AFL 2023 Top 8 Betting Preview - Odds & Expert Predictions

James Salmon
James Salmon
AFL Betting Tips
Expert Predictions
AFL 2023 Top 8 Betting Preview

For a long time there were a host of teams fighting for a handful of spots in the bottom half of the top eight, but with just a week to go in the home and away season that has officially been whittled down to one spot for two teams – well, essentially, with the Bombers a near impossible chance of jumping in. The Crows/Swans goal umpiring controversy ended the season of more teams than just Adelaide, so let’s take a look at which teams have been left in the hunt ahead of Round 24.  

Updated: 22 August 2023

AFL Top 8 Odds 2023

Best Outsiders to make the AFL Top 8 in 2023

GWS Giants

After not looking likely to get near the top eight for much of the season, the GWS Giants have stormed home in the back half of the year and now have their destiny in their own hands heading into the final weekend of the home and away season. Their incredible 126-point drubbing of the Bombers in Round 23 in what was a virtual Elimination Final ended the hopes of their opponents in that game, and with the Bulldogs inexplicably losing to the Eagles – more on that below –they jumped into the top eight with just a week to go in the season. 


They now find themselves a game clear of both the Dogs and Bombers in ninth and tenth respectively, but as was always going to be the case, percentage will play a massive role. The Bombers’ is so poor that they aren’t even in this discussion – they’d need to win by about 25 goals and have the Giants lose by the same amount, and see the Dogs lose, in order to make it. As for the Giants and Dogs, well they’re a little closer. The Western Bulldogs percentage, at 107.6%, is marginally better than that of the Giants, meaning that if they win and the Giants lose, the two teams will have the same win/loss record but the Bulldogs will have a superior percentage and subsequently finish in eighth.

 The Bulldogs are playing the Cats in what looms as a roughly 50/50 game the day before the Giants take on the Blues in the final game of the home and away season, so by the time the ball is bounced in the latter of those games GWS will know if they need to win to make the finals, or if they have already made it. The Bulldogs won’t have things their own way in Geelong but have a lot more to play for than their opponents, so even if they’ve been woeful the last two weeks they’re still a good chance of winning that game. If that happens, the Giants odds to make the finals will flip, because Carlton isn’t going to be an easy team to beat. GWS may have their destiny in their own hands, but these odds look a little short.

  • What brings them here? An impressive patch of form led by a good combination of experience and young talent has seen them go from a seeming bottom four team to a legitimate finals contender.
  • What has changed? There were a lot of changes for GWS in the offseason, not all of them desired. They lost Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper to the Tigers, Bobby Hill to Collingwood and Tanner Bruhn to Geelong. Toby Bedford was traded to them from Melbourne, while they also used their number one draft pick on Aaron Cadman.
  • Injury update: Each of Finn Callaghan, Ryan Angwin and Xavier O’Halloran will be on the verge of availability for the final round of the season, but after a 126-point victory they may not be needed. If they do make finals, Adam Kennedy will be one player who won’t make an appearance having suffered a season-ending knee injury a few months ago.

Bet on the GWS Giants to make the top 8 at $1.36

Western Bulldogs

That the Bulldogs find themselves in the position that they are in with one round to go in the season is a blight on a team which has for so long been criticised for their inability to bring the same amount of effort on a weekly basis. As if to prove those critics correct, they’ve lost to the 16th and the 18th team in the past fortnight in games which could have secured them a finals berth. The Hawks loss was bad enough, but at least Hawthorn are playing good footy. West Coast, meanwhile, have been the worst team since Fitzroy this year, and had the week earlier lost by over 100 points to the 15th team in the league in Fremantle. Losing to them in Melbourne was an unmitigated disaster for the Bulldogs.

 And yet, despite those dreadful losses, they are still right in the hunt to play finals. Unfortunately, those losses mean that they are at the mercy of the Giants, but with GWS set to play a rampaging Carlton team in Melbourne in Round 24 there is every chance that the Bulldogs will be able to jump back into the top eight just in the nick of time. In order to do that, they’ll have to head to the Cattery and beat Geelong, but with the Cats’ season officially over and a few players likely to be rested as a result, that may be a lot easier than it would have been otherwise.

The Bulldogs play on Saturday night in a game which has been given pretty much even odds by the bookmakers, but as mentioned they will have a lot more motivation to win it and will likely field a team which is a lot closer to their best 22 than their opposition. If they lose that, their season will be done, but if they can get the win it will all come down to Sunday night. If that’s the case, they’ll be watching on closely to see if Carlton can get the job done and earn them a finals berth. It’s not a position that the Bulldogs would have wanted nor expected to be in, but it is where they find themselves – an outsider to make the eight with a round to go after a loss to the Eagles. After their last two losses there’s a big case to be made that they don’t deserve to play finals, butneeding to beat a Cats team with nothing to play for and a Blues team which has won nine in a row to win a tenth, they look a little over the odds to make the finals with a week to go.

  • What brings them here? The Doggies have been in a good position to make the finals for a large portion of the year, but a few disappointing losses, in particular against the Hawks in Round 22 and the Eagles in Round 23, has left their season hanging in the balance.
  • What has changed? The Doggies brought in key position players at both ends in the off season, with Liam Jones and Rory Lobb joining the club. They also lost a big in Zaine Cordy, while Josh Dunkley and Lachie Hunter have both gone elsewhere.
  • Injury update: The Dogs will be hoping Tom Liberatore returns from concussion in Round 24, while Jason Johannisen is a chance to return from a calf complaint. If they do make finals Sam Darcy could become available during the finals series, while Mitch Hannan and Josh Bruce will miss the rest of the season regardless.

Bet on the Western Bulldogs to make the top 8 at $3.00

Our Prediction

The race for eighth position is down to just two teams, and it’s the Giants who have their destiny in their own hands. The odds to make the eight reflect as much, but the Giants have a really tough game to round out the season against the Blues while the Dogs face the Cats. How much the Blues need to invest in the game against GWS will depend on previous results, but so good is their form that they are a deserved favourite to win. If those odds prove accurate then the Bulldogs can jump into the eight with a win against their own, and against a team which may well rest multiple players they look like good odds to do just that. 

Bet on Bulldogs to Make the AFL Top 8 in 2023 @ $3.00

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.