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View from Down Under: Grand Final weekend offers plenty for Aussie punters

For Australian punters, the last weekend of September is all about footy grand finals with long-awaited AFL and NFL deciders.

Richmond will be the favorite among the massive MCG crowd, but bookies are tipping the Adelaide Crows to end their phenomenal season with the AFL flag on Saturday.

Richmond is playing in its first grand final since losing to Carlton in 1982, and the Tigers faithful have spent the last three weeks holding their breath as the Melbourne club first dispatched Geelong, then Greater Western Sydney on the way to a chance at history.

The Tigers last won a grand final in 1980.

Minor premiers Adelaide are playing their first AFL finale since beating North Melbourne in 1998 and come into the match in devastating form after ironically also beating GWS and Geelong these finals.

The Crows have also had to beat the odds to make the final after overcoming the tragic death of coach Phil Walsh in 2015 and the departures of stars Patrick Dangerfield, Phil Davis, Kurt Tippett and Jack Gunston.

With William Hill paying $1.68 (-147) for an Adelaide win, the Crows are the slight favorite over the Tigers on $2.20 (+120).

The last time the two sides met, in Round 6 of this season, the Crows took home the points from a lopsided 76-point win.

“I’ve been waiting since Round 6 to get this opportunity to come back and play them again,” Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said of the final matchup.

Richmond midfielder Dustin Martin won the Brownlow Medal this week and is the favorite to add the Norm Smith Medal to his growing trophy cabinet.

With Martin paying $4.50 (+350) to win the Norm Smith as the player of the grand final, many punters will be jumping on for a chance to profit from the AFL finale.

Martin is up against the likes of Adelaide’s Rory Sloane on $7 (+600), the Crouch brothers Matt on $8 (+700) and Brad on $13 (+1200), and Eddie Betts and Rory Laird, both on $13. Richmond co-captain Trent Cochin, who is free to play after being cleared of a dangerous tackle charge on Monday, is paying $8 (+700).

The North Queensland Cowboys defied the odds and all expectations to reach an NRL grand final matchup with the all-conquering Melbourne Storm.

The Cowboys are no strangers to the NRL’s biggest stage, but reaching a second grand final in three years, from the eighth spot and without injured playmaker Johnathan Thurston, stunned the bookies.

The Storm, by contrast, seemed never in doubt to make the decider after one of the most dominant seasons of the NRL era.

Melbourne is rightfully the short-odds favorite to win on Sunday, paying just $1.27 (-370) for a win against the $3.85 (+285) for the Cowboys.

A more tempting bet is the $3 (+200) on offer for Dally M award favorite Cameron Smith to win the Clive Churchill Medal as player of the final.

Smith’s closest rivals for the Churchill Medal are teammates Cooper Cronk on $5.50 (+450), Billy Slater on $8 (+700) and Cameron Munster on $9 (+800). North Queensland’s hopes rest with Michael Morgan and Jason Taumalolo on $11 (+1000).

Off the football field, the Presidents Cup between the U.S. and International teams tees off this week with Australian golfers among the top hopefuls.

Jason Day is the favorite to top score for the Internationals at $5.50 (+450), with Adam Scott on $6.50 (+550) and big-hitting Marc Leishman at a tempting $7 (+600).