AFL 2023 Finals Week One – Betting tips & Predictions

James Salmon
AFL Betting Tips
AFL 2023 Final Week 1
AFL 2023 Finals Week One

Finals are now upon us, with eight teams left standing in the race for the 2023 Premiership. There has been a clear top four for weeks and it’s those four teams who head the list of favourites to take it out, but a couple of teams in the bottom half of the top eight are hitting September with a wet sail and will be very tough to beat. The finals begin and end with Qualifying Finals, the first between the Magpies and Demons and the second between the Lions and Power, and with three of the four games set to take place at the MCG there will no doubt be some heaving crowds to watch it all unfold. Let’s dive in and take a look at how each of the four games are shaping up.

Finals Week One Fixtures

FixturesInfo (AEST)Home OddsAway Odds
Magpies vs DemonsThursday, 7th of September at 7.20pm$1.85$1.95
Blues vs SwansFriday, 8th of September at 7.50pm$1.47$2.70
Saints vs GiantsSaturday, 9th of September at 3.20pm$2.05$1.77
Lions vs PowerSaturday, 9th of September at 7.25pm$1.45$2.75

Collingwood Magpies vs Melbourne Demons

For a long time it looked like this would be the 1 v 4 matchup, and that’s exactly how it’s unfolded. With the best team in the league throughout the course of the year coming up against the best team in the league over the past three seasons, this shapes up as the biggest match of the weekend and will take place in likely close to 90,000 fans, if not more, at the home of football. Given both of these teams play their home games at the MCG the home ground advantage the Magpies have earned is technically nullified, and the Dees will take plenty of confidence from what happened the last time these two met. On that occasion, the King’s Birthday Clash, the Demons got over the line by four points, but that was only after the Magpies came home like a freight train – as they so often do – and given Melbourne had 26 scoring shots compared to just 17, they probably should have won by more. 

Incidentally, the fourth placed Dees also enter this game in superior form. While the Magpies have been the best side over the course of the season, they lost three of their past five games of the home and away season, while the Demons have won seven of their past eight. Collingwood will also be without superstar Nick Daicos, though captain Darcy Moore will likely be a big inclusion. For the Demons, Jake Melksham’s loss to an unfortunate ACL injury will be felt while Harrison Petty’s absence from a footy injury sustained a few weeks ago could also be significant, but overall they won’t be missing the same quality of player as the Magpies. That all sounds like doom and gloom for the Magpies, but they’ll still head in as marginal favourites – and fair enough, too, given their best footy this year has been better than anyone’s. This should be a fantastic game of footy and may well go down to the wire, but it just feels like the Demons have an extra gear they can go to come finals, and led by their superstar midfield and the most well-oiled defence in the league, they can snag a tight win to claim a home Preliminary Final.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Demons to win$1.95
Demons 1-39$2.50
Demons +1.5$1.87

Predicted Squads

Collingwood MagpiesCollingwood Magpies: B: N. Murphy, D. Moore, I.Quaynor HB: B.Maynard, N. Murphy, J.Crisp C: W.Hoskin-Elliott, T.Adams, J.Daicos HF: B.Hill, B.Mihocek, J.Howe F: J.Elliott, D.McStay, J.De Goey FOLL: D.Cameron, S. Pendlebury, S.Sidebottom I/C: T.Mitchell, J.Noble, J.Ginnivan, P. Lipinski

Melbourne DemonsMelbourne Demons: B: J.Bowey, S.May, T.Rivers HB: J.McVee, J.Lever, C.Salem C: L.Hunter, J.Viney, A.Brayshaw HF: K.Chandler, B. Fritsch, A.Neal-Bullen F: E.Langdon, J.van Rooyen, K.Pickett FOLL: M.Gawn, C.Oliver, C.Petracca I/C: J.Smith, B. Laurie, T.Sparrow, D.Turner

Carlton Blues vs Sydney Swans

Remember those teams mentioned above who finished the home and away season with a wet sail? Carlton’s could hardly be wetter. Granted they lost their last game of the season against the Giants, but that game didn’t impact their standing while for GWS, it was do or die, so it was no great surprise to see them fail to continue their winning streak – which was by that point pretty lengthy. The Blues hadn’t previously lost since the 11th of June, winning nine consecutive games thereafter – including games against the Magpies and the Demons. They’ve done that all with injuries to key names, too, and with the likes of Walsh, Cerra and McKay back, it’s not unreasonable to say that were it not for the fact that they don’t have the double chance, they would be Premiership favourites.

