Posts Tagged ‘AFL line bet’

Was a good week for the $20 challenge. After treading water for a few weeks and then bottoming out with $0 and bets pending, the good bet theory came through to get me back on track.

I have been focusing on 2 bet types in the AFL, the choose your own line option and the first score type option. They both offer the potential for ‘good bets’, where I can get a higher payout than the number of possible outcomes. This is basically the only type of gambling I am doing now.

With the choose your own line, I push the line to where I get over 2-1 for both teams and then decide on which team is more likely to get that point spread. There is usually about an 8 to 10 point black hole that will give the bookies a win, but most weeks I am getting 5 or 6 legs right, and combined as trebles I am making money.

The other bet type I really like is the AFL first score type. There are 4 possible outcomes (home team goal or behind, away team goal or behind), but on some of the options the returns are 4-1 or higher, making them good bets.

This is what I backed last weekend (starting 29th May):
Carlton Behind – 6.00
Gold Coast Behind – 5.50
Western Bulldogs Behind – 4.25
Adelaide Behind – 4.25
Geelong Behind – 4.00
St Kilda Behind – 4.00
Melbourne Behind – 4.00

So for the Carlton game, I was getting a return of $6 for a bet with 4 possible outcomes. How good is that! Any smart gambler anywhere would just sit there and back that option all day everyday if there was a game somewhere offering those returns. You might argue that AFL isn’t a game of chance, like spinning a wheel with 4 slots on it, but I think it is a random event in this instance, as the players themselves aren’t trying to achieve a certain outcome. The start of the game is chaos and anything can happen, no matter how dominant one team is over the other as the match unfolds.

With those bets in place last week, I ended up getting 6 of the 7 legs correct, missing only the Western Bulldogs bet. Wow! Why wow? Well let’s look at the odds of winning that many legs.

With 4 outcomes a leg, there are 4x4x4x4x4x4 = 4096 possible outcomes for those 6 games.

Now had I have been a bit more aggressive in my betting and backed 6-fold bets in the 7-leg multi, for $1 I would have got a return of $8976. Now I did quite nicely with what I did win betting on trebles, but I also feel this was a BIG missed opportunity to have really cashed in on my good bet theory. It’s the same odds as picking the correct suit out of a full deck of cards (no jokers) 6 times in a row, with the deck replenished each time. If you have some spare time and a deck of cards one day, have a go at picking the correct suit 6 times in a row. You may need more than a day as you will be trying to defy odds of 4096-1 to achieve it.

I don’t feel upset about missing out on the pay day as in a way it validates my theory, but I am going to be a bit more aggressive on covering those long shot outcomes from now on, just in case. I may never see that sort of result again in the next 10 years of betting on 1st score types in the AFL, but then again, I may just see it this weekend…


I have set myself a goal of turning $20 into $1000 through sportsbetting.  This is an aside from the Champ Bros syndicate, which is travelling quite nicely in 2015 btw.  The idea is that if I can successfully achieve this, then I could theoretically turn $200 into $10k, and then $2000 into $100k.  The % growth is all the same, it’s just the numbers get bigger by a factor of 10 each scenario. So even though the betting amounts are quite small in these examples, I am looking to the big picture where I could duplicate these strategies with higher stakes in the future.

I started this challenge by depositing $20 into my Bet365 a/c on Saturday 18th April, and have not made any further deposits.  Currently the balance is $146 with some bets pending.  My strategy is to only place ‘good bets’, where the odds exceed the number of outcomes, and I have also been dabbling in the upset theory again, especially with the tennis.

During the last 3 weeks I have also come to the conclusion that the ‘low ball’ strategy is the best approach to maintain my balance and see it grow slowly over time.  This is a poker term for someone who likes to keep the pots small and chip away at their opponents, especially in a heads up situation where there are only 2 players. The theory is you won’t be committing chips into big pots and gambling on outcomes, but instead you believe you can outplay your opponent over time, so you keep the pots small, minimise your losses and eventually win all your opponents chips through superior play and forcing them into making mistakes. How I’ve adapted this idea is to place lots of smaller bets with the aim of making small profits that outweigh the small losses if the bet doesn’t win. Inside this I have also been using combo bets within my selections, which reduces the amount I can win if all the legs happen to get up, but it also is more likely to ensure a return even if I miss a few legs of either small profit or small loss.

