afl coaches

It’s a fairly well-worn theory when it comes to AFL coaches.

When they get sacked, their team – which is generally struggling badly – responds immediately for a win in the next game.

Is this fact or fiction? Following this week’s departure of North Melbourne’s David Noble let’s run the numbers.

AFL coaches departing: results

Below is every in-season coaching change since the start of 2010… 16 examples, from Choco Williams losing his job at Port Adelaide through to Leon Cameron’s departure from GWS earlier this season.

Six of the 16 teams (37.5%) have won the following week. Though five of the sixteen were actually favourites going into their next match, so six winners is perhaps around what you’d expect.

Year Club Departing coach Round Opponent Result H2H Line Covered
2022 GWS L Cameron 9 Carlton -30 $1.68 -4.5 N
2021 Collingwood N Buckley 14 Fremantle -12 $1.60 -9.5 N
2019 Fremantle R Lyon 23 Port Adel -43 $4.00 27.5 N
2019 St Kilda A Richardson 18 Bulldogs 27 $3.25 14.5 Y
2019 Carlton B Bolton 12 Brisbane 15 $2.80 14.5 Y
2019 North Melb B Scott 11 Richmond 37 $3.20 15.5 Y
2017 Gold Coast R Eade 21 Brisbane -58 $2.75 15.5 N
2015 Essendon J Hird 21 Gold Coast -2 $2.50 10.5 Y
2015 Carlton M Malthouse 9 Sydney -60 $17.00 72.5 Y
2013 Brisbane M Voss 21 GWS 60 $1.06 -61.5 N
2013 Melbourne M Neeld 13 St Kilda -35 $6.40 38.5 Y
2012 Port Adel M Primus 20 Hawthorn -72 $16.00 75.5 Y
2011 Bulldogs R Eade 22 Port Adel 60 $1.19 -32.5 Y
2011 Melbourne D Bailey 20 Carlton -76 $6.70 41.5 N
2011 Adelaide N Craig 19 Port Adel 32 $1.64 -7.5 Y
2010 Port Adel M Williams 16 Bulldogs -36 $5.17 31.5 N
Head-to-head, level stakes

Betting one unit at level stakes, you’d have outlaid 16 units and collected on Adelaide 2011 (1.64 units), Port 2011 (1.19), Brisbane 2013 (1.06), North 2019 (3.2), Carlton 2019 (2.8) and St Kilda 2019 (3.25).

That’s 13.14 units collected for a loss of 2.86 or 18% loss-on-turnover.

Head-to-head, proportionate stakes

Staking a bit smarter, we’ll take a look at betting each team to collect five units at the closing price.

Year Club Departing coach Round Opponent Result H2H Stake Collect P/L
2022 GWS L Cameron 9 Carlton -30 $1.68 2.98 -2.98
2021 Collingwood N Buckley 14 Fremantle -12 $1.60 3.13 -3.13
2019 Fremantle R Lyon 23 Port Adel -43 $4.00 1.25 -1.25
2019 St Kilda A Richardson 18 Bulldogs 27 $3.25 1.54 5.00 3.46
2019 Carlton B Bolton 12 Brisbane 15 $2.80 1.79 5.00 3.21
2019 North Melb B Scott 11 Richmond 37 $3.20 1.56 5.00 3.44
2017 Gold Coast R Eade 21 Brisbane -58 $2.75 1.82 -1.82
2015 Essendon J Hird 21 Gold Coast -2 $2.50 2.00 -2.00
2015 Carlton M Malthouse 9 Sydney -60 $17.00 0.29 -0.29
2013 Brisbane M Voss 21 GWS 60 $1.06 4.72 5.00 0.28
2013 Melbourne M Neeld 13 St Kilda -35 $6.40 0.78 -0.78
2012 Port Adel M Primus 20 Hawthorn -72 $16.00 0.31 -0.31
2011 Bulldogs R Eade 22 Port Adel 60 $1.19 4.20 5.00 0.80
2011 Melbourne D Bailey 20 Carlton -76 $6.70 0.75 -0.75
2011 Adelaide N Craig 19 Port Adel 32 $1.64 3.05 5.00 1.95
2010 Port Adel M Williams 16 Bulldogs -36 $5.17 0.97 -0.97

 

That gives us 31.1 units staked in total, for a loss of 1.1 units at 3.6% LoT. Better.

Line betting

Although only six of the 16 teams we’ve looked at won, 9 of the 16 covered the line. At a strike-rate of 56%, that could be an edge!

Betting a unit each at $1.90 lines, you’d have staked 16 units and collected 17.1 units, for a profit of 1.1 units at 6.9% PoT!

We’ve cracked it… we’re rich!

Back to reality though… of course, the biggest problem with coach sackings is the lack of data – we’ve gone back over twelve seasons and there are only 16 events to look at. That’s far from enough to have faith in the numbers.

North Melbourne are at $8 with TopSport against Richmond this week, with the line currently at +42.5 points.

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