form is much better than their opponents.
At the line this is a tough call but underdogs have been getting the job done at the line all season so West Coast with the 15.5 point head start will be my tip.
Port Adelaide -15.5 points – Hollywood, TRM, Ding Dong
West Coast +15.5 points – Dusty, Big O, Moose Dogs, Shan
The line tipping table after round 23:
Results from week 1 of finals and an updated ladder will be published next week on Footy Inc..