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. **_