Preliminary finals weekend of the 2018 AFL Finals Series saw Collingwood pull off the upset of the season, while the Eagles locked in a chance for premiership redemption.

Here’s how it looked for punters:

Tiger take down

For the entire season, Richmond’s premiership odds were continually slashed. Seen as a morals by some before the finals series had even begun, the Tigers were $2.30 flag hopes after Round 23. After a dismantling of Hawthorn in the qualifying final, they shortened to $1.90. Everyone had expected them going back-to-back – except Collingwood.

Starting as $3.10 chances with Palmerbet against Richmond, the Pies started with a bang. But that start didn’t let up. They just kept banging them in, to the point where they led by 53 points late in the second term. There is even reports that some Tigers fans left at half time. After 22 straight wins at the MCG, their run had come to an end. To put the Pies win in perspective in a betting sense, they were a $14 chance to win by 40+ points with Palmerbet. And while the 39-point margin was just one off, they weren’t given a huge chance with the bookies.

Suddenly, the Pies are premiership favourites. They are currently $1.67 chances against the Eagles ($2.25) on Saturday, although this may change as the week transpires.

U.S.A!

It’s hard to say what was the best story out of the win, with Steele Sidebottom’s incredible finals performances stacking up yet again, and the dominant Jordan de Goey proving why he’s simply made for the big stage. But Mason Cox’s three-goal second term surely takes the cake. The big American hadn’t held an AFL footy this time four years ago, and suddenly he was dominating on the biggest night of his short career. He finished with a whopping eight contested marks: to put that in perspective, the entire Richmond side finished with nine. It was a game for the ages.

Cauldron in the West

Over in Perth, the Eagles similarly tied up their preliminary final clash inside a half. Adam Simpson’s side were ruthless in the opening exchanges, and had they kicked more accurately, could have led by even more than 63 points at the major break. The Dees didn’t even manage a major in the first half, going in 0.6. In fact, it was the first goalless half in a final since 1927 and the lowest half-time score since 1960.

The game was expected to be close, with the Eagles marginal $1.80 favourites pre-game with Palmerbet. In the end, the 66-point margin ensured punters who backed a 40+ point West Coast win would receive a handy $6.20 return. They start the Grand Final as (current) $2.25 chances with Palmerbet. Considering they defeated Collingwood just over a fortnight ago, and also beat them at the MCG in Round 17, is this a value bet? It will certainly be interesting to see if punters jump on the Eagles this week.

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