As a first-time viewer, watching an Australian rules football game would be very confusing. There are countless rules and it is hard to compare to other sports. It is the most popular sport Down Under and the AFL, the country’s most elite level of the game, is where the sport thrives.
We’ve done betting guides on other sports such as table tennis, which can be found here. However, the sport of Australian rules football is a whole different kettle of fish.
Big catches, hard hitting tackles and unbelievable goals, the game, whilst confusing at the beginning, is without a doubt one of the most enjoyable sports to watch.
So if you’re like us and wanting to know more as it edges closer to a return to action, we want to know how to make money from it. Here are our AFL betting tips!
What is AFL?
Before we get into our AFL betting tips, it is important to have some grasp of how the game is played.
We won’t go into too much detail, but we’ll provide a general overview for you.
There are two teams. Both field 18 players and have four on the bench who, in difference to soccer, can be substituted on at any time. They can also come back off the field, with those who originally came off going back on. Think of it as a revolving door.
At both ends of the field are scoring zones. These are known as the goals and they look like this.
Teams can score six points by kicking the ball between the two large goalposts. If they kick it between a large and small goalpost on either the left or the right, it’s only one point.
Any player can score six points, or a ‘goal’.
The objective of the game is to score more overall points in the four quarters of play than the opposition team. In this sense, you can compare it to basketball.
For a longer and image-reliant explanation on the game of AFL, we’ll direct you to this video from the AFL’s official YouTube.
Stake’s AFL Betting Markets
On Stake, we offer two match-day markets on the AFL. They are as follows:
– Match winner
– Total game points (over/under)
– Handicaps (over/under)
The match winner market speaks for itself. You can simply bet on who you think will win the match.
Total game points is also rather straight-forward. You simply bet on whether the two teams’ combined number of points will be more or less than what the market offers.
For example, if a match between Collingwood and Richmond ends 100-90 and you bet on the match finishing with +189.5 points combined, you win!
For more on how our handicap markets work, click here.
However, where you can make some very good profit is through our outright markets, which are filled with great value.
There are markets for who will finish in the top 8 on the ladder, top 4, who will make the Grand Final (this is the AFL’s version of the Superbowl) and who will win the Grand Final. We also offer markets on who will finish top of the ladder at the end of the regular season and which team will finish the regular season with the most defeats.
There are also three other markets regarding the states of Australia and the teams in them. The AFL is predominantly operated in the southern state of Victoria, where the majority of teams are based. For this reason, many AFL premierships are won by teams inside the state of Victoria. You can bet on who the best performing Victorian team will be, as well as the best non-Victorian team. Finally, there’s a market for betting on which state the premiership-winning team will be from.
Before any bets are placed, you need to do some research into each team. Whether it’s for game day bets or outrights, you’ll win nothing if you go in blind.
We’re going to give you a very brief summary of each team in the AFL. We’ll work our way through the teams alphabetically.
The Crows were a team to be feared in 2017 when they finished top of the ladder. However, following an embarrassing Grand Final defeat to Richmond, they’ve spiralled down the ladder and are now rebuilding. A club that has gone through lots of changes both on and off the field, many AFL experts have predicted them to finish very low this season.
We say don’t back them very often. They can spring the odd surprise, but they’re going to lose a lot more than they win this season.
The Lions surprised everyone last season when they went from finishing 15th in 2018 to 2nd in 2019. Despite a poor showing in their two finals, they seem to be a side on the rise. It will be tough for them to replicate their strong home and away record from last season, given the quality of some other sides.
We say back them when you’re unsure. They’re a top quality team filled with youngsters who will only get better. At home, they’re very tough to beat.
It’s been a tough few seasons for Carlton. They haven’t made the finals since 2013 and have been cellar-dwellers ever since. However, with a new senior coach, it’s predicted that Carlton will begin to surge up the ladder, starting this season. With club captain Patrick Cripps expected to be one of the strongest players in the entire AFL this season, Carlton could cause some mischief.
We say tread carefully. Yes, the Blues will play with a renewed sense of optimism in 2020, but their rise won’t be immediate. Making the top 8 is a possibility, but still quite unlikely.
After a close loss in the 2018 Grand Final, Collingwood backed that up with another strong showing last season, making the second last week of the season. Although one of the strongest sides in the competition, many see this as the Magpies’ last chance to win the premiership. This is mainly because Collingwood has the oldest average player age of any AFL team.
We say there’s plenty of value to be had. Collingwood will almost certainly have another deep run in 2020, so definitely consider top 8 and top 4 markets.
The Bombers have been a consistently decent side for the last few seasons. They’ve always been a side that you can never truly write off. However, they’ve struggled to truly match it with the top tier clubs in the competition such as West Coast, Collingwood and Richmond. A team that will probably be in finals contention again.
We say do your research for head to heads. There is some value to be had at 2.00 for the top 8, but if you’re not concerned with outrights, don’t go in blind.
Another club who has suffered a major fall from grace, the Dockers have had it tough since 2015. A lot of players have come and gone, leaving the club firmly entrenched in a rebuild. They sacked their long time coach at the end of last season, so that shows they’re fully committed to a few more seasons out of the finals. However, they are prone to the odd surprise.
