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2015 AFL futures club-by-club betting preview, Part 1

THERE’S nothing like a new AFL season to renew hope and optimism.

All of last year’s sins can be forgotten as we push on to new beginnings.

March is an important time for football clubs looking to the complete their final tune ups before the real stuff begins.

March is just as important to punters and lovers of the game who can read the markets right and find true value in their futures punting.

Over the next two weeks, we will bring readers a four-part preview into the 2015 AFL season, club-by-club.

Part one tackles the section of the ladder all want to avoid, the lower third. Given how difficult this season is to predict in terms of a winner at the top, the bottom half proved just as problematic to identify.

In this guide, we took a look at positions 18th to 13th this week, who the bookies think will be the most likely to take out the big awards and even threw in some of our own selections to win you some cash by season’s end.

Good luck for the season ahead! May your optimism and hope last long into September.

18th – St Kilda Saints

Premiership odds: $501 via William Hill

Top 4: $101 via William Hill

Top 8: $14 via Sportsbet

2015 win line: Under 4.5 games $1.95 via William Hill

Coleman Medal favourite: Nick Riewoldt $31 via William Hill

Brownlow Medal favourite: Jack Steven $101 via Sportsbet

Rising star favourite: Patrick McCartin $21 via William Hill

The favoured St Kilda bet: Given the lack of talent at St Kilda, especially taking into account the improvement we will see from the teams that finished towards the bottom four in 2014, one of the safer bets this season is for the Saints to finish with the least amount of wins this season.

Sportsbet are offering $1.91 for the Saints to win the least amount of games this season, which should eventuate given the Saints’ lack of talent and heavy reliance on a battle-weary Nick Riewoldt.

Our say on the saints:

Unfortunately for the Saints, they are a victim of their own past success. Their sustained period towards the top of the ladder has led to a dearth of quality young talent coming into the club. Compound this with several of their key players leaving in successive years via free agency and it looms as another painful year for Saints’ fans.

17th – Western Bulldogs

$501 via Sportsbet

Top 4: $41 via Sportsbet

Top 8: $11 via William Hill

2015 win line: Over 6 games at $1.87 via William Hill

Coleman Medal favourite: Stewart Crameri $67 via William Hill

Brownlow Medal favourite: Matthew Boyd $151 via William Hill

Rising Star favourite: Tom Boyd at $21 via William Hill

The favoured Bulldogs bet: The Bulldogs have been crying out for a big forward since Chris Grant left the club in the early 2000s, and they have invested heavily to bring the best young forward in the competition – Tom Boyd – to the kennel.

Tom Boyd will be doing most of his work from the goal square this season and will be targeted by the Bulldogs midfielders at almost every opportunity.

Given this, the $4 on offer from Sportsbet for Boyd to be the leading Bulldogs goal-kicker in 2015 is extremely hard to pass up.

Our say on the Bulldogs: Despite a promising 2014 which saw the Bulldogs surprise a few opponents, 2015 looms as a testing season for the sons of the west.

They lost their captain Ryan Griffin and former Brownlow medallist Adam Cooney to trades, and have looked to the future of youth rather than trying to bolster their list with mature-aged talent.

Whilst their prudence should hold the Dogs in great stead in four to five years, this year won’t mark the start of their ascension towards the top of the ladder.

16th – Melbourne Demons

Premiership odds: $501 via William Hill

Top 4: $71 via William Hill

Top 8:$ 12 via William Hill

2015 win line: Under 5.5 games $1.95 via Sportsbet

Coleman Medal favourite: Chris Dawes $81 via William Hill

Brownlow Medal favourite: Nathan Jones $67 via Sportsbet

Rising Star favourite: Jesse Hogan at $8 via Sportsbet (second favourite behind Adelaide’s Matt Crouch)

Favoured Demons bet: Melbourne coach Paul Roos has had both top-tier draft talent, as well as several best-22 players brought in via trade and free agency over the off-season, which should lead to an improvement across the board.

Compounded by another year under the tutelage of Paul Roos, the Demons’ players should have a better understanding of the systems in place and just what is expected of them.

