AFL Ladder

The traditional AFL Ladder might be the single most important bit of footy information, but it offers precious little for AFL punters!

That’s why we take things to the next level with the AFL Line Ladder.

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AFL Line Ladder: Round 17

The home and away season is done…

So what did we learn?

When looking at the final Line Ladder below, the first thing that strikes us is the absolute evenness of it! There’s no tearaway leaders, and things evened up at the bottom as well. With 17 rounds completed, we finished with six teams on 10 covers. Following that was another six teams just one game back on nine covers, Brisbane on eight covers, two teams with seven, two with six and, finally, Adelaide on five covers.

Betting-wise, it was an extremely even season and overall, the market did a good job of predicting most teams.

There are some outliers, of course. Perhaps the biggest one is Brisbane. Despite finishing second on the AFL ladder, they were way down in 13th on the Line Ladder, covering 8 of 17 games. The other is Fremantle, which covered 10 times to finish third… yet were 12th on the AFL ladder.

Though it was close overall, 12 of the 18 clubs finished the season with a positive record against the line. Largely, this was allowed by the performance of the three bottom sides: Adelaide (five covers), Hawthorn (six) and North Melbourne (six). It was clear from early in the season that these clubs weren’t meeting pre-season expectations, however the market took far too long to catch up to just how poorly they were going. So there was value in betting against them.

We’ve spoken about this phenomenon plenty of times when discussing the line ladder. Though some teams perform much worse (Hawthorn, Adelaide, North Melbourne) or much better (St Kilda, Fremantle) than predicted pre-season, those early thoughts remain somewhat ‘baked-in’ to betting lines, which simply don’t react quickly enough. What does that tell us? Pay special attention to very current formlines… that can yield great results.

AFL Line Ladder: Round 14

The big winners in Round 14 were Gold Coast, who were installed as 6.5 point favorites against the lowly Kangaroos before trouncing them to the tune of 63 points. A big result for the Suns, but they remain an unpredictable beast against the betting market: their last seven results against the betting line (covers and misses) read CMCMCMC.

North, for their part, are far more predictable at the moment, covering just once in their last five matches.

Geelong remains at the pointy end of the line ladder, but there looks to have been a little adjustment on them in recent weeks. They’ve now missed the last two betting lines after a run of five straight covers which included some huge positive results. The market was spot on in Round 14, making the Cats 11.5 point favourites against the Dogs, who they defeated by 11 points. AFL Tips members secured the Cats with a 10.5 point line, so scraped home!

AFL Line Ladder: Round 13

The blockbuster clash between St Kilda and Brisbane on the weekend showed the value of the line ladder. While Brisbane are having a really good year on the field, the market is onto them – they currently sit twelfth on the line ladder. St Kilda, now meanwhile, rein supreme on top, constantly outperforming the market. So when the market gave the Saints a whopping 14.5 point head start, it seemed like a great bet. And it was… the Saints lost by two points to comfortably cover the line. Brett’s Syndicate agreed, taking St Kilda at the line as one of their recommended AFL bets.

At this stage St Kilda are 3.5 point favourites against Melbourne, who have also been impressive at the line despite the weekend’s performance against the Bulldogs. -3.5 points on the Saints against Melbourne will look like a good bet to many… but the recent stats show it’s a game where you should tread warily.

AFL Line Ladder: Round 12

We’ve had a couple of weeks jammed into one in the AFL, with considerable impact on the line ladder. You’re happy if you’ve been backing Melbourne, who are the big movers after a couple of dominant performances. Their easy triumph over Adelaide in Round 10 proved to be no fluke as they vastly outperformed the market against North and then Collingwood. The Dees beat the closing line by 56 and 64 points respectively, and have shot up to third on the line ladder after Round 12. And they have a game in hand – against the fragile Bombers – on the rest of the top five. Impressive.

And who else can’t the market catch? The lowly Crows… they’re a mile off the rest of the league in last place and just keep on disappointing. In Round 12 they were given a 31.5 point head start on the Bulldogs, only to lose by 57 – a whopping margin in this season of shortened games. While nobody would be entertaining the winless Crows in head-to-head markets, the message remains the same at the line: don’t be tempted by any head start!

AFL Line Ladder: Round 10

We’re in a funny little period in the AFL, with games on every day and no break from when one round ends to when the next begins! Complicating things further, there are also scheduled byes throughout this period, so not all clubs will have played the same amount of games over the next few rounds. But we push on…

Despite losing narrowly to St Kilda, Gold Coast continue to collect for their backers, covering the 13.5 point line by 9 points. It brought the top-of-the-table Saints back to the pack a little after a dominant period, with them now sitting on top by just one cover. The other big winners for the week were Richmond and Melbourne, who recorded runaway victories to easily cover their lines against Brisbane and Adelaide respectively. Things continue to be very ugly for Adelaide… the market paid them some respect with just an 18.5 point headstart, but the 51 point hammering at the hands of the Dees showed just how far off the rest of the league they still are.

