Whisper this very carefully, but sometimes the bookies can sometimes be wide of the mark with their predictions. Inexplicably so when considering that oddsmakers tend to lean towards recent form, which makes the current valuations for Melbourne raise more than a few eyebrows, given they are still tipped to win the Grand Final this season.
But the 2022 campaign has been anything but straightforward for the reigning 2021 AFL champions, who lifted both the McClelland Trophy and the Premiership last season. While the Demons made a flying start and appeared to be coasting, winning their opening ten games, everything started to fall apart in Round 11 against Fremantle.
Since that punishing 7.14 (56) to 14.10 (94) defeat at the MCG against the Dockers, results for Melbourne are more akin to a side struggling to make the top eight of the ladder. The Demons extended that losing streak to three consecutive defeats, before getting back to winning ways against Brisbane Lions in Round 15, although it appears the psychological damage was already done.
The frustrating and inconsistent form seeped into the back end of the campaign. The Demons occasionally looked like anything but a side capable of even reaching the Grand Final. Indeed, their last ten outings produced six wins and four defeats, including the latest demolition job on Brisbane.
Nevertheless, given their passage to a home Qualifying Final is assured, Melbourne remain genuine contenders in the eyes of those who set the betting odds. The bookies appear to be convinced they can get over this hill of a mid-season blip and hit the right kind of winning form when it counts most of all.
This is arguably why it makes good sense to compare the latest odds and offers, making the latest SBO betting analysis and guides a great place to start. Their aim is quite simple really, with expert reviews of all the leading bookmakers, amongst those available in Australia and everywhere around the globe. Thorough research provides the capacity to recommend only the best in the business, along with information covering the promotions.
Looking through the latest odds, given they have all but clinched the minor premiers and sit perched at the summit of the AFL ladder, Geelong have become the outright betting favourites to reach and win the Grand Final this year. The next challenge facing the Cats will inevitably be focused on achieving what Melbourne managed last year, by converting minor premiers triumph into what would be their first AFL premiers title since 2011.
Geelong won their most recent minor premiers title in 2019, although they were unable to make that success count when it came to the pointy end of the campaign. That year they were beaten in the preliminary finals by Richmond, who eventually went on to achieve the massive 17.12 (114) to 3.7 (25) demolition of Greater Western Sydney in the Grand Final.
Richmond might yet struggle to make a genuine impact in this finals series, having become a shadow of the side which achieved back-to-back AFL premiers in 2019 and 2020. The second of which came against none other than Geelong, after the Cats actually overcame the odds to reach the Grand Final, before ultimately falling short in the biggest game of the year.
Taking stock of Geelong now being priced as Grand Final favourites, the only team close in the betting stakes remains Melbourne, although they will need every ounce of the ‘Demon Spirit’ if those ambitions are to be realised. Everyone continues to give them a fighting chance, quite literally anything is possible.
But could there be any further surprises? Well, it’s worth bearing in mind that since 1994, the success rate of minor premiers winning the major premiership has reduced significantly. Following the expansion of the finals series to eight clubs, thus reducing the benefits for the team which topped the ladder, just nine minor premiers have gone on to win the Grand Final.
All of these factors are worth bearing in mind, before deciding which team to back for the AFL crown this year. And if the most recent form is any indication, don’t ignore outsiders Collingwood after putting together an impressive eleven-game winning streak, overcoming their early season woes to keep within touching distance of Geelong. They have also beaten Melbourne twice this season, which is a detail that cannot be ignored.