We are starting to end the pointy end of the season and we see probably the most important match for a contender for the top 8 in terms of keeping their season alive. A win or a loss for the Saints this week see’s a 40 percentage point swing in their top 8 chances! We also see a fairly wide gap in classes this week (both in terms of ELO ratings and ladder ratings). There is only one top 8 clash and our closest matchup in terms of ELO ratings is Collingwood (10th in our ELO ratings) v West Coast (6th). In that match we still give the away team in the Eagles a 59% chance of getting up, despite the home ground advantage against them.
While likely not a great game, from an outlier perspective an interesting matchup is the Essendon v Adelaide game on Sunday. Here we see our worst rated team in Essendon away to our (newly downgraded) 2nd rated team in Adelaide.
In terms of our match importance rating, I’ve summarised the two big matches below.
**Geelong v Western Bulldogs, Fri 7:45pm, Skilled Stadium.[
While we would see this as a big match just based on the respective ELO ratings and effect on the final ladder, the big milestones for Geelong and the way in which the Bulldogs respond to their injuries this week gives this a fair bit of spice. For both teams, this has a big change in the respective chances on the top 4, with a Bulldogs win giving them a 58% chance while a loss sees that drop to 14%. Similarly for the Cats, they can almost sow up the top 4 with a win increasing their chances to 88%, a loss dropping them to 47%. Our model thinks Geelong should be too strong, particular with HGA. **Geelong by 21 points. **
**North Melbourne v St Kilda, Sat 7:25pm, Etihad Stadium.[
While the big story from this game is easily Brent Harvey breaking the all time games record, this game has the biggest implication on the top 8 out of all games we’ve analysed this year. Put simply, the Saints are the most likely team to make it into the 8, while North are the most likely to drop out. A win to either side tips the odds in their favour dramatically. St Kilda wins, their chances jump to 47%, while a loss sees them drop to 6%. A win for North gives them a 91% chance while a loss drops that to 45%. Unfortunately for St Kilda, our model doesn’t take any of that into account and doesn’t rate them very highly, giving the Kangaroos a fairly comfortable edge. **North Melbourne by 30 points. **
Match Importance Table
We can see below that the two big standouts are the change in top 8 chances for North/St Kilda and the change in top 4 chances for Geelong/Bulldogs. A loss this week also sees a big change for Hawthorn in their question for the minor premiership, although this probably points out that I should be weighting these percentages based on the likelihood of them occurring given we only give Carlton a 19% chance of upsetting the Hawks.