PUNTING SPECTATOR: Finals fever

After a long AFL season, the finals are finally here and Dr Turf can see a very good value tip. Meanwhile, there is plenty on the line in the last round of the NRL.

Well, the AFL finals kick off this weekend and that God for that. Last weekend at least half a dozen teams were focused on their end-of-season adventures rather than actually playing footy, so it's a relief to get into the finals. Here are the prices, this week from Betstar.


Team
Price
Adelaide
1.63
Collingwood
2.36
Sydney
1.76
North Melbourne
2.13
Geelong
1.13
St Kilda
6.50


Collingwood go to Adelaide on Saturday afternoon to play the Crows in front of a hostile crowd at AAMI Stadium. Collingwood are undermanned again and will miss their captain Scott Burns, but do welcome back Dale Thomas. On the other hand, Adelaide look equally undermanned and will sorely miss Jason Porplyzia who has played on after dislocating his shoulder 22 times this year – he did it for the 23rd time recently and that will keep him out. The Pies generally travel well on the odd occasion that the AFL does actually ask them to get on a plane, and there doesn’t look much between these two teams. Watch and boo them both.

Saturday night sees the Kangaroos take on Sydney at ANZ Stadium. Sydney are $1.76. Forget last week’s results and North would be $1.50 this weekend. The ‘Roos shot themselves in the both feet last week, giving up the double chance, but look terrific value at $2.13 against the Swans. I know Adam Goodes and Ryan O’Keefe are back, but there is still a big injury cloud over Goodes and Michael O’Loughlin is still sorely missed.

And on Sunday, the mighty Cats take on the Saints. Just how St Kilda ended up fourth with the double chance is one of the mysteries of the universe. In fact, Stephen Hawking was asked how the Saints got fourth, and not even that great man could explain it. St Kilda are playing very well at the right time of the year and never underestimate momentum in September. I might have something on the Saints at the 33 ½ line.

Now let's have a look at the NRL.


Team
Price
Penrith
5.40
Manly
1.17
Cronulla
1.22
Nth Queensland
4.50
Parramatta
2.25
NZ Warriors
1.65
Canberra
1.10
Canterbury
7.50
Gold Coast
1.23
Wests Tigers
4.50
Melbourne
1.03
South Sydney
14.00


Will the real Parramatta stand up this week ? Of course they will, because a win will count for nothing, and when the Eels have nothing to play for, we see the best of them. That might sound harsh, but it is reality. The Eels host the New Zealand Warriors on Saturday night, having won seven of the past eight encounters between the pair at Parramatta. The Kiwis will be without Wade McKinnon, they were a rabble before he returned from injury, and I can’t believe they are favourites here. Take the $2.25 for the Eels, and hope for the best.

Canberra got towelled up by the Cowboys last week, and their injury toll is catching up with them. By the time they run out on to the ground on Sunday, they will probably know that they can’t go too much higher on the ladder. I can see Terry Campese and Colin Best spending plenty of time on the bench as there will be no point risking them with the finals coming up. So, I think that the go here is to take the 18½ point start for the Bulldogs. The Doggies weren’t completely hopeless against Brisbane last week, and I think they may be some little hope of winning the game.

Good luck punters but remember, let’s be careful out there.