All that makes it a pretty tough task for the Swans to come to Melbourne and beat them. Sydney themselves have had a very impressive back half of the year, fighting back from the doldrums of the ladder just a few weeks ago with eight wins in nine games of their own prior to Round 24, when they lost to the Demons. They too have looked excellent, but though they are the reigning Grand Finalists, they just don’t quite have the star power of the Blues. They’ve still got plenty of excellent players – Errol Gulden is a legitimate superstar, Isaac Heeney is coming back into form, Dane Rampe is as reliable a medium defender as any in the league – but compared to a Blues team with Weitering, Cripps, Walsh, Cerra, Curnow, McKay and Docherty, they just don’t have as many weapons. The Swans are a really good side when they get rolling and if they get their running game going this will be a very entertaining game, but with this being played at the MCG and given the Blues’ rampaging form, it’s very hard to go against the home side.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Zac Fisher to have 25+ disposals$2.05
Blues 1-39$2.20
Blues to win$1.46

Predicted Squads

Carlton BluesCarlton Blues: B: A.Cincotta, J.Weitering, B.Kemp HB: N.Newman, M.McGovern, A.Saad C: S. Docherty, S.Walsh, O.Hollands HF: J.Martin, H.McKay, D.Cuningham F: L.Fogarty, C.Curnow, M.Owies FOLL: T.De Koning, A.Cerra, P. Cripps I/C: Z.Fisher, M. Kennedy, G. Hewett, J.Motlop

Sydney SwansSydney Swans: B: T.McCartin, D.Rampe, H.Cunningham HB: O.Florent, N.Blakey, J.Lloyd C: E.Gulden, Ch.Warner, D.Stephens HF: W.Hayward, H.McLean, I.Heeney F: L.McDonald, J.Amartey, T.Papley FOLL: T.Hickey, L.Parker, C.Mills I/C: R.Fox, J.Rowbottom, S.Wicks, J. McInerney

St. Kilda Saints vs GWS Giants

For a long time it looked like the Saints were variably going to fall out of the eight, but they held on – and not just that, they finished top six and earned a home Elimination Final as a result. What’s more, they’re hardly just making up the numbers – the dour, workmanlike style of football which has Ross Lyon’s fingerprints all over it and which helped them get off to such a strong start to the season returned in the latter stages of the year, with four wins in their last six games. Importantly, they conceded more than ten goals just once in that time, and will be eager to continue that trend against a Giants’ side which has booted at least that many in seven consecutive games and 12 of their last 13.

GWS have also booted a huge 41 in their last two games, first humiliating the Demons and then doing what no team has done in months and beating Carlton. Their second half of the season under new coach Adam Kingsley has been very impressive, and with a good combination of experience and exciting youth they are a scary prospect in September. This will be an enthralling game – the Giants will want to use the wide expanses of the MCG, where they rarely play, to exhibit their run and gun style of footy, moving the ball quickly from half back. The Saints, in contrast, pride themselves on their ability to keep opposition stuck in their back half and force them to boot it long down the line to contests, something the Giants will be desperate to avoid. This will be a fascinating game of cat and mouse between one of the most experienced coaches in the league and one of the newest, and as tactically savvy as Ross Lyon is, Kingsley’s Giants might be able to sneak over the line for a tight win.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Giants to win$1.77
Under 159.5 total match points$1.91
Giants -3.5$1.87

Predicted Squads

St. Kilda St. Kilda Saints: B: J.Battle, C.Wilkie, J.Webster HB: J. Sinclair, D. Howard, N.Wanganeen-Milera C: M.Windhager, H.Clark, M.Wood HF: J.Gresham, B.Hill, M.Owens F: M. King, T.Membrey, J.Higgins FOLL: R.Marshall, J.Steele - C, B.Crouch I/C: L.Stocker, D.Butler, S. Ross, C.Sharman