E.g. If I pick 6 AFL games over a weekend that I like the lines for when pushed out to 2-1, I might group them into doubles or trebles depending on how likely I think the teams will go. With 6 games into doubles, there are 15 combinations. With 6 games into trebles, there are 20 combinations.

If I was willing to stake $5 for this bet, then I would place .33c on each double or 0.25c on each treble. The sports bet websites and apps are set up now so this easily done by choosing the combo bet you want and the amount you want to stake so you don’t have manually make each bet.

If I happen to miss a leg or two out of these games, I will still make some money or incur a small lose, and I will only get zero return if I get fewer results than the combo I chose, which hasn’t happened yet. It is a conservative approach to gambling, but I am patient and so far I have been very happy to see my $20 investment slowly grow.

The other interesting option I have been exploiting is the new ‘Cash Out’ feature all the sites are offering now. Once you have a few legs of your multi in the bag, you will see that your cash out option will usually be higher than your starting stake, so you have already made a profit if you choose to end your bet there. A few times I have cashed out early and maximised my return, as I didn’t like my chances with the outcomes of the other matches, and if those games went against me the return would have dropped to less than what I staked originally, whereas the cash out option guaranteed me a profit. This works especially well with the upset theory in tennis.

E.g. I have been backing the upset in tennis for short priced favourites. After watching the results for a few weeks it became apparent that there are many upsets in the tennis, even at the odds of 1.10 for the favourite. It was something that I explored a few years ago when I got fed up with my short priced tennis multis getting smashed by one of the odds on favs getting beat nearly every single multi.

The bet on the tennis I made the other day highlighted how a smart use of the cash out option made me a tidy profit.

I chose 5 matches and got the odds of 5.50, 4.00, 5.00, 6.50 and 4.00. I don’t really care who is playing or where, I just look for odds of 4-1 and over in the available games. I staked $5 on 10 x doubles of .50c each. The first 2 results I got happened to be both wins and the 3rd game was underway but not looking good as my player was a set down but had broken serve in the 2nd set. I was still in a great position though with 2 wins on the board, where the 5.50 and the 4.00 underdogs had both got up. Bet 365 was offering me cash out of around $21 at this point. I thought this was great, and here’s why. I had already made $11 I couldn’t lose (5.5 x 4 x .5), so if I let the matches play out this is what I would pocket regardless of the remaining results. I had already made a profit on my $5 investment. If I happened to get one more leg, I would then have 3 x doubles combos and over $30. As I watched the current game unfold it looked more likely that my player was going to lose, and literally after each point the cash out figure was dropping. I cashed in and got $20.10. Now I might have missed out on a potentially bigger payout, but I had also nearly doubled my worst case scenario regardless of the remaining outcomes, and it was this factor that I found most appealing. In these types of bets I only need 2 upsets to make a profit and that’s all I expect with such short priced favs. As it turned out the remaining favs all won easily and my decision to exit at this point was a sound one.

The aspect of my strategy that this highlighted the most is DON’T GET GREEDY, as greed leads to poor decision making.

I have also been using the cash out option to get some money back on bets where I would have ended up with a zero return. I’ll take the small loss at the risk of some massive turn around in the match were the team I chose comes back to win, as this rarely happens.

Remember Low Ball; small bets, small wins and even smaller losses over time equals a growing profit.

I am also using another simple staking approach that I learnt from successful poker pro Erik Seidel. Seidel used to be a backgammon champion, and he then worked in the stock market before turning to poker. What he learnt from his time trading on the share market he adapted to poker with a simple premise; how much should I invest in this hand? If it was a hand with a low chance of winning, he would want to invest less in it, whereas if he had a good starting hand, he would be willing to invest more in it. With this in mind, generally I am going to be investing less on bets that have less chance of winning and conversely I can risk a bit more on bets that I think are a good chance of making me a profit.

E.g. If I am choosing 6 matches and betting on doubles combos, I will stake a bit more as I am more likely to get some doubles and a return on my investment. If I am betting on trebles or 4-folds, I will stake less as these are a bit less likely to win, plus the returns are higher if they do so I can get to the same profit by betting less.

