The opening weekend of the 2021 AFL season gave everything fans and punters were after: crowds, upsets and free-flowing footy.

Here’s how it looked for punters: 

First-up boilovers

Let’s start with the upsets, and the two groups of fans who would’ve been most excited/surprised after Round 1 — the Crows and Swans. Last season’s wooden spooners Adelaide started as $4 outsiders against Geelong. It had been half a century since a cellar dweller knocked off a grand finalist in the first game of the following season, and Matthew Nicks’ side did exactly that. A few hours later, a young Swans outfit featuring three debutants stunned the Lions at the Gabba. Two of those (Errol Gulden and Logan McDonald) kicked three as the $4.10 outsiders did a number on one of the 2021 AFL Premiership fancies.

Coincidently, the two play each other at the SCG this Saturday, meaning one will start the season unexpectedly at 2-0. Conversely, Geelong and Brisbane also face off, which will relegate one of those two to 0-2.

Scoring’s back

Five of nine of the weekend’s games finished on over 180 (total) points. The AFL have copped some stick for the new man-on-the-mark rule to increase scoring, but the relatively small blowback on Monday morning means it’s (likely) an overall tick of approval. And for punters, it could mean the higher total points tallies are here to stay. One round is nowhere near enough of a sample size, but keep an eye on that market for the weeks to come.

Pies lengthen

There was only one big mover in Palmerbet’s AFL Premiership market over the weekend. And that was Collingwood, who were completely outplayed by the Western Bulldogs on Friday night. On the back of the loss, Nathan Buckley side moved from $17 to $31 for the flag, as punters jump off the under-siege club.

Prime mover

The other big market mover was Richmond superstar Dustin Martin. We said last week he appeared great value to win a second Brownlow Medal at $9. Well, that price has already been slashed into $6. An almost certain three-vote performance in the season opener against Carlton sees him off to a flyer. Martin (31 disposals, two goals, four goal assists) continue where he left off from last season’s AFL Finals series.

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