Round 3 of the 2022 AFL season saw two 2021 finalists slump to 0-3, while things became decidedly grim for the wooden spoon favourites.

Here’s how it looked for punters: 

Staring down the barrel

Three games in, and two Top 8 fancies have slumped to 0-3 in worrying signs.

For Essendon, who finished eighth last season, their position is not entirely surprising given their incredibly tough draw to start 2022. The Dons’ first three games (against Geelong, Brisbane and Melbourne) were all against Top 4 clubs. With games against Adelaide, Fremantle and Collingwood to come, there’s a way back for Ben Rutten’s men ($2.25 AFL Top 8 hopes pre-season, now out to $2.80).

The story is completely different for Port Adelaide, however. After finishing second last season, their horror start to the season — which included an inexplicable 10-goal thumping at the hands of Hawthorn at home last week — was further compounded by an after-the-siren loss in the Showdown. The Power ($1.32 pre-game) had numerous opportunities to ice the game and continued to keep the door ajar. Jordan Dawson’s out-swinger to win after the siren will stick long in the memory for both sets of dans, as the Power ($1o AFL premiership chances before Round 1) drift out into $18 flag hopes.

Bottom of the barrel

Where do North Melbourne go after that? A lot of soul-searching will be triggered by a 108-point loss to Brisbane which could have easily been 158 points. Brisbane were heavy $1.08 favourites going into the clash, but few expected such a humbling. The Lions covered the pre-game line of -42.5 points by over 10 goals. David Noble said post-game the club should be “embarrassed” after a Saturday in which their VFL side were similarly humbled by three figures. Already $4.00 favourites in Palmerbet’s ‘least wins’ market for AFL season 2022 (before Round 1), North appear set to shorten still.

Out of the Blue

While some might try and avoid it, it’s hard to not talk about the Blues (again) after their thrilling win over Hawthorn. At one stage looking like they’d blow the Hawks out of the water, Michael Voss’ men ($1.53 favourites) hung on by the barest of margins. But while the win mightn’t have been clinical in the end, Blues fans don’t care. The fact it, they are 3-0 and have smashed their pre-season odds. Starting as $2.88 AFL Top 8 outsiders, the Blues have screeched into $1.36 with Palmerbet.

But perhaps more pointed is their premiership shift. Starting the season as $26 joint tenth favourite. Now? Well, they’ve come into $10 and outright fifth favourites (behind Melbourne, Brisbane, Western Bulldogs and Sydney). Something is certainly cooking.

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