GAA Betting: What Are The National Football League Odds?
The action has begun in the GAA’s National Football League and betting sites have their odds ready for this weekend's round of games.
Like most years, four divisions will be down for decision and 32 counties will fight it out for promotion or to avoid dropping down a tier.
However, this year’s League takes on extra significance because of the restructuring of the All-Ireland Football Championship.
Eight provincial finalists will be joined by the next seven (eight if 2022 Tailteann Cup winners Westmeath qualify on merit) highest ranked teams from the National League in four groups of four to kick off the new All-Ireland Championship round-robin this summer.
So that means your finishing position in the National League has never been more important in the history of the association.
Let’s dive into each division to see if there is value to be found in the market.
Kerry Aim To Retain Division 1 Crown
Kerry finally broke their eight-year All-Ireland drought last season, seeing off Galway in an excellent final at Croke Park.
But it hasn’t gone unnoticed that they’ve been hoovering up League titles before that breakthrough, winning the competition in each of the last three years (they shared it with Dublin in 2021).
While it’s no surprise that BoyleSports rate them a 2/1 shot to win the title for a fourth year in-a-row, we did warn you last week about Kingdom having a slow start and so it proved as Donegal pipped them by a point in their opener.
With Dublin’s shock relegation to Division 2 last year, Division 1 could prove to be more open than ever and perhaps beaten All-Ireland finalists Galway can take advantage of that at a price of 3/1.
Padraic Joyce has the Tribesmen sitting right at the top table of the game once more, and they set out their stall for the season with a good performance in a draw away to Mayo in week one.
Other intriguing punts include perennial challengers Mayo at 4/1 - who seem to be well set despite Lee Keegan's retirement recently - and the ever-dangerous Armagh at 4/1 with Betfair, who picked up a key victory on opening night away from home.
They are followed in the betting by Donegal (10/1), Roscommon at 16/1, Tyrone (16/1) and Monaghan (50/1), but you can probably expect the latter trio of counties to be more worried about relegation than lifting the New Ireland Cup.
Division 2 Appears To Be An Open-And-Shut Case
At odds of 4/11 with Paddy Power (and being similarly short elsewhere), it’s clear that bookmakers believe that Dublin will bounce straight back to the top tier by winning Division 2 at the first time of asking.
Despite a shocking League campaign last season, which saw them slump to five defeats in seven games, Dessie Farrell’s men still made it to the All-Ireland semi-final.
They have also been buoyed by the returns of Jack McCaffrey and Paul Mannion to the panel for the 2023 season.
A rusty Dubs outfit managed to shake off Kildare by a point in their first fixture, so it’s hard to predict anyone at Division 2 level of the League stopping them this Spring.
Perhaps Derry (7/2) can have a cut off it though, especially as they come into this season with a new-found confidence after winning their first Ulster title in 24 years and making it all the way to the All-Ireland semi-final last year.
Limerick were seen off with ease by the Oak Leaf County on a scoreline of 0-16 to 0-04 last Saturday, and they are firm favourites to beat Louth in Ardee this weekend.
After that top two in the odds, you’ll find Leinster rivals Meath and Kildare at 14/1 to top the division. Meath, under new boss Colm O'Rourke, were especially impressive on their trip to Leeside last Sunday.
However, while you’d imagine those counties may fancy besting Derry for second place (and promotion), they just don’t have the quality to topple Dublin as well.
Meath (16/1), Clare (50/1), Louth (80/1) and Limerick at 100/1 round out the betting, but don’t be surprised if the Treaty County upset a few odds this season.
Wide Open Feel To Division 3
In terms of betting value, Division 3 of the National League might be where to look as five of the eight counties involved find themselves between odds of 15/8 and 10/1 with Bet365 to win it.
Amazingly, the bookmakers fancy 2022 Division 4 winners Cavan to score a second League title victory on the bounce.
Cavan are 13/8 joint-favourites to grab the Division 3 crown this year and given how they dismissed Westmeath in their curtain raiser, the faith of the bookies appear to be justified.
Next up is Down at 15/8, and despite internal strife within the county in recent years, the Mournemen kicked off the campaign with an eye-catching success away against Tipperary. Maybe, just maybe, Down are starting to turn the corner.
The first ever Tailteann Cup winners Westmeath are next on the hitlist at 6/1 to continue the feelgood factor surrounding their county at the moment, but they'll be keen to get their first victory of the League away to Longford on Sunday.
Offaly come in as a sneaky 5/1 shot, and they may be the ones to have a cheeky flutter on after they saw off Antrim by two goals last time out.
The Faithful County almost relegated Cork from Division 2 last season, going down by just a point in a relegation decider at Tullamore - and their All-Ireland u20 winning panel members from the 2021 campaign appear primed to make the step up to intercounty fare this year.
Fermanagh could also have a say in things at 10/1, while Tipperary (20/1), Longford (20/1) and Antrim (50/1) would all need to outperform expectations to be involved in the shake-up.
Laois And Connacht Neighbours Top Division 4 Betting
After dropping down from Division 3, betting apps expect Laois to move back up a tier, making them 5/4 frontrunners to claim Division 4 honours.
They will have to do without Ross Munnelly for the first time in 20 years, but The O'Moore County should have enough nous to see off the rest of the contenders in this division as they demonstrated with a 2-11 to 0-11 triumph away at Markievicz Park in their first League outing of 2023.
Laois are ahead of Leitrim (13/8) and Sligo (4/1) in the prices, however both of those counties may have their minds already focused on the Connacht Championship.
That’s because with Galway, Mayo and Roscommon all over on the other side of the draw, one of Sligo, Leitrim, London or New York has the chance to be in the last 16 of the All-Ireland this year as a provincial finalist.
Leinster rivals Wicklow and Wexford (both 15/2) will have designs of being involved at the business end too, but that can’t really be said for Carlow (20/1), London (25/1) and Waterford (125/1) as they are probably in a fight not to be the lowest ranked League team in the country.
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