AFL (Australian Football League) Betting Guide | LeoVegas NZ Blog

AFL (Australian Football League) Betting Guide

The Australian Football League (AFL) is the only competition in the world that sees 18 fully professional teams compete at Australian Rules Football.

In this guide we’ll take a closer look at the competing teams, explain the rules of the AFL, highlight some of the best AFL betting markets to look at.

How to Bet on AFL (Australian Football League)

Betting on the AFL is very straightforward. You have to navigate your way to the online sports betting page and select Australian Rules, then AFL. Here, you will see a list of upcoming matches. Choose the fixture you wish to place a bet on, click on it and this will open all the betting lines available for that game.

How many teams take part in the Australian Football League?

There are currently 18 teams that compete in the AFL, and they are now based across five of the country’s states. The majority, ten teams, remain in Victoria where the sport originated.

Victoria: Carlton Blues, Collingwood Magpies, Essendon Bombers, Geelong Cats, Hawthorn Hawks, Melbourne Demons, North Melbourne Kangaroos, Richmond Tigers, St Kilda Saints, Western Bulldogs.

New South Wales: Greater Western Sydney Giants, Sydney Swans.

Queensland: Brisbane Lions, Gold Coast Suns.

South Australia: Adelaide Crows, Port Adelaide Power.

Western Australia: Fremantle Dockers, West Coast Eagles.

The rules of the AFL Premiership season

The AFL operates as a single national division, with no promotion or relegation possible from or to other leagues. The regular Premiership home-and-away season consists of 23 rounds with teams playing 22 matches and receiving one bye. These games generally take place between March and September.

A winning team will be rewarded with four Premiership points, whilst a draw will see each team pick up two Premiership points.

The finishing positions in the ladder are based on the number of premiership points won, and a ‘percentage’, which is calculated as the ratio of points scored to points conceded throughout the season.

What are the AFL teams competing for?

At the culmination of the Premiership home-and-away season, the team sitting at the top of the ladder will be recognised as the ‘minor premiers’ and will be awarded the McClelland Trophy.

However, the top eight teams in the ladder qualify for the play offs and will compete in a four-round finals series that culminates in the AFL Grand Final, with the winners recognised as the ‘Premiers’.

The AFL Season

One of the most popular sports in Australia, the Australian Football League - also known as the AFL - is a tub-thumping, muscle-moving, bone-crunching sport that was born out of the Victorian Football League.

It’s one of the most beloved sporting spectacles in one of the most sports-mad countries on the planet. But how does it work? What does the fixture layout look like throughout the season?

It starts with pre-season - management brings together its roster, including some fresh faces during a draft window, which takes place at the end of each campaign. Preparation starts with a grueling training schedule and participation in official practice matches, which in 2023 replaced the pre-season tournament teams used to participate in.

When the season gets underway through the Australian winter - March through to September - there is a home and away season structure. There are 22 matches in total for each team, with one bye.

The league comprises 18 teams at the time of writing, with the top eight teams in the standings participating in a four-week finals series throughout September, culminating in a Grand Final to establish the overall champion

AFL Rules and Gameplay

The main objective of AFL is to score the most points by kicking or punching the ball through the team’s respective scoring posts at either end of the playing field. There are two scoring opportunities - the two middle (and taller) posts are the goal posts (worth six points), and the two outer (and shorter) posts are the behind posts (worth one point).

Players may use any part of their body to control and move the ball, and are allowed to tackle each other in order to gain possession of the ball. Players may kick or punch the ball through their opponents' goal posts for six points, or kick or handball it between behind posts for one point - to score, the ball must not be touched in any way by another player, and though it may touch the ground, it must not touch the post.

Players must stay in the designated playing field and are not allowed to cross over the sidelines or behind the goal posts. The ball must be advanced using kicking, punching, or handballing actions. Players can run with the ball, but no further than 15 metres without bouncing the ball or have it touch the ground.

Players can only tackle an opponent when they have possession of the ball, but only below the shoulder and above the knee. A foul is called by the umpires if a player is deemed to be holding the man, tackling around the neck, or pushing them in the back.

Other infractions include holding onto the ball for too long, throwing the ball, "out on the full" (kicking a ball over the boundary without it bouncing), and "deliberate" (a player adjudged to have deliberately forced the ball out of bounds).

