The AFL grand final is the pinnacle of the season and attracts huge betting interest with Australian punters.
The game is traditionally played on the last Saturday in September at the MCG, but was played on the first Saturday in October in 2015, as it will be in 2016.
The markets surrounding the AFL grand final are many and varied, with odds available right throughout the year on who will reach the decider, as well as who will win the big waltz.
Once the preliminary finals have been played and the two combatants have been chosen to play, other markets like the Norm Smith Medal for best on ground and other player markets will open up.
Hawthorn is the raging favourite to make it four flags in a row in 2016, with the Alastair Clarkson-coached outfit, undeniably the best team of the modern era. But there are other teams in the mix with 2015 grand finalist West Coast, dour Fremantle and the highly-fancied Geelong all having plenty of money invested on them.
Major betting markets for the AFL grand finals
The two main types of betting on the AFL grand final are futures and ‘match day’ markets.
By futures we mean bets like who will reach the grand final or the outright winner. If you bet early enough on a team to reach the grand final, or win it, you could receive exceptionally juicy odds. For instance at the start of the 2015 season some bookies had West Coast as long as $40 to reach the grand final, which they went on and did. However if you back the Eagles just weeks from the finals, when they were sitting pretty in the top four, you would have struggled to get more than $3.50.
Match day markets
As soon as the preliminary finals are played bookies will open markets on the grand final. The earliest odds released are generally:
Heat to head: A market with the odds of each team winning the grand final.
Line betting: This is a handicap market. For instance if the teams were even in the betting, they might both be at $1.92 in line betting. If Collingwood is favoured to beat Essendon the line might be Collingwood (-21) at $1.92, while Essendon would be (+21) at $1.92. This means Collingwood would need to win by more than 21 points to ‘cover’ the line, while Essendon get a 21-point head-start.
Norm Smith medal: This is for the best on ground in the AFL grand final. The markets are released straight after the grand finalists are decided.
Other match day markets on AFL grand final day will mirror those of the regular season, with goal scorers and most possessions two of the more popular ones. Read more about AFL markets here.
Tips for betting on the AFL grand final
If you are looking to place a bet on the AFL premiership, look no further than our guide – which will help you beat the odds on the most important day on the Australian sporting calendar.
Been there, done that: They say you cannot buy finals experience, and if you want to get to that last Saturday in September, it pays to have been there the year before. In the period between 2010 and 2015, at least one team from the previous year’s Grand Final has gone on to compete in the next year’s decider.
Is the minor premiership a poisoned chalice? There is an old adage in AFL football – it only matters who wins on that last Saturday of September. Only six times in the past 20 years have teams finished on top of the ladder at the completion of the home and away season gone on to win the AFL premiership.
Shop early: If you are looking to make money on the AFL premiership market, your best bet is to pick your team early and invest. Premiership odds can fluctuate so rapidly that a team could be at double figure odds at the start of a round and be wound in to a far shorter price on the back of an impressive performance.
Hawthorn at the beginning of 2015 were wound out as far as $6 after a shock loss to Essendon in round two, but after a terrific run which saw them as the clear premiership standout, they came in to $2.25 before the completion of the home and away season.
Home state advantage matters: Like it or not interstate teams, to win the premiership, need to get it done at the home of football; the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The fact the MCG hosts the AFL Grand Final every year gives any Victorian team an inherent advantage due to the fact they: A) do not have to travel B) they play a significant amount of games at the venue. From 2007 to 2015 interstate teams have met Victorian based teams on the last Saturday of September at the G five times, with only Sydney in 2012 reigning supreme. Never discount just how advantageous a home state final can be to a Victorian based grand finalist.
Interesting moments in grand final history
The AFL Grand Final is one of the most anticipated events on the Australian sporting calendar and it rarely disappoints. Who has taken the game by storm? Who has excelled in a losing side and who had to come back the week after? Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting moments in AFL Grand Final history.
Overtime? Try coming back next week: One of the anomalies in world sport exists in the AFL, and that is the grand final replay. Rather than playing additional minutes at the conclusion of the Grand Final if scores are tied, the AFL elects to make their combatants return next week to play again to decide who the premiers are. Only three times in AFL history has a grand final been level at the completion of the match.
- Essendon vs. Melbourne – 1948 (Melbourne won the replay)
- Collingwood vs. North Melbourne – 1977 (North Melbourne won the replay)
- Collingwood vs. St Kilda – 2010 (Collingwood won the replay)
The highs and lows of AFL grand finals: The Geelong Cats set the record for the highest winning margin in a grand final, defeating the Port Adelaide Power in 2007 by 119 points. Four times in AFL history has a team defeated their opponent by the slenderest of margins.
- Fitzroy defeated South Melbourne by one point 1899
- Carlton defeated Essendon by one point 1947
- St Kilda defeated Collingwood by one point 1966
- West Coast defeated Sydney by one point in 2006
The highest attendance in AFL history at a grand final was in 1970 between Carlton and Collingwood. 121,696 patrons crammed into the Melbourne Cricket Ground to see the Blues overturn a huge half-time deficit to defeat bitter rivals Collingwood.
It is the stats that matter: They say statistics are not everything in football, but they are definitely entertaining to peruse in the aftermath of a match. The Brisbane Lions’ Simon Black holds the AFL record for most possessions in a Grand Final with 39 in 2003.
Collingwood’s Gordon Conventry and Gary Ablett snr hold the record for most goals kicked in a Grand Final – both men kicked nine majors in 1928 and 1989 respectively.
You mean I can lose and still get a medal? The Norm Smith medal is the award given to the player adjudged best afield in the grand final. Typically the team that wins the game has the best player on the field in the game, but not always. Only four players have won the award in losing sides:
- Maurice Rioli with Richmond in 1982
- Gary Ablett, Sr. with Geelong in 1989
- Nathan Buckley with Collingwood in 2002
- Chris Judd with West Coast in 2005
Best bookmakers to place a bet on the AFL grand final
If you are looking to invest your money on the AFL grand final, it is hard to look past the official betting partner of the AFL, Crownbet.
With competitive markets on all futures markets pertaining to teams, including top-four top-eight and the minor premiership, Crownbet are ensuring Australia’s native game is well represented.
If a multitude of options on the team future markets is what you are after, you should look no further than Sportsbet.
With the all the futures markets covered, grand final quinella bets and even a least amount of wins market on offer, Sportsbet continually prove why they are one of Australia’s favourite online bookmakers.
Other popular AUD bookies:
- William Hill