AFL Round 1 isn’t far away now.
When it comes to betting, Round 1 is obviously a little different – there’s no form to go on. You can rely on last year, team changes and pre-season form to an extent. But with six months since the last game for each club, it’s hard to pick.
It’s important to remember, however, that everybody is in the same boat… including the bookmakers. So while different participants in the market have different resources, there are levels of uncertainty everywhere.
AFL Round 1: Previous Years
While we need to know how teams might perform, the edge really comes in identifying how the market performs. That’s where the money is made!
We can use some history for that. So we’ve taken the past five seasons and looked at Round 1 for each: 45 matches in total.
Is there an edge to be had?
AFL Round 1: Head-to-Head
Of the 45 matches, favourites won 27 and the underdogs won 18. Backing all favourites or underdogs across the board is a silly approach at the best of times, and it’s no different here… both approaches would result in a decent loss on turnover. Play on.
AFL Round 1: Line Betting
That’s ok. We’re punters and it’s not all about the head-to-head.
Good teams win, great teams cover the line.
This is where things get interesting. Check out the table below which shows the 45 match sample. While 27 of the favourites may have won their games, it shows that only 18 of them covered their closing line.
So 27 of the 45 outsiders covered the line. Have $100 on the outsider at the line in each of them… at, we’ll say, $1.91. Collect of $5,157 on your stake of $4,500… profit of $657 at 14.6 per cent! Very nice…
So we know that over the past five years, Round 1 underdogs have been undervalued at the line. They do better than the market expects.
AFL Round 1: Total Points
Regular readers might remember that last year, we had a look at longer-term trends and found that total points in the AFL actually went under on 55% of matches. For what’s supposedly a 50/50 proposition, that’s significant.
The strange thing with Round 1 is that we actually see the opposite.
It’s actually 24-21 in favour of the overs – or 53% to 47%.
2018 in general was an even bigger year for unders overall, as the market didn’t respond to changes in rules and games styles. The unders went 1-9 in Round 1 last year… so for the previous four years, the overs trend in Round 1 was an enormous 23-13 – or 64% to 36%.
AFL Round 1: Summary
So just in this very simple analysis, we’ve learned a couple of potentially valuable things about Round 1:
- Underdogs don’t win much, but they cover the line often
- Total scores go over far more than they usually do.
Is this a betting edge? Perhaps. It is, of course, a small sample of data (only 45 games), so may well be just variance at work.
But as always… approach Round 1 with extreme caution!