Man United v Man City detailed modelling preview

Introduction Even early in the season, Saturday’s Manchester derby appears one of those matches that will have a significant bearing on the Premier League title. Added to this it’s the first meeting of the teams’ two new managerial behemoths – so it seems appropriate to give this game added scrutiny from a modelling point of view….

Risk and Reward – managing your betting pot

So you’ve identified a value betting opportunity – how much do you wager? The answer will probably make or break your chances of long-term success. Even if you consistently spot genuine value, the capricious nature of chance dictates that undisciplined staking is the road to ruin. Yet, whilst there are no guarantees in the fickle…

Euro 2016 – Assessing international teams

International football is difficult to analyse. Unlike domestic league football, where vast quantities of data exist to assess team and player performance in a variety of conditions, negligible relevant data is available for international football. It is, by its nature infrequent – so tournament line-ups may bear little resemblance to those of previous matches –…

Were Leicester’s chances really 5000/1?

Leicester City’s season-start title odds of 5000 to 1 have been liberally used by the media to illustrate the magnitude of their success. But do these represent the genuine likelihood of their achievement? Certainly, the very fact that bookies were prepared to offer this price shows that they rated the likelihood as 5000 to 1…

Assessing the model 20/03/2016

I’ve started posting Premier League result probabilities and projected goals for each round of matches, using my adjusted goals rating system. As explained, the ratings are long-term, averaged over this season and last season so can be a good starting point for assessing value. But, because they’re long-term, there is much that they don’t take…

League probability projections – why so volatile?

This season’s Premier League title race is captivating. Four teams, led by unfancied Leicester City, all have a reasonable chance of winning. How do we know this? Firstly, betting markets give us a good guide to the likely champions. But there are also now many models that calculate the probability of season-end outcomes by simulating thousands…

EPL Half time report. Unpredictability and the quiet rise of Spurs.

With the Premier League neatly poised at its 190 match mid-point it’s a good time to take stock of where things are. I use my Adjusted Goals rating measure to assess teams’ performance. This isn’t anything too complicated – it’s simply uses a combination of goals, shots on target and shots to rate each team’s…

The perils of football rating systems

For those that like football and are of a nerdy persuasion, building a football ratings model is a noble pursuit. Intuitively, football (like many other sports) appears a numerical puzzle that can easily be solved – certain patterns, like the percentage of home wins and goals per game, repeat year after year – and the…

States of play and the importance of flexible tactics

Most metrics used to analyse football are accumulated over a whole match – for example, goals, shots and shots on target. Even Expected Goals, the new paradigm for football analytics, which takes multiple information (e.g. distance, angle and type of shot) to assess the goal-scoring likelihood of each chance, simply accumulates these values over the…

Adjusted Goals – creating a simple expected goals model

Adjusted Goals – creating a simple expected goals model Introduction The capture of sophisticated data from football matches has burgeoned over recent years, enabling the creation of fascinating models to estimate the quality of chances created and conceded. These “Expected Goals” models use multiple information about each chance (e.g. distance, angle and type of shot)…

Mick McCarthy’s Magic Method

In the modern football world, most match reports are adorned by a plethora of stats that may (or may not) tell us something extra about the relative performance of each team – e.g. BBC reports show shots, shots on target, possession and fouls. Specialist sites like whoscored.com and Squawka allow those of a nerdy persuasion…