We have now approached the halfway point of the AFL season, and the Brownlow race looks completely different to what many anticipated only 6 weeks ago! Like seriously, Zak Butters now the 2nd betting favourite for the Brownlow?! Crazy! Because of all this mayhem, the Brownlow Predictor market has done a complete "180" on some previously highly touted hopefuls! And while the market still believes Nick Daicos is the outright favourite for the Brownlow Medal, does that necessarily mean he finds himself in a stronger position in comparison to Round 8?
The last time we provided an update there seemed to be a clear 3-horse race for the Brownlow, with Nick Daicos, Marcus Bontempelli, and Clayton Oliver all fighting for superiority in both the betting and predictor markets! However football is a funny game, and many were reminded of how brutal Predictor speculating can sometimes be, when it was revealed that Clayton Oliver had suffered a low-grade hamstring strain, seeing him miss 2 weeks of footy! To add insult to injury (pardon the pun), Oliver was AGAIN ruled out for the 'Dee's' clash against Collingwood, which saw his odds balloon out to $15, and plenty of Clayton Oliver Predictors being listed on the secondary market!
On the other hand, the 'Dog's' still seem to be the biggest tease in the AFL landscape! With their inconsistent performances doing the Brownlow chances of Marcus Bontempelli NO favors, despite his strong showings. It seems that only one contender from that 3-horse race remains a legitimate contender for the Brownlow Medal, and how can it be anyone else besides the AFL's new messiah Nick Daicos! Despite having by his standards a lean 3 weeks post our last update, Collingwood still continue to win a vast majority of their games, with Daicos still being the focal point of their offensive prowess. How impactful his performances have been is up for debate, but looking purely at the stat sheets (which the umpires refer to when giving out votes), his volume of possessions is hard to ignore!
So leading us back to trading cards, if Daicos is still performing at as high a level as he was to start the season, you'd think that his predictor prices would have remained steady, right? Wrong! Even though Nick Daicos' betting odds remain anchored at $2.75, in the past 6 weeks his predictor prices have almost halved, with some selling for as low as $420!
Why is this the case if all other markets suggest that Daicos' Brownlow chances have only solidified? Well firstly I think that collectors are beginning to understand what a print run of /260 ACTUALLY looks like, as more Footy Stars boxes continue to be opened. This coupled with the market depth of people willing to spend north of $500 on a winning Brownlow chance has seen Daicos' Gold Predictor prices regress. Especially if the 4x rarer variation is only potentially $150-200 extra! Secondly, the AFL season is a marathon not a sprint. Holding onto a card for 24 rounds to not be guaranteed a successful outcome, compared to simply cashing out, will always be a temptation for collectors. The hype has slowly been burning out for Daicos these past few weeks, and it will be interesting to see what potentially a new release announcement would look like for his predictor market, as speculators could have a tough decision to make! Cash now or Brownlow ticket?
So if the hype has died down for Daicos, where is all the Brownlow attention being directed towards? As you can see from the graphic above, there is a new crop of hopefuls chasing after the hobby's new 'golden boy'! Zak Butters, Christian Petracca and Tim Taranto have all emerged as genuine contenders to Daicos' throne, with some pundits suggesting that Butters and Petracca potentially surpassing Daicos' current vote tally!
Port Adelaide are currently creating club history by embarking on their first ever 10-game win streak, with Zak Butters taking the league by storm and seemingly polling in a majority of these games. You would've thought that if a Port player were to take out the award this season, that Connor Rozee would be the more likely candidate. But since the time of writing our last article, Butters Brownlow Predictors have boomed as much as 7 times their original value, with most recent sold listings for his Gold Predictor reaching heights of $200! It's been a very entertaining market to follow, and if you've sat down to watch a Port Adelaide game this season, you'd understand that the performances of Zak Butters are really hard to ignore! Port play the first game of the round again this week against Geelong, so it will be interesting to see how the predictor market reacts to another potential dominant Butters performance. Watch this space, the kid is coming!
As mentioned earlier, it seems unlikely Clayton Oliver will be able to challenge for this season's Brownlow, given how far back he now sits. But the player who's been able to take advantage of Oliver's absence is probably the player you'd most expect, Christian Petracca. Petracca's Brownlow Predictors have been a scarce commodity in comparison to the other hopefuls, with very few active and sold listings available on eBay for both variations of his predictors. This probably is a reflection of Petracca's polling history in previous years as other historically high-polling player predictors such as Lachie Neale have also been harder to come by! Do I think Petracca will be as big a Brownlow threat compared to Butters? What's always been the problem with Melbourne's midfield is their ability to continually steal votes off each other, which includes the likes of Oliver, Viney, Brayshaw, even Gawn! Once Oliver returns to the fold, I see it being very difficult for Petracca to score as many votes as Daicos and Butters, which may signal the time to think about moving on your Petracca Predictors! Only my opinion, but we've seen a great enough sample of this behavior previously to suggest the trend will continue.
Finally, the last of the noteworthy Brownlow candidates is Richmond's marquee recruit Tim Taranto! With the 'Tiges' experiencing an underwhelming season, and Taranto himself coming under scrutiny for early performances, 'Tiger Tim' has strung together a very solid month of footy, and silenced many critics along the way! Due to the fact Taranto has only been a Richmond player for 13 weeks, his Brownlow Predictors are both the variations of the 'Richmond Wildcard' which could be influencing his predictor prices on the secondary market! Not everyone is going to know that a blank silhouette represents Tim Taranto's Brownlow chances, but a few more people might stand up and notice should he put together a few more memorable games! Are we overhyping Taranto's chances because he plays for a Victorian powerhouse? Maybe. It's uncommon in recent times that Richmond supporters have nothing to cheer for at this point in the season. But now there's a sniff of finals, and Taranto now a Brownlow contender, the noise of affirmation is getting increasingly louder.! I wouldn't recommend going out and paying 'overs' for a Taranto predictor just yet, but if you see one listed for cheap, or are a Richmond collector who got in early on your Footy Stars set, then it will be a fun storyline to root for during the remainder of the season!
So there we have it, another 6 weeks in the books and we are still no closer to determining who's going to take out this season's Brownlow Medal. With arguably 8 players having somewhat a pulse in the race, it will be interesting to see how the market reacts week-by-week, and how a potential impending release will impact prices and collector behavior as the season heads towards its pointy end!