Globally, there are very few sporting spectacles that can hold a candle to the Grand Final weekend in Australia. Sure, in the United States, the Super Bowl has effectively become a national holiday, but could you imagine if the NBA or Stanley Cup Finals concluded on the same weekend? Could you imagine how things would be in the UK if the FA Cup Final and Wimbledon Final were played a day apart?
Having both the AFL Grand Final (29th September) and NRL Grand Final (30th September) within hours of each other is nothing short of spectacular. Indeed, if you throw in the fact that sport nuts can also binge on the Ryder Cup and Russian F1 Grand Prix in the same weekend, it seems almost greedy.
Richmond on course for second successive title
Of course, these events are huge for punters in Australia and elsewhere. Those long-sighted bettors who carefully selected the Roosters, Swans, Tigers, Storm and others at the start of the season will be hoping that their patience will be rewarded with a big payout. Even now in early September, punters will be forensically analysing the movements in the markets to find value in the sporting protagonists of early spring.
Indeed, it is still possible to get some value in the markets as we approach the business end of the season. In the AFL, Richmond have been made huge favourites by Bet365 at 2.20 to win the Grand Final. That comes by way of topping the ladder in the regular season, but statistics show that only two of the last 10 ‘minor premiers’ have gone on to win the Grand Final. For many punters, that 20% strike rate will not match up to Richmond’s odds.
Collingwood make first finals series since 2013
Is it better then to take a look away from Richmond? A Collingwood (8.00, Unibet), West Coast (7.50, Bet365) or Melbourne (10.00, Ladbrokes) victory would not be regarded as major shock and offer a much more handsome than the Tigers. Moreover, if you check out the best Australian free bets for these bookmakers, you can limit the risk to your wallet should Richmond do the business.
The NRL Grand Final odds are not just as tight as the AFL, but they have consistently backed the same favourite from the very first day of the season – Sydney Roosters. As the season progressed, the Rooster’s odds have not dropped dramatically, starting at around 5.00 and going to 3.40 (Bet365) after all 24 games have been completed.
Storm look in a strong position
Much of the talk going into the finals is about Melbourne Storm, who finished the season strongly, winning nine of the last eleven in a run that included a galvanising 9-8 victory over Sydney in June. Storm’s Grand Final odds dropped from about 7.00 preseason to a healthy 4.50 (Unibet) today. Plenty will be expecting a Storm vs Roosters showdown at the ANZ Stadium on 30th September, but don ‘t forget that this was one of the tightest NRL seasons in memory, with only points difference separating the top four teams. Rabbitohs and Sharks come in around 5.00 and 6.50 respectively: it’s going to be tight.
Whatever happens, it’s going to be a great weekend of sport. Sydney and Melbourne, regardless if the local sides are competing, will make a wonderful atmosphere. From a betting perspective however, the advice is not to be sucked into the trap of simply backing the favourites for the sake of it. Both the NRL and AFL will provide plenty of shocks over the coming weeks, so sit back and enjoy.