With the JLT Community Series well underway, we thought it would be good to look at some of the futures markets for the 2017 AFL Premiership season.
There’s a lot to be excited about this year! Can GWS go all the way this season with their elite group of young players? Can a fit Nat Fyfe and Harley Bennell lift Fremantle back into finals contention? Will Essendon be a premiership contender now that they are back at full strength? Will the Bulldogs build on last years performance and go back-to-back?
Let’s take a look at the 2017 AFL futures markets below – all odds are with CrownBet and are accurate at the time of publication:
Best bet: GWS @ $4 – the Giants will be hurting from last years narrow preliminary final loss to the Bulldogs and they will be using that pain to drive them and keep them focused during the year. 2017 looks like it’ll be the last for some of the more senior members of the team and they will want to go out with a bang. Expect GWS to end up comfortably in the top two and earn the big advantage of playing finals at home.
Next best: Sydney @ $7.50 – after being run over by the Bulldogs in the last quarter of the 2016 grand final, the Swans will be looking to go one better this year. Expect Mills and Heeney to continue to lift and help fill the hole left by the departed Tom Mitchell. Expect Sydney to finish in the top four and and play finals in Sydney.
Best value: Essendon @ $34 – the Bombers are one of the big mysteries of the 2017 season. On paper, they now have a side that should finish in the top 6, however, the team has played very little football together and it could take them some time to work out the game plan. Watson and Heppell looked like they hadn’t missed a beat in the first JLT match and the Bombers midfield will cause a few headaches this year with the rise of Zach Merrett and Darcy Parish last year. We suggest taking the odds before the season starts and because the odds will quickly halve if they have a strong start to the season.
Best bet: at only $5, we think last years winner, Patrick Dangerfield, is too short to back before the season starts, however, he think he will certainly have a solid season. Our best bet at this stage of the season is Marcus Bontempelli @ $8.50. At only 21 years of age, “Bonts” is already one of the best players in the league and if he continues to improve in 2017, he’ll be a shoe in for the Brownlow this year.
Next best: Zach Merrett @ $31 and Gary Ablett @ $26 – Merrett was a shining light for the Bombers last year and with Watson and Heppell back in the side this year, he could continue to get off the leash this season and rack up 30+ possession games consistently.
Rule out “Gazza” at your own risk! We all know what Ablett is capable of and if he can stay on the park this year his odds will come in very quickly and he’ll be right in the mix on Brownlow night.
Value bet: Jobe Watson @ $41 and Tom Rockliff @ $51 – Jobe is looking fitter than ever and will be back with a vengeance in 2017. Will he cop a tag consistently or will opposition teams look to tag Merrett or Heppell? With Watson expected to spend more time up forward this year, he should hit the scoreboard more often which can’t hurt his Brownlow chances.
Tom Rockliff had his issues over the past two seasons but things are likely to change under new coach, Chris Fagan. We’re expecting to see a more disciplined Rockliff this season and if he can avoid a careless suspension, he’ll be right in contention for taking home “Charlie” at the end of the season.
Best bet: Jeremy Cameron @ $10 – it’s hard to go past the full forward of the premiership favourite. Cameron is ultra consistent and can kick big bags. He’ll be fed plenty of chances this season by the elite GWS midfield and we think he’ll come out on top at the end of the season.
Next best: Joe Daniher @ $17 – he was regularly double-teamed last year in the Bombers inexperienced forward line and has packed on some muscle during the preseason. He’ll have some potent support around him this year and will thrive in the one-on-one marking contests. Questions remain over his kicking accuracy but if he can get it right, this could be a real breakout year for Daniher.
Value bet: Jesse Hogan @ $26 – Melbourne have picked up a number of handy players during the off-season and Hogan will benefit with an increase in ball delivery into the forward line. If he can keep it together in his head he’ll be a big threat throughout the season.
Best bet: Jacob Hopper @ $7 – Hopper played 10 games in 2016 and averaged over 17 disposals. The 20 year old will improve again this year and with so many midfield stars in the GWS lineup, Hopper will slip under the radar of most opposition teams. Will be tough to beat for the Rising Star award.
Next best: Andrew McGrath @ $9 – the number one draft pick will get plenty of opportunities at Essendon this year and has already shown off his clean hands and slick skills in the first two matches of the JLT series. At $9, the Canadian-born McGrath is looking like good value before the season starts.
Value bet: Will Brodie @ $26 – the number nine selection in the 2016 draft is a big-bodied inside midfielder who loves winning the contested ball should play from round one and rack up plenty of possessions. One to watch.