Beating the Brownlow – 2014

Filed in AFL by on September 6, 2014

The initial “Beating the Brownlow” column for Making The Nut in 2011 was an abject failure; but 2012 and 2013 both brought tidy PoT (Profit on Turnover) figures of 30% and 24% respectively. And so we turn to the 2014 markets with renewed enthusiasm.

As was the case for the past three years, a few primers on the methodology for coming up with ratings (tinkered with slightly for this year) and some headline points to note:

Firstly and most importantly, this is not one of those ‘leaked Brownlow votes’ pieces of analysis. Rather, it uses publicly available votes from the media fraternity, along with some adjustments (explained in more detail later on) to estimate a series of ‘Brownlow ratings’, which are then converted into recommended process for various betting markets.

Just to reiterate, for those who continue to come forward with abuse about how I could possibly allocate votes to some players and not others, they’re not my personal votes.

I use other people’s votes.


Secondly, despite some of the short prices on offer and cases where a person is seemingly a ‘sure thing’ to win a particular market, no such certainties exist. In 2009, Dane Swan (at odds of $1.03 to top the Collingwood vote) was edged out by Scott Pendlebury, while Sam Mitchell (also at odds of $1.03 to top the Hawthorn vote) tied on 13 votes with Brad Sewell. These should act as cautionary tales for anyone thinking of loading up on one of the many short-priced favourites on offer in 2013 or putting them all into a multi.

And finally, whilst the ratings system does its best to take into account discrepancies between the views of journalists awarding player votes and the views of umpires doing same, it is far from definitive.

The four-step process I used for constructing the 2014 ratings is essentially the same as for 2012 and 2013, so click here if you want to read about it in greater detail. The one difference is that this year I’m using two sources of votes from the media fraternity, rather than one set, in the hope of smoothing out a little of the variability in opinions (and consequential vote allocations).

Converting ratings into prices, and prices into recommended bets

Again, the link to the 2012 column provides more detail for those with more of a statistical bent, but a summary of the key relationships between some rated prices and required price on offer for me to recommend a bet in 2014 is set out below:

$1.20 rated price; $1.44 required price for a recommended bet

$1.30 rated; $1.69 required

$1.40 rated; $1.96 required

$1.50 rated; $2.25 required

$1.60 rated; $2.56 required

$1.80 rated; $3.24 required

$2.00 rated; $4.00 required

$2.50 rated; $6.25 required

$3.00 rated; $9.00 required

$3.50 rated; $12.25 required

$4.00 rated; $16.00 required


2014 Brownlow Ratings and recommended bets

Okay, we’ve gone through the details of how these ratings have been constructed, now let’s get to the good stuff. Who should you back and at what prices should you do so? Let’s start with the overall winner and top-five, before moving into the team-by-team and finally the custom group markets (I’ve ditched head-to-head markets as a betting proposition).

Overall winner (* indicates a player ineligible to win the Brownlow Medal due to suspension)

Ratings:  Selwood 23.0, *Fyfe 22.5, Pendlebury 22.5, Kennedy 22.0, Ablett 21.0, Priddis 19.0, Cotchin 18.5, Lewis 17.5, Gray 16.5, *Mundy 16.0, Boak 16.0, Franklin 15.5, Thompson (Adel) 15.0, *Rockliff 14.5, Dangerfield 14.5, Heppell 14.5

Rated odds:  Selwood $5.50, Pendlebury $6, Kennedy $6.50, Ablett $7.50, Priddis $12, Cotchin $14, Lewis $21, Gray $26, Boak $31, Franklin $41, Thompson (Adel) $51, Dangerfield $81, Heppell $81

Summary: The three favourites in most markets – Selwood, Ablett and Gray – are all well under the odds for mine. There are a number of players who appear over the odds for mine (Pendlebury available at up to $15, Kennedy at up to $11, Cotchin at up to $34 being the key three), but the overlays are not sufficient for a recommended bet.

Recommended bet:  Nil


Top five

Ratings:  As above

Rated odds:  Selwood $1.60, Fyfe $1.70, Pendlebury $1.70, Kennedy $1.80, Ablett $1.90, Priddis $2.50, Cotchin $2.80, Lewis $3.80, Gray $4.50, Mundy $5, Boak $5, Franklin $6.50, Rockliff $8, Thompson (Adel) $8, Dangerfield $15, Heppell $15

Recommended bet:  Scott Pendlebury was available at $3.00 for a top-5 finish at Centrebet as of Saturday 6 September, which is good enough for a bet.

It’s also very important here to check whether the ineligible players (Fyfe, Rockliff et al) are counted in ‘top 5’ markets with your bookmaker of choice. If they are excluded, you can reduce the prices listed for everyone else above by around 15-20 per cent. Which would bring Pendlebury into a rating of around $1.45-1.50, and thus mean a price in the $2.10-2.25 range would be sufficient.

