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AFL – Round 8 in Review

Round 8 of the 2023 AFL season saw eight of nine favourites prevail, Carlton’s struggles continue, and one player emerge as a key Brownlow hope. 

Here’s how it looked for punters: 

Carlton’s blues continue

Eight games into most AFL seasons, you can get a good handle on where most clubs are at. Punters begin tipping with more confidence as consistent trends emerge. And that proved the case over the weekend, with eight of nine pre-match favourites prevailing. The only team to buck that trend was Carlton, whose worries continued after a third loss in four games.

The Blues ($1.80) were marginally fancied to knock over Brisbane ($2.00) on Friday night but were handily beaten. Not only were Michael Voss’ men accounted for on the scoreboard, going down by 26 points (an almost five-goal swing on the pre-game line), but the game was essentially over in the third term. Perhaps most dispiriting for Carlton was that it wasn’t as if the team wasn’t trying. They were — they just couldn’t transition the ball effectively from defensive to forward 50. And there appeared little answers from the coaches box. In recent weeks the Blues have slipped from $1.40 hopes to make their first AFL finals series since 2013, now out to a shaky $1.91.

Lions enter leading pack

We said last week that a gap had emerged between the haves and have-nots this season, with Collingwood, Geelong and Melbourne leading the way. Well, you can add one more club to that mix.

Brisbane were clinical in their aforementioned win over Carlton and have now won five on the bounce. And with their next five games all against sides currently outside the AFL Top 8, have a real chance to establish themselves as a Top 4 lock in 2023. After wayward early performances including a Round 1 humbling at the hands of Port Adelaide, Chris Fagan’s have begun to click through the midfield and especially in their forward half. Slipping out to a $9.00 flag hope after going 1-2, the Lions are now into $6.00 and deserve their spot amongst the ‘haves’; the Pies ($4.50), Cats and Dees (both $5.00). Beyond the Lions, the next-best AFL Premiership hope is Port Adelaide, out at $14.

Bont emerges in Brownlow market

It’s not like his season has crept up on us. But Marcus Bontempelli continues to churn out huge numbers, and in Round 8 emerged as a key hope in the 2023 Brownlow Medal.

Against the Giants, Bontempelli had an incredible 26 contested possessions (10 more than the next-best on the ground) to guide the Dogs to a fifth win in their last six AFL games. While Tom Green (38 disposals, three goals) could challenge the Bont for three Brownlow votes on the night, at least two are likely in order from the umpires. And given favourite Nick Daicos ($2.40) had a quieter match in the Pies’ win over Sydney on Sunday afternoon, Bontempelli shortened further — now into $3.90 second-favourite — in that key award market. After slipping out to $12 early in the season, it’s been an enormous six weeks for the Dogs skipper.

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