2018 AFL Predictions
Here are some of my predictions for the 2018 AFL season which includes least wins, minor premiership, top 4 value bet, to make the final 8 and to miss the final 8.
Least Wins – Gold Coast
It looks like another tough year for the Suns. They’ve lost Gary Ablett in the offseason and have a new rookie coach (Stuart Dew). Now you can add the Commonwealth Games as another distraction.
As a result, the schedule has not been kind. They won’t play on the Gold Coast until Round 11 against the Cats and that’s not easy. In Round 3 and Round 4, they will play at Optus Stadium in Perth. So in the first 7 rounds, only two will be in Queensland. They obviously finish the season with a few home matches, but starting the season with wins is key for momentum and I can’t see that happening.
In terms of their squad, Barlow is coming off a serious knee injury and isn’t getting any younger. Pearce Hanley has been a disappointing pickup.
I do think Dew is the right man for the job as his experience at the Hawks and Swans will help the Suns in the future. But 2018 will be a tough year as he cleans up this club.
Minor Premiership – Adelaide
By adding Bryce Gibbs in the offseason, Adelaide is comfortably favourites for the Minor Premiership and more in 2018.
Gibbs is an elite midfielder and along with Sloane and Matt Crouch, they will be hard to stop around the stoppages. The loss of Jake Lever will be countered nicely with Doedee down back.
Looking at their schedule in 2018, it’s comfortable. They do play the Tigers twice, including Round 16 at the MCG. But from Round 6 to Round 9 they will play four straight matches at the Adelaide Oval. Which includes the lowly Suns and Blues. They also only travel to the MCG twice this season. To end the season, they will play the Kangaroos at home and the Blues at Etihad.
So the minor premiership is in their hands.
Top 4 – Geelong
I believe $2.75 is great value for the Cats to make the top 4. They finished 2nd in 2017 with 15 wins and just 6 losses. They’ve just added Gary Ablett in the offseason and it will be fun to watch his combination with Danger. I would say Mitch Duncan is very underrated as his numbers were impressive last season.
They have lost Tom Lonergan and Andrew Mackie to retirement down back. But that opens the door for some of their younger players to set up.
Their schedule looks comfortable as well. They only travel outside of Melbourne in 2 matches until Round 11. They also have home matches against the Kangaroos and Blues in the middle rounds. Then they will finish the season with 3 of 5 at Kardina Park against the Lions, Dockers and Suns.
So top 4 for the Cats is a great bet.
Final 8 – Melbourne $1.80
Is this the year the Demons finally break their finals curse? Yes, I think so.
They added Jake Lever to their defence this season and that gives them a strong back to rely on. In 2017, Jesse Hogan struggled with off-field challenges and I believe he will be strong for the Dees in 2018. Max Gawn was a big loss in the middle stages last season and probably hurt their final chances. He’s back this year and is looking fit.
They kick off the season with a tough match against the Cats but it is at the MCG. In the first 9 rounds, they only travel to the Gabba twice which probably won’t be tough again this season against the Lions and Suns.
The key will be beating the teams around them on the ladder such as St Kilda, Bulldogs and Eagles. If they can do that, Melbourne will easily make the top 8.
Miss the Top 8 – West Coast $1.50
Of all the teams that made the finals last season, the Eagles will likely struggle to match them in 2018. They’ve lost Matt Priddis, Drew Petrie and Sam Mitchell in the offseason. Replacing that experience in big matches is going to hurt.
A few of their younger stars look good like Brayshaw, Rioli and Ryan. But rookies take a while to develop and the Eagles will be looking to the future this season.
They do open the season with 3 of 4 at the new Optus Stadium. But they probably won’t receive the same advantage as Subiaco. It looks like a mini MCG which will help visiting Melbourne teams. So teams won’t really dread the trip to Perth against a younger Eagles side.