The 2018 AFL regular season is in the books, and the umpires have etched in the names of the vote getters for the 2018 Brownlow Medal. The Brownlow is such a great thing to bet on as it's one of the few sporting events where you can bet on the outcome after the action has already unfolded! It means that all the information is already in front of us, and now it's up to us to interpret it, determine likely outcomes and try to find some value in the sports betting markets.
For those who haven't been following throughout the year, we've been tracking every game of the 2018 AFL season, and providing our notes and vote projections for each game. Over the next few weeks, we'll be providing some special Brownlow articles to pull that data together and present you with some Brownlow betting tips.
First of all, we're going to look at Brownlow Team Votes. For this, we'll take a quick look at the leading vote winners for each team, and provide some suggested betting tips on markets that are already released. Most books already have markets up for team voting, so it's a good one to start with, and as more markets open up, such as group or head-to-head betting, we'll provide additional content for those shortly.
The number in brackets indicates our estimate of the number of Brownlow votes the player is projected for the season. We award "half votes" if the decision is not clear-cut, which is why some players will not have a whole number for their projection.
Rory Laird (15.5) is a clear winner for Adelaide, so he's a good option for a multi, but there’s no price to bet it outright. Matt Crouch (7.5) polled late in the season but missed so many games through injury. The rest of the votes are well spread across a number of players – we have a total of 18 different players getting votes which is more unique vote getters than any other club!
If you want an Adelaide sweat, then you can take Crouch to win Adelaide without Laird at Sportsbet. Bryce Gibbs (5) is probably the biggest threat, and you’ll have to hold your nerve on Brownlow night as Crouch won’t start polling until Round 15 or 16.
Dayne Beams (22) and daylight second. If you find a market without Beams then Zorko (7) and McCluggage (6.5) seem the clear next choices but there’s little value there.
Patrick Cripps (25.5) obviously wins Carlton, but you can find a little value in the market without Cripps. Kade Simpson (7) and Charlie Curnow (4.5) are most likely the only players who can poll in at least three games, and Simpson is probably up for a couple of best-on-grounds, whereas it’s hard to see Curnow getting any. For this reason, I think Simpson should have his measure.
Brodie Grundy (20.5) should win Collingwood, but you just never know with ruckmen and the Brownlow. For that reason, and the fact that he’s so short in the betting, I’ll be steering clear of this market. Steele Sidebottom (18) should poll very well, and while I think they are well ahead of Scott Pendlebury (11.5) and Jordan de Goey (10), this is a very even team with a lot of players who can jag votes and shift this market in different directions. Happy to stay out.
Another tricky one as there are multiple games where Dyson Heppell (15) and Zach Merrett (10.5) will split votes and it’s a coinflip as to which direction the umpires will go. Devon Smith (11) is also the x-factor and will have several best-on-grounds. Heppell should win, and he tends to poll well with the umpires, but I think it’s another market that could easily surprise so no need to jump into short odds.
It’s a two-man show at Freo with Nat Fyfe (17.5) and Lachie Neale (15) the only realistic chances. Fyfe should do enough to win, despite missing a large chunk of the season through suspension and injury. We have Neale picking up half a dozen “half vote” games where we couldn’t decide which way to go with him. If he upswings, there’s a chance he can pip Fyfe, but if only half of those go against him then it won’t be enough. Not enough value in his price to warrant a bet.
Arguably the most interesting team votes market with a chance of five different players polling at least ten votes. The market has Patrick Dangerfield (14) as the favourite, but we actually have Gary Ablett (15) leading the Cats. Both are former Brownlow medallists so it’s impossible to know which way the umpires will go. We have Dangerfield picking up a lot of half votes – six of them in fact – in games where he impacted but didn’t dominate. Ablett definitely has more best-on-grounds, and if he picks up the same level of minor voting as Dangerfield, then I’m confident Ablett can win this and we’re getting the value price to find out. Tim Kelly (11.5), Joel Selwood (11) and Tom Hawkins (9.5) will take away plenty of votes as well.
