So bad - or perhaps, more accurately, so unpredictable - are GWS that the TAB Bookmaker no longer feels capable of pricing their chances of victory, even with a handicap.
That's why there's no Head-to-Head, no Line and no SuperMargin market on the TAB for the GWS v West Coast contest at the moment. Desperate for a flutter on this contest with the TAB, your only choices would be the Margin market, where West Coast by more than 39 points is the favoured option at $1.07; the Tri Bet market, where West Coast by more than 15 points is at $1.01; and the 1st Score Type market, where GWS are a ridiculous $6 as first scorers with a goal, and $7 as first scorers with a behind.
From a wagering point of view the absence of these markets is of no consequence, as not even the most uncalibrated of Margin models could concoct a predicted GWS win and hence a wager, but it is an issue for the Head-to-Head Tipsters and Margin Predictors as these all use the TAB prices as inputs. So, for the purposes of generating predictions I've assumed that the head-to-head market is $21 GWS/$1.01 West Coast, and that GWS is receiving 99.5 points start on the Line market. These prices and this start is consistent with the extremes of what the TAB have offered historically on comically mismatched contests. (As a check on the reasonableness of these prices note that Centrebet currently has the head-to-head market at $26 GWS/$1.01 West Coast and is offering 105.5 start for GWS.)
Here then are the considered thoughts of the Head-to-Head Tipsters:
The majority opinion in three of these games is surprising. In the round's first clash Carlton are unanimously preferred over the Pies, despite being only narrow favourites with the TAB, and in the Hawthorn v Adelaide, and the Roos v Cats matchups it's the underdogs that are the majority prediction. In each of the remaining six contests, HSH aside, it's unanimous support for the favourites amongst the Head-to-Head Tipsters.
Meantime our Margin Predictors are of one voice entirely this week, each predicting a win for all nine favourites.
Even their margin predictions are broadly aligned, with the standard deviation of their predictions reaching double digits in only two of the contests, and then only because there's quibbling over whether the victory margin will be nearer 6 goals or 12.
CN2, you'll note, is predicting home team victories in four contests. As a consequence, Investors have four wagers for the week, one at $7, two at $7.50, and one at $8.50. Success in any one of these wagers will make for a profitable week, dragging the Margin Fund closer to breakeven than it finds itself currently.
I note that the TAB's generosity in the Line Market has officially ended with prices reverting to the 2011 level of $1.90 for each team, down from the $1.95 prices that were being offered in Rounds 1 and 2 this season. Prices in the head-to-head markets remain at levels more attractive than those we faced last year however, with overrounds this week in the 5-5.25% range, down from the 6.5-7.0% that was the norm last season.
Lastly, let's look at the Probability Predictors.
- ProPred, WinPred and H2H all rate the Blues' chances more highly than does the TAB Bookmaker
- ProPred and H2H both rate the Swans' chances more highly than do WinPred and the TAB
The Line Fund is most confident about the Blues' chances of overcoming the 4.5 points start they're offering on the line market, but is also fairly confident about Essendon's (-60.5), the Eagle's (-99.5 notionally), the Crows' (+30.5) and the Saints' (-14.5) chances in their respective line contests.