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Australian football is not at all like soccer, either in the purely physical sense, or in its organization. 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) very often in Australian 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.

Leagues

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 the leagues with higher draw rates - that is forecasting more draws in the upper half of the coupon. Obviously, this depends on using a suitable performance rating system to assess likely match outcomes, before introducing bias.

Home/Away/Draw Runs

A peculiar aspect of Australian football is that 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 favor 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 pound for pound 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 Because some of the value coupons (1/10 p/line) do not publish during the Australian season, then staking plans come into their own, balancing a lower guarantee level against higher coverage on the higher cost coupons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). Full perms, even at the high cost of any 8 from 18, are not really the way to go.

Draw Probabilities

When narrowing down your selections - say you have 30 candidate draw forecasts which you want to reduce to 20, and then you can start by eliminating those with the lower percentage probabilities of a draw.

Finally

With over 130 teams to monitor, the Australian pools can require more work than the British pools. Dividends are smaller, but given that teams play closer to form and there are other tweaks which can help home in on draws (by eliminating home or away bankers), 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 seek the glory of the 1m pounds dividend, just steady profit from season to season.

For all weekly pools fixtures and results visit www,poolsagents.com

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