The Western Bulldogs’ big loss to Melbourne over the weekend has seen them blow out in premiership betting.
The reigning premiers are now out to $14.00 for the flag after dropping outside the top eight with the best AFL betting odds in the Australian markets.
Luke Beveridge’s side has now lost their past two matches and face West Coast and Adelaide to come within the next three weeks.
The loss has many experts questioning whether they can even make the finals this year, let alone have any chance of defending their premiership.
Former Essendon champion and SEN commentator, Tim Watson says the Dogs are not in the best eight sides in the competition.
“They’re not in the eight best teams at the moment,” Watson said on SEN radio.
“Last year when you watched the Bulldogs play, even when they got beat, you would rarely say a side was more aggressive than them or outworked them around the contest. You can say that almost every game this year that they’ve been outworked and sides have been harder and tougher at the ball than what they have.
“They benchmarked that last year. Maybe it’s too hard to come up a year after that when you play that type of football when you’ve got others challenging you the way teams are now.
“They’re still trying to play the same game they played last year. Everyone’s caught them. Everyone’s got their handball clubs up and running. They haven’t moved on in any way. There’s nothing new or different about the way they’re playing.”
The Dogs are sixth favourite for the flag, behind GWS, Adelaide, Geelong, Port Adelaide and West Coast.
The Giants and Crows are equal favourite at $3.85, while Geelong is $7.50.
Port Adelaide ($9.00) and West Coast ($3.00) round out the top five.
Following their 57-point win over the Western Bulldogs, Melbourne is now eighth favourite to take out this year’s flag, paying $17.00 and have shortened into $3.85 to make the top four.
However, as we saw last year, it is form during final that matters most. Punters still believe the Dogs can turn it on when it matters most, with the red, white and blue $6.50 to make the grand final, despite being longer odds than several teams currently above them to make the top four.
Despite now sitting in fifth spot, we will really see if the Dees are the real deal or not over the next five to six weeks.
Melbourne has an incredibly tough run coming up, playing four premiership contenders, as well as last year’s grand finalists over the next two months.
The Demons face West Coast (Domain Stadium), Sydney (MCG), Carlton (MCG), Adelaide (TIO Stadium), Port Adelaide (MCG), North Melbourne (Blundstone Arena) and GWS (UNSW Canberra Oval) over the next seven weeks.
Melbourne clearly has the talent, however, are they still a year too young to match it with the best teams consistently?
We will certainly find out over the next few weeks.
They have been exhilarating to watch at times this year and there is no doubt they will be a brilliant side to watch and a ruthless side to play against in the coming years. Whether that time is right now though, remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs’ shock premiership win last season may just have been a flash in the pan after all.