Saturday 21 August 2010

Wigan Atletic v Chelsea (-5.5)

I was a little more interested in the Wigan Athletic v Chelsea game this evening than normally would be the case, secure in the knowledge that if Chelsea failed to win by at least two goals, I would in all probability find a mailbox full of "I told you so" messages.

On this occasion I was right, or at least more right than anyone arguing that -2.5 was too high, but I am well aware that one game, especially one so early in the season, does not prove anything. I stand by my opinion that just because there may not yet have been an away team expected to win by 2.5 goals in the Premier League, times are changing and history alone is not a valid reason why Chelsea -2.5 goals should have been summarily dismissed -

Anonymous: I can confidently state a team has never been a 2.5 goal favourite away from home in the Premiership. And nor are Chelsea this weekend.
Confidence can be a good thing - over-confidence, not so much.

Again, this fixture was a rare event in that the visitors were the top rated team, with the second best "current" form in the league, while the hosts were the bottom rated team, with the fourth worst "current" form in the league. I do not expect the Elo ratings to throw up another prediction like this all season, and it's a pity the game came so early, because there was plenty of money still available on Chelsea -1.5, -2 at 2.05.

The esteemed Mark Iverson commented
I don't normally comment on football but a couple of things to consider:

1) Wigan did beat Chelsea at home last season.
2) To beat the 2.5 goal handicap Chelsea would need to score at least 3 goals. A feat they only achieved 4 out of 19 times away from home last season.

Granted, losing 4-0 to Blackpool was mighty disappointing but Wigan's players should be a little more focussed today.
True, Wigan Athletic did beat Chelsea less than a year ago, but is that result really relevant to today's game? Given how rapidly teams change these days, and that the game was a year ago, not a week ago, I'm inclined to treat the fact as interesting, but not relevant from a betting perspective. Statistics can be very misleading. "Chelsea scored three goals away 4 in 19 times last season" is indeed true, but all opponents are not created equal. Taken at face-value, that statistic suggests the 2.5 goal margin is too high, but if the four games were Chelsea's matches at the bottom four rated clubs in the Elo ratings, then this statistic would actually support the -2.5 prediction. (The games were actually those at Arsenal, Sunderland, Bolton and Portsmouth).

"Wigan's players should be a little more focused today"? True, they may have under-estimated Blackpool, but on opening day at home, one might expect a team to be about as focused as they can be. The trouble is that all the focusing in the world isn't going to help if the team are just too weak. After the promotion / relegation adjustments, the ratings had Wigan rated bottom, and while it is still early days, Barking and Dagenham Anonymous's dismissive comment that "Derby were a worse team than anyone currently in the PL" could well prove to be debatable.

But debate and differences of opinion are what this blog is all about.


Anonymous said...

Such a poor post, in so many different ways.

Best leave the over-confident Cassini in the belief his ratings system is accurate despite being at odds with all statistical experts in this field.

I look forward to seeing Chelsea at -3.5 at home to Wigan later this season. It's pretty much the same thing. We'll see.

Madden said...

Anonymous you are a moron. Chelsea at -3.5 at home to Wigan would not be 'pretty much the same thing' as Chelsea are a better football team than Wigan.

Your posts are tiresome.

Anonymous said...

Think you've missed the point Madden. If you need some help to work it out: -3.5 at home is pretty similar (not quite the same) as being -2.5 away v the same team. There's such a thing as home advantage.