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Australian Football Pools - Staking Strategies?

Author: Phil Marks 

Australian football is not at all like soccer, either in the purely physical sense, or in its organisation. It is generally accepted (and supported by statistics) that Australian football teams play closer to form than do teams in British soccer – for example, the range of playing standard between top and bottom teams in a league is quite wide leading to greater predictability. Player injuries and transfers, and forfeit games (due to no-shows) are other factors which can have a heavy influence on a team’s performance profile. These and other statistical quirks have a direct effect on the strategies to be adopted for football pools betting.

Firstly, a basic fact about the statistics: Teams come and go (and change their names) more often in Australian football than in British or European football. A team may disappear for a season or two and then re-form. So, tracking teams in a statistics database can be quite a challenge unless top-notch software is used.

Leagues and Staking Bias

Digging at the statistics shows that some leagues have much higher standards than others, and in particular some leagues have much higher draw percentages than others (for example South Australia), whereas other leagues have a much lower percentage of draws.

So, if you are playing the treble chance (draw games) then you bias your selections towards certain leagues with higher draw rates – that is forecasting more draws in the upper half of the coupon. You may also bias against some leagues. Obviously, this depends on using a suitable performance rating system to assess likely match outcomes, before introducing bias.

A very peculiar aspect of Australian football is that results sequences can appear to be very strange. It is not at all unusual for a team losing at home to go win their next match (if it is an away). The numbers bear this out, but the explanations can be a bit difficult to fathom. One view which I favour is that this is related to the range of playing standards within given leagues.

The reverse also carries weight too, with a good away win often being followed by a home defeat.

For a pools staking strategy, this means that sequences are important, much more so than in the British pools.

Plans and Perms

Typically, a staking strategy needs to be using higher coverage levels than would be the norm for the British pools, on a £ for £ basis. Because some of the value coupons (1/10 p/line) do not publish during the Australian season, then staking plans come into their own, balancing a lower guarantee level against higher coverage on the higher cost coupons (1p/line). For serious attempts at the treble chance, then 18 selections is the absolute minimum.

Full perms, even at the high cost of any 8 from 18, are not really the way to go.


With over 130 teams to monitor, the Australian pools can require more work than the British pools if you track all the data in detail. Dividends are smaller, but given that teams play closer to form and there are other tweaks which can help home in on draws, then it can be a more rewarding part of the pools calendar. After all, the serious football pools fan is down to earth and doesn’t really expect the £1m dividend, just steady profit from season to season.

There are more resources for Australian pools data here.

(c) 2010 Phil Marks

 Win The Football Pools