Round 2 Predictions - the falling champs

For those that followed this blog last year, you’ll remember that Thursday night games are the bane of my existence! It seems the new season has not changed that - while I did get my predictions up early in the week, my weekly preview post is, as always, late! Nonetheless, here we are.

Read More: ELO Rating system | Simulating the season | A history of the VFL/AFL plusSixOne ELO ratings


Round 1 is generally pretty tough for an ELO rating system. I wrote about this in my season preview while The Arc (and for that matter, any of the great tipsters around) discuss this when talking about their models. These types of models are generally ignorant to any off-season changes in personnel, injuries, change in a team’s focus or significant events such as Essendon’s players returning. While these things might not effect a team’s inherent ability, if they do, it will take a bit of time for ratings to reflect that.

As I mentioned previously, you can always find my up to date Tips, Simulations and Predictions on a central page. They will also be automatically pushing to the fantastic Squiggle site where they will be combined and compared to some other way more credentialed predictors!

Current Tips and Predictions

Round Predictions

Despite our round 1 difficulties (tipping 4 our 9), our ELO model seems pretty confident about most games this week. The final 6 games of a round each give the ELO model favourite >66% chance. As you can see above, that generally coincides with a roughly 4-5 goal predicted margin. The remaining games are all seemingly harder to predict, with <1.5 goal predicted margin between the teams. Interestingly, each of our predicted winners also falls in line with the bookmaker favourites.

Below are a couple of selected interesting games involving two plummeting powerhouses in Hawthorn and Sydney.

WB v Sydney, Fri 7:50pm, Etihad.

The always much anticipated Grand Final rematch! We wrote a pretty in-depth preview about this matchup before the grand final last year. While the two teams were evenly matched early last year, they certainly diverged during the season. In fact, before the Grand Final, Sydney were about 100 ELO points better than the Bulldogs, which equates to roughly a 4 goal better team. As they say however, the rest is history, with the Dogs pulling off one the better fairytale stories in the AFL history!

Flash forward to 2017 and a combination of their grand final performance, regression to the mean and their round 1 performance has seen Sydney plummet to 6th on our ELO ladder - 1 place (and 8 ELO points) behind the Bulldogs! Given that, in combination with the home ground advantage for the Dogs, we are giving them the slight edge._** Bulldogs (53% chance) by 4 points. **_

Hawthorn v Adelaide, Sat 1:45pm, MCG.

Along with Sydney, one of our biggest drops from towards the end of last year was Hawthorn. Prior to finals, Hawthorn were as high as 2nd on our ELO ratings ladder. Their terrible finals campaign, and their shock loss to Essendon in Round 1 has seem them drop significantly to 7th on our ratings ladder. So much Hawks, with a home ground advantage, are still underdogs against the 3rd placed ELO Crows. One suspects Hawthorn is about to go through a transition phase into their next era so it will be interesting to follow their progress. My gut says the model is operating the Hawks chances here. **Adelaide (55% chance) by 8 points. **

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