Expect a tight, low-scoring contest on Saturday night’s do-or-die final between Fremantle and the Western Bulldogs at Optus Stadium in Perth.
The best betting stat in footy provides a golden opportunity to cash-in on a low-scoring Elimination Final.
Fremantle night games at Optus are an automatic bet for the under given every single one of them, now 16 all up, have fallen short of the total.
The head-to-head record leans this way as well, with six of the last nine going under, and while 13 of 22 Bulldogs games have gone over in 2022, three of their last four have fallen short.
Neither team is particularly strong in attack. Fremantle have clearly the worst offence of this year’s finalists, ranked 12th at 79 points per game, dropping to 69.6 against top eight teams (six of nine of these games have also gone under). They’re ranked 17th for points scored in the last six weeks. In better news, they’re also the second-best defence, conceding 67.5 points per game.
While the Dogs have the fifth ranked attack, they have beaten up on some bad opposition to skew this number. In nine games against fellow finalists, they’ve only kicked more than 80 points twice.
Confidence in the under only grows with the weather forecast. The bureau are predicting a 90% chance of 6-15mm of rain on Saturday. Over the last decade, 72% of games played in damp or wet conditions have gone under, increasing to 84% when played at night.
UPDATE: Rain looks like it’ll clear by game time. Confidence still high in the under.
If this forecast holds later in the week, expect the total to tumble in. Even if it doesn’t, the under remains a very strong play.
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Finals games are typically more contested than home and away matches and the forecast rain will only swing the pendulum toward the inside midfielders.
Josh Dunkley has recorded 25+ disposals in four straight games while Jack Macrae has had 25+ in 20 of 22 games this year.
The wet conditions should suit Bulldogs small forward Cody Weightman. He’s kicked 2+ goals in three of his last four games and three against the Dockers in Round 21.
With rain forecast the value lies with the visitors as this is a meeting of the AFL’s best and worst performers in wet weather.
UPDATE: Still keen on the Dogs tonight despite the rain clearing. Perhaps look to the line rather than off the stick however.
Fremantle have covered the line in the wet just once in their last nine games. They’ve scored a pathetic 44.6 points in these matches (even adjusting for 2020 shortened games).
The Dockers’ three worst performances of the year all came in the wet. In consecutive weeks they suffered twin 36 point losses to Gold Coast and Collingwood while their 46 point loss to Melbourne in Round 20 was also rain-affected.
Their precise ball movement and strong team defence just isn’t as effective in these conditions, while the Dogs contested bulls relish the slop. They’ve covered in their last four in the rain.
While Freo got the victory in Round 21 over the Bulldogs by 17 points, Champion Data’s expected scoring actually had the Dogs winning by seven. Rory Lobb kicked four goals, all from beyond 50 out. That’s not a scenario that is likely to repeat itself this week, or ever for that matter.
There are question marks over the fitness of three key Dockers too. Rory Lobb (calf) and Griffin Logue (groin) both missed Round 23 but are likely to play, while Matt Taberner is some chance after missing the last two, also with a calf injury. Captain Nat Fyfe has suffered a hamstring injury and will miss, although he’s been miles off his best in 2022. The Dogs will be at full strength.
Finally, Luke Beveridge has demonstrated an almost mystical ability to motivate his players in September. With so much finals experience on his side, against a team returning to post-season action for the first time since 2015, the Dogs are a great bet for an upset.