The Season of Swing

Is this the most compelling AFL season of all-time? There is certainly a case to be made and notably, the betting exchange would agree.

All and sundry have been spruiking the unpredictability of the opening 15 rounds, with extraordinary pendulum swings both week-to-week and within games. You will struggle to hear a post-match press conference where a coach doesn’t utter the words, ‘this is such an even competition,’ largely because they’re absolutely correct.

Tracking The Trends

A typical AFL season has around 45% of games (four per round) where both teams trade as favourites; 2017 has seen a massive two-thirds (six per round) switch favouritism.

In fact, the 2017 season has already bettered 2012 and 2013 in that category and is on track to exceed 100 games. It’s been a ‘tipping and modeling’ nightmare, and the market has reflected the thoughts of fans and bettors alike; but we can rest assured that the savvy Trader monitoring the fluctuations has still been capable of backing and laying their way to success.

System Symptoms

The inclusion of AFL expansion teams Gold Coast Suns in 2011 and Greater Western Sydney Giants in 2012 briefly provided relative predictability in the head-to-head results of at least one or two matches per round, as the fledgling clubs were regularly outclassed by more experienced and physically mature opposition.

Compromised drafts across those years, designed to fast-track the Suns and Giants’ development by allowing them access to highly-credentialed youth and an inflated salary cap, somewhat inadvertently effected the balance of power in the rest of the league too. The elite teams like Hawthorn and Geelong more-or-less reigned supreme, while the battlers, whose clearest path to regeneration had been usurped, found it difficult to gain upward traction.

With both newcomers now entrenched in the system and the AFL’s equalisation measures puppet-mastering the landscape holistically once again, there has been a remarkable prevalence of topsy-turvy matches.

Windy Hill Case Study

The truest measure of entertainment is having both teams trade as favourites, and there has been many engaging examples.

Perhaps the epitome of the trend is not just a game, but a club. For a chaotic fortnight, Essendon captivated the football world by managing to lose from seemingly unfathomable positions.

In round 14 against Sydney, the Bombers held a 19-point advantage with 4:30 remaining in the fourth quarter and were still 12 points up 90 seconds before full-time. However, a stunning Swans burst and a Gary Rohan mark and goal after the siren handed them victory, having traded at a whopping $100 in-play.

The Bombers then faced the lowly Brisbane Lions a week later and looked winners when they led by as much as 27 points early in the final term. However, a six-goal to one run saw the ascendency disappear in stunning fashion. Brisbane reached a matched-price of $26.

Driven By Detail

In the current climate of momentum swings and varying form-lines, it is as pertinent as ever that bettors do their due diligence.

As outlined in The Hub’s Betting Strategies article, Trends That Predict A Team’s Performance…

‘There are a lot of significant variables that help predict a team’s chances each weekend. Thankfully, most of that information is available online.’

‘Whether you have an automated or manual rating model, it pays to understand these influences and give them a priority. What you’ll find is that the market overvalues some factors and ignores others.

‘That breeds opportunity.’

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