Given this, the $1.90 for Melbourne to finish above 17th on the ladder in 2015 is very enticing.

Our say on the Dees: Melbourne has added some much needed experience to almost every line this season, and will be improved after another year under master-coach Paul Roos.

However, Demons’ fans should not be expecting miracles given how poor the team has been over the past decade. It’s entirely possible that the Demons could jump out of the bottom four, but realistically, just getting out of the bottom two should be their target after spending the last two seasons in the unenviable position.

15th – GWS Giants

Premiership odds: $101 via William Hill

Top 4: $41 via William Hill

Top 8: $7 via Sportsbet

2015 win line: Over 7 games at $1.85 via William Hill

Coleman Medal favourite: Jeremy Cameron $15 via William Hill

Brownlow Medal favourite: Callan Ward $41 via William Hill

Rising Star favourite: Cam McCarthy at $19 via Sportsbet

Favoured GWS bet: Anyone who is a fan of fantasy AFL knows just how valuable Ryan Griffin can be, which is why the Sportsbet market on Supercoach points is a terrific way for lovers of the statistical side of the game to turn their knowledge into cash.

Griffin is the $4.50 third favourite to score the most points over the course of the 2015 season for the Giants at Sportsbet. If his sparkling 2015 pre-season form translates into regular season points, this may just be the best bet of the season.

Our say on the Giants: The Gaints will improve greatly, basely solely on the acquisitions of Joel Patful and Ryan Griffin.

The duo bring a wealth of experience and savvy to a team that has lacked in both of those areas since their inception.

Still, whilst improvement is expected, the Giants still need to manage their expectations going into 2015, with the search for consistent football – something that has eluded GWS in the last four years – the main goal this season.

14th – Brisbane Lions

Premiership Odds: $51 via Sportsbet

Top 4: $8 via Sportsbet

Top 8:$3.50 via Sportsbet

2015 win line: Over 9.5 games at $2.05 via Sportsbet

Coleman Medal favourite: Josh Green at $101 via William Hill

Brownlow Medal favourite: Tom Rockliff $21 via William Hill

Rising Star favourite: Daniel McStay at $34 via William Hill

Favoured Brisbane bet: There has been plenty of talk about Brisbane’s off-season acquisitions this season, with some much-needed muscle added to their midfield stocks. Yet, it is what the additions will do to a 2014 listed player that has drawn the attention.

Tom Rockliff won’t be the automated first man tagged anymore with the addition of Dayne Beams, which means he should have more room to move this season.

Given this, the $4 on offer from Sportsbet for Rockliff to amass the most possessions in the 2015 home and away season looks a likely prospect.

13th – Carlton Blues

>Premiership odds: $67 via William Hill

Top 4: $13 via Sportsbet

Top 8:$4 via William Hill

2015 win line: Under 9.0 wins $1.95 via William Hill

Coleman Medal favourite: Lachie Henderson $34 via William Hill

Brownlow Medal favourite: Marc Murphy $41 via William Hill

Rising Star favourite: Patrick Cripps $16 via William Hill

Favoured Blues bet: How the Blues line up in their forward line will be the main topic of discussion as the season draws near, with three viable candidates for the number one role in the goal square.

Given the Blues took Liam Jones off the Bulldogs’ hands in the off-season suggests that the favourite to kick the most goals for Carlton, Lachie Henderson, may spend more time down back. The growing fragility of Michael Jamison further highlights Mick Malthouse’s need to utilise the versatile swingman Henderson as a permanent fixture in the backline.

This points towards a dark horse putting his name forward to take out the club goal kicking title, and while it may seem a little risky given his unreliable goal kicking action, Levi Casboult presents fantastic value at $6 with Sportsbet to boot the most majors at the Blues in 2015.

Our say on the Blues: Just where the Blues will end up this season will be one of the main points of contention as the year unfolds.

On paper Carlton have a terrific line up, but the injury concerns that linger over some of their stars – captain Marc Murphy in particular – means there is less optimism and more pessimism from our perspective heading into the home and away season.

The Blues have the talent to push for the top 8, but they will need to be firing on all cylinders from round one, and it is hard to see them maintaining that consistency throughout the entirety of the season.

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