Can Tom Lynch (3) win Gold Coast with one best-on-ground match? It’s possible but seems unlikely. One of David Swallow (4.5) or Aaron Young (3.5) should get 3 votes in the first round of the season, and both are a good chance to poll more votes later in the season. Jarrod Witts (4) could also be considered at a big price if he polls minor votes in a number of different matches.
Gold Coast have the least number of votes of any team with just 30.5 according to our predictions.
Lachie Whitfield (14) had a very strong end to the season with a number of best-on-ground performances, but did he do enough early on in the season? We have Stephen Coniglio (18) a strong chance to poll in a number of matches and projected for a four-vote gap over Whitfield, yet both are pretty even in the market. Josh Kelly (12) and Callan Ward (11.5) should be off the pace. Given Coniglio's strong start, happy to back him at a good price, but we should know early on in the count if this bet is going to be a winner.
Tom Mitchell (25.5) obviously wins Hawthorn. Looking at markets without Mitchell, Jaegar O’Meara (11) and James Sicily (10) are next best according to our projections, but Jack Gunston (8.5), Liam Shiels (7) and Luke Breust (6.5) are all chances. Too hard to call.
Even with ruckmen struggling in the Brownlow, Max Gawn (24) is a crowd favourite and should poll plenty of votes to stay ahead of Clayton Oliver (18.5) at Melbourne. Expect Angus Brayshaw (14.5) to also poll very well and one we'll be looking to use in other head-to-head bets. Happy that Gawn wins here but similar to the reasoning for Collingwood, I don’t see the need to load into such short odds.
Shaun Higgins (14) should poll very well here. Despite dropping off towards the end of the season, Higgins will be in contention with the leaders mid-season and that should be enough to stay ahead of Ben Cunnington (10.5). Odds are way too short to bet unless you can multi.
Ollie Wines (13) scores nine votes in three rounds midway through the season – it’s just unfortunate we only have him for four other votes for the remainder of the season. We still have Wines leading Port, but Robbie Gray (12) is a ridiculous over-poller. One of those two will win Port, but leave me out of it.
I feel like I was pretty tough on Dustin Martin (22.5) this season, but I still have him easily winning Richmond and well in contention to take home another Brownlow medal. Trent Cotchin (10) and Kane Lambert (10) should be next best if you can find markets without Dusty.
Not a great season for the Saints and not many Brownlow votes. Jack Steven (10.5) and Seb Ross (9.5) are the only players worth talking about and there’s not much in it according to our projections. We do have Ross picking up a number of half votes, so the potential is there for him to poll ok, but Steven was a standout in the matches where he polls so his number is definitely more concrete. For that reason, the bookies are slanted towards Steven which is probably correct.
If you can find a market without Steven, such as at Sportsbet, then taking Ross seems like free money. Jack Billings (3.5) and Jade Gresham (4.5) are next in the market but seem to be well behind.
This is a very interesting market. Josh Kennedy (12) is the favourite with the bookies, and we have him potentially polling in a number of matches. The problem is that he’s up against Lance Franklin (14.5) who is an excitement machine, a match winner and a frequent Brownlow vote getter. I always tend to slant towards Buddy when he plays well because he is so damaging and so noticeable. So I am happy to back up that judgement with a bet here, especially with the odds we’re getting. Issac Heeney (8.5) is the other one in the market, but happy to take him on as we have him well behind the other two.
This is another two-horse race with Elliot Yeo (18) and Andrew Gaff (16.5) likely to contend for the win. Yeo probably had more best-on-ground votes, while Gaff is a chance to pick up cheeky minor votes through his sheer weight of numbers. Gaff did miss the last few matches of the year through suspension. Yeo is a slight favourite with the books and that seems about right to us.
Jack Macrae (17) was a big chance to win the Brownlow medal until injury cruelled his season. He’ll still poll very well and comfortably win the Bulldogs. Marcus Bontempelli (8) is a chronic over-poller so definitely look to him to be next best if you find markets without Macrae.
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