Round 1 of the NRL threw up some surprise results, but the AFL took it to the next level.
The expectations going in were clear: high scores.
Round 1 is traditionally high-scoring compared to the rest of the season. Call it a number of factors: fitness, teams not having their defensive structures in place, etc.
When combined with the new rules in place for season 2019, it was expected that there would be plenty of goals in the opening round.
So it’s was fairly surprising to see it go the other way. Of the nine games across the round, just one – Fremantle’s rout over North Melbourne – went over the market’s closing total.
They didn’t just miss either; some were a long, long way off.
The closing figure, of course, represents the combined thoughts of the market – the initial figures put up by bookies, and the input of punters in shaping it.
So it’s fair to say that on the whole, nobody really saw it coming. Likewise with performances at the line.
There’s been a lot of discussion as to who performed best and worst over the weekend, but comparing performances to the line is a great way to look at it.
Again, it takes into account the overall views of the market before the game. We’ve put together a ladder based on this, and we’ll keep it updated throughout the season:
It’s quite simple – it just shows how many times teams have covered their line, and how many points they’ve done it by.
Based on this, Fremantle were the team that really blew expectations out of the water. Their closing line against North Melbourne was +2.5 points. They slaughtered North by 82 points, meaning they were 84.5 points to the good against the line.
By keeping this updated through the season, we’ll get a good idea of who the market is really underrating in their expectations.
As you can see, the lines for Round 1 were a long way off reality. Carlton versus Richmond was close to market expectations, but every other game was significantly out.
The next closest was Geelong, who beat Collingwood by seven points despite the 12.5 point line the other way.
It was certainly an interesting start to the season… stay tuned.