AFL Women's (AFLW) League

The AFL Women’s League (AFLW) was founded in 2016 and has exploded in popularity in Australia. Indeed, the 2019 AFL Women's Grand Final remains the highest attended women’s football event in Australia, with 53,034 showing up to the Adelaide Oval.

Like the men’s competition, there are 22 teams in the division, and there is only a slight deviation in the rules, with a slightly smaller ball in play, quarters lasting 15 minutes instead of 20 minutes, 16 players on the pitch at any time instead of 18 players, unlimited player rotations, and a throw-in executed within 10 metres from the boundary line instead of on the boundary line, and

  • Head-to-head betting: Head-to-head betting is a market in which two teams are pitted against each other with the winning team determined by which team performs better on match day.
  • Handicap or line betting: Handicap or line betting involves setting a margin that one team must win by for bets to be successful.
  • Over/under betting: Over/under betting allows bettors to wager on the total combined score of both teams, or one team, in a game.
  • Futures betting: Punting on the outcome of an event that has yet to occur, such as which team will win the Grand Final.
  • Player-specific betting markets: Player-specific betting markets let punters bet on individual players and their performances in a match.
  • Exotic bets and proposition bets: Wagers made on events that are not related to the final result of a match, such as the first goal scorer or the margin of a win.

AFL Betting Tips

You are never guaranteed to win any money when betting on the AFL, but there are certain things you can do to help give you the best chance of profiting.

Here are some standard AFL betting tips to consider:

Team form and performance analysis

Check out the recent results of the two teams, how they have fared at home or away, and if they have any stand-out results against the opposition on the day.

Player injuries and suspensions

A team’s odds can fluctuate depending on the fitness, or lack thereof, and suspension of star players. Be aware of these elements ahead of a game to be sure you’re getting good value from any match-betting.

Weather conditions and their impact on AFL matches

Rain, wind and temperature all affect how players perform on the field and therefore influence the result. In wet weather, ball handling can become slippery, making it more difficult to hold on to possession. Windy days can make kicking more difficult as the air drags the ball off its path. Temperature can also be a factor, as extreme heat or cold can cause players to tire quickly and affect their performance. All of these weather conditions have an impact on the game and need to be taken into account when betting on an AFL match.

Venue analysis and its influence on team performance

Some teams have a better record at certain grounds than others - there is no scientific or reasoned evidence to explain why this is, but it’s worth exploring.

Historical data and head-to-head records

Some teams just have the hoo-doo over their opponents. A prolonged run of victories against another team can play on the mind of players

Keeping track of bets and maintaining records

Staying in control of your gambling is a key metric of a responsible approach to this pastime - and being aware of wins and losses over time is a great way to combat risk of addictive patterns.

Understanding odds and probability

Understanding odds and probability is an essential part of any successful betting strategy. Having a basic knowledge of the concept of probability can help you make more informed decisions when placing bets, as it helps to determine which outcome has the highest chance of occurring. If you understand the basic concepts behind how odds work then you can use them to your advantage and increase your chances of making profitable bets.

Origins and Evolution of Australian Rules Football

Early origins and development of the sport date back to 1858, when a game called Melbourne or Victorian Rules Football started to be played in Victoria. It soon spread throughout Australia, with clubs forming in South Australia (1870) and Western Australia (1879). In 1896, the Victorian Football League (VFL) was formed, and stayed under this pseudonym for just shy of 100 years.

In 1993, the Victorian Football League became the AFL, under the stewardship of CEO Ross Oakley and it has remained this way ever since.

Australian Rules Football FAQ

How many teams are in the AFL?

There are 22 teams in the AFL at the time of writing.

What is the history of the AFL Grand Final?

The Grand Final has been a fixture in the calendar since 1898, with Richmond FC the most successful club over recent times, having won the Premier three times since 2017.

How does the AFL draft system work?

The system works by allowing each club to select players in order of their finishing position, from the worst-performing team up to the premiers. Players must be nominated for the draft and then clubs have an opportunity to select them during the draft period.

Who are some of the greatest AFL players of all time?

Some standouts that come to mind are Gary Ablett Sr, Leigh Matthews, Lance Franklin, Kevin Bartlett, Wayne Carey and Tony Lockett.

Can international players participate in the AFL?

Yes, international players are welcome to participate in the AFL. In 2019, the league officially announced that it was open to international talent, including players from North America and Europe.