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Where's the smart money this AFL season?

From Claire Siblot.
March 2017.

 

At the beginning of every AFL season, punters around Australia and the rest of the world attempt to predict the outcome of one of the most competitive competitions in sport. This is a reason why the AFL is such a popular sporting event to bet on, and the 2017 season looks set to be no different. While last year saw only two changes in the top eight clubs that went on to compete in the end of season finals, the 2017 campaign may well be a much more open affair.

Coming off the back of winning their second AFL title, Western Bulldogs are expected to be up there again this season, as will last year's minor premiers Sydney and the likes of Geelong and Adelaide. So, with the new season edging ever closer, let's have a look at where punters should be putting their money heading into a fascinating 2017 AFL campaign.

Title Contenders

Greater Western Sydney: With odds of around 7/2 to take the flag this year is Greater Western Sydney, and it's no surprise when you look at this exciting Giants squad. After finishing fourth in the AFL ladder last year, GSW went on to reach the preliminary finals before losing to eventual premiers, Western Bulldogs. Still boasting one of the youngest squads in the league, only Jacob Hopper and Rory Lobb have played less than 50 AFL matches, with a host of players set to reach the 100 appearance mark at some point in 2017. While there are still weaknesses in the Giants'defence as we head into the season, this looks a very strong squad and one capable of becoming premiers this year.

Verdict: Good Bet

Underachievers

West Coast: The Eagles might have finished last season strongly on their way to fourth place in the ladder, it's important to remember just how inconsistent the team were for the majority of the year up until that point. The addition of Sam Mitchell to a midfield that lacked real quality last season has been a boost to the team, but the loss of Nic Naitanui to an ACL tear could well be a blow that significantly holds back the Eagles in 2017. Then, of course, there is the question as to whether Jack Darling can recover from his disappointment in last season's finals, where his costly mistake resulted in West Coast losing to the Bulldogs.

Verdict: Avoid

Surprise Packages

Essendon: Last year was never going to be a successful one for the Bombers following the loss of almost all their key players and that turned out to be the case. Now with a string of top stars back and coming off a lengthy break, the Bombers could well be one of the surprise packages in 2017. While there is a strong chance it will take at least a year before Essendon get back to where they were a few seasons ago, it certainly isn't beyond the realms of possibility that Jobe Watson and his men upset the apple cart and sneak into the top eight.


"NAB CUP 2013 - Giants v Essendon" (CC BY-ND 2.0) by Amy Mergard Photography + Design

Verdict: Worth a punt

 

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