The clock is ticking down on the big kick-off of the hotly anticipated 2021 AFL Season. The coming campaign will be the 125th renewal of the sport’s highest-ranking league, the 32nd since the rebranding from Victorian Football League to its current guise.
Pre-season is a time of hope for followers of Australian Football. Supporters follow the trades and team news closely, allowing themselves to dream. Is this the year their team enters the history books by winning the Grand Final, joining one of the most exclusive clubs in professional sport?
Many AFL enthusiasts like to check on the thinking of traders working on the best Vegas sports betting apps to see who traders have picked for glory.
Flurry of activity in Round
Which team are title favourites? Who are fans supporting? What do the bookies make of their local side? Is there value to be had in backing an underdog? Knowing the answers to these questions could change an exciting AFL season into a profitable one.
Fixtures for the new season have been released and the league opens with an intriguing match between Richmond and Carlton. The Melbourne Cricket Ground plays host to that match which will be decided on Thursday 18 March with a 7.25 pm kick-off. That game starts a flurry of activity as AFL explodes out of the traps.
Games will be played on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in round one with many scheduled to be broadcast live on television to a global audience. Melbourne Cricket Ground is supported by play at the Adelaide Oval, Gabba, Marvel Stadium, Giants Stadium and Optus Stadium. It promises to be a feast of Australian Football League action and a fitting opening to what will be one of the most memorable campaigns in history.
Bookies confident on a Richmond win
Traders at all major online betting sites have had their say on who they think will win the Regular Season, the Grand Final, Brownlow Medal, and many other outright markets. They also offer odds on Round 1 fixtures. picking Richmond as the winners over Carlton.
Despite it being the first game, bookies have laid their cards on the table and come down strongly in support of The Blue Baggers getting off to the best possible start. A positive result on the field would be the team’s second big win of the year after it was reported they smashed all merchandise figures. More than 15% of all AFL merchandise sales came from Richmond fans and they’ll want to see the same type of dedication to the cause from their beloved players.
Other sides predicted to record a victory after the curtain goes up includes Melbourne over Fremantle, Geelong versus Adelaide, Hawthorne at Essendon, and Brisbane. That gives sports fans an idea of what to expect in the opening weekend of play.
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The betting sites aren’t always correct, of course. Could we see a few upsets? It’s possible, certainly in Round 1 when teams are getting up to speed and there’s the pressure from fans demanding a winning start.
Season winners and losers
A win in Round 1 would send Richmond on their way towards the AFL Grand Final title, according to the betting experts. Richmond are priced as favourites to go all the way and lift the prize for the 14th time in their history.
The Tigers landed their first gong in 1920 with the most recent coming in the previous season. Having won three titles in the last four seasons, confidence in the yellow and black team is understandable.
Any season win for Richmond wouldn’t be a foregone conclusion, however. Geelong are the main danger ahead of Brisbane Lions and Port Adelaide. Unfortunately for supporters of the other teams, a shot at the Grand Final is deemed unlikely at this stage.
Of course, all that can change during a few games. Nothing is set in stone and that’s why football fans love the AFL. Anything can happen during a season and often does. Coaches are hard at work on the training fields and in the transfer markets preparing for a frantic few months. Deals done at this stage could have an impact on results later in the year.