We say there’s a reason for their odds to have the least wins. Although Gold Coast is odds on to finish last, there’s a chance the Dockers will do worse.
Geelong finished top of the table last season and for good reason. They’re a great team with many players who are future Hall of Famers. However, where the Cats struggle is in their bottom half. Their younger players have historically struggled to make the step up into superstars and it has always hurt the Cats. There is a consensus that they will make finals again, but they’re way off where they were last season.
We say get familiar with these names. Ablett, Selwood, Dangerfield. Check to make sure these three are playing. If they are, there’s a very good chance Geelong wins.
Gold Coast Suns
The Suns, one of the two newest sides into the AFL, have had a torrid time since they begun. They have had trouble retaining some of their star players due to their inability to make finals. Now, a lot of younger players have been thrown in the deep end to try and save face for the club. Although there is light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, it’s hundreds of miles away at this stage.
We say take advantage of their downfalls. They’ll more than likely end up with the most defeats and wins will be rare. Find the profit in these areas.
The Giants were the feel good story of the 2019 Finals, prior to the Grand Final where they were annihilated. They are jam-packed with high-quality players who are only beginning to realise their full potentials. Although they finished sixth on the ladder at the end of last season, there’s a good chance that despite the Grand Final loss, they’ll be up there again in 2020.
We say bet with confidence. There will be the odd hiccup for the Giants in 2020, but they’ll get the job done most weeks. Top 4 is a real possibility.
After three premierships in a row, the Hawks have been up and down like a yo-yo. In 2018, they returned to the premiership conversation before being knocked back down in 2019. It’s been hard to get a read on them, especially since they’ve also gone through a lot of changes to their side. However, club star Tom Mitchell will return from injury this season, which will help immensely.
We say proceed with caution. Although their top 8 chances are good, it is still difficult to bet with confidence every week. Do your research.
The Demons had a 2019 to forget after nearly making the Grand Final in 2018. They finished second last, behind lowly Carlton. No one expected them to fall so quickly and many have pinned it on their loss before the Grand Final. Although many players from their 2018 are still there, optimism isn’t at a premium in Melbourne right now.
We say don’t expect much. They will improve on their horrible 2019 season, but it won’t happen right away. Monitor their early results.
North Melbourne Kangaroos
A team that has been middling for a few seasons now, the Kangaroos are making a bid to end that this season. A new coach and a sense of change has fans and players confident of finals. However, their results will vary a lot. Like Hawthorn, the Kangaroos have historically been a tough team to read. Perhaps even tougher than the Hawks.
We say steer clear. There is some value at 2.80 for them to make the finals, but that is far from a guarantee. Make educated guesses as the season rolls on.
Port Adelaide Power
2020 seems like a do or die year for Port Adelaide. After being close to the finals for the last two years, it’s truly now or never. Lots of promises have been made that are yet to be fulfilled, leaving fans angry and wanting results. Although finals is a distinct chance, flag aspirations are far fetched.
We say trust them at home. Away fixtures have always been Port Adelaide’s downfall, but they thrive at home. That’s where you’ll find your profit in them.
Easily the most recognisable club outside of Australia right now, the Tigers are making it look easy. Two of the last three premierships and there’s a huge chance they’ll do it again in 2020. There is expectation on several younger players to step their games up this season. But after removing a lot of the older players in recent years, we’re sure they’ll make good on their chances.
We say they’re hard to bet against, anywhere or anytime. In the outrights, there is some value. When placing a multi, you can pick them with extreme confidence.
St. Kilda Saints
The Saints are entering a new era, with a brand new coach and a very different looking side. One of the most active clubs in the offseason, they’ll be hoping to make an immediate impact. However, question marks linger over the fitness and durability of some of their players. Their rise won’t happen straight away, either.
We say look for them as a point of difference. St. Kilda is often a club forgotten about, so if you’re looking for a way to make some cash where others won’t, here’s your answer.
Another club tough to get a read on, Sydney have been up and down since their 2016 Grand Final loss. Several veterans have retired and they’ve left a lot up to the younger players, who have shown they could be ready to step up right away. There’s heaps of potential, but results will be needed for any of it to be fulfilled.
We say check the teams before each game. If Lance Franklin is playing, total points could be a great area for profit.
West Coast Eagles
The 2018 premiers had a tougher time of it in 2019, failing to make it past the second week of finals. However, many have tipped them to go better in 2020, thanks to some savvy recruiting. After narrowly missing out on top 4 last season, there’s a good chance they’ll do it in 2020. They can go all the way.
We say bet, set and forget. Despite not being a great team away from home, they’ve changed their style and are now one of the most feared clubs in Australia.
After one of the great Grand Final wins, the Western Bulldogs have relaxed a little bit. They were knocked out in the first round of the finals last season, but have high hopes for 2020. Some clever recruiting has led many experts in Australia to believe they’re a real dark horse for the finals and maybe beyond.
We say keep a close eye on them. Yes, there is a good chance they’ll play finals and they will have a strong regular season, but it’s not certain.