How often do the favourites win?

The other night I filled a couple of spare hours watching Kirk Jones’ 2012 ‘comedy’ “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”. A ‘heartfelt’ film about a group of couples who take different stances on the challenges of impending parenthood.

Why? Good question. It was shocking. As a male I am contractually obliged to say “It didn’t have enough car chases or explosions…” but even so, I found it quite hard to enjoy. The jokes were stale, the scenes were predictable and the mega cast of actors didn’t get a real chance to perform well. Not quite what I was expecting.

Mind you, often what you come to expect, is the opposite of what the experts recommend that you should expect. I am of course, talking about Round 6 of the AFL.

Yes, for only the 4th time in the past 4 years, every backed favourite in the round won. Incredible really. The public has realized upsets are so common that a round without an underdog winning is seen as a rarity.

Much to the joy of many footy tipsters, including my desperate self, there was little surprises in the AFL’s Round 6.


Despite a first half scare, Essendon went on to comfortably defeat the Giants by 39 points. It was only the 4th time in the last 5 seasons that the Dons have won a match after trailing by 21 points or more at half time.

At the MCG, Geelong secured their 16th victory in 17 matches against Richmond, deflating the Tiger’s early season enthusiasm by 44 points. Milestones were celebrated by Corey Enright (250  Geel), Steve Johnson (200 Geel), Chris Knights (100 – 4 Rich/96 Adel) and Bachar Houli (50 Rich also 26 Ess).
Richmond now sit 9th on the ladder.

Carlton dominated Melbourne, defeating the Dees by 61 points on Sunday. The win marked the first time Carlton was in the top 8 under newly appointed coach, Mick Malthouse. It was also Malthouse’s 389th career victory as a League coach, passing Kevin Sheedy’s 388; both veterans trail the Collingwood’s legendary Jock McHale who had a career 467 wins between 1912 and 1949.

The following graph shows the average number of wins by the favourites in each round of the year. This year’s first 6 rounds are also included…


The only website I found with archived collections of betting odds was Its records dated back to round 13, 2009.

I know its only early, and any kind of trend that I can see is in it’s infant stages, but in recent times more favourites are winning.

In 2009 it was 50/72 or 69.4% – (only data available)
In 2010 it was 109/176 or 61.9%
In 2011 it was 142/187 or 75.9%
In 2012 it was 155/198 or 78.2%
So far in 2013 it was 41/54 or 75.9%

So take note! If you are involved in footy tipping, I would heavily recommend that you choose the favourites, and then one or two roughies each weekend. (I’m not prepared to give any advice on punting though!)

Against the odds, everything we expected to happen, happened. What we are expected to expect, happened, and what we were expecting all along, didn’t meet our expectations.





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About Jake "Cobba" Stevens

Cobba Stevens works in sports social media and content. A keen middle-distance runner in both the ammos and the pros, he's also one of the youngest 'old bloods' supporters in Melbourne.


  1. Hi Cobba, one quick question. Can you please advise of us of these 4 previous rounds, in the last 4 years, when all the favourites came home ?



  2. Yeah Glen, no worries. They are indicated in red on the chart.
    2011 Round 12 – 8/8
    2011 Round 18 – 8/8
    2013 Round 2 – 9/9
    2013 Round 6 – 9/9


  3. Jake.

    I have the betting odds for every AFL match between the early nineties to 2010 in spreadsheets. I spent a great deal of time at the state library compiling them. Had an idea for a system based on opening odds each friday, but it went sour (as they all do.) I’m happy to pass them on to any knacker if they’re interested in losing as much money as I did on footy gambling.

  4. Ta Cobba, i need to be more alert.


  5. Awesome work T-Bone.

    Did you find any interesting information from the data that you’d like to share?


  6. Cobba, I have a million and one systems … all flawed!!. If you want the data, contact me on email and I’ll fire off the spreadsheets to you. It’ll cost you a beer, though (just kidding). Also wrote something about my gambling days a year ago. It was a tongue in cheek piece. Here’s the link:

    PS. I also have all the NRL odds for the same period if you want.

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