Thursday, May 16, 2013

Premier League Match Odds: Final Round

Back for the final time this season to post odds on this weekend's final round of Premier League matches.

With Manchester United winning the title last month and Wigan confirmed as the final relegated team on Tuesday, the only race with long term consequences is for the final Champions League spot between Arsenal and Tottenham (though Arsenal have a chance to move ahead of Chelsea into 3rd). Tottenham need to defeat Sunderland at home and have Arsenal either lose or draw in their game at Newcastle. Using the match forecasts in the table below, Arsenal have a 70.6% probability to finish ahead of their rivals, giving Spurs odds of only 29.4%.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Handicapping the Premier League Top Four and Relegation Races (5/10)

Not going to waste words here as everyone knows the stakes at this point with two games to go. Another 5000 simulations, another new set of odds. Tottenham's draw in Chelsea's ground did not drastically change the picture for the Champions League spots:

Odds of Finishing in the Top Four
Chelsea: 94.1%
Arsenal: 80.5%
Tottenham: 25.4%

Meanwhile, down in the relegation zone, Wigan's defeat at the hands of Swansea has left them as quite unlikely participants in the next Premier League season:

Odds to be Relegated to the Championship
Wigan: 82.1%
Norwich: 9.5%
Newcastle: 6.9%
Sunderland: 1.25%

Aston Villa, Southampton, and Fulham go down at a rate of less than one-tenth of a percent.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Premier League Match Forecasts, May 11-14

Now that I've posted the preview of the Championship Playoffs, all that's left for this football season is the final two rounds of Premier League action, as well as the FA Cup final. I'll be back tomorrow to give an update to the races for the Champions League places, as well as the relegation battle, following the midweek games.

EDIT: Please note that the FA Cup final was treated as a neutral field. Also, if you were to assume that extra time and penalties are a 50/50 proposition, Man City would win the cup 82.5% of the time, leaving 17.5% to Wigan.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Championship Playoff Preview

With Cardiff City and Hull City already locking up their spots in the next Premier League season, the Championship Playoff for the final spot is set to begin.

Using the Poisson goals model, I ran 5,000 simulations of the two-legged first round and the resulting final. The four contenders to grab the final lucrative spot in the top division are profiled here, along with their odds of winning (ranks include clubs currently in the Premier League):

Table position: 3
Goal difference: 27
Attack rating: 2.11 (Rank: 13)
Defense rating: 0.95 (Rank: 31)
Overall: 1.161 (Rank: 22)
Advances over Leicester City at a rate of 51.69% to reach the final.
Wins promotion in 28.34% of simulations.
Likely to be the flavor of the neutrals after scoring 85 goals this season, these numbers say that Watford's offense is worthy of a mid-table team at the top level.

Brighton & Hove Albion
Table position: 4
Goal difference: 26
Attack rating: 1.81 (Rank: 26)
Defense rating: 0.65 (Rank: 16)
Overall: 1.162 (Rank: 21)
Advances over Crystal Palace at a rate of 60.55% to reach the final.
Wins promotion in 30.30% of simulations.
A shade better than Watford overall in our rankings. Thanks mostly to a draw against the weakest first round opponent, Brighton are favorites to secure a spot in the Premier League.

Crystal Palace
Table position: 5
Goal difference: 11
Attack rating: 1.78 (Rank: 28)
Defense rating: 0.96 (Rank: 34)
Overall: 0.83 (Rank: 29)
Advances over Brighton at a rate of 39.45% to reach the final.
Wins promotion in 15.98% of simulations.
The longest shot to gain promotion according to our numbers and the bookmakers, but in a four team knockout, the odds are never all that long.

