Week 3 of the 2021 AFL Finals Series saw two thumping results, as a favourite saluted in style while an underdog shot the lights out in Adelaide.
Here’s how it looked for punters:
It’s often said that Preliminary Finals weekend is the best weekend of the AFL season. One of the two clashes is invariably an instant classic, typified by tense final moments.
But in 2021, that didn’t quite eventuate.
Melbourne dominated Geelong from go to woe on Friday night, completely justifying their pre-game head-to-head price of $1.49 with Palmerbet. The following night was a similar 70+ point smashing — except not from the favourite. The Western Bulldogs shot the lights out in Adelaide, stunning the entire AFL community after starting as $2.80 outsiders.
Melbourne is aiming to break the greatest premiership drought in footy. The Western Bulldogs are aiming to win what may be the greatest premiership ever.
Would it be the best flag of all time if the Dogs salute given their finals run? https://t.co/ts9NZCJbSK
— Callum Twomey (@CalTwomey) September 11, 2021
Incredibly, the pre-game lines for both clashes blew out by over 70 points.
The Dees gave up an 11.5-point head-start at the first bounce but prevailed by 83 points. They also kicked their second-highest points total of the season with 125, just shy of their Round 20 effort of 128 against the Gold Coast Suns. An incredible 101 points from stoppages was comfortably the most for the entire 2021 AFL season.
Then in Saturday night’s clash, the Dogs were given +15.5 points pre-game. But they completely obliterated that figure, prevailing by 71 points.
First time in VFL/AFL history that both preliminary finals have been decided with 70+ point margins.
Let’s hope that adds up to a close grand final in a fortnight 🤞#AFLFinals
— Glenn Mitchell (@MitchellGlenn) September 11, 2021
— Adam 'Warnie' Child (@WarnieDT) September 11, 2021
Early Grand Final markets
It’s a long, almost insufferable wait for Dees and Dogs fans until this year’s Grand Final. But especially so for Melbourne, whose last flag was way back in 1964.
After the AFL shelved the pre-finals bye, the competition decision-makers stuck with September 25 as the date for this season’s big dance. That meant they had to find a week off somewhere, and they’ve landed on the post-prelim week. It means Melbourne will have played just one game in almost a month by the time the Grand Final rolls around. Will the game-bye-game-bye buildup hinder their chances? Does the Dog’s game-game-game-bye buildup leave them better placed for a second flag in six seasons?
The early markets have Simon Goodwin’s side as $1.65 favourites, with the Dogs again as $2.25 outsiders. The early line, at Monday morning following preliminary finals weekend, is at 7.5. Total Points is at 155.5.
— AFL (@AFL) September 11, 2021