While I keep writing that our top 8 has been set for awhile, the chance of someone jumping into the finals hasn’t gone away. The Saints are still a 17% of making it and the order of our top 4 in particular is still very fluid meaning there is still plenty of important games!
The ELO model is relatively confident in most matches this week. With our only top 8 matchups (Hawthron v Kangaroos and GWS v West Coast) coming between teams at the top of the rankings versus those near the bottom, we see a fairly big discrepancy in relative rankings this week. In fact, the discrepancy is so big that 5 of our matches are predicting relatively comfortable wins to the away team, despite our HGA boost. Next week I might take a look at how well my model historically does during this period but it could be argued - as Figuring Footy has - that there is a lot more noise during these periods as teams start playing for different reasons other than making finals.
St Kilda v Sydney, Sat 7:25pm, Etihad.
As all of our ‘jump into the top 8’ sides have fallen during important games this week, the Saints remain our last hope. They currently have a 17% chance according to our latest sims but this week is pretty crucial. A win sees them make finals in 50% of simulations, while a loss drops that to 9%. For Sydney, a win almost ties up their top 4 chances. Considering they are sitting clear on top of our rating system, while the Saints remain a below average team, we see this as a pretty easy win for the Swans. **Sydney (66% chance) by 26 points. **
Hawthorn v North Melbourne, Sat 2:20pm, MCG.
With the Hawks shock loss last week, this game looms as super important for their top 4 chances. Currently they sit at 74% chances but a loss sees that drop to 54%. For North, they are still our most likely side to drop out of the top 8 and so need a win to avoid that potential. Lose this week and their 77% shot drops down to 59%, while a win basically guarantees finals. Lots on the line! Unfortunately for North, our ELO model is as our 8th best team, although the last 2 weeks have seen the Hawks drop down to 4th spot on our ratings table. Nonetheless, they should get the job done. **Hawthorn (61% chance) by 19 points. **