It’s become increasingly common for top four teams to exit the finals in straight sets in recent years, and this year we’ve had two of them. Both the Demons and Power fell victim to that trend last weekend, leaving us with two intriguing Preliminary Finals and the prospect of some vastly differing Grand Final matchups. It could be the Magpies vs the Lions – the top two teams all year. It could be the Magpies vs the Blues in a game which could result in the city of Melbourne being burnt to the ground. The exact opposite to that would be the Lions vs Giants, two non-Melbourne teams with limited supporter bases in the game’s biggest city. Or, it could be the Giants vs the Blues, which would be perhaps the most unlikely Grand Final matchup in history based on where they both were halfway through the season. Friday and Saturday nights will determine who gets to compete for the 2023 Premiership, and we’ve previewed both games in detail below.
AFL 2023 Finals Week 3 – Betting tips & Predictions
Collingwood Magpies vs GWS Giants
For the Magpies, a Preliminary Final – and likely a home one – has seemed like their destiny for much of the year. For the Giants, halfway through the season a bottom four finish looked likely. But despite those wildly differing expectations a few short months ago, the two will play off for a spot in the Grand Final this Friday night. The Magpies will be well rested following their week off, and though they weren’t even necessarily the better team against the Demons in their Qualifying Final, their hot start and some resolute defence was enough to see them hang on and ensure they can win their way to a Premiership without having to leave the MCG. They’ll also almost certainly be boosted by the long-awaited return of Nick Daicos, while Darcy Moore is expected to be good to go despite a wrist injury that he was apparently managing during the win over the Dees. With close to a full bill of health and having been realistically the best team in the league for much of the year, they’ll be feeling pretty confidence about their chances heading into this one.
But underestimate the Giants at your own peril. The Orange Tsunami has well and truly swept through the AFL, picking up first the Saints and then the Power so far these finals. Their incredible turnaround in form halfway through the season has seen them lose just two of their last 13 games, and they only appear to be getting better. Their second quarter against the Power last weekend was as impressive as what any team has conjured up all season, with their midfield tearing apart a very talented opposing trio, Jesse Hogan, Toby Greene and co looking lethal up forward, and their Sam Taylor led backline one of the best in the league. They might be tracking ahead of schedule, but this is a legitimately good team in some white-hot form, and having already exceeded expectations they can play with the almost reckless abandon which has been such a feature of their back half of the season, even with a spot in the Grand Final up for grabs.
This should be an enthralling game. The Giants move the ball as well as anyone out of the back line, while the Magpies’ will be looking to capitalise on turnovers in their own back half and score in the modern day version of Pagan’s Paddock, as they so often do. The ball should be absolutely zinging around the MCG on Friday night, and with names like Daicos (x2), Pendlebury, De Goey, Green, Greene, Coniglio and a whole lot more running around, the footy should be as high quality as it is entertaining. The MCG will be filled to the brim with manic Magpies supporters, but virtually everyone will probably be hoping for a Giants upset. If they can play like they did in the second quarter last week, the visitors could very well give the Pies a scare, but it’s been tough to pick against Collingwood all season, and on their home turf, that’s no different this week.
|Magpies to win||$1.50|
|Under 168.5 total match points||$1.91|
Collingwood Magpies: FB: Maynard, Murphy, Quaynor HB: Pendlebury, Moore, Crisp C: Hoskin-Elliott, De Goey, J. Daicos HF: Hill, Mihocek, Lipinski FF: Elliott, McStay, McCreery FO: Cameron, N. Daicos, Sidebottom I/C: Mitchell, Cox, Ginnivan, Howe
GWS Giants: FB: Idun, Taylor, Buckley HB: Whitfield, Himmelberg, Ash C: Kelly, Green, Callaghan HF: Daniels, Riccardi, Bedford FF: Greene, Hogan, Lloyd FO: Briggs, Ward, Coniglio I/C: Cumming, Perryman, Keeffe, Brown
Brisbane Lions vs Carlton Blues
There are plenty of similarities about this game and the Preliminary Final which precedes it. Ever since the Lions jumped into the top two, it’s all been in front of them – the ability to lock in a spot so high up the ladder meant a Grand Final berth could be theirs without having to leave the Gabba, and they fulfilled the first part of that deal with a comfortable win over the Power in their Qualifying Final. The Blues, meanwhile, seemed set to battle it out for a spot in the bottom four just a few short months ago after eight losses in nine games, but their second half of the season turnaround has been as drastic as any in recent memory, and two close finals wins in a row, they’re in a Prelim.
Brisbane will deservedly go into this game as favourites. So far this season, they’re yet to lose a single game at the Gabba – a pretty good form line for them to hang their hat on. Another form line which bodes well for them is their actual form line – they’ve won five games in a row prior to this one. It is worth noting, however, that three of those have been pretty close – they beat the Saints by just 12 points in the last game of the home and away season, and the Dockers and Crows by a kick each just prior to that. But winning form is winning form, and particularly on the Gabba they’ll be very confident about their ability to get the job done.
The Blues, however, have some pretty handy winning form of their own in the rear view mirror. In fact, the only game they’ve lost out of their past 13 was against the Giants in the final game of the home and away season, and that was a dead rubber. Like the Lions, plenty of those have been close – in fact, four of their past five wins have been by a kick or less, including their two finals. But two of those close wins have been against the Demons and another against the Swans, while they also beat the Pies just a few weeks ago. Their form well and truly stacks up with any other team in the competition, so while they’ll have to do what no other team has done all season if they want to play in the Grand Final and beat Brisbane at the Gabba, there’s reason to believe that they can do it.
Like in the preceding Prelim, and in most of them, the talent in this game will be plentiful. Despite the Lions’ inability to make a Grand Final during their sustained period towards the top of the ladder in recent years, talent has never been an issue, and with the likes of Neale, Dunkley, Daniher and Cameron running around they’ve got plenty of players capable of taking this game by the scruff of the necks. But so too do the Blues. Much of the reason expectations surrounding them have been high for the last few years is the fact that they have one of the best midfields in the league, two of the best key forwards in the game and one of the best key backs in the game. They’ll need all of those stars to fire to give the Lions a run, but so too will their lesser lights need to shine. It’s hard to quantify just how much of an influence the Blues’ momentum will have on their performance here, but they are every chance of giving this a shake. As impressive their back half of the year has been, however, the Lions haven’t lost all year at the Gabba for a reason, and at long last this talented team can make their way to the big dance.
|Under 166.5 total match points||$1.91|
|Lions to win||$1.36|
Brisbane Lions: FB: Starcevich, Andrews, Payne HB: McKenna, Lester, Ah Chee C: McCluggage, Dunkley, Zorko HF: Cameron, Hipwood, Berry FF: Rayner, Daniher, McCarthy FOLL: McInerney, Neale, Bailey I/C: Robertson, Wilmot, Coleman, Fletcher
Carlton Blues: FB: McGovern, Weitering, Newman HB: Docherty, Kemp, Saad C: Acres, Hewett, Cottrell HF: Fogarty, McKay, Martin FF: Motlop, Curnow, Owies FO: Pittonet, Cripps, Walsh I/C: Marchbank, Cerra, De Koning, Cincotta
- Of the six finals which have taken place in the past two weeks, four have seen less than 168.5 total match points, and the Magpies only final had just 113 points scored.
- The Lions haven’t lost a single game at the Gabba all season long.
Multi of the Week
|Magpies vs Giants under 168.5 total match points||$1.90|
|Bet $10 for $40.85 with PlayUp|
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