Optimal Bonus Points in the Australian Football League


  • The authors would like to thank participants in seminars at the University of Western Australia, La Trobe University and Deakin University, and at the 38th Australian Conference of Economists, Adelaide. The authors would also like to thank Ken Clements, Paul Miller, Stephen Clarke and Robert Macdonald, as well as two anonymous reviewers, for helpful comments and suggestions.

Liam J. A. Lenten, School of Economics and Finance, La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC 3086, Australia. Email: l.lenten@latrobe.edu.au


This paper considers a bonus point system for the Australian Football League (AFL). We utilise league points as a measure of team strength in a prediction model and choose the allocation of points to maximise prediction accuracy. For AFL data extending over seasons 1997–2008, we determine a bonus point system that is better at revealing strong teams than the current allocation of league points. For each match, our preferred league-scoring system awards six points. If Team A wins by more than twenty-six points, they get all six points. If Team A wins by less than twenty-seven points, Team A gets four points and Team B gets two points. If the teams draw, they each get three points.