AFL Line Betting Explained

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AFL line betting (handicap betting) is when a bookmaker sets a point handicap on both teams to provide a level playing field based on their prediction of who the winning team will be in an Australian Rules Football match.

For example if you’re betting on Collingwood with a line of -19.5 vs Brisbane Lions +19.5: Collingwood must win by 20 points or more for your bet to win. If you bet on the Lions +19.5 – they can lose by up to 19 points and your bet will still win. Typically AFL lines pay $1.91 in Australia.

Keep reading to learn more about AFL line betting is, how it works, and some expert tips for picking wisely.

Understanding How AFL Line Betting Works

Line betting, also known as point spread betting, is a popular form of sports betting where a bookmaker handicaps a particular team to create a level playing field for both teams. The handicap is given in points, and the team with a negative handicap is expected to win by more points than the handicap suggests. On the other hand, the team with a positive handicap is expected to lose by less than the handicap suggests.

The Basics of Line Betting

Let’s say that the bookmaker sets a line of -14.5 for the Melbourne Demons versus the Sydney Swans game. If you bet on Melbourne to cover the line, then they will need to win by at least 15 points or more for your bet to be successful. However, if you bet on Sydney to cover the line, then they can win or lose by up to 14 points, and your bet will still be successful.

It is important to note that line betting is different from traditional head-to-head betting in which you simply bet on which team will win the game. However, in line betting, you are betting on the margin of victory which makes it a bit more challenging – as it requires punters to be proficient in analysing team performance, identifying external factors that can impact the game, and managing their bankroll effectively.

The Role of Bookmakers in AFL Line Betting

Bookmakers play a vital role in the world of sports betting as they are responsible for setting the line and adjusting it based on betting activity. The line is a handicap that is designed to create an equal playing field for both teams, and it is the bookmaker’s job to ensure that the line is fair and balanced.

Setting the Line

Setting the line is a crucial. They must carefully analyse various factors to arrive at a reasonable handicap that will create an equal playing field for both teams which can include team form, injuries, weather conditions, and other relevant statistics.

Bookies use a variety of tools and techniques to help them set the line such as computer models, statistical analysis, and expert knowledge to arrive at a fair and balanced number. Setting the line is a complex process that requires a deep understanding of the sport and the teams involved.

Adjusting the Line Based on Betting Activity

Once the line has been set, bookies will monitor the amount of money being bet on each team. If one team is receiving a disproportionate amount of bets, the bookmaker may adjust the line to manage the amount of money being bet on both teams.

Bookmakers want to take in as much money as possible on both sides of the line to mitigate their losses. By adjusting the line, they can encourage more bets on the other team, which helps them avoid large pay-outs to punters who are successful in their bets.

It is important to note that bookmakers do not set the line based on who they think will win the game. Instead, they set the line based on the amount of money they expect to take in on each side of the line. This means that the line may not always reflect the true odds of the game.

Strategies for Successful AFL Line Betting

Successful line betting requires a disciplined approach and a nuanced understanding of the game’s dynamics. Here are some strategies to consider to maximise your chances of winning an AFL line bet:

  • Analysing Team Performance

The starting point for any line bettor is a thorough analysis of the team’s recent performance. You need to examine their current form, home or away record, and the quality of their opponents to make an informed decision.

  • Considering External Factors

It’s not just team performance that dictates the outcome of a game. External factors, such as weather conditions or injuries, can significantly impact the outcome of a game of footy so it’s important to consider these factors when placing your line bets.

  • Managing Your Bankroll

Effective bankroll management is a crucial component of any successful betting strategy and you should only bet money you can afford to lose. Above all else – it’s important to remember not to chase your losses – whether it be on a line bet or any other type of gambling.

Common AFL Line Betting Mistakes to Avoid

Line betting can be challenging, and mistakes are inevitable. However, there are some common mistakes to avoid:

  • Overestimating Home Ground Advantage

Home ground advantage is real and throughout the years there’s been many AFL teams who have turned their home ground into a “fortress” – but it’s not a guarantee that a team will win by a significant margin. While it’s true that teams often perform better on their home turf, you should be careful not to overestimate the impact of home ground advantage – as additional factors like the weather, injuries, and team form can all play a significant role in determining the outcome of a footy match.

  • Ignoring Injuries and Suspensions

Team injuries and suspensions can severely impact their ability to win a match so make sure you stay informed about these developments and factor them into your line bets. For example, If Jeremy Cameron is injured or suspended for the Cats – their chances of winning will likely be reduced (let’s face it, he’s a gun!)

  • Chasing Losses

One of the most significant mistakes you can make is to chase losses. We know that when you’re on a losing streak, it can be tempting to try to recoup your losses by making bigger bets or betting on long-shot odds, however, this approach is rarely effective and can often lead to even greater losses. Remember to gamble responsibly!

How Popular is Line Betting on AFL Matches?

Since 2015 – line betting has also become an essential revenue source for Aussie bookmakers, which has resulted in increased advertising and sponsorship for the league. The AFL has been able to capitalise on the popularity of line betting (and other types of wagers) with increased revenue from various betting agency sponsorships helping to make the AFL one of the most financially successful sports leagues in Australia.

Line betting has grown in popularity among footy fans, particularly because it creates an additional level of intrigue and excitement. Fans are able to bet on their favourite teams and potentially win money while watching the game – there’s no better feeling than watching your team have a win and collecting a nice little payout on top!

Line betting has also become more accessible to fans in recent years, with many bookmakers offering mobile apps that allow fans to place bets from the comfort of their own homes.


Frequently Asked Questions About Line Betting on AFL Matches:

Is Line Betting Legal in Australia?

Yes, line betting is legal in Australia, however it is heavily regulated and all bookmakers must be licensed by the relevant state or territory authorities. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) oversees the regulation of online gambling in Australia, and all licensed bookmakers must comply with the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

Can You Make a Living from Line Betting on AFL Games?

While it’s possible to make money from line betting it’s very challenging to make a living from it – especially considering the AFL is only played between March & September!  Successful line betting require a nuanced understanding of the game, sharp analysis skills, and a disciplined approach to your betting strategy.

Line betting can be a profitable way to bet on the AFL but it’s important to remember that it’s a form of gambling and should be treated as such. It’s essential to set a budget and stick to it, and not to chase losses. It’s also important to bet with a reputable bookmaker and to do your research before placing a bet.

Wrapping Up

Line betting can be an exciting and potentially profitable way to engage with the AFL. However, it requires a thorough understanding of how it works, a disciplined approach to bankroll management, and an analytical approach to analysing team performance and external factors.

Now that you’re an expert in line betting on AFL matches – check out our recommendations for the best betting sites in Australia.

Written By:

Ben Leighton

Ben Leighton

Ben has been an avid horse racing, AFL, NRL, NBA and EPL fan for as long as he can remember. Born and bred in Melbourne, Ben loves nothing more than getting along to the footy to cheer on his beloved North Melbourne Kangaroos and getting trackside for as many Flemington and Caulfield horse racing meets at possible. Ben is our head writer at Betting Sites Australia.

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