Round 17 – top of the table

For those following along – I’m out of Hospital! Following my neck injury, I’m back home and now working again which is good. Have to be in a neck brace for another 5 weeks and follow up with some potential surgery but it’s good to be past the worst of it.

I haven’t had a whole lot of time for the blog this week but read on for a bit of a preview!

Continue reading “Round 17 – top of the table”

Finals Week 2

Following a cracking weekend of finals football, I haven’t had the time I’d like to get this weeks results and predictions up. I also did find out that my simulation of finals script, that I’d hurriedly written back in about round 13 actually couldn’t handle real finals data being thrown at it. Nonetheless, the simulations of the remainder of the finals series are in, and I’ll combine it with my predictions later on in this post!

Continue reading “Finals Week 2”

Round 20 Prediction – shuffling the pieces

Leading into the final month of the season, match simulations suggesting that the top 8 is basically set. In fact, the top 8 hasn’t changed since before Round 7. As we wrote about at the time, that isn’t all that surprising. Given that – we’d perhaps expect that the remaining games aren’t all that important, as measured by our match importance metric. However, since very little separates teams in our top 8, matches involving those teams are particular important this week!

Round Predictions


Unlike last week – our ELO model sees some harder to predict matches this week. There are few matchups between teams close on our ELO rankings. While our two closest games have very little ‘importance’ in terms of the season, one could argue that each team has a fair bit to play for. Richmond v Collingwood on Friday night shapes as a big match for a Tigers team under siege, while Carlton v St Kilda is probably the key match between two up and coming teams on the tail end of a rebuild. As per our norm though – I’ll discuss some of the more important matches below.

Match Importance

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Sydney v Port Adelaide, Sat 1:45pm, SGC.

Port Adelaide continues to keep themselves in with an (albeit) small chance of making the top 8. This match looks like being their last chance to remain in with a realistic chance. A win sees their probability jump to ~20%, while a loss sees it drop down to <2%. Given Sydney is one of 4 of our best rated teams vying for 3 spots in the top 4, losing this match puts a big dent in their hopes of top 4. We see a 40 percentage point swing between a win and a loss. Given the relative strength of Sydney and their home ground advantage (HGA), our ELO model is giving Sydney a 63% chance of winning this one. Sydney by 21 points. 

Western Bulldogs v North Melbourne, Sat 7:25pm, Etihad.

Both the Bulldogs and Kangaroos have been struggling of recent weeks for varying reasons. In this time, they’ve dropped to 9th and 8th respectively in our ELO ratings. The Bulldogs early season work does see them more than likely to hold onto 8th spot but if they want to make a run for top 4, this match is important, showing a 35 percentage point swing based on a win or a loss. For North, they’re biggest risk is dropping out of the 8 and a loss here sees those chances jump to 60% probability of missing! The Bulldogs, despite a slight rating deficit, gets the edge here with HGA, with ELO model placing them at a 53% chance in a hard one to predict. Bulldogs by 5 points. 


Weighted Importance

The remaining matches – while seemingly important – highlight the need for me to weight these importance ratings based on the probability of the win or loss actually occurring. As an example this weekend – a win or a loss sees their top 4 hopes change by almost 50 percentage points. The actually probability of the Lions upsetting the Crows however from our ELO model is only 12%. I’m not sure I’ll have time before the season to fix this as I want to get my finals simulations completed but it is something to note!



Round 18 Predictions

We’ve talked for a while about how tight the top 8 is, meaning every game the top 8 play in is important. Interestingly this round, we actually only see two top 8 teams play each other – our likely match of the round in Geelong v Adelaide. Given that Adelaide are our top rated team according to our ELO model and that match has some big implications as measured by our match importance rating, it is setup to be a cracker.


Two of our other higher rating implication games relate to likely the only two teams who may swap places between inside and outside the top 8 in Port Adelaide and North Melbourne. Port need to keep winning to stay in touch, while North can’t afford to keep dropping games.

I’ve outlined some of the bigger games below.

Collingwood v North Melbourne, Fri 7:50pm Etihad Stadium

As mentioned, North need to start winning again, going 1-5 after their very good 9 match winning streak to start the season. They still have a buffer of 2 games over 9th placed Port Adelaide but have dropped below them in our ELO ratings and the difference between a win and a loss is 34 percentage points for their top 8 chances. Given Collingwood has steadily improved to be rated just below North, our ELO model is predicting basically a coin flip. North Melbourne by 1 point. 

Western Bulldogs v St Kilda, Sat 7:20pm Etihad Stadium

The Bulldogs probably haven’t impressed our ELO model as much as their ladder position suggests, sitting in 8th spot. They do however sit at 3rd on our simulated season table and need to win these games to maintain their top 4 chances. St Kilda improved their top 8 chances to a non-trivial 14% last week but can’t afford to drop too many more games given they are 2 games and percentage behind North Melbourne. Our model favours the Bulldogs as 70% chances but it has a high importance rating nonetheless. Bulldogs by 34 points. 

Geelong v Adelaide, Sat 7:25pm Skilled Stadium

Adelaide has been sitting at the top of our ratings for a few weeks now and sit fairly comfortably in 2nd spot of our simulated season. Geelong on the other hand have been disappointing in recent works to our model and have seen their top 4 chances slipping as the season goes by. This week sees them face a 41 percentage point swing in their top 4 chances based on a win or loss. Our model slightly favours Adelaide with Geeling getting over Geelongs HGA . Crows by 3 points.