AFL 2023 Season Winner Betting Preview – Odds, Tips & Predictions

James Salmon
James Salmon
AFL Betting Tips
premiership winner
AFL Premiership Winner 2023

The Giants and the Blues were the more exciting stories in the Preliminary Final, each having turned their season around to make a prelim after previously looking like a bottom four side midway through the season. But while they each gave their matchups against more highly touted opposition in the second last week of the year a genuine scare, it was ultimately the best two sides in the league who deservedly made their way through to the Grand Final. As they did in 2002 and 2003, the Magpies and the Lions will on Saturday compete for Premiership glory, and under the hot spring sunshine, it shapes up as a potential epic. 

Updated: 25 September, 2023

AFL 2023 Premiership Winner Odds

AFL 2023 Premiership Favourites

Collingwood Magpies

Collingwood Magpies

From very early on in the season, the Magpies looked like they were going to be the team to beat this season. They’ve taken another step under second year coach Craig McRae, and this year, while their ability to consistently win close games has remained, they’ve also shown an ability to run over the top of their opposition in final quarters. Clearly the best team in the league in the home and away season, they virtually wrapped up top spot weeks out from the finals and were never really in danger of falling out of the top two, so while they hit something of a rough patch nearing the finals, a home Qualifying Final was never really in doubt.

That’s meant they’ve been able to win their way through to a Grand Final without having to leave the MCG, but it certainly hasn’t been an easy ride. After a strong start against the Demons in the opening week they were forced to defend desperately to hang onto their lead, and the seven-point win they ultimately secured was as much a product of their own defensive prowess as it was the Demons’ inability to convert opportunity into score. Then last week, coming up against a Giants team who earlier in the season they beat from pillar to post, they were again tested in a big way, only for that patented ability to sneak away with close wins to secure them a spot in the Grand Final as they won by a solitary point.

They were far from perfect in either of those games, but as they’ve done so often this year and last, they were able to keep their noses in front when the final siren sounds, and particularly in finals, that’s all that really matters. An unfortunate casualty of the defeat of the Giants was an MCL injury to Dan McStay which will mean he will miss the Grand Final, while Taylor Adams is up against it to return from a hamstring injury he sustained just 15 days before the big dance.

Those losses are significant, but the Pies are more than capable of winning without McStay and Adams. Perhaps of greater concern will be how they hold up defensively – typically this is a strength for them, and it will need to be against one of the most potent offensive sides in the AFL. The Lions have hardly put a foot wrong over the back half of the season, and the first quarter against Carlton aside have been terrific in the finals series. The Magpies are favourites in this game largely because it will be played at the MCG, but make no mistake – as good as they are, they’ll have to be at their absolute best to knock off the Lions.

  • What brings them here? Tight victories have been a feature of this Magpies side since Craig McRae took over at the beginning of 2022, and two finals wins by a combined total of eight points this season have seen them into the Grand Final. 
  • What has changed? The Pies have lost a couple of big names in Brodie Grundy and Ollie Henry as well as Jordan Roughead, but they’ve acquired plenty of talent, too. Bobby Hill, Tom Mitchell and Dan McStay should all be in the best 22, while Oleg Markov will add to their depth.
  • Injury update: As mentioned, Dan McStay will be a major loss for the Pies in the Grand Final after suffering an MCL injury in the prelim, while Taylor Adams is in a race against the clock to recover from his hamstring strain in time for the game.

Bet on the Collingwood Magpies to win the Premiership at $1.75

Brisbane Lions


At long last, the Lions have done what was expected of them and capitalised on a strong home and away season to make their way into the Grand Final. They’ve been a consistent presence in upper echelons of the ladder for years but have not yet been able to get past a prelim with this incarnation of the side. Entering this finals series with a top two finish and subsequent path to the Grand Final without having to leave the Gabba, where they won every game prior to the finals, anything less than a Grand Final berth was always going to be a disappointment.

They duly obliged. They were scary in their first final, putting the pedal to the metal in the third quarter to run away from the Power and earn a 51-point victory. That ultimately set up a Preliminary Final in Brisbane against the Blues, and it’s safe to say the Lions looked a little off their best early, conceding the first five goals of the game. But just prior to quarter time they steadied, and from the second quarter onwards it looked like just a matter of time before they regained the lead. Ultimately they did, and despite a minor surge from the Blues in the final quarter, this game always looked like the Lions aside from those early stages.

