The Aussie Rules season is drawing to a close, with just five weeks of the regular season remaining. Which eight sides will make the playoffs, and how can bettors profit with their sports picks?
Aussie Rules (technically, Australian Rules Football, but if you hear anyone call it that you can rest assured that nothing they say afterwards will be true) is a very simple game. Played on an oval field bigger than the size of most cricket pitches, it is an 18-a-side game where the object is to force an oval ball through the opposition’s goal. That goal consists of four posts placed at one ‘point’ of the oval. Kicking or handling the ball between the middle two posts scores six points, between a middle post and an outer post gets you just one.
Of course, things are a little more complicated than that, but the scoring is really all that you need to know from a betting perspective. A high-scoring game it is, too. Leading side Hawthorn currently average over 118 points per game, whilst even bottom side Greater Western Sydney Giants manage to exceed 69. This, of course, makes it an attractive sport to bet on in-play, but there’s also some great sports betting value to be had in the futures markets.
The ultimate aim of the 20 sides is to win the Grand Final at the end of September. Only those who finish in the top eight of the season-long ladder that comprises the regular season will make it through to the playoffs though, and with four points for a win and nothing for a loss it is not unheard of for the playoff picture to change, even on the final weekend.
At the moment there are still five games to go in the regular season. Last season’s losing Grand Finalists, Hawthorn, currently lead the way with 60 points from a possible 68, having lost only two games all season. They are currently 15/8 with BetVictor to win the Grand Final. Crucially, three of those remaining five games are against teams still in the playoff hunt, including last year’s champions Sydney Swans. The last time that Hawthorn played a side in the top eight, second placed Geelong Cats, they lost. They are by no means a shoe-in for the final and there are better betting odds to be had elsewhere.
One of those teams is last season’s winners, Sydney Swans. There hasn’t been a repeat champion since Brisbane Lions did it in the 2002 and 2003 seasons and Ladbrokes make the Swans 10/3 to win for the second year in a row. They, too, play three playoff contenders in their final five games, but they’ve won their last five games and are the form team in the league right now.
If you are looking for a slight outsider for the Flag - the championship pennant awarded to the Grand Final winner each year - then Fremantle Dockers might be your team. They’ve got a relatively easy final run in, with only eighth placed Port Adelaide currently in a playoff spot and games against all three bottom sides. Add to that the fact that they’ve got the tightest defense in the league - conceding fewer than 70 points per game on average - and at 10/1 at Ladbrokes they’re currently the value bet.