6 AFL Round 1 Betting Lessons

AFL betting lessons

The opening weekend of AFL footy delivered plenty and provided some interesting betting outcomes to watch in the coming weeks.

AFL Betting Wrap

Winning Favourites: 7/9
Winning Home Teams: 5/9
Favourites Cover: 5/9
Total Points Over: 7/9
Average Total Score: 175.9


AFL Round 1 Betting Lessons

1. Scoring is up, but don’t bank on it continuing

Round 1 was the highest scoring opening weekend of AFL since 2018. Seven of nine games cleared the total points line at an average of 175.9 points per game.

Don’t get too excited, though, as early season high scoring football typically does not last. Since 2016, average total points has dropped dramatically from the opening round:

RoundAverage Total PointsTotal Points Under
1174.041%
2170.650%
3168.857%
4158.869%

The total for Thursday’s Bulldogs v Blues clash is up at around 170 points, higher than any game in AFL Round 1. You can bank on coaches going to work on their defensive systems and bringing scores back down in coming weeks.


2. Markets overreact to Round 1

Round 2 provides a good betting opportunity as markets tend to overreact to opening round results.

Since 2018, Round 2 underdogs cover the start at 68%, while Round 1 losers cover at 56%.

Form is at its most volatile in the early weeks of the AFL season. Don’t be afraid to buck the market.


3. West Coast are absolutely stuffed

The injury and covid-hit Eagles were completely flattered by the 27-point final margin against Gold Coast in Perth on Sunday night.

Champion Data’s expected score provides a final result based on what a team should have scored based on historical goal kicking data, not how accurately they kick in a particular game. On their measure, West Coast should have lost by 63 points.

The Suns had never beaten West Coast in Perth from nine attempts and were many pundits’ pick for the spoon. The Eagles are 3.5 point outsiders against North Melbourne at Marvel on Sunday. It’s hard to see them beating anyone in the short term until some reinforcements arrive, that includes North.


4. Value in goal kickers on debut

Josh Rachelle, Nic Martin and Tyson Stengle made some punters very happy in their debut performances for their new clubs, putting away five, five and four majors respectively.

Those who backed them cashed some bets at monster odds – all three were $40+ for four goals and $101 for five with most books. Rachelle and Stengle had put the writing on the wall with multiple goals in their final practice game, while Martin was a complete bolt from the blue.

It never hurts to have a few dollars on debutants for new clubs before the market has a chance to react.


5. Don’t write off the champs

The futures of Patrick Dangerfield, Jordan De Goey, Matt Rowell and Patrick Cripps have been questioned by some in the last 12 months, but all roared back in to top form in Round 1.

The turnaround for Cripps, in particular, has been stunning. Even without Sam Walsh alongside him, the Carlton skipper was simply unstoppable on Thursday night, notching up 30 touches and three goals. He looks a great betting proposition again this week given the Bulldogs like to back their star-studded midfield in against all oppositions.

Cripps has also been the big mover in Brownlow markets, in to $10 second favourite in most books, but be wary. As we touched on in our Brownlow betting tips, contenders in teams with two standout vote-getters rarely take Charlie home. Sam Walsh will be back very soon and will be vying for the three in every Carlton win.


6. Watch the weather

While most games in Round 1 were played in warm, early autumn sun, that’s set to change this weekend with Sydney’s soggy stretch set to hit the Swans v Cats clash on Friday night.

With 20-40mm of rain forecast, adjust your betting accordingly. A total of around 160 looks far too high if that eventuates with 81% of night games in the wet going under since 2012.

You can steer clear of Buddy notching up four snags for his 1000th too – he’ll probably have to wait another week.

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Joel has worked for more than six years at Sportsbet and BetEasy in the content and tipping space, specialising in AFL, cricket, NBA and UFC.