Brownlow Medal analysis and betting preview

Brownlow Medal betting preview infographic

Our comprehensive analysis and preview of the Brownlow Medal has unlocked some tips and predictions for the big night that will help you extract value from this year’s count.

This time last year, we were dealing with a $1.20 favourite for the Brownlow Medal, and discussing how to deal with such a short-priced favourite. Well, the favourite for the 2017 Brownlow Medal is even shorter! Richmond star Dustin Martin is an incredible $1.05 to take ‘Charlie’ home. Ironically, it’s the ineligibility of last year’s short-priced winner, Patrick Dangerfield, that has caused Martin to be so short. Fear not though, our analysis has once again unearthed some value picks, away from the winner’s market, for the 2017 count.

The 2017 Brownlow Medal will take place at Melbourne’s Crown Palladium Ballroom on Monday 25th September. The count will be televised from 8:30pm on Channel 7. The Brownlow Medal is steeped in history and past winners include several of the all time AFL greats.

Past 20 winners: their playing position, votes polled and their starting price

WinnerClubVotesPositionTeam finishedPrice
2016Patrick DangerfieldGeelong35Midfield2$1.18
2015Nat FyfeFremantle31Midfield3$2.0
2014Matt PriddisWest Coast26Midfield9$21.0
2013Gary Ablett JrGold Coast28Midfield14$1.8
2012Jobe WatsonEssendon30Midfield11$5.0
2011Dane SwanCollingwood34Midfield1$16.0
2010Chris JuddCarlton30Midfield8$17.0
2009Gary Ablett JrGeelong30Midfield2$3.3
2008Adam CooneyWestern Bulldogs24Midfield3$13.0
2007Jimmy BartelGeelong29Midfield1$10.0
2006Adam GoodesSydney Swans26Ruck / Midfield4$2.7
2005Ben CousinsWest Coast20Midfield2$2.1
2004Chris JuddWest Coast30Midfield7$11.0
2003Nathan BuckleyCollingwood22Midfield2$2.5
2003Mark RicciutoAdelaide22Midfield6$4.5
2003Adam GoodesSydney Swans22Ruck / Midfield4$6.0
2002Simon BlackBrisbane Lions25Midfield2$3.5
2001Jason AkermanisBrisbane Lions23Midfield2$16.0
2000Shane WoewodinMelbourne24Midfield3$13.0
1999Shane CrawfordHawthorn28Midfield9$1.5
1998Robert HarveySt Kilda32Midfield6$11.0
1997Robert HarveySt Kilda26Midfield1$2.5
1996Michael VossBrisbane Lions21Midfield3$3.5
1996James HirdEssendon21Midfield6$5.0

Patterns of Brownlow winners: looking for an angle

Trying to predict the minds of the umpires that compile the 3, 2 and 1 Brownlow votes for each AFL match may seem like an impossible task, but there are however patterns, winners tend to have similar credentials.

The ‘Midfielders Medal’

The Brownlow is now described by many pundits as the ‘Midfielders Medal’, and it’s easy to see why. In the past 20 years, the medal has only been won by midfielders, except for the two Brownlow’s that Swan great Adam Goodes won in 2003 and 2006. An important stipulation, Goodes was effectively an old-fashioned ruck rover, covering the ground and collecting possessions much in the mould of a midfielder. The only other notable winner in the past 20 years in terms of the position they played is Jason Akermanis. The charismatic Lion combined time in the forward half with extensive periods in the midfield. Look for midfielders to win the medal and to feature prominently in most team votes markets. If in doubt, back the midfielder.

Look for players that have polled well in the past

When looking for the winner of the medal, or the most team votes, look for players that have consistently polled well in prior years. Of the past 20 winners, only Shane Woewodin failed to consistently poll well in the years either side of his Brownlow victory. Adam Cooney is perhaps the only other player to not rack up votes year after year, however, his career was curtailed somewhat by injury; and when he was fit, he still polled relatively well. Cooney only polled 4 votes and 9 votes in the years prior to his victory, however, in a pointer to his eventual win, he polled 12 votes in the 2005 count as a 21 year old. Most winners poll at least 13 votes at some point early on in their career, or in the few years just prior to their Brownlow; an indicator that their style of play falls under the notice of the adjudicating field umpires.

Ladder position of winner’s team

Until recently, there was a very strong trend of the winner’s team finishing inside the top 8 and playing in the AFL finals. From 1996 to 2011, only one winner came from a team that finished the season outside of the top 8,; Hawthorn finished 9th when Shane Crawford won in 1999. Perhaps even more significant, 11 of those winners played for teams that finished inside the top 3 ladder positions. However, in a sign that this indicator is far less important, three of the past four winners have come from teams that finished the regular season outside of the top 8. In summary, don’t be too perturbed if your selection played for a team that didn’t playoff in the finals, but be mindful that the trend of winners coming from teams that filled the top few positions on the ladder is still strong.

