2011 Round 4: Upsets Welcomed and Upsetting

Round 4 is the first of three rounds in which three teams, not one, will endure the bye. This week that means only two games on Sunday, both of which will be of considerable interest to Investors.

Friday night's game, however, which sees the Tigers take on the Pies, holds no Investor pecuniary interest, Investors having been protected by the Head-to-Head Fund's prohibition on wagering on teams at prices such as the Tigers' $7.50.

The round's wagering activity is topped and tailed with fixtures that offer limited upside but vast downside. Investors face maximum gains of about 4% from the Hawthorn v West Coast and Freo v Roos matchups, and maximum losses in excess of 11%.

For two of the games in between, Investors enjoy the opposite. The Port v Adelaide derby could yield almost a 5% gain if Port prevails, and only about a 3% loss if they don't, and a Gold Coast victory over the Dees would be worth over 9%, while a loss would knock only about 2% off Investor portfolios.

Actually, the Suns v Dees clash is an interesting one since, because they've a head-to-head bet on Gold Coast and a line bet on Melbourne -36.5, Investors would prefer, firstly, a Suns victory or draw but, barring that, a Dees win by over 6 goals. This means that Investors could be in the unusual position, should the Dees lead by a couple of goals late in the game, of being torn by a desire for a string of Suns goals or a string of Dees goals, but not a mix of goals from both teams. Such is the disloyalty and opportunism bred by gambling.

(Harking back to the first table for a moment, I note that four of this week's away teams have relatively limited Venue Experience. The Eagles haven't played at Aurora at all in the past 12 months, the Cats have not set foot on the SCG, the Dees have played only once at the Gabba (then again, so too have their opponents), and the Roos have ventured to Subi only three times in the past year. In the other clashes, two of them have a Home team with less Venue Experience than their opponents and the third sees paired teams with virtually equal Venue Experience.

Also, can someone explain to me how the Suns v Dees game can have a $5/$1.15 head-to-head market and 36.5 points start for the underdog while the Freo v Roos game can also be $1.15/$5 yet offer only 34.5 points start for the underdogs. Surely the two wagering markets are not that disconnected.)

Next, head-to-head tips.

As a group, the tipsters have fairly firm opinions about six of the seven contests this week and, in every contest, majority support is with the favourite.

The Carlton v Essendon clash is the only one with a significant level of disagreement. In the end, the verdict is 8-5 in favour of the home team Blues, the narrowness of this verdict reflected in the proximity of the head-to-head prices, which are $1.85/$1.90 as I type this.

This week, the Margin Predictors, taken together, agree with the head-to-head tipsters in every game except the Swans v Cats.

A few things I find interesting about the Margin Predictions: 

  • All 13 Margin Predictors plump for a Blues victory, though in the case of Combo_NN_2, it's only by a fraction of a point and for all but two tipsters it's by less than a goal
  • The Richmond v Collingwood game, though eliciting unanimous Pies support, sees five of the tipsters opting for a victory by 5 goals or more and the remainder seeing victories by only 1 to 1.5 goals.
  • Majority tipster support is with the Home teams on line betting in six of the seven games, with at least 10 of the tipsters predicting a Home team win. The only exception is the Blues v Dons game where 6 tipsters predict a Blues win on line betting, and seven predict a Dons win.
  • Sydney, despite being narrow underdogs in the head-to-head market, are 8-5 favourites amongst the Margin Predictors. ProPred_3 even goes as far as predicting a 2 goal Swans victory. No Margin Predictor has the Cats winning by much more than 1 goal.

That leaves only the Probability Predictions to consider.

The chances of all Home teams are rated much higher by ProPred, WinPred and H2H (Unadjusted) this week than they are by the TAB Sportsbet bookmaker, though only in the Sydney v Geelong clash is the difference of opinion sufficient to turn the Home team underdog into a favourite for all three Predictors, and only in the Port v Adelaide game is it enough to do likewise for just a single Predictor.

The Line Fund rates three teams - Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and Freo - as 60% or better chances on line betting. It's this level of confidence that has led to line wagers of between 3.0% and 6.7% on these three teams.