Two weeks from the start of the 2018 AFL Season and excitement at Punting Stars HQ is building!
Preparation for the season is in full flight with just one weekend of JLT matches left to complete before we get into the Premiership season.
At the request of a few emails from followers of our AFL Model over the last few years, we’re sharing a few of our 2018 AFL Season predictions with everyone.
Sydney start slow, finish very strong… again!
We’ve written already about how difficult Sydney’s start to the season is but now the injury concern is increasingly becoming the main reason to be cautious of Sydney early in the season. Big man Sam Naismith is more or less ruled out for the year, start midfielder Dan Hannebery faces a battle to be fit for Round 1 and young gun Isaac Heeney has again had some preseason interruptions.
Last year the Swans traded north of 100-1 to win the Premiership on Betfair after an incredibly sluggish start before making it all way back to single figures eventually losing to Geelong in the semi-finals.
Charlie Dixon to have a career year
The Man Mountain that is Charlie Dixon is one of the most underrated players in the AFL. His aggression, tackling and intent have gone to new levels recently and last season was the first year he played on a team with a winning record. The results showed; Career highs in marks, tackles, handballs, kicks, and goals!
Dixon last year had his best season ever kicking 49 goals and this year we think he can actually better that mark again. He finally looks to have filled out into his body size and as a key position player, he’s entering his prime now at 27 years of age.
This year he will be, without doubt, playing on the best team he’s been a part of in his seven-year AFL career. He’s the focal point of a mouthwatering Port Adelaide attack that will benefit from the trademark run and carry off half-back and the additions of key ball winner Tom Rockliff and the silky skills forward of center that Jack Watts and Steven Motlop bring to the table. At $26 with a few Australian corporates we think big Charlie is a good roughie for the Coleman!
Blues young gun Patrick Cripps averages 115+ SuperCoach points per game
No Gibbs, no Docherty, and no pressure on the baby Blues this year! Cripps looks set for a career year being the new number one man in town. He’s a tackling machine and will be afforded every possible chance to shine this year in the absence of Gibbs who was just super last year on a bad team.
Cripps is priced at $537,300 this year and one of our SuperCoach locks for Season 2018. Over the last three years, Cripps has averaged 96.3, 107.6 and 97.7 respectively
Essendon, St Kilda, and Collingwood all miss the finals
Three teams that all lack balance in terms of their list make-up.
Collingwood’s strength is their midfield, but in saying that without the pace and skill of Wells it looks less attractive. How important is his health this year? They lack quality key position players and face a challenge to make the final 8.
Essendon has got talent but do lack depth and balance. Especially through the midfield where Heppell finds himself by default as we think he is better off the back flank, Devon Smith faces an acid test (only half proved himself at GWS). Daniher is an emerging star but we’re not convinced Essendon have the cattle to service him just yet.
St Kilda are our favourite team of the three but again there are some chinks in the armor. They have struggled to get the balance right in the forward line and they also lack line breakers through the midfield. They have an abundance of hard nuts who tackle, chase and win the contested ball but outside of Jack Steven lack players with x-factor who can do damage going forward. To make finals one of the fringe mids need to take the next step and add some polish to their game.
Giant Toby Greene makes the All Australian team for the second time
We really like Toby Greene this season to have a career year. At the age of 24, he is now entering his prime with a solid base of midfield and forward experience. He has all the tools to go to a Robbie Gray like level of a versatile small forward that can play close to goal or up on the edge of the square while pinch-hitting through the midfield.
Don’t forget that Toby has averaged 28+ touches twice in his career but last season was his first year averaging more than two goals per game. Wherever the Giants need him he can get the job done but given the depth in the midfield he’ll likely again spend most of his time forward of center and we think he’ll pick-up another All Australian jumper.
Don’t forget about our core product at Punting Stars is our AFL Betting Model that focuses on the low margin, high liquidity AFL bet types such as H2H’s, Line Bets and Totals.