I’ve been trialling a lot of bet types, mainly trying to find good bets in the AFL that look likely to return a profit over time. The soccer draw theory is also doing well, and I haven’t explored too many other sports yet as my sporting interest lies mainly with Aussie rules football and the English soccer. The tennis upset theory is also showing promise, as I like the odds you get backing the upset for a head to head match with 2 outcomes, even if the other player is heavily favoured to win.

Remember, upsets happen!

In the AFL I am taking a few approaches. I am using the Alternative Handicap option (Pick your own line), where I choose the team I think is going to win and then push the line to get a 2.10 return. I am looking for teams that I think will win by more than the bookies margin, and by pushing the line a few points passed that, I get the 2-1 I am looking for. The other approach is to find teams that you think will get closer than the line suggests, so they will lose by less than predicted. When you look at the odds for both teams once you get the 2-1 odds both ways, there is usually about an 8 or 9 point spread which I call the bookies margin, because if the result falls into that points spread, I can’t win no matter which team I backed.

E.g. Carlton v Brisbane Sunday 10th May

Brisbane +21.5 – 2.05

Carlton -29.5 – 2.10

With these lines to get just over 2-1, Carlton has to win by 30 or more and Brisbane has to lose by 21 or less for me to collect, giving the bookies a 9 point spread where they will win.

The other bet I am doing quite well out of is the first score option. There are 4 outcomes for this bet in each match, home goal, home behind, away goal and away behind. What I noticed when I examined the odds for this option is that quite often there were returns of up to 4.50 for one of the options. I like this a lot; a 4.50 return for a bet with 4 outcomes! This is a good bet. I don’t care that that option has been deemed less likely to occur, probably through the data Bet365 has accumulated over the years, and I’m sure the AFL players in these matches aren’t trying to conform to the data either.

E.g. AFL round 6 (still in play)

I went through all the games and picked the first score option that paid the highest odds of 4-1 and over for each match. In some games all the odds are less than 4-1 so I leave them alone. This is what I backed with their odds:

St Kilda Behind – 4.00 (Win)

GWS Goal – 4.25 (Loss)

Gold Coast Goal – 4.50 (Win)

Melbourne Behind – 4.50 (Win)

Essendon Behind – 4.50 (Loss)

Brisbane Goal – 4.25 (yet to play)

West Coast Behind – 4.50 (yet to play)

So there are 7 legs, and I grouped them into doubles, giving me 21 combos. I staked .25c each combo so the bet cost me $5.25. The reason for doubles is that this is a hard bet to win when considering the possible outcomes. A double is 4×4 = 16 possible outcomes, where a treble is 4x4x4 = 64 outcomes; quite a big difference. Obviously the payout is greater for the trebles, but the other thing to consider is that there are 35 bet combos with the 7 legs, so using the min bet of .25 on Bet365, it would cost $8.75 for a less likely win. If I had more starting money I would consider this option as the potential payouts would be nice (4.5×4.5×4.5 = $91.13x.25 = $22.78), but there is a greater likelihood of getting 2 wins and no payout at all, which isn’t the risk/reward strategy I am following in this challenge.

So far I have won 3 out of 5 matches, a great result for the good bet theory with 2 games still to play. If I had of bet trebles, I would already have won $20.25 (4×4.5×4.5×0.25), and one more win out of the remaining 2 matches would give 4 more combos, and 2 wins 10 combos. But this is all speculation and we are in the real world here.

My wins so far have guaranteed me a min return of (4×4.5x.25) + (4×4.5x.25) + (4.5×4.5x.25) = $14.06, a profit of 267.8%.

The current cash out value is sitting at $19.53 which is very tempting. But one more win will increase the combos to 6 and a return of over $24, and 2 more wins will increase the combos to 10 with a max return of $47.28. So to take a $5 gain here at the expense of a much higher payout isn’t such a smart move.

The difference between this and the tennis scenario earlier is that the tennis results were relying on the underdog to get up and win against the heavily fancied favourite, whereas these results are still good bets, where I am getting more than 4-1 on the 4 possible outcomes.

