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.

Whether this is fact or fiction is something we’ve looked at before. The departure of Nathan Buckley is our first coaching change in 2021, so it’s a good time to pull it out again.

The Buckley Factor

Before we go on, it’s important to acknowledge that the departure of Buckley was a little different to your normal in-season coaching change. Usually it’s “team battling, coach sacked, interim coach steps up, team gets back onto the field”… all within a week.

Buckley, however, actually announced his departure prior to his final game. The Pies then had a big win over Melbourne to see him out, then they had a week off before facing Fremantle this week.

So it’s been a bit of a different process… punters beware!

AFL coaches departing: results

There’s been plenty of extra data since we last checked this out in 2019. Four coaches actually lost their jobs during the 2019 season – Scott, Bolton, Richardson and Lyon – and remarkably, three of those teams went on to win the next week. That’s significant in what is a limited set of data

Below is every in-season coaching change since the start of 2010. Six of the 14 teams have won the following week. When you consider only three of the 14 (21%) were favourites heading into the game, that’s quite something.

Year Club Departing coach Round Opponent Result H2H Line Covered
2019 Fremantle R Lyon 23 Port Adel -43 $4 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 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 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 14 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 for a loss of 0.86 or 6% loss-on-turnover. Not terrible, but not a profit.

 

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
2019 Fremantle R Lyon 23 Port Adel -43 $4 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 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 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

Profit! 25 units staked in total, for a profit of 5 units at 20% PoT.

Line betting

Although only six of the 14 teams we’ve looked at won, a very healthy 11 of them covered the line. At a strike-rate of 76%, that’s a very big edge!

Betting a unit each at $1.90 lines, you’d have staked 14 units and collected 20.9 units, for a profit of 6.9 units at an awesome 49% 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 ten seasons and there are only 14 events to look at…. far from enough to have faith in the numbers. Plus this week is a little different regarding Collingwood, as discussed above.

Collingwood are $1.72 favourites with TopSport against Fremantle this week, with the line set at 5.5 points.

With our highly profitable AFL Specials membership, you get an average of two bets per game throughout all home & away rounds plus the finals series. It's a great way to have an interest all across the weekend... and make some money as we target the bookies' weakest markets!

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