It’s that time of the year again, Summer is coming to an end and you know what that means. The 2012 AFL footy betting season is about to begin. That means this years pre-season competition known as the NAB Cup is just around the corner with the first match being played this Friday.
Not as many Aussies enjoy watching or betting on the pre-season games as they do the real thing, but I find it’s a great way to ease myself back into the football season. Another great thing about this time of the year is there are always good odds to be found if you look in the right places and keep your eyes and ears open.
Unlike the season proper, there is no real form to use when having a punt on the pre-season games. Not all teams take these games completely seriously so there’s a much higher chance of big upsets occurring. This means great odds can be found and you can easily end up with a lot more money in your betting account than you started with after the NAB Cup comes to a close and the 2012 AFL Premiership season begins on the 24th of March.
My NAB Cup Tips and Previews of the Favourite Teams
An interesting fact about Hawthorn is they hold the record of most pre-season cup wins in VFL/AFL history, currently holding up the cup 9 times. They have arguably the easiest NAB Cup draw, playing new team Greater Western Sydney at home down in Tassie will pretty much guarantee them a huge percentage boost, and this match alone could earn them a NAB Cup Grand Final appearance. It all depends on how seriously they take the games and which players they select to play. Last year the Hawks fielded a bunch of kids with barely any AFL experience in their opening NAB Cup round, surprisingly they still played competitive football which proves the Hawks depth has improved greatly over the last few years.
2011 NAB Cup winners Collingwood have recently stated they go in to win every game of football they play, whether it’s the pre-season, a practice match or the real deal in the premiership season. It seems they want to continue developing a team with a winning culture, which in recent years they have certainly managed to achieve. Prior to winning the pre-season cup last year, the Magpies have been runners up 3 times since 1980 and their only other pre-season cup win came the year before that in 1979. I’m sure Pies fans would love another NAB Cup win, but maybe new coach Nathan Buckley will put more emphasis on winning an actual Premiership Cup.
This is a team that has been one of the best AFL sides in recent history and they’re also the reigning Premiers. Geelong are still a strong and experienced footy team, despite losing some of their more experienced players at the end of last year. They play against former team mate Gary Ablett Jr. and his young Gold Coast team in round 2, and even though there will be improvement from the Suns this year, I think the Cats bigger bodies will prove too strong for them, giving the Cats a nice winning margin and percentage points. They have also proven they don’t mind playing to win in the pre-season, most recently in 2009 which didn’t stop them from winning the AFL Grand Final in the same year.
West Coast Eagles
Western Australians have good reason to feel confident heading into the 2012 Australian Rules Football season, with both teams from W.A. looking like they are capable of making the 8 this year. West Coast were the surprise packet of 2011, shooting up from the very bottom of the ladder into the top 4, a massive turn around in just one year. They have every chance of winning some silverware in this years NAB Cup and I wouldn’t write them off in the season proper either. The Eagles have never won a pre-season grand final, the best they’ve managed was coming runners-up to Carlton in 2005. Interestingly, the Eagles went on to play in a Grand Final that year, while the Blues finished holding the Wooden Spoon.
We’ve heard that they have been coming for quite a while now, but we’re yet to see them actually arrive. Maybe I’m being a little too harsh, Carlton have been steadily improving for a few years and many punters think this could be their year. If that is the case, Blues fans may not want them to do so well in this years NAB Cup. Each time they’ve won a pre-season final in the past 30 years or so, they have failed to make the 8 in the same year. Maybe they can change that poor record this year, but only time will tell.
It’s always hard to know exactly which teams will take the pre-season games seriously. Many teams use the NAB Cup to test out new game plans and structures, get game time into the younger players and ease players coming back from injury or older players back into match fitness. While I doubt many teams go out there with the intention of losing, some may not put as much emphasis on winning as they do on making sure there are no injuries and are in the best position possible for the long season ahead.
NAB Cup 2012 Bookmaker Odds Comparison
Here are the best odds from my favourite Australian bookmakers for the winner of the 2012 NAB Cup. As usual, the best odds available are listed in bold text.
|West Coast Eagles||11||8||9||8|
|North Melbourne Kangaroos||15||26||21||26|
|St Kilda Saints||19||26||21||26|
|Gold Coast Suns||51||67||67||67|
|Port Adelaide Power||101||101||101||101|
These odds were correct at the time of posting and are subject to change.
2012 NAB Cup Fixture or ’12 Pre-Season Draw
Etihad Stadium Feb 17th, 6:45pm
Hawthorn, Richmond, North Melbourne
Blacktown, Feb 18th, 7:15pm
GWS Giants, Western Bulldogs, Collingwood
Patersons Stadium, Feb 19th, 4:45pm
West Coast, Fremantle, Essendon
Etihad Stadium, Feb 24th, 6:40pm
Geelong, St Kilda, Sydney
Metricon Stadium, Feb 26th, 6:10pm
Gold Coast, Brisbane, Melbourne
AAMI Stadium, Feb 26th, 2:40pm
Adelaide, Port Adelaide, Carlton
Gold Coast vs Geelong (Metricon Stadium)
Sydney vs North Melbourne (Bruce Purser)
Hawthorn vs GWS Giants (Aurora Stadium)
West Coast vs Port Adelaide (Mandurah)
Essendon vs St Kilda (Wangaratta)
Collingwood vs Melbourne (Etihad Stadium)
Adelaide vs Brisbane (Alice Springs)
Western Bulldogs vs Carlton (Etihad Stadium)
Fremantle vs Richmond (Patersons Stadium)
Essendon vs Sydney (Etihad Stadium)
Adelaide vs Collingwood (AAMI Stadium)
GWS Giants vs Gold Coast (Albury)
Geelong vs Richmond (Simonds Stadium)
Port Adelaide vs Fremantle (Victor Harbor)
Brisbane vs Carlton (TBC)
Melbourne vs Hawthorn (Etihad Stadium)
West Coast vs St Kilda (Patersons Stadium)
North Melbourne vs Western Bulldogs (North Ballarat)
Good Luck, and Happy Punting!