Week 1 of the AFL Finals Series saw Richmond and Collingwood solidify their premiership credentials, while the Dogs and Dons were sent packing.

Here’s how it looked for punters: 

Finals blowouts

Football in September is characterised by rugged contests resulting in, invariably, tight finishes. But this wasn’t the case in week one of the finals, with the average winnings margin across the four games 42.5 points. The only close game on paper was Geelong v Collingwood (where the Pies prevailed by 10 points). But even this was slightly deceiving as the Cats were out of the game for most of the evening, save for a late spree when the Pies were hamstrung by two injured players on the bench. The margins therefore meant that each winning side comfortably covered their pre-game line with Palmerbet. Further, it was also the first time in almost a century that the club’s that finished first and second on the ladder were beaten in the first week of the finals.

Tigers, Pies teams to beat

Collingwood were the biggest movers in the AFL premiership market on the weekend. Their win over Geelong saw them shorten from $5 with Palmerbet into $3.40. Their price is likely indicative of the fact they are seen to sit on the ‘easier’ side of the draw. They will play – at the MCG – the winner of this weekend’s Brisbane v GWS clash. Whereas Richmond will play (in the preliminary final) the winner of the Geelong v West Coast clash. That is, they will come up against either the minor premiers, or last year’s premiers. Still, their comprehensive 47-point win over the Lions sees them shorten from $3 flag favourites into $2.40. If anything, they should be favourites on the back of this man alone…

Does straight sets exit loom for Cats?

It’s all gone rather pear-shaped quickly for the Cats. A loss to Collingwood, where their defensive style was picked apart by a ferocious opposition, has quickly turned on the panic button at the Cattery. The result sees them move from $4.33 premiership hopes out to $9.50.

No minor premier has been bundled out of the (VFL/AFL) finals in straight sets since North Melbourne way back in 1983, yet the Cats are very much staring down the barrel of that unwanted statistic. They start Friday night’s do-or-die semi-final against West Coast as $2.10 outsiders. The Eagles are currently $1.74 with Palmerbet. Chris Scott’s side have won just three of their last 13 finals, and if ever they needed to arrest that stat, it’s this Friday.

Better luck next time

In the end, the seventh and eighth-placed clubs on the AFL ladder were bundled out first. Essendon and the Western Bulldogs entered the finals series in polar opposite form, with the hot Dogs fancied to cause upsets in September, while the Dons had limped into the finals. Essendon’s pre-game price of $4.18 with Palmerbet was, in turn, indicative of the end result. But the Dogs ($2.09 pre-game) were expected by many to cause an upset in the harbour city. In the end, however, they were completely nullified by an impressive Giants outfit.

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