Most votes from each club

As indicated very early on in this column, occasionally a red-hot favourite in a club market can be defeated. As a consequence there are certain players whom while deserving of such marked favouritism, do not warrant any value at quotes of $1.10 and shorter and thus should not be wagered upon, nor should they be taken on. These favourites are listed below:

Brisbane:  Tom Rockliff (rating of 14.5, next best Brisbane rating of 8.5)

Geelong:  Joel Selwood (rating of 23.0, next best Gold Coast rating of 8.5)

Gold Coast:  Gary Ablett (rating of 21.0, next best Gold Coast rating of 12.0)

West Coast:  Matt Priddis (rating of 19.0, next best West Coast rating of 10.5)

In addition, there are a number of club markets with key players taken out being offered by bookmakers this year, so ratings will also be provided below for the majority of these scenarios.

However, there are also a number of team markets where there will be very few votes to go around, and thus betting would be a riskier proposition than is desirable. In particular, this will mean that recommendations might need to be softened a bit relative to the pure numbers when evaluating teams such as St Kilda, Melbourne and GWS.


Ratings: Thompson 15 (rated odds of $2.30), Dangerfield 13.5 ($2.70), Sloane 11 ($7)

Recommended Bet: Remember when almost everyone had Dangerfield topping the Adelaide vote easily in 2012? Thompson rolled him that year 25-23. $1.90 is the best price on the board for Dangerfield this season, but you can get Thompson at $7 with Sportsbet. Sign me up.


Ratings: Rockliff 14.5 ($1.20), Hanley 8.5 ($6),


Ratings:  Gibbs 12 ($2), Judd 8.5 ($4.80) Murphy 8.5 ($4.80), Yarran 7 ($12)


Ratings:  Pendlebury 22.5 ($1.17), Beams 13 ($7)


Ratings:  Heppell 13.5 ($1.28), Watson 7.5 ($9), Zaharakis 7 ($18), Hibberd 7 ($18)


Ratings:  Fyfe 22.5 ($1.12), Mundy 15.5 ($9)

Ratings without Fyfe:  Mundy 15.5 ($1.55), Barlow 8.5 ($9), Hill 8.5 ($9), Ballantyne 8.5 ($9)

Recommended Bet: Lost in the noise of a huge year for Nat Fyfe – another very strong season from David Mundy. Umps love him too, based on the last couple of seasons. The $2.50 available at TAB Sportsbet for him to top the Dockers’ vote (excluding Fyfe) is excellent value.


Ratings without Selwood: Johnson 8.5 ($3.20), Hawkins 8.5 ($3.20), Bartel 7 ($5), Duncan 5.5 ($10), Taylor 5 ($15)

Recommended Bet: I’m always a little nervous of how umpires will view the efforts of key forwards, but $13 for Hawkins to top the Geelong vote (ex-Selwood) at Luxbet is more than generous enough a price to find out.

Greater Western Sydney

Ratings: Ward 9.5 ($2.20), Mumford 8 ($3), Greene 5.5 ($8)


Ratings:  Lewis 17.5 ($1.90), Mitchell 12.5 ($4), Roughead 10.5 ($8), Hodge 10 ($9)


Ratings:  Jones 10.5 ($2), Tyson 10.5 ($2),

North Melbourne

Ratings:  Harvey 10.5 ($3), Dal Santo 8.5 ($4.60), Greenwood 7.5 ($6.50), Cunnington 7.5 ($6.50), Gibson 6.5 ($11)

Port Adelaide

Ratings:  Gray 16.5 ($1.90), Boak 16.0 ($2.10)

Recommended Bet: I know that the opening spiel said that a player rated at $2 required odds of $4 to be a bet, but the $2.10-rated Boak being offered at $4 by Sportsbet is worth a serious look. I’m adding him to my recommended bet list – because I’m such a rebel that I won’t even play by my own rules.


Ratings:  Cotchin 18.5 ($1.26), Martin 10.5 ($8), Deledio 10 ($10)

St Kilda

Ratings: Riewoldt 10.0 ($1.70), Hayes 7.5 ($3.40), Montagna 6 ($8.50)

Ratings without Riewoldt:  Hayes 7.5 ($1.60), Montagna 6 ($2.60),

Recommended Bet: Umpires love Lenny. Everyone loves Lenny. This column, and my Brownlow betting history in years gone by, loves Lenny. As tempting as the $21 quoted by some bookies for the ‘all-in’ market is, the small sample size of votes and the extremely short quote (in some instances $1.01!) about Riewoldt makes me hesitate. But the $2.75 at TAB Sportsbet about Hayes beating home everyone else at St Kilda has received some of my cash.


Ratings: Kennedy 22 ($1.50), Franklin 15.5 ($3.40), Hannebury 11 ($17)

Western Bulldogs

Ratings: Macrae 9.5 ($3.20), Boyd 9 ($3.50), Griffen 8.5($4), Liberatore 6.5 ($7)

West Coast

Ratings without Priddis: Shuey 10.5 ($2.10), Kennedy 9 ($2.80), Naitanui 6.5 ($8), Le Cras 5.5 ($21)

Recommended Bet: More being a rebel here, backing a $2.10-rated player (Shuey) at $4 in the Luxbet market where Priddis is excluded.


