The TAB Bookmaker was a little less generous than I'd hoped, offering the Giants only 15-and-a-bit goals start in their how-much-will-they-lose-by clash with the Pies on Saturday, but this was still more than enough start to have the Line Fund algorithm firmly convinced about the merits of a wager on the Giants.
So, as expected, Investors have two Head-to-Head, seven Line, and four SuperMargin wagers across Round 18, with Sunday's Port Adelaide v Fremantle clash the lone game that can be enjoyed for its own sake - as much as any 9th vs 14th encounter can be more enjoyed than endured, I suppose.
I was surprised that the Dons were on offer at $4.60 head-to-head on Wednesday, and pleased that the Head-to-Head Fund thought similarly, but market sentiment appears to be running contrary to my and the Fund's opinion, with the Dons drifting slightly in the head-to-head market since then. But what would I know?
Speaking of market sentiment, in the line markets for the games in which we've wagered, punter ambivalence has been the hallmark, as evidenced by the markets' remaining at $1.90 for both teams, the only exception being the Carlton v Richmond game where the Blues are now at $2.
This week's Ready Reckoner is especially odd for the Geelong v Adelaide game, in which all three Funds are active. Depending on the outcome, any of five different returns are possible:
- a loss of about 3.8c if the Cats lose
- a loss of about 3.1c if the Cats draw
- a loss of about 2.5c if the Cats win by only 1 to 7 points
- a profit of about 2.2c if the Cats win by 8 or 9 points, or by 20 points or more
- a profit of about 6c if the Cats win by 10 to 19 points
So, a lone behind could earn or cost Investors almost 4c.
The Roos v Dees and Saints v Dogs games also have somewhat gnarly profiles.
That potential 6c return on the Cats is the best that Investors could hope for in a single game this weekend, closely followed by the 5.8c on offer should the Dons spring the upset against the Hawks on Friday night. Next best would be 5.3c returns on the Roos should they win by between 43 and 49 points, or on the Saints should they win by between 40 and 49 points.
Biggest losses would come if Geelong fail to cover their 7.5 point spread (a loss of 3.8c), if Essendon lose by more than 30 points (a loss of 3.5c), or if the Roos fail to cover their 42.5 point spread or the Saints fail to cover their 35.5 point spread (both losses of 3c).
There's much then to be gained and lost.
On Head-to-Head tipping, we've some more signs of independent thought this week, with unanimity in only one game, though its absence is due solely to Home Sweet Home in one half of the cases where it's missing. Most conjecture is about the Eagles v Lions game, where the home team favourites are only a narrow 7-6 majority pick. In two other games the underdogs are the majority selection, the Crows being favoured 8-5 over the Cats, and the Blues 10-3 over Richmond.
It's in these two games that the Margin Predictors have also failed to be of one voice, albeit with only a lone dissenter, Combo_NN2, in each. In the Cats v Crows game, Combo_NN2 favours a narrow Crows victory, and in the Blues v Tigers matchup it's heralding an equally narrow Blues victory.
In two other contests, the Dons v Hawks and the Port v Freo matchups, despite the unanimous support for the favourites, there are multiple Predictors suggesting that the victory margin will be in single digits.
Comparing the TAB's implicit probability assessments with those of the other Probability Predictors we find that the latter unanimously rate the Dons' chances more highly and the Blues' and Port's chances less highly.
In the six remaining contests two of the three non-Bookmaker Predictors rate the Cats', Roos', Eagles' and Giants' chances more highly, and the Suns' and Saints' chances less highly than does the TAB Bookmaker.
The Line Fund algorithm is particularly enamoured with the prospects of the Roos, Giants, Saints and Blues, enthusiasms which have all found outlet in the form of wagers.