The AFL Lines – Grand Final

Filed in AFL, AFL Lines by on September 28, 2011

So here we are at the famous last Saturday in September…. err…. first Saturday in October for the AFL Grand Final. The two alpha dogs of 2011 in Collingwood and Geelong will square off – the Magpies looking for back-to-back premierships, the Cats chasing their third flag in four years. It promises to be a great encounter, one which Greg Oberscheidt and Cliff Bingham have been pondering in great detail for their final AFL lines column of the season.

CB – Well it was a heart breaker for your beloved Hawks last Friday night, albeit a win for both of us against the generous four-goal line. In contrast, Geelong were rarely challenged against the Eagles and clearly have the better of the very recent form. Grand Finals are strange beasts though, and thus the outcome may not be so cut and dried.

GO – Well that was a heartbreaker…the Hawks dominated the first half and probably should have been home by three quarter time. The Pies fought back but I, like everyone else, thought Buddy had iced the game when he drilled that goal from the boundary line. As the really good sides do, Collingwood found a way to win and break my heart all at once. Still a cover for the Hawks but that is small consolation. The Cats dominated from pillar to post and will be deserving favourites this week…last Punt for the year…can we find a bet? 

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Summary of Preliminary Finals week results

GO – Two selections, two units bet, return of $1.90, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -5%

CB – Two selections, two units bet, return of $1.90, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -5%

Total – Four selections, four units bet, return of $3.80, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -5%

Summary of overall results

GO – 79 selections, 99 units bet, return of $112.10, Profit on Turnover (POT) = 13%

CB – 55 selections, 69 units bet, return of $62.70, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -9%

Total – 134 selections, 168 units bet, return of $174.80, Profit on Turnover (POT) = 4%


(Please note – all times are EST)


Collingwood v Geelong, MCG, 2.20pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Geelong –1.5

GO – Form is everything this time of year and the Cats definitely have the edge in that department. The Pies have dropped off considerably in the forward pressure KPI’s and the results are there for all to see.

Jolly under a big cloud is a massive concern for the Pies as is Ben Reid’s groin. Reid’s ability to intercept the ball seems to have deserted him since he lost his full range of movement. The Pies have their stars in Swan, Pendles and Thomas in the guts as well as Cloke up forward so they will always be a chance but the head to head form this year indicates that the Cats have their measure. The hard running half backs of Collingwood in Davis, Shaw and Johnson will be hard pressed to break the lines with Geelong’s smaller forwards renowned for their tackling pressure.

People have called round 24 an aberration given the situation of both sides at the time, but I think it is hard to do that given what happened when they met in round 8. Geelong had the first eight scoring shots of the match and could have realistically blown the Pies away with a bit more composure. They led the Pies in every conceivable statistical category. Even though the end result was a narrow win, the Cats have shown that they have the structure to beat the Pies.

Whether or not Steve Johnson plays this week will have little bearing on the result. The Cats will get it done with or without him and as such I’ll be playing two units on the Cats -1.5.

CB – The tale of the tape across the 2011 home and away season doesn’t offer us much to work with in terms of picking a winner here. Collingwood won 20 games; Geelong 19. Collingwood averaged 118 points per game while conceding only 70; Geelong averaged 116 points per game while conceding only 74. Their Round 24 encounter was a glorified exhibition match so I’m going to discount it. Their Round 8 encounter saw the Cats squeeze home by three points following a controversial ‘non-advantage’ decision that nullified a late goal for the Magpies.

The finals series may be a bit more instructive. Geelong convincingly disposed of both Hawthorn in the opening week and West Coast in the preliminary final, whilst Collingwood had far greater struggles against both sides. It reminds me a little of 2001, where the defending premiers Essendon finished on top of the ladder but were lucky to survive the preliminary final (ironically enough, against Hawthorn) before losing to a Brisbane side in vintage form the following week. As historical omens go, the 2001 finals series isn’t a bad one for the 2011 finals thus far.

However, it is not the best historical omen for a Grand Final. In recent times, Grand Finals have often become a tale of woe and missed opportunities.

St Kilda in 1997 and North Melbourne in 1998 both led Adelaide at half time (by 13 and 24 points respectively) but failed to capitalise. In 2001 Essendon led by 14 points at half time and lost comfortably. In 2008 Geelong had 18 scoring shots to 11 in the first half, somehow trailed by three points at the main break and paid the price. In 2009 St Kilda led by seven behinds at both half and three-quarter time before succumbing, whilst last year Collingwood had a seemingly comfortable 24-point half time lead before almost losing to the Saints and having to come back the following Saturday to win the flag. Throw in the near collapses of 2005 and 2006, where Sydney and West Coast led by 20 and 25 points respectively at half time before hanging on for dear life in the end, and you have an amazing ‘game of two halves’ recent history.

I think Geelong have been in superior form over the finals series and will be the ones to create the most opportunities early in the game. However, as recent Grand Final history will tell you, this does not assure a premiership. No bet for me.


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Recommended bet summary

GO – Two units on Geelong -1.5.

CB – Nil.


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




Comments (1)

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  1. Tim Napper says:

    Good call shitty