Polling record of 2017 Brownlow favourites

Dustin Martin252113165
Patrick Dangerfield3522212223
Tom Mitchell1212020
Josh Kelly6000DNP
Zach Merrett1910DNPDNP
Rory Sloane244101511
Matt Crouch700DNPDNP
Marcus Bontempelli20134DNPDNP
Lance Franklin17822512
Josh Kennedy (Syd)1425211419
Dayne Beams0916119
Gary Ablett65222824
Joel Selwood1813212714
Daniel Hannebery2124112112
Stephen Coniglio174201

Strategy for tackling the 2017 count

Dustin Martin: The $1.05 favourite

What to do with a $1.05 favourite? There is no value in backing Martin to win the Brownlow. The Brownlow still remains somewhat unpredictable even for the hottest of favourites. In fact, of the past 11 winners, 5 have been double figure odds just before the count. In that time, 5 favourites have gone on to win the medal.

That being said, there is no knock on Martin’s form, nor his Brownlow credentials. In numbers that are remarkably consistent, Martin’s votes are on an upward trajectory, with a high of 25 votes in 2016. He has pedigree. If you do really fancy the Richmond champ, consider including him in your Brownlow multi with other markets, or look for him to poll over 30 votes and try and extract value that way.

Winner without Martin

We normally shy away from these sorts of bets, but this just may be the year to consider who might run second to the Richmond star. Most bookmakers will field a market on who will finish second. Tom Mitchell is currently a $2.10 chance whilst there is great value for a player like Josh Kennedy ($17).

Look to other markets

If you do fancy a roughie to outpoll Dangerfield, you’re sure to get good value owing to the short price of the favourite. However, most of our bets will be placed on other markets including: most team votes, top 5 finish and top 10 finish markets. We have included the top 10 finish market from Bet365 below, as we feel it is one of the best markets to tackle for this year’s Medal.

top 10 finish market for the 2017 Brownlow Medal

Odds and analysis of the favourites

PlayerOutrightWinner w/out MartinTop 5Comment
Dustin Martin1.05N/A1.00Likely to win but way too short to back
Tom Mitchell132.101.22Consistent poller who has had breakout year. Only threat to Martin
Josh Kelly173.251.45Only polled 6 votes last year. Doesn't represent value in any market
Rory Sloane346.52.50Proven vote getter. Good value top 5 pick.
Marcus Bontempelli61154.25Didn't appear to have as good a year as 2016 when he missed top 5
Matt Crouch61173.75Hasn't polled well yet, big watch this year
Josh Kennedy (Syd)71176Attracts votes, fancy for top 5 or most team votes

Brownlow tips and selections

Winner without Martin

Selection: Small bet on Rory Sloane to win at $6.50
It would be a major surprise if Martin, the $1.05 favourite, didn’t win the Brownlow. A proven vote getter, he has enjoyed a stellar season and fits the criteria of past Brownlow winners. For what it’s worth, we think he’ll win. Will we back him? Absolutely not! So, we have dodged the outright market in this year’s count.

It’s worth looking at who might run 2nd to Martin. We are viewing the market from CrownBet where Patrick Dangerfield is excluded. Tom Mitchell is favourite at $2.10. He has polled 12 votes in each of the past 2 years and has had a breakout season at new club Hawthorn. He seems a risk at such a short price for a player that has yet to poll more than 13 votes in any one count. Sloane ($6.50) and Josh Kennedy ($17) are far more appealing. Both are proven vote getters. Sloane was the early favourite before being bogged down by negating players mid-season. Kennedy is likely to storm home given the Swans slow start to the season.

Top 5 finish

Selection: Josh Kennedy (Syd) at $6.00
Kennedy seems too good a price for a proven poller. Given that there are polling doubts on Josh Kelly and Matt Crouch, Kennedy seems like a very good bet.

Top 10 finish

Selections: Trent Cotchin at $11.00, Joel Selwood at $6
Along with the top 5 market, the top 10 finish market is appealing this year given Martin’s short quote. The good thing about this market is that it’s slightly more predictable, in that the proven vote getters normally occupy the majority of the top 10 positions. Richmond captain Trent Cotchin has enjoyed a good year alongside Martin. At $11, he seems good value to sneak a top 10 placing. Joel Selwood was one of the early favourites for the Brownlow, whilst he missed some games late, he might do enough to grab a place inside the top 10.

Most team votes

Selections: West Coast – Andrew Gaff at $3.40, Melbourne – Jack Viney at $11, Melbourne – Western Bulldogs – Jason Johannisen at $11*
Where possible, the strategy should be to back players that are proven vote getters and pot those traditionally don’t perform so well. There are two great value picks: Andrew Gaff to attract more votes than Josh Kennedy at West Coast, and Jack Viney to outpoll the unproven Clayton Oliver for the Melbourne Demons. In Gaff’s case, we would much prefer to take the midfielder at far superior odds, whilst Viney may just get enough votes if Oliver fails to catch the umpires eye.

The other market of interest is the Western Bulldogs team votes market without Marcus Bontempelli (offered by Sportsbet). Despite a poor patch of form mid-year, Johannisen had a decent season and is likely to attract votes again this season to go along with his 10 from last year. His competition includes Macrae and Hunter.

Team votes markets provide a good opportunity to extract some value if you have followed a team’s performance closely throughout the year. Other players of interest that appear very good value are: Dayne Zorko, David Zaharakis and Nat Fyfe.

Tell us who you think is good value to poll the most votes for your team!

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