Poker pro Chris Ferguson (aka Jesus) once said something along the lines that it is worse to fold a potentially winning hand than it is to stay in with a potentially losing hand. I like to apply this logic to the cash out option, where it is best to risk losing a small amount if I cash out early by seeing the bet through with the potential to win much more. Over time in this scenario, you will make more money by staying in than cashing out early, as the upcoming bets are good bets where your reward is greater than your risk.

The $20 Challenge betting strategy summary:

  • Don’t make big bets, as you can always lose on any bet you make – there are no sure things.
  • Aim for small wins and lots of them.
  • Use the cash out option to minimise your losses or take a profit above your potential payout if the other bets are likely to lose.
  • Make as many ‘good bets’ as possible and gamble on these.
  • If doing large multi bets, aim for doubles or trebles as you are more likely to get a return instead of an all or nothing result.
  • Don’t get greedy and don’t take any result for granted.
  • Be patient and disciplined.
  • Stay smart.


With a bit of savvy and a whole lotta luck it is possible to turn a $10 investment into $10 000 by winning 9 bets in a row that are just about coin tosses.

The betting strategy is easy. All you need to do is win 3 x 3-leg multi-bets in a row getting 10-1 or more each bet.

Bet 1: $10 x 10-1 = $100

Bet 2: $100 x 10-1 = $1000

Bet 3: $1000 x 10-1 = $10 000

Seems easy doesn’t it, and in theory it is. To reach the 10-1 odds each multi using only 3-legs is possible by finding odds that are just over 2-1.

2.15 x 2.15 x 2.2 = 10.1695

2.16 x 2.16 x 2.16 = 10.078

Now the best way to find these type of odds and still fell like it is a fair contest is to use the choose your own line betting option, where you push the odds of your preferred winning team to the point of getting close to the odds above, and hope that they first of all win, and then win by a bit more than the bookies anticipated when they set the line.

This method also produces a ‘good bet’ as it is obviously 1000-1 to get from $10 to $10 000, but using 3 legs each multi on a 2 outcome event means there are only 8 possible outcomes in each multi (remember there are no draws in line betting).

8 x 8 x 8 = 512 possible outcomes, which is significantly lower than the 1000-1 you are creating by getting slightly more than the 2-1 each bet.

The reality starts to bite a bit when you happen to have won the first 2 multi bets and you are placing a $1000+ bet on 3 more legs in the multi to win the $10k. It looks and sounds easy theoretically, but it is not easy to do. Many will tell themselves it is only $10 as that is all they started with, and many will feel confident having won 6 bets in a row already that their form will hold up, but many more people will be feeling very nervous about laying down the final bet. You may have only started with $10, but once you win the bet the money is yours to do what you like with. Personally I am ok gambling the $100 for the 2nd bet, however taking the next step to risk $1000 is something I would struggle to do. I’d probably be more inclined to bank $500 for peace of mind and stake the rest, or as I have done in the past when running a small AFL syndicate, put it to a vote with the members (we took the money after bet 2 won and it paid for our next 2 seasons plus a nice profit each).

As with all get rich quick all-up or accumulator type systems, it seems straight forward how the money will build up when you are on a winning streak, although life in the real world is never that easy and gambling with large sums of money is not going to be easy to do for many people.

If you have decided to go the pot and gamble the lot in the 3rd bet, another safety option would be to make sure the last leg of the multi starts at a later time than the other games, so that if you have won the first 2 legs and everything is riding on the last winner getting up, you have set yourself up for an arbitrage situation. If your bet wins, you get the big payoff, but you can also back the other team at the adjacent line, so if they happen to win or beat your line, you will still get a collect. You are in a win-win situation now and you can sit back and enjoy the game. You won’t win the full $10k, but you won’t lose it all either, so you have to look at it like the winners you have nailed so far have created some credit for you. The bet is worth a potential $10 000, so if you could find five grand or so to back the other option with and get your 2-1 (it will be less at the equivalent line), you are guaranteed to be 5 large up at the end of the day regardless of the outcome of this final leg. From my POV, I will take the latter option and bank my $5k as opposed to potentially losing the last leg and winding up with nothing but regret and anger and a shocking hangover the next day. A punter with a profit to show for their hard work is usually a happy punter, and that’s what I always strive to be.

There is more to come on arbitrage sports betting too as it is something I have been taking a great interest in of late.


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, 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.”

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!