Finding a ‘Good Bet’ in the AFL line

Posted: March 31, 2015 by Beaner in Sports betting
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Just to recap quickly, the premise of my sports betting theory is to get better odds than the number of possible outcomes there are for the bet.

For example, in a game of soccer there are three possible outcomes for the game; home win, draw, and away win. When you look at the odds for a game of soccer, the draw will nearly always pay more than 3-1, making it a good bet. Now there is probably good reason for the bookies offering you more than 3-1, in that there aren’t as many draws as wins and losses, but if you do your homework and follow the teams that draw most often in any given league, you are giving yourself an edge to make a profit betting on the soccer.

With the 2015 AFL season about to get underway this Thursday night the 2nd April, I was interested to apply this logic to the line bet. Taking the odds from Sportsbet.com.au, you quickly get an idea of the ‘rake’ Sportsbet are taking from each line bet. Looking at the line bet options for round 1 of the AFL, every bet gives you a return of 1.92 where Sportsbet have determined the line, or what they think the difference between the two teams in terms of the margin. Interestingly, if you look ahead to round 2, every line bet is only paying 1.85!

Let’s run through what all this means.

AFL R1 – Carlton v Richmond: Carlton (+11.5) and Richmond are (-11.5) are both paying 1.92.

Richmond is favourite to win this match in head to head betting at 1.55, with Carlton at 2.45.

With the margin in the line bet, -11.5 means Richmond has to win by 12 points or more, and +11.5 means Carlton can lose by up to 11 points and you still win the bet.

Now looking at this from the perspective of trying to find a good bet, if you think Carlton will win, take the head to head odds of 2.45 and you are straight away getting better odds than the 2 outcomes for the game. There is the slight chance that the game could end in a draw, where Sportsbet have the policy of paying half the value of the ticket.

“Dead Heat Rule – In the event of a Dead Heat or Draw, where such an option was not offered for betting purposes, the ticket will be paid out at face value divided by the number of Dead Heating winners of the event.” Sportsbet.com.au

Important Note – line betting doesn’t have a draw option, so it is a true 2 outcome event.

If you think Richmond will win, betting head to head will only give you a return of 1.55, and if you think Richmond can win by 12 points or more, the line bet will pay 1.92, but both of these options fall short of the minimum 2-1 I am looking for with a 2 outcome result.

With the ‘Pick your own line’ market, I can get my 2-1 or better payout by pushing the margin out a bit further. The Richmond (-14.5) bet pays 2-1, so if Richmond win by more than 15 points I will double my money. This is only 3 points more than standard line bet shown earlier, paying 1.92, and I will risk those 3 points to push my bet into the ‘good bet’ zone.

Now if I think Richmond is a 3 goal better side (18 points), I could choose my own line at -17.5 and get the odds of 2.15.

Going the other way with Carlton, their 2-1 option is at +7.5, so they can lose by 7 points and you still win your bet.

Looking at the ‘Pick your own line’ market compared to the straight line bet, Richmond (-11.5) only pays 1.89 instead of 1.92 for the line bet option, so Sportsbet have reduced the payout when you use the ‘Pick your own line’ option. Carlton’s line bet equivalent of +11.5 pays only 1.82 instead of 1.92, which is an even bigger reduction. Sneaky buggers!

The system I am going to use with AFL this year is to bet on 3-leg multibets, where each leg is a ‘Pick your own line’ bet paying just over 2-1.

An example multibet from round 1 could be Richmond (-17.5) @ 2.15, Gold Coast (-20.5) @ 2.15 and GWS (-24.5) @ 2.20.

This gives me the combined odds of 10.16, which is well over the 8 possible outcomes for the 3 games. So let’s say my strategy is to bet $10 each multibet, a win at these odds would pay $101.69. So I will need to win 1 in every 10 bets on average to make a profit over time, and against the odds of 8 outcomes for each multibet, this swings the chance of making a profit over time into my favour.

If you run a simulator where your return is 10-1 for an 8 outcome event, you will make money over time guaranteed, even factoring in losing streaks and deviations from the expected results. This is how poker players like Chris Ferguson developed their poker theories, by running millions of hands through a computer program to determine which style of play would statistically make a profit over time. So if he encountered a ‘coin-flip’ hand that won even 50.1% of the time, that would be enough of an edge to push all-in with, as Ferguson knew that over time this strategy would see him come out in front.

The trick is finding the right AFL bets to place to overcome the bookies rake imbedded in every bet, but if you know your teams and keep track of their form, scoring potential, how they match up with their opponents, key injuries, form at different grounds and good old crystal ball intuition, you are giving yourself a great chance of making a profit over time from betting on the AFL, which should be every gambler’s ultimate goal!

Beaner

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