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Aussie Rules Football Betting Odds, Picks: Richmond Tigers vs. Collingwood Magpies (Thursday, June 11)

Aussie Rules Football Betting Odds, Picks: Richmond Tigers vs. Collingwood Magpies (Thursday, June 11) article feature image

Darrian Traynor/Getty Images. Pictured: David Astbury

AFL Odds: Richmond Tigers vs. Collingwood Magpies

Spread Richmond -8.5
Over/Under 138.5
Time Thursday, 5:40 a.m. ET

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After being one of the last leagues standing worldwide in late March, the Australian Football League kicks off again early Friday morning at 5:40 a.m. ET on FS1 with a blockbuster match featuring, arguably, the league’s two most popular teams — the Richmond Tigers and the Collingwood Magpies.

Having existed since 1885 (Richmond), and 1892 (Collingwood), these two Melbourne-based clubs have plenty of silverware between them (27 combined premierships to be exact), with Richmond having added to that total in 2017 and 2019. The reigning champion Tigers are favorites to win the title again at +350, while the Magpies are second favorites at +550.

Both teams had comfortable wins in Round 1, so this will be their first true test of 2020.

Richmond holds the upper hand in this fixture recently, going 3-2 in their matchups over the last two years, although Collingwood did knock them out in the semi-final in 2018.

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Despite their aggregate totals being relatively close over the past five matchups (Richmond 440 to Collingwood 420), the average margin of those five matchups was 37.2 points. Pundits don’t expect that trend to continue, though, as this game has the second-lowest spread of Round 2.

While 8.5 might seem like a large spread for two seemingly even teams if you’re used to American football, the game structure and scoring system of Aussie Rules Football makes larger spreads more commonplace.

Australian Rules Football Scoring

Australian Rules Football only has two scoring increments: 6 points for a goal, 1 point for a behind. These scores are not tied together (unlike a touchdown and extra point).

A goal is scored by kicking the ball between your opponents’ two main uprights without it being touched. A behind is scored when the ball is touched before going through the main uprights, by hitting one of the two main uprights, or by sending the ball through the two outer goals created by the main posts and 2 smaller posts on each side of the main goal.

The free flowing nature and relative ease of scoring 6 points in AFL vs NFL make the spreads difficult to directly translate. A touchdown spread in American football means more when there are an average of 5.2 touchdowns per game than a goal spread means in Aussie Rules Football when there are an average of 23 goals per game. Even with shortened quarters, there were still an average of 20.33 goals per game during Round 1 (The AFL shortened quarters from 20 minutes to 16 during Round 1, and will continue with the shortened quarters throughout 2020).

After getting a chance to see how the shortened quarters and empty stadiums played out in Round 1, books have lowered totals across the board for Round 2.

The average combined score of Round 1 was 138 and total for this game is set right around that mark. Due to quarantine-related restrictions, teams have only been training together for a few weeks after a month-plus break. The small sample size and the potential rust may favor the under, but if both teams play to potential the over is more than achievable.

Recent form? None. Roster strength? Even. Crowd advantage: N/A. In predicting a game like this, the X-factors take on added importance. Some 364 days after his last AFL appearance, and nine months after an extensive brain surgery, Jack Higgins will make his return as a Richmond Tiger.

Expect the presence of the 2018 Goal of the Year winner to give the Tigers the extra motivation to get over the line on Thursday.

If you’re looking for extra action, here’s a Bonus Pick: Jack Higgins is listed at +175 to kick a goal. While he will never be in contention for leading AFL goalkicker, you could do plenty worse than 36% implied probability for a player who averages .7 goals a game in his career. Especially in a game in which his teammates will likely do everything they can to set him up.

Pick: Richmond Tigers -8.5

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