Summary of recommended bets

1 unit on Scott Pendlebury to finish top-five overall at $3 (Centrebet)

0.5 units on Scott Thompson to receive the most votes for Adelaide at $7 (Sportsbet)

1 unit on David Mundy to receive the most votes for Fremantle (excluding Nathan Fyfe) at $2.50 ( TAB Sportsbet)

0.25 units on Tom Hawkins to receive the most votes for Geelong (excluding Joel Selwood) at $13 (Luxbet)

1 unit on Travis Boak to receive the most votes for Port Adelaide at $4 (Sportsbet)

1 unit on Lenny Hayes to receive the most votes for St Kilda (excluding Nick Riewoldt) at $2.75 (TAB Sportsbet)

1 unit on Luke Shuey to receive the most votes for West Coast Eagles (excluding Matt Priddis) at $4 (Luxbet)

Total spend = 5.75 units (so $115 if you consider one unit to be $20, $575 if you consider 1 unit to be $100, or scale accordingly to your unit conversion of choice).

Two winners from the seven will be enough to roughly break even, while three or more winners from the seven bets would make for a nice profit. Good luck everyone!



Since I can’t seem to put a new comment in to load results (not sure why), will add the summary here:

Won on Boak (1 unit at $4) topping the Port vote, and dead-heated with Mundy topping Freo (ex-Fyfe), thus receiving half of the $2.50 quote for 1 unit.

Shuey led the West Coast (ex-Priddis) market until Kennedy nutted him in the final round. Bugger.

So a 5.75 unit spend for 5.25 units back.


Comments (8)

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  1. Mullet says:

    I’m on the hunt for a solid bet in the trifecta or quinella markets. You seem to be confident with Pendles for a high finish. Who would you pair him with if you were gunning for a bit of value? Advice would be appreciated. Cheers.

    • Cliff Bingham says:

      Mullet, I’d look long & hard at Josh Kennedy as the quinella option with Pendles if you want to play that type of bet.

      One of the 2 media sources I used has Kennedy winning it all (partially how he lobbed as $6.50 third favourite in my ratings), and he’s at a much more generous price than a Selwood or Ablett.

      • Mullet says:

        Cheers, Cliff. Was thinking something along the lines of a Jelwood+Pendles+Kennedy trifecta (your projected top 3). Despite their value, I can’t see either Pendles or Kennedy winning the medal. Adding Jelwood at least gives the combo a strong core. How does that theory grab you?

        • Cliff Bingham says:

          Yep, no dramas at all with throwing the projected favourite in if you’re playing trifecta markets.

  2. Cam Perry says:

    Novice better here.
    Can I get an opinion on this multi?

    Most team votes:
    T Rockliff, B Gibbs, S Pendlebury, D Heppell, D Mundy (excl Fyfe), T Cotchin, L Shuey (excl Priddis).

    Read your recommendations and replaced Gray and Dangerfield with Mundy and Shuey.
    I’m putting $100 on it.

    • Cliff Bingham says:

      Cam, really depends on what you want to do – have a high probability of hitting the multi at a shorter quote (which seems consistent with having Rockliff at less than $1.10 and all at $1.30 or less in there), or having a throw at the stumps with low probability/ high price (which is where someone like Shuey kicks in)?

      Bear in mind, with Gibbs rated $2 (50%) to top Carlton and Shuey rated $2.10 (48%) to top the Eagles ex-Priddis, a Gibbs-Shuey multi alone is only rated a 24% chance of winning. Throw in Mundy at about 65% ($1.55) and you’re down below 16% chance of winning. Add the other 4 guys and maybe we’re talking a 10% chance or just under of saluting.

      In any event, I’d definitely ditch Gibbs (a 50% chance to ruin your multi by losing, and you’re getting well under even money as compo for this) and probably Rockliff (at $1.05, he adds almost nothing to your price and just adds one more leg that could trip you up).

      Pendlebury / Heppell / Mundy (ex-Fyfe)/ Cotchin/ Shuey (ex-Priddis) might be worth a look.

      Although if you can still get Mundy (ex-Fyfe) at $2.50 and Shuey (ex-Priddis) at $4, that makes a $10 multi with an assessed probability of 65% x 48% = 31%. I’d be tempted to simplify right down to that 2-leg option.

  3. Cliff Bingham says:

    Cheers Mullet.

    Yep, the Hawkins bet is in the markets where Selwood is excluded (as Joel should romp in as the highest-polling Cat). Have updated the summary bets section to be more explicit about this.

  4. Mullet says:

    Is your Tom Hawkins recommended bet only for markets excluding Selwood? Your summary at the end of the article doesn’t really specify. Cheers if you can shed some light on this, Cliff. Top piece anyway.