AFL Line Ladder: Round 9

The betting markets had a shocker in Round 9 of the AFL, with a lot of upset results and very inaccurate lines. Check out the the following for an idea of how far out they were…

(Line – Actual Result)

Collingwood by 14.5 – Fremantle by 12
GWS by 13.5 – GWS by 26
West Coast by 14.5 – West Coast by 9
St Kilda by 14.5 – St Kilda by 53
North by 11.5 – North by 69
Brisbane by 18.5 – Brisbane by 63
Carlton by 4.5 – Hawthorn by 31
Port by 6.5 – Port by 51
Bulldogs by 6.5 – Richmond by 41

So with the exception of West Coast versus Geelong, the line was a long way out on every game. It just goes to show how unpredictable this season has been.

We’re again in uncharted territory this week with games on every night and clubs facing short breaks. Two of the top sides on the Line Ladder, St Kilda and Gold Coast, face each other, with the market currently favouring the red-hot Saints by 12.5 points. At the other end it’s Adelaide versus Melbourne in what shapes as a huge game for both clubs. The market has Melbourne with a 16.5 point buffer.

AFL Line Ladder: Round 8

Interesting action at either end of the AFL line ladder this week.

At the top we have a new leader… the Saints are now out on their own with five covers from seven starts, after demolishing market expectations against previous line ladder leaders Port Adelaide.

The market sent St Kilda into Saturday’s game with a 16.5 point head start… and they certainly didn’t need it! They defeated Port by 29 points to smash the line by 45.5 points.

One that the market did get right was Gold Coast vs Western Bulldogs. The closing line gave the Suns a 5.5 point head start, which they covered by the bare minimum 0.5 points. Perhaps this is a sign that the market is paying Gold Coast more respect.

Adelaide remain at the other end of the line ladder, but finally broke through for their first cover of the year. They were given a 10.5 point head start against the Bombers, and only lost by three points. They remain stuck to the bottom of the line ladder, but are now just one cover and 24 points behind the underwhelming Hawks.

AFL Line Ladder: Round 7

What is it about the AFL betting market and Carlton?

Week after week… and on evidence, year after year… the market underrates the Blues.

In 2019, Carlton finished a miserable 16th on the AFL ladder. Their coach, Brendan Bolton, was sacked mid-season.

On the line ladder? They were at the other end, finishing the season second after covering their line in 14 of their 22 home and away matches.

It’s a trend that’s continued into 2020. While they’re in 11th spot on the AFL ladder with a win/loss record of 3-4, they’re 5-2 at the line and sit third on the line ladder, trailing top sport by margin points only.

The weekend was a good example. Carlton and Port Adelaide played out a thrilling three-point game with Port’s Robbie Gray clinching victory after the final siren. But the market had given Carlton a comfortable 13.5 point head start, so their backers were already sitting pretty.

That 19-10 record against the line since the start of 2019 means if you backed them every week (1u level stakes, $1.90 price), you’d have a profit of 7.1 units at 24.5% PoT. Back them at TopSport‘s $2 lines, and that would be 9 units profit at a cracking 31% PoT. Amazing.

This week the Blues face the lowly North Melbourne, whose spot on the AFL ladder is replicated on the line ladder. The bookies have Carlton a 9.5 point favourite at this stage.

AFL Line Ladder: Round 6

A few rough results this week on the line ladder. The most notable was, of course, Carlton versus the Bulldogs. Carlton were given a 9.5 point head start, only to romp to a 52 point win. It’s quite rare you see a side beat the betting line by more than ten goals, so it’s a result that’s perhaps testament to this strange season.

Elsewhere, Geelong’s 27 point win over Brisbane (who were 7.5 point favourites) was another shock, as was the final score in Hawthorn versus Collingwood: the market had Collingwood just 4.5 point favourites, but they won easily by 32 points.

Overall, the market is still underrating runaway line ladder leaders Port Adelaide. The market had them just 1.5 point leaders against GWS, with them going on to record a comfortable 17 point victory. This week’s clash against Carlton will be fascinating, as both teams have very good records against the line. At this early stage, the market has a 15.5 point head start for Carlton. Too big? Perhaps…

AFL Line Ladder: Round 5

We’re five rounds in (for everybody except Melbourne and Essendon, anyway) and if there’s one team the betting market is struggling with, it’s the Bulldogs!

This might not seem the case on face value. They’ve covered three lines and missed two, for an overall differential of just 4.5 points. Pretty close, right?

Wrong. If you dig a little deeper, you’ll see that close differential is the result of some big numbers offsetting each other!

