Lachie Neale during the round 22 AFL match between St Kilda and Brisbane on August 12, 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media)

Star Lion Lachie Neale has been predicted to claim his second Brownlow in three seasons, with the gun midfielder tipped to edge out Demons dynamo Clayton Oliver by the slimmest of margins.

Backed by the power of third-party research and nuanced analytics, Betfair's Brownlow Predictor has forecast the former Docker to claim the honour on Sunday, with Oliver sitting less than a vote in arrears.

Fellow Demon Christian Petracca, Fremantle's rising star Andrew Brayshaw and Blues bull Patrick Cripps have been tipped to round out the top-five of what looms as the closest count in years.

Neale won his first Brownlow during the COVID-shortened 2020 season, earning 31 votes to romp to victory over Port Adelaide's Travis Boak who finished with 21 votes.

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Betfair's model has predicted each of the past three Brownlow medallists - Ollie Wines, Neale and Nat Fyfe - even proving able to routinely select their closest runners-up.

BETFAIR'S BROWNLOW PREDICTIONS FOR THE 2022 SEASON

Winner - Lachie Neale (28.5 votes)
Runner-up - Clayton Oliver (28 votes)
Equal 3rd - Christian Petracca (25.5 votes)
Equal 3rd - Andrew Brayshaw (25.5 votes)
Equal 3rd - Patrick Cripps (25.5 votes)

BETFAIR'S VOTING METHODS

Six Brownlow Medal votes are assigned to each game, however, the Betfair predictive method does not follow the 3-2-1 formula of the AFL. Votes vary from 0.5 to 3, allowing for more than three players to be acknowledged. This means less players are overlooked, and when the model is confident, more Brownlow votes can be allocated to a particular player. The trap of allocating 3-2-1 is that there are many matches with few standout players, and impactful 3s and 2s can be allocated to players that the umpires didn’t notice.

BETFAIR'S VOTING TIERS 

3 votes: Clearly the best player on the ground

2.5 votes: Questionably the best player on the ground

2 votes: Clear second best player on the ground or possible best in a crowded field

1.5 votes: Potentially second best player on the ground, often shared by multiple players

1 vote: Likely third best, but can be shared by multiple players

0.5 votes: Wasn’t the standout but their influence should be acknowledged

Punters can learn more about the agency's prediction model by following the link HERE.