2021 GAA National Football League Betting Preview & Tips
- Kerry to win NFL Division 1 - 3/1 with Betfair
- Armagh to win NFL Division 2 - 7/2 with Bet365
- Carlow to win Division 4 - 3/1 with Ladbrokes
- EW treble of the three selections - 62/1 with Bet365
I’m delighted to be back with the team at Gambling.com to continue to supply some articles and GAA betting coverage for the coming season. It seems an age since Dublin completed the elusive five-in-a-row back in September.
Corofin created another piece of GAA folklore last Sunday when they won the All-Ireland Senior Club Championship for a remarkable third time in a row, crawling past Kilcoo of Down in what was a titanic battle. The National Football Leagues are essentially the proper start of the inter-county scene.
Now to begin the work at hand and try to dissect the action. Mayo are the defending champions after beating Kerry comfortably in last year’s final, glossed off by Ciaran Treacy’s classy goal. They enter this year’s proceedings as third favourites, best priced of 8/1 with Paddy Power.
Exciting Division 1 On The Cards
Andy Moran has hung up his boots, having to be a crucial servant to the Green and Red men for many years. They travel to Ballybofey to lock horns with Donegal in their first game. Both sides are expected to miss a number of players. Tom Parsons is named to start for Mayo and played against Galway in the FBD league. It’s fantastic to see him back after a horrific injury. Jordan Flynn was eye-catching in the Galway game, and he’s a player I expect to become a lot more commonly known as the season progresses.
Both sides will most likely be missing players returning from their Sigerson Cup exploits, with Donegal’s Brendan McCole and Conor Morrison still involved with DCU. I’d expect both Donegal and Mayo to be safe from relegation, and potentially fighting for a final spot.
Meath look bankers for the drop and their price reflects that, with them being as short as 2/5 with Boylesports to go back down to Division 2. They were shown up against better opposition in last year’s Super 8’s. With talisman Mickey Newman out injured, survival will be a tough task for the Royals.
On a betting perspective, Kerry are my selection to win the NFL 1 trophy at current odds of 3/1 Paddy Power. They are missing midfielders Diarmuid O’Connor and Jack Barry, who will actually appear in Croke Park on Sunday as they chase an All Ireland Junior Club medal with Na Gaeil.
New Face In Charge of Dominant Dubs
Dessie Farrell has taken over the reins from Jim Gavin and Dublin may follow a path like last year, where they started sluggishly - Monaghan beat the Jackeens by three points on the opening weekend of last season. Kerry finished the league format on top last year, with six wins out of seven, including beating Dublin in a thriller in Tralee.
UCC and IT Tralee both exited the Sigerson before the semi-final stage, so lads like David Clifford and Sean O’Shea were back with their county compatriots earlier than expected. Cluxton won’t be playing for Dublin, which is a loss with the new kick out rules. I feel the advanced mark will suit Kerry against what it is a small Dublin defence in stature, and they’ll create problems regardless if they play Tommy Walsh or not.
Division 1 Predictions:
- Relegation: Meath & Monaghan
Selection - Kerry to win NFL Division - 3/1 with Betfair
Three Sides On Top of Division 2 Market
Division 2 sees three sides grabbing the majority of the market in the shape of Roscommon, who were relegated last year, Kildare under new manager Jack O’Connor, and Armagh. Cavan who were relegated last year also, have slipped in the betting due to key departures from the panel Dara McVeety, Killian Clarke and Conor Moynagh.
Armagh are my selection to emerge from Division 2 victorious, and the 7/2 on offer with Bet365 is a very attractive price. They have got favourable fixtures, with home ties vs Cavan, Roscommon and Kildare. In last year’s league, they threw away a number of games they could have won versus Kildare and Clare. Donegal had to bring Michael Murphy off the bench to thwart the Orchard challenge.
Building on Solid Foundations
They were competitive in all of their championship matches last year and raised a few eyebrows as they gave Mayo a scare in the qualifiers in Castlebar. Jarlath Og Burns and Rian O'Neill will be expected to play starring roles again. O'Neill has already got his scoring boots on as he bagged a goal against Tyrone, but Armagh went crashing out of the much talked about McKenna Cup at the group stages.
Some of their key men have vital minutes under their belt, and they’ll avenge last year’s championship defeat to Cavan this weekend. Kildare would be my second pick to reach the final under new manager Jack O’Connor. They lost out on making the O'Byrne Cup final as they finished joint top but Longford had the superior score difference and won the H2H clash.
O’Connor will surely blood more of the 2018 U20 All Ireland winners into the set up this season. Roscommon will struggle to bounce back to division 1. Conor Cox is out injured, and there have been rumours that both Diarmuid and Ciaran Murtagh aren’t committing to the panel for the year ahead.
Selection - Armagh to win NFL Division 2 - 7/2 with Bet365
Division 2 Prediction:
- Relegation: Clare & Laois
Little Value on Offer in Division 3
Division 3 is not exactly an attractive betting heat for me. Cork are odds on favourites, and need to win this title to stop the likelihood of them dropping into the B championship. I don’t think they’ll have much to worry about, as they bucked into gear last summer, despite losing all games in the super 8’s, they definitely equited themselves well during it in the performances against Dublin and Tyrone.
Leitrim look destined for the drop, after having their day in the sun in Croke Park last year in the Division 4 final. From what I’ve read they are preparing for this weekend without Mark Plunkett, Pearse Dolan and their top scorer from last season, Ryan O Rourke. This division is not one I’m delving into betting wise.
Division 3 Prediction:
- Relegation: Leitrim & Louth
Carlow Bidding for Bounce Back Campaign
In Division 4, Carlow ranks a decent bet at 3/1 with Ladbrokes to bounce back into Division 3 after heart breaking relegation on the last day last season. They were beaten by a late Kildare goal in the O’Byrne Cup a few weeks back, but those in attendance were impressed with their showing.
Experienced heads like Daniel St Ledger, Brendan Murphy and Paul Broderick all played their part that day, and that suggests to me they will be putting a huge emphasis on regaining their Division 3 status. IT Carlow surely have some players on this Carlow panel, but none of the starting XV in Carlow’s Leinster Championship game versus Meath started during the week.
Stephen Poacher will be a loss to Turlough O’Brien’s backroom team but I’m sure this Carlow side, if they stick to their guns, are a good bet for promotion here.
Selection - Carlow to win Division 4 - 3/1 with Ladbrokes
Division 4 Prediciton:
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