How to Find Value in AFL Futures: Premiership

If futures betting isn’t your forte, it soon will be. The opportunities are undeniable and the nature of Betfair’s trading platform make it easier than anywhere else!

Let’s look at the highest premiership odds of the top four AFL teams in 2016:

  • Western Bulldogs – $73.89 before the finals
  • Sydney Swans – $14.59 before round 1
  • GWS Giants – $70 after a round 1 loss
  • Geelong Cats – $20 before the Dangerfield trade

That’s right. You could have backed the top four teams at an average price of $35.62.

Now whilst that might seem like a fairy-tail, let’s deep dive into five of the opportunities.


1. If They Trade, You Trade

Trade week is a great time for a bet. Yes, you may have to wait nearly a year to collect on the ticket but they’ll be plenty of back and lay opportunities before then.

In October 2015, even passive AFL fans knew that Patrick Dangerfield was leaving Adelaide for Geelong. Those that acted on the move, rather than waiting for official confirmation, were able to back the Cats for the 2016 premiership at odds of $20.00. The Cats went from $20 (two days before Dangerfield was announced), down to $9.71 before Round 1. Not a single match had been played.

Geelong finished second in the regular season and traded as short as $3.31 before their preliminary final against Sydney. $20 into $3.31.

Trades are one of the most powerful market movers. If you can get inside information, even through public sources like Twitter, you can be ahead of the market and back teams at over the odds.


2. The Perennials

In each sport you’ll find strong clubs that repeatedly win. The New England Patriots, Melbourne Storm, Barcelona FC. In the AFL, it has been Hawthorn.

The Hawks, coming off three premierships in a row, were the most stable team in the market. They traded most of the year at between $4 and $6.

As you can see, the problem with these perennially strong teams is that you never get big odds. The Hawks only reached double digits when the Bulldogs were beating them in the fourth quarter of their Elimination Final. However, this lack of volatility can be a good thing. If you change your mind on Hawthorn at any point in the year then you can lay off at large Volumes.

Additionally, as soon as they play their best football the market is ready to support them heavily which is why their price was pushed down untill $3.32 in July.


3. Lay When They Win, Back When They Lose.

Sydney, with a similar reputation to Hawthorn, went from $14.50 before the season started all the way into $1.63 favourites on Grand Final day. If you had confidence in the Swans, the biggest opportunities occurred after losses, which is possibly the most vital strategy.

In Round 8 the Swans lost by 1 point to Richmond. 1 point. In Melbourne. Their premiership odds went from $6.10 to $8.52.

They lost at Spotless Stadium to the Giants in Round 12 and went from $4.81 out to $7.10. Conversely, their Round 1 win over Collingwood in Sydney, tumbled the swans price in from $14.55 to $10.13.


4. Beware The Up & Coming

The Giants are a bit on an anomaly. Few times in history is a club going to be so stacked with first round talent, all maturing at the same time. Despite the uniqueness, the Bulldogs also showed that teams will repeatedly come from the clouds.

The Giants traded at $70 after their Round 1 defeat. They then won seven of their next eight and become a legitimate title contender, floating in the $6 range for many weeks.

The best time to back them, once you knew they were the real deal, was a home loss to West Coast. They went down by 1 point in Round 21. Naturally, they bounced back and were fortunate enough to draw and dominate Sydney in the first round of the finals.

Before their 6 point loss to the Bulldogs they traded at $2.89 for the premiership!


5. Top Four No More

The Bulldogs won their first premiership in 62 years after finishing seventh and upsetting the Eagles, Hawks, Giants and Swans. No one thought they could do it. That’s why they were matched at $73.89.

Before the huge odds, the Bulldogs traded the season between $10 and $20. They hit $8 after starting the season 2-0. The Dogs are another example of avoiding teams when they are on an early season roll and backing them when they look in trouble.

We love that the Bulldogs, like the Crows before them, shattered the notion that the premier only comes from the top four. That will give us confidence to trade some of the teams that aren’t in minor premiership conversations.


Conclusion

In the 2016 AFL season six teams traded at less than $4. Five teams traded at less than $3.50. One of those teams, the eventual winner, traded at was over 70-1 four weeks earlier.

The AFL premiership market can fluctuate erratically. It’s important to take advantage of that volatility. Be alert during trade periods and avoid backing teams after they win. The absolute best time to place a bet is after a loss. Show fortitude and go against the crowd. Fortune favours the brave.


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