2018 AFL Grand Final Preview & Betting Tips

September 26, 2018 by Posted in AFL Tips

Who could have predicted this 6 months ago? It’s Collingwood vs West Coast in the 2018 AFL Grand Final! After emphatic wins in their respective Preliminary Finals, we’re set for one of the most unlikely match-ups in the modern era. As we’ve done all season, we’ve previewed the match and provided our best bets. Good luck if following!

The Magpies were predicted by many to continue their regression since Buckley’s takeover in 2012. This were Collingwood’s previous season results under Coach Buckley:
2012: 4th
2013: 6th
2014: 11th
2015: 12th
2016: 12th
2017: 13th

Unsurprisingly, Buckley was in hot water during the final year of his contract in 2017. Nevertheless, the Collingwood board showed tremendous faith, re-signing Buckley to a new two-year deal that has paid dividends in an amazing 2018 season.

The way the Magpies have set up and transitioned from defence to offence this season has been a thing of beauty. They’ve maximised their plethora of midfield talent, with the likes of Steele Sidebottom, Adam Treloar, Tom Phillips, Scott Pendlebury and Taylor Adams all having terrific seasons.

Oh, and it helps when you have superstar ruckman Brodie Grundy palming it down your throat 40 times a game. Grundy has had one of the best individual seasons we’ve seen from a ruckman, ever. In 2018, Grundy averaged 21 disposals, 5 clearances, 5 tackles, 40 hit-outs and 6 score involvements. These numbers are mind-boggling and if you thought he’d drop off a touch in the finals, you’re wrong. Grundy tallied 56 hit-outs against Richmond in their Preliminary Final win, which is the most ever recorded in a final. It’s fair to say Lycett and Vardy will have their hands full on Saturday.

The run to the Grand Final hasn’t been all smooth sailing for the Magpies, either. In fact it’s been far from it. They’ve endured countless injuries to star players throughout the year which many thought would eventually derail their season. This just highlights their amazing depth and structures they have in place, where anyone can fill a position or play a role when asked upon.

It’s been a touch road to the Grand Final, but the win over Richmond in the Preliminary Final showed the world that they’re more than ready to overcome any obstacle in their path.

Road to the Grand Final:
Qual. Final – West Coast 12.14.86 dftd Collingwood 10.10.70
Semi Final – Collingwood 9.15.65 dftd GWS 9.5.59
Prelim. Final – Richmond 8.10.58 lost to Collingwood 15.7.97

West Coast
Much like the Magpies, not many ‘experts’ had the Eagles finishing in the top half of the ladder, let alone in second position. Although they did manage to win their way to the second week of the finals in 2017, the retirements of Sam Mitchell and Matt Priddis had most people expecting them to enter a rebuild of sorts. Instead, here we are, with the Eagles looking to go one better than they managed in 2015 where they lost to Hawthorn in the Grand Final.

Again, much like the Pies, the Eagles have had their fair share of road bumps along the way. Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling have only played 10 games together, with both of them struggling with injuries at certain stages. Star ruckman Nic Naitanui devastatingly went down with an ACL injury in their Round 17 win over Collingwood. And of course there’s Andrew Gaff, who is still out suspended from his hit on Andrew Brayshaw.

Despite the road bumps, West Coast will be travelling to the MCG full of confidence this weekend. They’re in absolute red-hot form, highlighted by their demolition job of the Demons last weekend, where they flew out of the gates and put the match to bed by half time.

The Eagles showed signs during the year that their MCG struggles may be behind them, but Saturday’s match in front of 80+ thousand screaming Magpie supporters will be the ultimate test for Adam Simpson’s Men.

Road to the Grand Final:
Qual. Final – West Coast 12.14.86 dftd Collingwood 10.10.70
Prelim. Final – West Coast 18.13.121 dftd Melbourne 7.13.55

The history between these sides couldn’t be much closer. In the 50 matches they’ve played since 1987, Collingwood has won 26, compared to West Coast’s 24.

Last 5 matches
2018 Qual. Final – West Coast 12.14.86 dftd Collingwood 10.10.70
2018 Round 17 – Collingwood 9.13.67 lost to West Coast 15.12.102
2017 Round 18 – Collingwood 13.15.93 dftd West Coast 13.7.85
2016 Round 19 – Collingwood 13.13.91 dftd West Coast 11.6.72
2016 Round 6 – West Coast 18.16.124 dftd Collingwood 9.8.62

It’s always a really tough match to predict, as form and previous head-to-head records generally go out the window on Grand Final day. There are a few things that what we do know, however. One of which is how both of these sides set up and the game styles they will aim to employ. The Eagles are a kick-mark side that love to pierce opposition sides with precision skills. On the other hand, the Magpies love chaos and putting on huge amounts of pressure. If you’ve ever seen a Grand Final, you’ll know that is it absolute chaos. For this key reason and the home ground factor, we’re leaning towards the Magpies winning in a close one.

Magpies by 15 points.

TIP: Collingwood to Win the Grand Final – $1.70 at Sportsbet

Written by Bet King - Sports Betting Tips

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