Australian Rules Football Betting: a Brief Introduction

More affectionately known as Footy, Australian Rules is one of those unique sports which has such a massive following but is only played professionally in one country. The hard-hitting full-contact sport is governed by the AFL, and it is the only professional competition in the entire world. 

Aussie Rules is the most-watched sport in Australia and that means that it is naturally supported by the bookmakers, who look to capitalise on that. During any given AFL season, there will be a high focus on the matches, including promotional offers that bookmakers give out, such as price boosts.

Betting on Australian Rules

Even upon the first-ever viewing of Aussie Rules, the sport is engrossing and engaging. When it comes to the turnover in betting on Australian sports, there is none bigger than what happens in Australian Rules.

There is also often more markets to be found on a single Australian Rules Football match than there is any of the other major domestic sports markets. From the head-to-head to the points margins and exotics, betting on Australian Rules, combined with the excitement of in-play wagering, is a dynamic challenge.

How to bet on Australian Rules

There are so many different options for betting on Australian Rules. The basic entry is picking the head-to-head. That’s what the market for the direct selection of odds on which team will claim the match win, is called.

It’s not match outrights, straight ups, or money line betting as can be found on other sports, it is head-to-head. So that is where the simple option of placing a stake on a team to be victorious, such as Essendon to beat Richmond, can be played.

But there are a lot more nuanced markets that commonly come into play and one of them is the points spread. This is more popular of an approach to Australian Rules betting to take than the head-to-head.

A points or a line spread is straight-up handicapping, backing a team with a virtual points advantage to defend, or backing the favourite to win from a position of a virtual points deficit at the start.

Common types of Australian Rules Football bets 

Here is a list of the most common types of Australian Rules bets that are played. 

Line Betting

You may see this referred to as points betting as well. This is a handicap feature of Australian Rules Football betting. It is a market in which players can make their own judgement calls about the conditions of a match outcome.

So for example, if Collingwood were backed to win at a game at $1.65 in the head-to-head market, it may not immediately be enough value for some punters. So by adding the condition of a handicap, say Collingwood -8.5 points for a price of $1.87 instead, then it stretches to more value.

The skill in this is being able to handicap and to use statistics to point try and pinpoint trends about scoring and how well a team is performing, to find the right line. Handicap lines can be  moved to the own personal preference of what the punter wants to play. 


Usually, the simple pick of the outright winner in a fixture would be the most popular market. It’s not always so with Aussie Rules. The challenge in the head-to-head is simply to pick the winner of the fixture. But it’s not a market, especially with bookmaker margins, from which great value can often be extracted from.


On any Aussie Rules match there will be margins betting options available at a bookmaker. These are points spread options, in which a punter makes the call about the size that the margin of victory will be secured by.

This is still a team-specific bet. For example, Freemantle 1-39 points or 40+ points, which are the two most popular points margin lines in rugby league betting.

Long Term Bets

When it comes to the AFL Premiership, it offers a season-long market in which to pick the title winner. The options will be available to select on final standing options, such as who tops the league, which teams will qualify for the AFL Final (top eight) and the winner of the AFL Grand Final outright after the knockout stages.

First Goalkicker

This is one of the more popular markets on an AFL match, despite its huge unpredictability. The odds quote on even the shortest priced option in the market are going to be up in double figures. Each competing team has 18 players on the pitch at any given time and even though position-wise some players are more likely than others to strike, it’s a difficult market to play.

First Scoring Play

More of a proposition bet than anything, this is a selection on the First Scoring Play. There are only two ways a team can score in Footy. Either a goal or a behind point. For this market, a punter will select which team and by which method (goal or point) will produce the first scoring play of a fixture.

Major Australian Rules Tournaments and Competitions

AFL Premiership

AFL Grand Final

Victoria Football League


The enormous crowds in attendance at AFL matches just shows how greatly supported the domestic sport of Australian Rules Football is. The grounds at which some of the teams play their games huge and the sport is still gaining massive popularity both with fans and from a betting perspective.

While there are a handful of commonly used AFL betting markets that are in use, the variety that can be found reaches a lot further. There are not only great pre-match markets to explore, but punters can also delve into live-betting markets as well on matches. 

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A brief guide to handicap betting