What Wager Types Are Available for AFL and Which Does MoS Use?

Punters can wager on a startling variety of aspects of an AFL game including which team will be the first to score and whether they'll score a goal or a behind, which team will lead at the end of each quarter, which team will be the first to score 25 points, which player will be the first to kick a goal, how many points will be scored in the entire game, and so on.

For the first 10 years, 2006 to 2015, MoS concerned itself only with three forms of wagering: 

  • Head-to-Head Wagering in which the object is to correctly predict the winning team. Prices in this wagering market are expressed as returns per dollar wagered, so a bet, for example, on Carlton at $2.20 in the head-to-head market would return $2.20 for every $1 invested, including the $1 invested.

Prices expressed in this way - as return per dollar invested - can be expressed as odds by subtracting 1 from them. Carlton at a price of $2.20 is therefore equivalent to odds for Carlton on 1.2/1 or 6/5 against.

One technicality that's important to recognise is that head-to-head wagers pay off at half price in the event of a draw. A team with a head-to-head price of $3.50 (say) then would return $1.75 for every $1 invested in the event of a draw.

As a bookmaker's opinions about the relative strengths of the two teams varies - say because of the withdrawal of a key player or a forecast of heavy rain - he or she will alter the prices of the two teams. 

  • Line Wagering in which the object is to correctly predict the winning team after taking into account the points start (or 'spread') being offered for the teams. Points start can be positive (for underdogs) or negative (for favourites) and are typically expressed from the home team's viewpoint.

An example of a 'line market' would therefore be Geelong -12.5 ($1.90) vs Fremantle ($1.90) and this would be read as the home team, Geelong, offering the away team, Fremantle, 12.5 points start. So, to win a bet on Geelong in this market you would need them to win by at least 13 points. Conversely, a wager on Fremantle would be successful if they won, drew or lost by fewer than 13 points.

Wagers in this market would be paid out at $1.90 for every $1 invested. Since starts always include a one-half point, there is no need to provide for the possibility of a draw in this wager type.

There are two ways that a bookmaker might choose to alter a line market to reflect changes in his or her opinions about the relative strengths of the two teams: by changing the prices on offer or by changing the points start. The TAB Bookmaker, which is the reference bookmaker for MAFL, almost always changes the prices and leaves the start fixed. 

  • Margin Wagering in which the objective is to correctly predict the outcome of a game in terms of the final margin of victory. Victory margins are grouped into points 'buckets' and a price is associated with each bucket. A number of Margin markets are available, differing in terms of how victory margins are grouped, more details of which you can find on this blog.

MoS moved out of Margin wagering in the 2015 season and the, starting in 2016, moved into Overs/Unders wagering.

  • Overs/Unders Wagering in which the objective is to predict whether the total points scored in a game will be over or under some specified value, which usually ends in a half-point to avoid the possibility of ties.
    An example of an Overs/Unders market would be 165.5 Overs ($1.90) Unders ($1.90) with an Overs bet paying out at $1.90 for $1 if the total score in the game was 166 points or more, and an Unders bet paying out at $1.90 for $1 if the total score was 165 points or less.

    As for the Line market, in the Overs/Under market the TAB Bookmaker can adjust either the threshold total score (eg 165.5 in the example above) or the prices offered for the Overs or Unders side of the wager.