THE time has arrived.
With just three more sleeps until the 2015 AFL season officially gets underway, our club-by-club analysis of the season ahead reaches its crescendo.
After covering the battlers near the bottom of the ladder, the teams on the edge of the finals in and those we think will sneak into the final eight, we now answer the question that you have all been asking – who are the teams that will finish top four?
Each of the four teams covered below has legitimate claims to the AFL throne in 2015, and we would not be surprised to see any combination of these four teams battling it out for premiership glory.
However, we’re not here to sit on the fence at Betting Site, so enjoy the remainder of the article, and hope you find plenty of winning wagers in 2015.
4th – North Melbourne Kangaroos
>Premiership odds: $13 via Sportsbet
Top 4: $3.25 via Sportsbet
Top 8: $1.50 via Sportsbet
2015 win line: Over 13.5 games $2.00 via Sportsbet
Coleman medal favourite: Drew Petrie $51 via Sportsbet (better than $41 offered by Centrebet)
Brownlow medal favourite: Andrew Swallow $67 via Sportsbet (better than $51 offered by Centrebet)
Rising star favourite: Kayne Turner $21 via Sportsbet (better than $17 offered at Centrebet)
Favoured North bet: North Melbourne skipper Andrew Swallow missed significant amounts of football in 2014/15, but after a red-hot preseason he looks ready to again place himself among the game’s elite.
The 27-year-old has been a renowned tackler throughout his career, ranking first in the AFL twice in the last five years for tackles, even recording a monstrous 17 tackle game against Adelaide in 2012.
If Swallow can stay on the park for the entirety of the season, the $6 on offer for the North Melbourne captain to record the most tackles in 2015 looks a likely prospect.
Our say on the Roos: The Kangaroos were one of the surprise packets of last year, shocking the Cats in sensational style in the semi-final to progress through to the preliminary final against a rampant Sydney.
Now the footy world knows what they can do, will they able to put it all together when it matters most to progress even further?
A top-four finish will be the minimum benchmark for coach Brad Scott, and with the acquisitions of the classy Shaun Higgins (Western Bulldogs) and the enigmatic Jarrad Waite (Carlton), a Grand Final berth is not out of the realms of possibility.
3rd – Port Adelaide
Premiership odds: $5.50 via William Hill
Top 4: $1.90 via William Hill
Top 8: $1.20 via Sportsbet
2015 win line: Over/Under 15 games $1.90 via Sportsbet
Coleman medal favourite: Jay Schultz $15 via Sportsbet (better than $10 offered by Centrebet)
Brownlow medal favourite: Robbie Grey $17 via William Hill
Rising star favourite: Sam Colquhoun $81 via Sportsbet (better than $17 offered at Centrebet)
Favoured Power bet: All the rage this year is for Robbie Gray to set the 2015 season alight after a terrific tail end to last year, and in doing so has taken a significant amount of gloss off his skipper – Travis Boak.
Boak had a standout season in 2014, finishing equal fourth in Brownlow medal voting and seven votes clear of Gray in the final standings.
Boak knows how to find the ball and use it effectively; most importantly, he knows how to stand out while doing so.
This is why the $3.25 on offer at Sportsbet for Boak to amass the most Brownlow votes by any Power player is the bet to go with.
Our say on the Power: What a ride 2014 was for Power fans!
The team were one kick away from making the Grand Final, and had it not been for some immaturity from players in the latter stages of the match, the Power could be entering the season as reigning premiers.
It was not to be for the Power in 2014 though, and despite a strong showing, Power coach Ken Hinkley has not rested on his team’s blistering season, acquiring arguably the best ruckman in the game, Paddy Ryder, to bolster his somewhat weak ruck division.
Ryder adds exactly what the Power lacked last year, deft tap-work, an ability to go forward and kick goals and a fifth midfielder around stoppages once the ball hits the ground.
Do not be surprised to see the Power play off in the 2015 Grand Final.
2nd – Hawthorn Hawks
Premiership odds: $4 via Sportsbet
Top 4: $1.30 via Sportsbet
Top 8: $1.07 via Sportsbet
2015 win line: Under 16 games $1.95 via Sportsbet
Coleman medal favourite: Jarryd Roughead $7 via Sportsbet (better than $6 offered by Centrebet)
Brownlow medal favourite: Sam Mitchell $34 via William Hill (better than $21 offered by Centrebet)
Rising star favourite: Jed Anderson $12 via Sportsbet
Favoured Hawthorn bet: Jed Anderson has been the talk of the pre-season thus far, leaving people scratching their heads as to how the Hawks can win premierships and still unearth A-grade talent whilst doing so.
Anderson is one of the early favourites for the Rising Star award this season, and should be a lock for the Hawks starting 22 round one.
The $12 on offer at Sportsbet will not last long at that quote if Anderson is able to emulate his NAB challenge form in the home and away season.
Our say on the Hawks: The Hawks have taken all before them in the last two years, winning the 2013 and 14 premierships, and acquiring all the young and seasoned talent – ex-Dee James Frawley and former Giant Jonathan O’Rouke just to name two – along the way.
While the players and the coaching staff will not say it publicly, the three-peat has to be the unspoken mantra of the club going into 2015, and with a healthy playing list – including the acquisition of Frawley who boosts their tall back stocks – the Hawks again will be very hard to beat this season.
Anything short of a Grand Final berth will be considered a failure.
1st – Sydney Swans
>Premiership odds: $4.75 via Sportsbet
Top 4: $1.35 via Sportsbet
Top 8: $1.07 via Sportsbet
2015 win line: Over 16 games $2.00 via Sportsbet
Coleman medal favourite: Lance Franklin $4.25 via Sportsbet
Brownlow medal favourite: Josh Kennedy $23 via William Hill (better than $21 offered by Centrebet)
Rising star favourite: Isaac Heeney $12 via Sportsbet
Favoured Sydney bet: Considering this season preview has placed the Swans atop the 2015 ladder predictor, it would be remiss of us not to include a wager on minor premiership.
Sportsbet are offering $3 for the Swans to finish above all others after the home and away season, a price that is too good to pass up.
Our say on the Swans: Sydney have had an entire pre-season to stew on their Grand Final capitulation, which left the raging favourite battered, bruised and humiliated.
The AFL world has already begun to label them “too old” – something that was said about the Cats time and time again; remember how that ended?
The Swans still have arguably the best midfield in the game, by far the most dynamic forward in Franklin, and a workman-like, dependable backline that is capable of shutting down even the most dominate and destructive of opponents.
Compound this with a burning desire to atone for their unceremonious exit last season, and we believe it ends with Sydney finishing atop the ladder and holding the cup aloft in 2015.
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