The opening match between Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Sydney Swans looks to be a very interesting betting game indeed. No one is really sure how to rate the Giants, except for the fact that the Swans will make them look like midgets.
But interestingly, the amount that the books believe that the swans will give the giants a hiding for is greater than any match played by Gold Coast last year. The current line for the Swans Giants game is -90.5. Meaning that the Swans have to win by at least 91 points to cover the line.
The biggest line offered last year for newly formed Gold Coast in 2011 was -88.5 when they ventured down to Simmonds Stadium to play would be premiership team Geelong. The average line that the Gold Coast had last year was -49, but here we are opening with a lot bigger line.
So are GW Sydney tipped to be a worse team in 2011 than Gold Coast in 2012? Yes I think so. But is that really warranted? Let’s compare pre season results to determine that:
Gold Coast pre season 2011:
So a fairly average opposition with teams playing against the Gold Coast finishing 4th, 7th and 15th. The average losing margin was 59 points. Let’s compare this to GW Sydney in 2012:
So a similar opposition as well, with top 2 favourite Hawthorn, vast improver Richmond and lower of the ladder Gold Coast. The average losing result here is 55 points.
So the preseason records of both teams is comparable.
But everyone remembers that opening (round 2) game of Carlton vs. Gold Coast last year where Carlton spoiled the AFL party to win by 119 points when the line against Gold Coast was just +26.5. It was a very underdone Gold Coast, with all of their senior players being very underdone. Brennan and Brown could only muster 22 possessions between them and Ablett had not played a pre season match and looked match unfit compared to normal. However this week GW Sydney’s main gun Scully is out with a cheekbone fracture.
Perhaps there is a case, that new formed teams, like Gold Coast and GW Sydney will start poorly and then improve as the season goes on. This happened to Gold Coast didn’t it? Let’s find out.
Gold Coasts average losing margin was 54 points over 2012, and the graph below shows their progress. Many will have forgotten that they actually won 2 of their first 6 matches, and the trend for their performance did improve over the season as shown by the linear regression line (but keep in mind that Hawthorn did play only half a side in the final round of the season)
What can be more interesting is finding out how Gold Coast went against the line in 2011. The average line for Gold Coast was +49 with the smallest being +17.5 against Brisbane in round 21. But how they went against the line is interesting as shown in the graph below:
So it seems, even against the Line, Gold Coasts results in 2011 did increase, although as pointed out below, this is minimal if you don’t include the last match versus hawthorn:
What is also interesting is how my ratings for Gold Coast went in 2011. Shown below is Gold Coasts ratings over the span of the year:
So not a huge improvement, but clearly the form of Gold Coast improved as the season went on.
So what does this all mean? Well I guess is means that we could possibly expect the same from GW Sydney. They might well start off slow, but then improve with a few games under their belt. Perhaps the bookies have the Giants with the correct line of +90.5 considering this. But that said; remember it is bigger than any line last year against the Gold Coast.