I look ahead to the 2015 AFL Grand Final between Hawthorn and West Coast to give you an in-depth look at all the betting markets and give you tips to get the best value out of Grand Final Day.
I’ll take a look at all of the popular betting markets and even the not so popular markets to try and find you the best value bets factoring the available variables such as history, injuries, weather and matchups.
Every year there seems to be one or more unlucky players who are forced out of the Grand Final sides to make way for someone else. This year it’s looking likely that Jack Gunston will make his return for Hawthorn so the coaching staff at Hawthorn have a tough decision ahead of them. Perhaps Ryan Schoenmakers could be the unlucky one to make way.
West Coast on the other hand look like they may go into the game without any changes. It would certainly be a tough call to make if any play was to be omitted after their finals campaign.
Billy Hartung has worn the sub vest in the previous two games for Hawthorn and could very well be in the green vest again on Saturday. Who get’s subbed off is another question and I have a feeling it will have a lot to do with how Hawthorn are copping with the West Coast talls. Perhaps David Hale could be one to don the final red vest ever.
West Coast’s Matt Rosa came on in the 4th quarter last week for Chris Masten and if I were to take a stab I’d be saying it’ll be between those two who starts with the vest. Masten looked a little rusty in the final so perhaps he could be the one to wear the green vest.
It looks to be a picture perfect day in Melbourne on Saturday with a forecast of 26c and sunny. Winds of 30-40km are expected but very rarely do you see a strong wind advantage at the MCG anymore. It should be perfect conditions for the tall forwards of both sides, who will take advantage?
Head to Head
Now to the serious side of things, who is going to win the game? Well we won’t know that until Saturday afternoon but there is a case to be made for both sides.
For me I think the value is definitely with West Coast at $2.40. They prove only three weeks ago that they are more than capable of beating Hawthorn and although they’re coming up against the Hawks on their home ground and with a ton of experience in Grand Finals I favour recent results more.
The Eagles had 7 more scoring shots than Hawthorn in their last encounter and will be confident of outscoring the Hawks again.
That said there are plenty of reasons as to why Hawthorn should win. Their finals record at the MCG alone is remarkable with 13 wins and just 4 losses in the last 10 years (76.4% success rate). Compare that to West Coast’s 1 win and 4 losses (20% success rate).
The two sides have met twice this year, both at Subiaco Oval. In Round 19 it was the Hawks who were victorious winning by 14 points and the Eagles in the Qualifying Final by 32 points.
Norm Smith Medal
The Norm Smith Medal is awarded to the best player on the ground and is judged by a panel of 5 experts from various media broadcasters.
It’s important to remember that the panel votes on the winner before the game has finished so last minute heroics could possible miss out.
When picking the Norm Smith Medalist I try and make sure I pick players who are known match winners. Whether that’s a hard working midfielder who can go forward and kick goals or a forward who kicks a bag and as we saw in 2013 it’s not out of reach from backmen either when Brian Lake had a huge game in his debut season for Hawthorn.
Luke Hodge is a 2x Norm Smith Medalist and he is every chance to re-write history and win a third but at $7 we want to look elsewhere. Sam Mitchell and Matt Pridsis will catch the attention of a few. Mitchell racked up 35 possessions when the sides met in the qualifying final.
I really like Jordan Lewis, he’s capable of racking up a lot of touches and generally performs well in big games. He’s also capable of kicking goals which is a big bonus. From the Eagles I think Luke Shuey is value at $18. He is another one who can get plenty of the ball and has averaged a goal a game this season.
First Goal Scorer
I have been backing Josh Kennedy to kick the first goal throughout the season and I’ll be doing the same on Saturday. He already has 80 goals to his name this season and there’s a good reason for it – he’s a monster! At $8 he’s not great value so if you’re looking for a roughie I suggest a midfielder or ruckman. Ben McEvoy at $29 is worth a punt as is Isaac Smith at $26.
I think I have found value here with the total match points line being drawn at 183.5. In their past two meetings the two sides have pilled on 160 match points in the Qualifying Final and 162 points in their Round 19 match. Despite weather conditions being ideal I don’t think either side will be allowing easy scoring throughout the day so I suggest taking the Under 183.5 line for total match points.