AFL Betting: Roo's Round up for 2012
I’m pleased to be able to share my thoughts and opinions with Betfair punters every week of the upcoming season, offering my tips and projections, and hopefully helping you find some winners.
Betfair is thrilled to introduce Brownlow medal winner and AFL Hall of Fame inductee Mark Ricciuto to our tipping team with his wealth of footy insight for the 2012 AFL Season.
With the Sydney derby the only game this weekend, The Roo has taken a long-term look at the season ahead and gives his tips for the final eight, Brownlow and Rising Star....
Welcome to the 2012 footy season!
I'm pleased to be able to share my thoughts and opinions with Betfair punters every week of the upcoming season, offering my tips and projections, and hopefully helping you find some winners.
To kick things off, let's look at my pick for the top eight. I'll preface this by saying that at this time of year you always make predictions on the assumption each side has average luck with injury.
However, as we all know, this often doesn't happen and will ultimately affect ladder positions.
1. Hawthorn [1.15]
Despite a terrible run with injuries the Hawks were a kick away from a Grand Final in 2011 and are my prediction for the 2012 Premiership ($4.40). Despite a weakness in the ruck, they are a well-drilled and highly-skilled side who use the ball well in an era where good ball use is paramount. Lance Franklin and Sam Mitchell should both build on impressive 2011 seasons, which, coupled with the return of big man Jarryd Roughead and a fit Luke Hodge, points towards the 2008 Premiers making up for a couple of disappointing seasons.
2. Geelong [1.21]
Written off by many last year, I still felt they could win the flag, and they did. Even with the loss of senior personnel in the coach's box and important players over the last couple of seasons, they remain a good chance if Tom Hawkins can kick 50+ goals to support James Podsiadly up front.
3. West Coast [1.43]
Not even the most loyal of fans predicted the 2010 wooden spooners could finish top-four in 2011. Their young players will continue to adapt to Worsfold's game plan and improve. Dean Cox, Andrew Embley, Darren Glass, Daniel Kerr and Quentin Lynch all need to have good seasons, but who is going to step up in the forward line in the absence of Mark LeCras and Mark Nicoski? If the rumours are true, Josh Kennedy's foot injury will prevent West Coast from challenging for a flag.
4. Adelaide [1.80]
This is not just a biased former player talking! Eight of the past twelve NAB Cup winners have finished top-four that season. Refreshed and enthusiastic under new coach Brenton Sanderson, the Crows list has never been healthier and they will hope this luck can continue through the season entire.
5. Collingwood [1.14]
The Pies could still win the flag, but I expect them to slide this year. A new coaching group will need to fill the holes created by the loss of Mick Malthouse, Mark Neeld and Scott Watters. The departure of experienced players such as Leon Davis and Leigh Brown also leaves queries. Sometimes after sustained success teams lose the hunger required to go again. I hope the Pies can prove me wrong.
6. Carlton [1.30]
Carlton is a side on the rise with a great midfield, a potential superstar in a fit Matt Kreuzer and some exciting small forwards. The key to Carlton's success will be getting a full year out of bookends, such as Michael Jamison and Jarrad Waite. These two need to play 18+ games for Carlton to be a genuine chance.
7. Fremantle [1.86]
Like Adelaide, Freo had a terrible run of injuries last season but should find some fresh improvements, attitudes and professionalism under new coach Ross Lyon. Aaron Sandilands giving their midfield first use is critical, as is Matthew Pavlich playing deep forward, which I think he can do with great success. The Dockers also have the benefit of a genuine home-ground advantage.
8. Essendon [2.12]
While you could throw a blanket over half a dozen sides, Essendon could take the eighth spot given that they are stronger and have had more time learning James Hird's game plan. Look for a fit Michael Hurley and Courtney Dempsey to each have a big year for the Bombers.
My general rule is that the Brownlow is a midfielder's award, usually won by someone in a successful side.
Be careful, though: a lot can go wrong between the opening and closing round.
A better idea might be smaller bets at longer odds on quality players that vote well, such as Scott Thompson [60.00], Luke Hodge [44.00], Michael Barlow [95.00] and even Paul Chapman [210.00], or if you think a big man can win, Aaron Sandilands [70.00], Travis Cloke [440.00], Buddy Franklin [22.00] and Matthew Pavlich [90.00] who are all over the odds.
A Rising Star selection presents us with a bit of a challenge as, with the introduction of Greater Western Sydney, there are so many unknowns. Like we saw with David Swallow last season, I believe it will be hard for a GWS player to win the award with the lack of senior bodies around to support them.
My early selection is utility Billie Smedts [$14], Geelong's first round pick from the 2010 draft. He has yet to debut, but there are big wraps on this kid from people in the know at the Cattery. My advice would be to stay out for the first month until you get a better guide as to who is a realistic chance.
Good luck in the season ahead.
I look forward to sharing my thoughts and tips as the year progresses.