Wed, Dec 13, 11:42am by Staff Writer
Pre-season is in full swing for all 18 AFL clubs as they begin the quest to become the 2018 premiership winner on that last Saturday in September.
Adelaide ($5) and Sydney ($5) are joint favourites to take out the 2018 premiership in the Sportsbet 2018 AFL Premiership Winner market.
Despite losing key players Jake Lever and Charlie Cameron during the off-season, punters remain keen on the Crows to avenge their 2017 defeat against Richmond.
Sydney had a terrible 0-6 start to 2017, before marching into the finals before falling well short against Geelong in the semi-finals. A better start from the Swans and they will certainly make the 2018 top four if they can continue their form from late-2017.
Greater Western Sydney continues to be a team on the cusp of success, after making consecutive preliminary finals in 2016 and 2017. At $5.50, they are third favourite at Sportsbet to take home the cup.
Defending champions Richmond ($7) have a largely unchanged roster after retaining the services of Brownlow medalist Dustin Martin. They have had a shortened pre-season and one full of deserved celebration after their drought-breaking premiership.
As we saw in 2017 with the Western Bulldogs, a premiership year can very easily be followed up by mediocrity, so the Tigers will be hoping to prevent what happened to the Bulldogs happening to them.
Geelong ($9) are perennial contenders and have been for over a decade. They welcome back favourite some Gary Ablett to their midfield core that includes Joel Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield. Ablett’s class adds another layer to Geelong’s forward line and makes them a dangerous proposition. If the Cats can make top four again, then they are a dangerous team.
Port Adelaide and Melbourne both enjoyed productive off-seasons, when the Power recruiting former Demons Jack Watts and Jack Trengove as well as ex-Lion Tom Rockliff.
The Power were shattered by an extra-time loss to the West Coast Eagles last season, and will be eyeing off a top four finish in 2018. The Power are seeing good support from punters at Sportsbet, who are offering $10 for Port to win the flag.
The Demons welcome star Jake Lever into their ranks, building upon some key recruiting they have made over the past two seasons. At $13, Melbourne are over-rated at present, given they have not made the finals for some time.
Essendon have also recruited heavily this off-season, bringing in Jake Stringer, Adam Saad and Devon Smith. The Bombers appear to have put the supplements saga behind them, and will be hoping to build on last season’s finals appearance. At $15, the Bombers represent more value than Melbourne and Port Adelaide in early betting
The Western Bulldogs ($21), Collingwood ($21) and Hawthorn ($23) will all be hoping for better 2018 seasons, but know their chances of winning the flag are slim.
All three of these teams have a core of young players who will be looking to gain finals experience, so a top-eight finish will be a more realistic goal for these teams.
West Coast ($31) and St Kilda ($34) are two teams not seeing much love from punters in the early flag market.
Given the Eagles’ home field advantage and the fact they played in last years finals series, the current price being offered on them is generous. Despite an ageing list, the Eagles have shown an ability to win their fair share of games at home, which make them always thereabouts when it comes to playing finals football.
Fremantle ($41), Carlton ($51), North Melbourne ($81), Brisbane ($81) and Gold Coast ($81) are more likely to win the wooden spoon than win the flag in 2018, with the Gold Coast the team favoured to win the least amount of games in 2018 at Sportsbet at $2.85, followed by Brisbane at $4.
AFL Premiership Winner 2018 – Sportsbet
Greater Western Sydney $5.50
Port Adelaide $10
Western Bulldogs $21
West Coast $31
St Kilda $34
North Melbourne $81
Gold Coast $81
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