Leicester City
Table position: 6
Goal difference: 23
Attack rating: 1.90 (Rank: 21)
Defense rating: 0.76 (Rank: 20)
Overall: 1.14 (Rank: 23)
Advances over Watford at a rate of 48.31% to reach the final.
Wins promotion in 25.38% of simulations.Crept into the picture on the final day with a huge win over Nottingham Forest. You know, like a fox. Okay, I'm done, I'll be back soon to post weekend match odds for the Premier League, FA Cup Final, and give an update on the top four race. Enjoy the games.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Premier League Top Four and Relegation Odds: May 7

Before tonight's pair of games and tomorrow's massively important Chelsea-Spurs showdown, I re-ran the team ratings, which are updated on their page, to provide the current odds for relegation and Champions League qualification.

Manchester United is obviously locked in for the Champions League with their title in hand, while their local rivals do not fail to finish top four in any of my 5000 simulations for the remainder of the league. That leaves the final two spots to be fought out in London, between Chelsea, Arsenal, and Tottenham Hotspur. In our sims, Chelsea qualifies 94.52% of the time, having received a huge boost winning at Old Trafford on Sunday. Meanwhile, Arsenal manage to finish in the top four in 82.04% of our seasons, which leaves Spurs behind at 23.46%.

Currently, I have Chelsea as a 55% favorite to defeat Spurs at Stamford Bridge tomorrow, with 27% chance of a draw and only a 18% chance that Spurs come away with a vital win. If they do that, however, it would be a massive boost as Spurs would finish top four 62.9% of the time, with Chelsea's odds dropping to 76.7% and Arsenal's to 60.4%.

At the bottom, with Reading and QPR already down, the final relegation spot looks certain to belong to one of Wigan, Norwich, Newcastle, or Sunderland. The full odds are below for all candidates:

Wigan 47.42%
Norwich 30.62%
Newcastle 14.48%
Sunderland 6.10%
Southampton 0.62%
Aston Villa 0.60%
Fulham 0.16%

I will be back of course to preview the Championship playoffs later in the week!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Champions League, Promotion, and Relegation Odds: May 3

Back to handicap the races for spots in the Champions League, promotion playoffs, and relegation in English football.

Our projections continue to be optimistic for Chelsea and Arsenal, with the outlook even more positive after Spurs dropped points against Wigan. At the bottom, though, even the hard earned point for the Latics wasn't enough to offset Aston Villa's big win on Monday, as they are now heavy favorites to be the final team to go down. Villa's win and Newcastle's horrific form has even opened the door for the possibility of relegation for the Magpies.

In the Championship, with one game to go, Nottingham Forest and Leicester still may have a say in the promotion playoffs. Down below, while Wolves aren't officially relegated, they do not claw their way back into 21st place in any of our 5000 simulations. The final drop spot will likely be contested between Barnsley and Peterborough.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Match Forecasts May 4-8

The calendar has turned to May, and in English football that means that the Premier League is winding down and the lower divisions are finalizing the teams that will be promoted and relegated. For The Football Forecast, it means we don't have League Two poisoning our bet numbers anymore. Also, the numbers finally seem to have caught up to Reading's disastrous managerial change as, at last, they do not see value in victory for the Royals against Fulham this week.

The strong plays are the ones you'd expect from a statistical model: bet the teams with no reason to care to defeat highly motivated sides. This week is a good litmus test, as our Premier League projections see value in West Brom over Wigan, West Ham over Newcastle, and Man United over Chelsea.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

League One Playoff Preview

The League One playoffs begin this weekend to determine which teams advance to the Championship along with Doncaster and Bournemouth. The four candidates are Brentford, Yeovil Town, Sheffield United, and Swindon Town. Swindon was able to sneak in by securing 6th in the table, but they are the favorites, pointing to a far superior goal differential of +33.

Using the Poisson goals model along with the team rankings, I simulated both legs of the first round 5,000 times. The results:

Sheffield United advances over Yeovil Town 63.36% of the time.
Swindon Town advances over Brentford 64.67% of the time.

Going a step further, for each simulation, I ran the resulting final alongside it to handicap each side's chances of promotion:

Swindon Town: 37.60%
Sheffield United: 30.20%
Brentford: 17.34%
Yeovil Town: 14.86%

Currently paying 2.5 to 1, Swindon is easily the best value for a future bet.