Wednesday, 13 August 2014

When Averages Mislead

Some observations about the usually excellent Soccermetrics predictions on the EPL season ahead. One is that while the total number of draws predicted seems reasonable at 96, their distribution is anything but.

Every team will draw 8, 9 or 10 matches? Over the last ten seasons, the high in each has ranged from 12 to 17 while the low has been 4 up to 7. Stoke City, Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion are prime candidates for more than 10 draws in my opinion, but it's a sure bet that someone will have more than 10 draws. Even in the draw-drought seasons of 2013-14 (78) and 2005-06 (77) West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa had 15 and 12 respectively.

I'm also not happy at all with Crystal Palace's projected finish. Dr. Howard Hamilton writes:
Crystal Palace simply played over their heads last season and are candidates to regress back to the mean, which in their case would mean relegation. If Tony Pulis can get his defense to perform ahead of expectations again (16 goals better), they might be able to approach their points total from last season. If he can’t, it will be a mad scrap to stay up.
Based on their form since Mr Anthony Pulis took over, Crystal Palace would have finished eighth last season, not too far off a Europa League place.

I think Dr. Howard has made the mistake of looking at Palace's last season results overall. They were clearly a different team under Ian Holloway than they were under Mr Anthony Pulis.

21 of the 48 goals conceded were given away in the opening 10 games meaning they conceded less than one goal a game after that, (including 3 in our 3:3 win over Liverpool) which comes to 37 over a season.  How many goals did champions Manchester City concede last season? Oh, let me check - back in a minute.

Back! It was 37. So Howard wants Crystal Palace to improve their defence by 16 goals which makes it 21 goals conceded which would likely make us Palace Champions.

Averages can be misleading, but I do agree that Palace were efficient last season. 33 goals were scored, (more than only relegated Norwich City and Cardiff City), yet they won 13 matches - eight by 1:0. They will need to score more, not concede fewer, unless we concede just 37, in which case we Palace really will be looking for a place in Europe next season. If we Palace concede 21, it'll be as Champions.

Geoff from fulltimebetting has set up a couple of tournaments that readers may be interested in. Not a patch on the FTL of course, and while Fantasy Leagues are not my cup of tea anyway, I think I have more than enough on my plate this season, but I know some people enjoy them:
Not sure if you ever have time but the free to enter Fantasy football game is superb in that it lets you have one team but then use that team in up to ten different leagues. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I’ve set up a league with a £100 prize that you might perhaps want to mention to fellow subs. 525120-134301 is the code to enrol.
Geoff has also set up a Last Man Standing competition with Paddy Power:
Click on Private Tournament and then its fulltimebettingblog and password is fulltimebettingblog. Winner takes 90% with greedy paddy taking the rest! £5 TO ENTER.
That might have been fun, but it appears you need a Paddy Power account to get to the private tournament page. If you have one and want to enter, Geoff would love to see you. Meanwhile, he is busy reading up on "How to create a strong password".

Speaking of the FTL, we are now up to 24 entries with the entry of Jamie A, and Draw Picks makes his debut tonight with these two:
Kilmarnock v Aberdeen 
Patrick Thistle v Ross County 
Will we see the leaders challenged? The table will look a lot different after this weekend, that's for sure.
If you fancy yourself as a tipster, there's £1,200 up for grabs in the League, plus an exciting Erskine Cup, Monthly prizes, and bounty prizes to compete for.

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