The Bulldogs’ lines have been close all year. The biggest margin that’s been predicted in one of their games is just 8.5 points, which is the head start they were given over St Kilda in Round 2. But their actual performances have swung wildly.

The Dogs stunk it right up in Rounds 1 and 2, missing their lines by 54.5 and 47.5 points. But since Round 3, things have done a complete 180-degree turn. In the past three games they’ve smashed their line by 28.5, 33.5 and 44.5 points. The market just can’t catch them. On form, they’re being massively underrated of late. Will that continue? Perhaps, but you always need to be wary on teams that the market just cannot seem to predict accurately.

Either the market or the team – or both – are very unpredictable. They currently sit in eight place on both the AFL ladder and the Line Ladder.

AFL Line Ladder: Round 4

Just how good are the Gold Coast?

It’s been a remarkable early-season turnaround for the Suns, who were the AFL’s whipping boys in 2019. And for a few years prior to that, as well!

They’ve won three of their four games to sit second on the AFL ladder, and are rejuvenated by a bunch of hungry kids led by Matt Rowell.

It’s the same position they occupy on the Line Ladder, trailing only the white-hot Port Adelaide.

However – while it may only be one game – there’s evidence the betting market is catching the Gold Coast. While they smashed their two prior lines by 76.5 and 51.5 points, at the weekend it was just 7.5 points. They went in as 5.5 point favourites and defeated Fremantle by 13 points.

As always, line betting is not simply a case of following the form of teams… we also need to take into consideration the ‘form’ of the market in accurately predicting results.

AFL Line Ladder: Round 3

Are the Blues rising once again?

Carlton were one of the punters’ favourites in 2019, consistently beating their line – particularly in the first half of the season where expectations were very low and they languished at the bottom of the AFL ladder. That looked unlikely to repeat in 2020 given increased expectations surrounding new coach David Teague. But early in the season, Carlton is again the punters’ friend. They’ve covered two of three lines so far, missing their Round 1 mark against Richmond by just 1.5 points. Their best outcome came at the weekend when the market gave them a 25.5 point headstart against Geelong… a headstart they didn’t need as they recorded a win.

At the other end of the table, Adelaide are really stinking things up and the market are yet to catch up with them. They were installed 1.5 point favourites against the Gold Coast, only to cop a 53 point beating. Things aren’t good at the Crows.

Also, we should note that we have our first disruption of this crazy season after the postponement of the Essendon versus Melbourne clash – they’ve both played one game less than the rest of the competition until they catch that game up.

AFL Line Ladder: Round 2

There’s one very clear message on the early season AFL Line Ladder… steer well clear of the Bulldogs!

The Dogs have obviously disappointed greatly already this season, and the numbers say the market is yet to catch up with them. They’ve missed the line by a cumulative 102 points already – a huge figure after just two games. They were tipped by the market to win by 2.5 points in Round 1 (they lost by 52), and 8.5 points in Round 2 (they lost by 39). It’s hard to be confident in the market catching up to them quickly, so they’re an ‘avoid’ for now!

Table-toppers Port Adelaide are basically the exact opposite. They were given just 14.5 points to overcome in the weekend’s Showdown, and saluted by 75!

AFL Line Ladder: Round 1

Of course, there was only one round played before the season was halted, so at this stage the line ladder only includes one set of results. Collingwood were far and away the most impressive in Round 1, with their opponents in the Bulldogs being the total opposite. The market tipped a close game – 2.5 points in favour of the Bulldogs. Collingwood ran out 52 point winners to destroy the closing line by 54.5 points.

Another impressive performer was Fremantle. The closing market saw them as 17.5 point underdogs to the Bombers. They lost by just six points to beat their line by 11.5 points.

The AFL Ladder for Punters

The Line Ladder is a fairly simple premise: it’s the same as the regular AFL ladder but we measure performance against the closing betting line instead of the scoreboard.

For example, let’s say Collingwood were playing North Melbourne. The closing line is -9.5 (Collingwood) and +9.5 (North Melbourne.

Collingwood win the game by 20 points.

Collingwood covered the line by 10.5 points. So they record 1 cover, and their ‘Final margin v closing line’ figure is 10.5.

North Melbourne record 1 miss, and their ‘Final margin v closing line’ figure is -10.5.

Then those figures just accumulate through the season. The ladder is ranked first by covers, then by cumulative margin vs the closing line.

That’s all there is to it. It measures team performance, but in relation to the market. So you get a view of how well the betting market is performing in predicting each team’s results. A good example of this in 2019 was Carlton. For the first half of the year, their win and loss performance was awful. However, they were getting a lot closer to their opponents than the market thought they would, and very often covering the line. They consistently sat at or near the top of the line ladder despite being glued to the bottom of the league ladder. That’s the sort of information that is valuable as a punter.

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