The AFL Lines – Finals Week 2

Filed in AFL, AFL Lines by on September 13, 2012

The Cats and Kangaroos are gone, while the Hawks and Swans rest up and await their respective preliminary final opponents. For the Crows, Dockers, Magpies and Eagles, the equation is simple – win or perish for 2012. Greg Oberscheidt and Cliff Bingham return to assess an intriguing pair of matches.


I feel very conflicted between my love of statistics and the evidence presented on the weekend just gone.

Since the AFL ditched the McIntyre system after the 1999 finals series, 22 out of 24 qualifying final losers have bounced back and won the next week – only Port Adelaide in 2001 and West Coast in 2007 have gone out in ‘straight sets’.

I love that stat and have been waiting for weeks to load up on the two relevant teams, but that would now mean backing the Crows (minus Daniel Talia, who is one of the few men in the comp capable of keeping Matthew Pavlich in check) and Magpies (with a back six that will struggle to hold the Eagles, as well as issues with back-up depth in the ruck to combat Cox and Naitanui) – both as favourites. In the absence of that 2000-2011 finals statistic, I’d be leaning to the plus in both games.


Outstanding footy in the first week of the finals. Some epic battles, some massive individual performances and a massive upset in Melbourne. Hawthorn have been reamed by the AFL by not being afforded the hard earned right of playing the Friday night preliminary final. An absolute disgrace!

Plenty on the line this weekend with the Dockers looking to put an abrupt end to the Crows stellar season and the Pies looking to salvage theirs. They’ll have plenty of motivation with the tragic, untimely passing of their former team mate John McCarthy. Will it be enough to stop the Eagles who have rallied late.

Only two games but surely we can find a bet.


Results for Finals Week 1 selections

GO – 3 selections, 3 units bet, return of 3.77 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = +26%

CB – 2 selections, 2.5 units bet, return of 2.78 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = +11%

Total – 5 selections, 5.5 units bet, return of 6.55 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = +19%

Results for 2012

GO – 88 selections, 106 units bet, return of 107.15 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = +1%

CB – 54 selections, 58.5 units bet, return of 56.42 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -4%

Total – 142 selections, 165 units bet, return of 163.57 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -1%


(Please note – all times are EST)



Adelaide v Fremantle, AAMI Stadium, 8.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Adelaide -8.5 to -9.5


A month ago this one would have been pretty much a forgone conclusion. Recent form suggests that it is far from that. Adelaide have smashed the poor teams but struggled against the better sides in recent times and were soundly belted in their first final last week. Fremantle on the other hand have just kept on winning. Everyone has been waiting for them to fall over but it’s not happening. Their win over the Cats last week was probably the biggest win in the clubs history, so they’d be humming right now.

The loss of Talia is a massive blow to the Crows. This year’s rising star has been outstanding, often taking the best opposition forward and hasn’t been beaten. He takes plenty of pressure off Rutten as well and from a look at their list, there’s no obvious in for him. Dangerfield and Thompson were both down last week and you wouldn’t expect that to be the case again but one of them will have to deal with Crowley. Jacobs has had a massive season but faces his biggest, test this week with Sandilands in devastating form. Tippett struggled and could face the chop given Jenkins kicked eight in the SANFL on the weekend but given his contract talks, you wouldn’t think they’d leave him out.

Freo have built a miserly defence and showed last week that they could get it done without McPharlin so if the Dockers can muster 14 goals against the Crows I think that will be enough. Given the form of Pavlich and Mayne I think that’s a certainty.

History will suggest that semi-finals usually go to the home team but I can see that trend getting bucked this week – one unit on Freo at the plus.


The historical finals precedent points strongly to the Crows, but their last seven matches have led to only four wins (three coming against an injury-plagued Essendon, Melbourne and Gold Coast). In contrast, the Dockers have won nine of their last 10 matches, picking up the scalps of the Eagles, Kangaroos and Cats along the way and conceding only 66 points per game during that run.

The 2012 results against the spread don’t offer much by way of a pointer: the Crows are 13-10 overall and 7-5 at home this season, while the Dockers are 14-9 overall and 6-4 interstate.

The head to head record points to the Crows – they defeated Freo by 29 points at Patersons in Round 10 and by 28 points at AAMI in Round 20.

I still can’t pick games involving Ross Lyon to save myself, so I’ll sit out.



Collingwood v West Coast, MCG, 7.45pm

Bookmakers’ line: Collingwood -4.0 to -4.5


Where to start. The Pies have had the wood on the Eagles in recent times and with home field advantage and a Prelim at stake there’s a bit to like about them. They’ve lost Maxwell due to ill-discipline and general stupidity which will hurt their structure, but one might argue will actually improve their chances of winning.

The Eagles are a devastating side when up and going and they’ve got plenty of options forward of centre. Darling has been outstanding. Kennedy is better with every run. Lynch presents well. Cox is a freak. Throw in Embley and Hill and it’s a daunting prospect – particularly for the undersized Magpies defence.

The midfield battle will be a cracker. Swan, Pendlebury, Beams, Thomas, Sidebottom, the list goes on. They’ll be out to prove they are still the best group in the business. The Eagles don’t have the reputations but they are no less talented. They also have a host of run with players so expect some close attention to be paid to the Collingwood guns.

Cloke was good last week but I can’t see him beating Glass the way he touched up Shoenmakers. Krakouer made a stirring return to the ‘G and Sinclair was good in a lock down roll but the inability of Dawes to impact the scoreboard must be a massive concern for Nathan Buckley. They need to find more shots on goal and you feel it has to come from the midfield.

For mine everything points to the Eagles in this one except the intangible impact of the death of John McCarthy. In a time when even a one per cent shift in intensity can translate into a vast increase in output you’d be mad to bet into a team that is playing in the memory of a dear mate – no play for me.


The historical finals precedent once again points strongly to the Magpies, but their last 10 matches have led to only five wins, with all five losses coming by 23 points or more. Their forward line troubles have manifested themselves in reaching 100 points scored in only three of those 10 games (two against GWS and Essendon). They are a poor 7-16 against the spread this season, which worsens to a 3-14 record in Melbourne.

Mind you, the Eagles have had some troubles of their own, winning only five of their last nine overall and one of their last four on the road (for the season in total, they have a 5-5 record away from Patersons). Against the spread, the Eagles are 13-10 for the year but only 4-6 when on the road.

The Magpies held West Coast at bay by three points at the MCG in Round 13, but were soundly beaten by 49 points only three weeks ago over in the west – a match that feels like a far better form reference for the current state of both teams.

I can’t bet this game either.

However, it will crush me if the historical precedent (22 out of 24 qualifying final losers have bouncing back, or 10 out of 12 years where they both did so), continues and I don’t have a cent on it, so I’ll have half a unit on a Crows/ Magpies double.


Recommended bet summary


1 unit on Fremantle + 9.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)


0.5 units on Adelaide/ Collingwood double at $2.70 (Centrebet)


Thanks to Mark Nolan/Getty Images AsiaPac for use of the photo


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