GWS GiantsGWS Giants: B: J.Buckley, S.Taylor, C.Idun HB: L.Ash, H.Himmelberg, L.Whitfield C: J.Kelly, T.Green, I.Cumming HF: T.Bedford, J.Riccardi, B.Daniels F: D.Lloyd, J.Hogan, T.Greene - C FOLL: K.Briggs, C.Ward, S.Coniglio I/C: F. Callaghan, H.Perryman, L.Keeffe, C.Brown

  • Zac Fisher has had at least 24 touches in each of his last four games since returning to the team.
  • In the Saints’ last eight games, only one of them has gone over 143 total match points.
  • Last time the Demons and the Magpies played, the Dees had 59 inside 50s to 49 and 26 scoring shots to 17.

Multi of the Week

Zac Fisher 25+$2.05
Under 159.5 total match points$1.90
Demons to win$1.95

Bet $10 for $75.95 with PlayUp

Brisbane Lions vs Port Adelaide Power

The only game to not be played on the MCG this week will see the second placed Lions take on the third placed Power in what should be a fantastic game of footy. At various points this year, each of these teams has looked like the major contender to Collingwood, and for a long time it looked like this matchup would take place in the first week of finals but in Adelaide. Instead, they’ll have to travel up north to Brisbane, and that may well prove the difference in this game. The Lions have been unstoppable at the Gabba all season, and that’s not hyperbole – they literally haven’t lost a game there, so the Power will need to do something special to get the chocolates here.

But they’re more than capable of doing that, and will have been buoyed by how close the Saints got in Round 24 in what was a really important game for both teams. They were in it up to their eyeballs and only ended up going down by two goals, so though the Lions kept their winning streak in Brisbane going with that game, they were far from convincing. Both of these sides play high octane, entertaining footy, and of particular interest will be a midfield battle which will see the likes of Butters and Rozee go up against Neale and Dunkley. The biggest area of weakness either of these sides is probably the Power’s backline – though they’re headed by the very capable Aliir Aliir, they’re not the most imposing back six in the league, which is concerning against a Lions forward line which might be the most talented in the league, boasting the likes of Daniher, Cameron, Rayner, Bailey, and the list goes on. The winner of this game will earn a home Preliminary Final from which they’ll be favoured to earn a Grand Final berth, so there’s plenty on the line, and with the Lions having not yet faltered all year on their home turf, there’s no reason to go against them to do that now.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Lions 1-39$2.15
Over 167.5 total match points$1.91
Lions to win$1.45

Predicted Squads

Brisbane LionsBrisbane Lions: B: B.Starcevich, H.Andrews, J.Payne HB: C.McKenna, R.Lester, K.Coleman C: H.McCluggage, J.Dunkley, D.Zorko HF: C.Cameron, E.Hipwood, J.Berry F: C.Rayner, J.Daniher, Z.Bailey FOLL: O.McInerney, L.Neale, J.Lyons I/C: D.Robertson, C.Ah Chee, L. McCarthy, D.Wilmot

Port Adelaide PowerPort Adelaide Power: B: L.Jones, A.Aliir, D.Houston HB: K.Farrell, T. McKenzie, R.Burton C: Z.Butters, W.Drew, X.Duursma HF: W.Rioli, T.Marshall, J.McEntee F: D.Byrne-Jones, J.Finlayson, S.Powell-Pepper FOLL: S. Lycett, O.Wines, C.Rozee I/C: T.Boak, J.Horne-Francis, M.Bergman, O.Lord

Join PlayUp Today

Your Full Sports Betting Experience at BettingTop10

At BettingTop10, we’ve got all of your AFL betting needs covered. If you’re looking for the best AFL betting sites, then take a look at our detailed bookmaker reviews to find the one that suits you. And if you’re after a great mobile betting site for your AFL punting, our list of the best betting apps can help you out there.

What’s more, if you’re after some help in areas other than AFL, we can help you out there too. We’ve got pages about NRL, basketball, horse racing and more, so whatever your sports betting need, we at BettingTop10 can help you out.