We have a sense of déjà vu approaching this Sunday’s decider in Croke Park.
These teams meet for the third year in a row and this is turning into one of the great GAA rivalries. This year’s championship has been poor so far and everyone is hoping for a classic to make up for this.
Here are some of the bets to look out for. We have rated the bets from 1-5 with one being dodgy and five being a sure thing.
Dublin – An unstoppable force?
There is a train of thought out there that this could be a cakewalk for Dublin. The manner of their victory against Tyrone was so awesome that comparisons to the Kerry teams of 1970s and 80s are justified.
However, we do not believe this will be the hammering some pundits are tipping. Mayo’s resilience is admirable.
Despite being continuously written off, they still confound those opinions.
In both the 2015 and 2016 clashes, the games ended level. Dublin beat them by the bare minimum in both replays. Mayo had chances to win both those games and will not hold the same fear the other thirty counties have of Dublin.
We will stop short of tipping Mayo to end the curse. We do expect it to be close, however. The best bet of the weekend in our eyes is Mayo (+4) at 5/6, we will have a three-point stake on this.
Jim Gavin has some massive selection calls to make this weekend. Does he start Diarmuid Connolly? Will Paul Flynn and Eric Lowndes be recalled?
One player whose starting place is under threat from semi-final is Niall Scully.
He did not make the same impact some of his more illustrious team mates made against Tyrone.
We feel he may not start this Sunday. With the quality their bench possesses, no player is guaranteed of game time. Scully has only scored one point in his four championship starts this season and has failed to finish any of his starts. We feel a value bet here is Scully to score under 0.5 points. We will have a two-point stake on this at odds of 11/10.
One feature of Dublin’s play is their ability to attack with all fourteen outfield players going forward.
This means that as well as trying to score enough to take Sam, the Mayo forwards will have a very important defensive role. They will be expected to track the attacking runs of Cooper, McMahon and McCaffrey.
Cillian O’Connor has done his fair share of this throughout this years championship.
However at times his discipline has let him down, he has received yellow cards against Roscommon and Galway as well as being black carded against Kerry.
He is prone to fouling in particular in the middle third.
Expect to see a little bit of cynical fouling in this area from the Mayo players in an attempt to slow down any quick counter attacks. Based on this, we feel that the value bet here is a 1.5 point stake on Cillian O’Connor to be booked at odds of 11/4.
Bear in the Square, Pundit Arena