ONLINE bookmaker CrownBet.com.au has installed the Sydney Swans as early favourites for the 2018 AFL Premiership.
The Bloods endured a horror start to 2017, but a run of 14 wins from their last 16 home and away games sees them leading the market at $5 odds.
On the second line of AFL Premiership betting are Adelaide, who topped the table for much of this year before falling at the final hurdle.
With Bryce Gibbs expected to sign from Carlton and add to their midfield depth, the Crows are paying $5.50 to go one better next time around.
Greater Western Sydney, who opened as favourites for the 2017 flag, have now reached back-to-back preliminary finals without going on to the big dance.
Blessed with buckets of top-notch talent, including the newly re-signed Josh Kelly, the Giants are pegged at $6 to break their duck in 12 months’ time.
That brings us to the premiers.
— AFL on 7 (@7AFL) September 30, 2017
This time last year, Damien Hardwick’s position as Richmond coach was in serious doubt after a complete and utter capitulation against Sydney in the final round of the season.
That effort and the off-field drama that followed saw bookmakers place the Tigers on the third-last line of the early outright markets, above only Carlton and the Brisbane Lions.
They made fools of us all on Saturday as they ended their 37-year drought with a comprehensive win over Adelaide, and CrownBet has them rounding out a tight top four at $6.50 odds.
From there, things start to open up considerably.
Geelong are paying $10 despite Andrew Mackie and Tom Lonergan joining the list of retired premiership greats, while Port Adelaide are quoted at $15 to do what their cross-town rivals could not.
Melbourne ($17) and the Western Bulldogs ($21) both missed finals this year, but both are rated among the top eight chances.
Enigmatic Essendon ($23) are tipped to be right on the verge again as the likes of Collingwood and Hawthorn (both $26) look to bounce back from disappointing campaigns.
Bookies are forecasting a tough season for the West Coast, who have blown out to $29 for the 2018 premiership after starting as short as $13 last time.
The Eagles were up and down all year, while the twin retirements of Brownlow Medal winners Sam Mitchell and Matt Priddis leave a huge hole to fill.
St Kilda fell well short of expectations in 2017, but Saints fans should take heart from what has transpired in the recent past.
Alan Richardson’s men are paying $34 – exactly the price Sportsbet.com.au quoted for Richmond a year ago.
Punters looking for another bolt from the blue may also take notice of Fremantle ($51) and Carlton ($67) at long odds.
The Lions have shown significant improvement since March, yet they share the $101 bottom line with North Melbourne and a Gold Coast side that will almost certainly lose Gary Ablett this summer.
2018 AFL outright odds
$5.50 – Adelaide
$6 – GWS Giants
$6.50 – Richmond
$10 – Geelong
$15 – Port Adelaide
$17 – Melbourne
$21 – Western Bulldogs
$23 – Essendon
$26 – Collingwood, Hawthorn
$29 – West Coast
$34 – St Kilda
$51 – Fremantle
$67 – Carlton
$101 – Brisbane Lions, Gold Coast, North Melbourne
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