Round 17 of the AFL season saw Richmond snatch back the flag favourites tag, while other results ensured the Top 8 battle will go down to the wire this weekend. 

Here’s how it looked for punters: 

Tiger time

We’ve seen the premiership favourite tag bounce around in season 2020, with no less than six different clubs donning it at separate stages. In recent weeks it’s flicked between Richmond and Geelong, who’ve proven to be the competition frontrunners. And as such, when the two clubs met on Friday nigh, the tag again was on the line.

Despite going in $2.15 underdogs, the Tigers walked off the field 26-point victors. With it, the real flag favourite become clearer than it’s been at any stage this season. Damien Hardwick’s side were in control all night, and the victory all but secured the all-important double chance (now a $1.07 Top 4 chance with Palmerbet).

More importantly, the win saw them shorten from $4.20 into $2.80 to win their third AFL premiership in four years. The loss saw the Cats shift from $3.90 out to $5.

Lions lock-in home comforts

Speaking of the Top 4, Brisbane secured their spot in there with a win over the Swans on Sunday night. The victory means that they’ll at worst finish second, and as such will play at least two AFL finals at the Gabba in October. But will locking in home finals help or hinder the Lions? Let’s not forget, after finishing second last season, Chris Fagan’s side secured two finals at their home ground. But they went on to lose both — to Richmond and GWS — to be sent packing in straight sets.

Nevertheless, six wins in a row has seen them shorten from $8 into $5 equal-second favourites for the flag.

Finals fight on a knife edge

Results on the weekend unsurprisingly went a big way to shaping who’ll make the AFL finals. And now in anticipation for Round 18, the final home-and-away round of the 2020 season, we assess the four battling it out for the remaining two spots in the Top 8:

St Kilda (36pts, 111.4%): Despite three losses in their last four games, the Saints are still very likely to make the finals. And their price reflects that, currently $1.10 with Palmerbet to make the Top 8. But the fact is, their finals hopes shouldn’t be hanging in the balance. A heavy defeat to the Giants on Friday night could see them spectacularly pushed out.

Western Bulldogs (36pts, 103.9%): The Dogs will secure a finals spot with a win against Fremantle on Sunday, a game they are currently $1.44 favourites in. Even a loss could see them through, provided the Saints beat the Giants and Essendon defeat Melbourne.

Melbourne (32pts, 106.2%): The Dees are currently $3.60 to make the Top 8 and need to not only beat Essendon on Saturday afternoon, but rely on other results going their way. Percentage could also come into play (if the Giants can knock off the Saints) so a big win is also a must.

GWS Giants (32 pts, 100.6%): The least likely of the four to play AFL finals in 2020 — currently a $10 hope. They not only need a big win over the Saints, but for the Dogs to lose to Fremantle and Melbourne to Essendon. There’s a chance they could leapfrog the Dees even if Simon Goodwin’s side win, but that would require Leon Cameron’s men having a huge win over St Kilda, a prospect that appears unlikely.

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