In the back half of the season, they have been the most clinical side in the competition, but to translate that into a Premiership they’ll have to do what they’ve struggled significantly to do for over a decade and win at the MCG. Incredibly, they’ve won just one of their last 15 games at the home of football and if we go back to 2009, they’ve won just three of 27. They’ve played just twice there this year – in the first, they lost to the bottom-three Hawks, not exactly a result which inspired a lot of confidence in their ability at the ground. But against the Demons a few weeks later they played really, really good footy, only to be run down in the final minute and lose by a point. That loss probably didn’t help the demons which they must have at the ground, but that they played so well should give them the confidence they need for the Grand Final.

Grand Final Day, too, feels different. Certainly home ground advantage is relevant and the Pies will have both the lions’ share of the support (pardon the pun) and the familiarity with the ground, but there will be plenty of nerves on both sides, regardless of the stadium which surrounds the turf on which they’ll play. Were this not being played in Melbourne, there’s every chance the Lions would be favourites. There is very little about this team to criticise, both on paper or in the way they’ve gone about things for the past few weeks and in particular during the finals series. It’s been 20 years since the Lions last won a flag, but they’re every chance of taking the Premiership cup back to Brisbane after this weekend.

  • What brings them here? The Lions did what they had to do after earning a home Qualifying Final, beating the Power with ease before overcoming a terrible start against the Blues to record a solid Preliminary Final victory.
  • What has changed? Brisbane brought in gun midfielder Josh Dunkley as well as experienced forward Josh Gunston for the 2023 season, while father-son pick Will Ashcroft has made an immediate impact. On the other side of the coin, Dan McStay has headed to Collingwood, Tom Berry to the Gold Coast, and Mitch Robinson has retired.
  • Injury update: The Lionsare looking pretty good on the injury front. Jack Payne was withdrawn through injury and replaced by Darcy Gardiner for the Preliminary Final, and Gardiner did his job. If Payne is fit, however, he will most likely come back in – whether that’s for Gardiner or somebody else remains to be seen, but with McStay out it’s hard to see the Lions playing three key backs.

Bet on the Brisbane Lions to win the Premiership at $2.10

Our Prediction

This might not necessarily be the Grand Final that many neutrals were hoping for given the narratives surrounding the teams they beat in the prelims, but in terms of pure matchup quality, this is as good as we were going to get. These are two brilliant teams, teams which separated themselves from the chasing pack during the home and away season and have kept things going in the finals. But while the Magpies have done what they need to do, the Lions have looked like the most well-oiled machine in the league with the notable exception of their first quarter against the Blues. If they start like they did in that prelim then they’ll be in trouble against the Magpies, but if they can play like they have in the other seven quarters of the finals series to date, they will be extremely hard to beat.

Bet on The Lions to win the 2023 AFL Premiership


Most AFL Premierships

  • Essendon – 16
  • Carlton – 16
  • Collingwood – 15
  • Hawthorn – 13
  • Melbourne – 13
  • Richmond – 13

Longest AFL Premiership Droughts

  • 72 years – 1933 to 2005 – South Melbourne/Sydney Swans
  • 68 years – 1897 to 1966 – St Kilda
  • 62 years – 1954 to 2016 – Footscray/Western Bulldogs
  • 57 years – 1964 to Present – Melbourne
  • 55 years – 1966 to Present – St Kilda

Current clubs yet to win an AFL Premiership

  • Fremantle Dockers – 1995 to Present
  • Gold Coast Suns – 2011 to Present
  • GWS Giants – 2012 to Present

3 or more Consecutive AFL Premierships

  • Collingwood – 4 – (1927-1930)
  • Carlton – 3 – (1906-1908)
  • Melbourne – 3 (twice) – (1939-1941) & (1955-1957)
  • Brisbane Lions – 3 – (2001-2003)
  • Hawthorn – 3 (2013-2015)

James is a sports writer from Melbourne, and has contributed to a variety of publications covering a range of sports including basketball, cricket, Australian Rules, golf and surfing to name a few. An avid fan of all of the above and more, James’ downtime is spent falling ungracefully off his surfboard, turning over footies and playing an out of tune guitar.