It’s a sporting tradition that’s more deeply ingrained in Australian culture than any other. The AFL Grand Final has become Australia's most important sporting event, with the largest attendance and television audience of any annual Australian sporting event. The 120th annual Grand Final between the Western Bulldogs and Sydney Swans takes place on Saturday afternoon and our tipster Owen Fulda offers his verdict...
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AFL Grand Final Tips
Who are the favourites?
Minor premiers Sydney Swans are the bookies favourite priced at $1.63 but are reportedly not the punter’s choice. The Bulldogs have been underdogs in every single finals match they’ve played and have thrived in the role, steadily brushing aside team after team. Over 100,000 AFL fans have predicted their Grand Final winners online and 59% believe the Dogs will come out on top. Back your winner in the match result market.
The Western Bulldogs, founded as Footscray Football Club in 1877, go by the Latin motto ‘Cede Nullis’ meaning ‘Yield to None’ and are aiming to win their second Premiership. The Swans once went 72 years without a premiership, the longest premiership drought of any club but they have won an impressive five premiership flags.
If you think the Bulldogs will claim their second flag at the MCG on Saturday afternoon you can get them currently at a best priced $2.41, but I expect this price to shorten in the coming days. The Swans had a slip up against the Giants in the first week of the finals, but were clinical in big wins, first in the semi-final against Adelaide and then over Geelong in last Friday night's preliminary final.
The Swans' consistency over the past 20 years has been phenomenal. Since reaching the 1996 Grand Final, their first appearance in a premiership play-off since 1945, the Swans have reached finals 18 times in 21 seasons. The two teams have met only once this season, the Bulldogs winning a thrilling four-point victory over Sydney at the SCG in round 15 thanks to a last-minute goal from Jason Johanissen.
What’s your recommended bet?
I’m backing the Western Bulldogs to win the 2016 Grand Final at $2.41. They have the hunger and desire, not to mention the momentum to pull off yet another upset and claim the glory. The Dogs have won the last two meetings between the teams, although prior to that the Swans had actually won six on the bounce.
With the line set at 10.5 points I think there’s more value in backing the win outright. I think if the Bulldogs are going to win it, they’ll more than likely do it in style. A winning margin of around 8-12 points wouldn’t surprise me, but I’m not going to stick my neck out far enough to back that. While not a high-scoring team, the Dogs ranked only 12th in the AFL for points scored, the Bulldogs' defence has ranked third for points against.
They’ll need to be strong defensively again as they come under heavy bombardment from Swans attack but I’m confident they’ll respond to the occasion and take the flag back to the Kennel. They’ve also won five of their past seven games at the MCG and the majority of neutrals will be hoping they make it six of eight on Saturday.
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