Championship 18 September 2021
The first thing that sticks out from the Championship fixtures for the weekend is that in our model, we have Fulham beating Reading 2-0 at home (see table below – Outcome Probs).
We have a likely Fulham win at 65%, with bookmakers making this seem pretty likely at 69%. So it doesn’t look great for Reading who at least managed a win against Peterborough in midweek. Reading’s problem is Fulham also managed to win 4-1 against Birmingham and are still top. Both teams are high scorers at the moment, trouble is Reading also have the joint worst defence in the league, along with Peterborough.
Elsewhere, things look quite good for QPR and Huddersfield, with both teams on at least 50% to win with our model. Bookmakers agree with us that they are favoured in terms of percentage to win (about 5% less per match by bookmakers mean odds) but our model still has both teams drawing 1-1.
A 1-1 draw being the most likely result across the league simply reflects the closeness of the Championship, and that is what our model has predicted. Derby v Stoke for instance is 13% likely to be an exact 1-1 draw, the most likely exact score of the week.
There are also a number of games where the team we favour, differs from bookmakers, which again highlights how close the league is. One big difference is in the Barnsley v Blackburn game where our model has home team, Barnsley at almost 50% to win. Bookmakers have just 3% between the teams with Blackburn leading at 36%
Premier League 17 September 2021
The Premier League kicks off at 8pm tonight with Newcastle v Leeds.
Amazingly, we have the two teams on the exact same odds 37.1% in our model, with bookmakers slightly favouring Newcastle at 41.3%. An exact score of 1-1 is 12.2% likely according to our model (see table below in Draws).
Two other fixtures particularly, jump out from the table – namely Liverpool v Palace and Man City v Southampton.
We have both teams winning 2-0, with each at least 70% likely to occur (well a home win is, that exact score for either team is 12.9% and 11.3% likely, respectively).
Top of the league Man Utd and second placed Chelsea, on the other hand, appear to have it much tougher. United are away to West Ham (who may struggle without Antonio), where we have a 1-1 as the most likely score – bookmakers however favour Man Utd at 54% (compared to our 35.7). In Chelsea’s game we favour them at Tottenham by 41.5% but bookmakers have them on 55%. Be interesting to see who is right.
I suspect that our model favours the home team too much in these particular instances but that is largely because our model doesn’t take into account individual player likely absences such as Son for Tottenham in addition to West Ham minus Antonio who is suspended.
Championship 14-15 September 2021
Top of the table
League leaders West Brom look set to pile the misery on for Derby tonight, with a 61% chance to win in our scorecasting model (See table below).
Bookmakers mean odds have them at 63.5% to win so only just over 2% difference between us. West Brom have the highest ‘expected goals’ total this week. This is the only match where a 1-0 win is the most likely exact scoreline in our model.
A 1-0 exact score is 11.6% likely in our model with a 2-0 win at 11%.
The other unbeatens
Bournemouth are home to QPR.
Apart from West Brom, these are the only two teams still unbeaten in the league after six games.
We have this one as a draw but heavily favour the home team, Bournemouth. Bookmakers agree but have 5.4% more confidence that Bournemouth will win.
Reading v Peterborough
At the other end of the table, Reading have slipped into the bottom three of the table.
If most recent past results between the two teams were everything to go by then tonight’s home game against Peterborough may be a bit tricky.
Just over eight years ago, Reading lost away to Peterborough 6-0 the last time the two teams matched up.
If current form is anything to go by then the two teams will draw but if they do it will be a score draw because Reading aren’t lacking goals, only five teams have scored more than them so far. Sadly for Reading though they have also let in more goals than anyone else in the league. The expected goals factor is somewhat reflected in our model though with Reading on 1.63 expected goals to Peterborough’s 1.19. We favour Reading at 47.5% to win with bookmakers less confident on 43%.
10 September 2021
Premier League football returns Saturday lunchtime, following the international break.
A number of key players are now unavailable due to either injuries or Covid-related restrictions (including the two Brazilian goalkeepers, Ederson and Allisson and strikers from the same teams (Man City and Liverpool), Gabriel Jesus and Firmino).
You would expect most of the biggest teams squads will be able to absorb this but both these teams have away games that might be a bit tricky. Our model has both City and Liverpool drawing 1-1 against both Leicester and Leeds but we still favour each of these teams, Liverpool at 46% and Man City at 53% to win. Bookmakers mean odds agree with this but have an increase in confidence by around 8-9% (see below).
Premier League – Expected Goals, Most likely winners, most likely scores (and exact scores odds) and bookmakers, Mean odds:
After three games in the league so far, just one team has managed to win them all – Tottenham – and they kick off the weekend away to Crystal Palace who haven’t managed a win yet but do have two draws. They also are predicted to draw 1-1 with our model favouring Tottenham at 44.5%, bookmakers having them 5% higher on 49.5%. In the table above you can see that a 1-1 draw with Palace is in fact the second most likely of all the exact scores across the league this weekend at 12.7%.
In total there are six other unbeaten teams (including 10th placed, newly promoted Brentford) and also eight winless teams, with three at the bottom having lost all three games, Wolves, Norwich and Arsenal.
Arsenal are apparently quite likely to escape from this part of the drop-zone this weekend, with a 2-1 win the most likely score in their home game against Norwich. We have an Arsenal win at 61.4% likely with bookmakers only 2% higher. Wolves on the other hand may manage to get a 1-1 draw away to Watford with that exact score at 12.8% likley (the highest odds for an exact score in our model this week).
There is also much fanfare of course over the return of Ronaldo. The game is at 3pm so won’t be on TV in England but according to our model he is unlikely to make much difference to the result.
Man Utd are predicted to win 2-0 against Newcastle with a win 68.5% likely in our model (bookmakers, who do take into account Ronaldo’s appearance have Man Utd on 80.2% to win with a Newcastle win at just 6.5%)
Championship football returns this weekend following the international break.
Even at this early stage some teams are clearly setting the pace.
Recently relegated Fulham and West Brom are both first and second on 13 points each, although with our model both teams are currently predicted to draw this weekend (See table below for most likely outcomes).
English Championship – Expected Goals, Most likely winners, most likely scores (and exact scores odds) and bookmakers, Mean odds:
Both teams are also favoured as winners, if there is one (Fulham 47% and West Brom 51%), bookmakers on the other hand have their mean odds (the average odds across bookmakers) at between 60% (Fulham) and 61% (West Brom) for wins for the top two.
QPR in 3rd on 11 points and Bournemouth in 6th are also unbeaten. For these two, it is also reasonably likely they will also remain unbeaten at the end of the weekend. They are at between 42-44% for each team to win respectively, in our model, with bookmakers giving slightly higher odds for Bournemouth.
At the other end of the table there are three winless teams, Blackpool, Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest.
Forest are bottom with just one point.
Sheffield United really should be doing better as a recently relegated team but they also have the lowest amount of goals in the league, scoring just one. Amusingly, Sheffield United are one of two teams our model picks to win and bookmakers pretty much agree with this. We have Sheffield United at 55% to win with bookmakers just under 3% higher, so it looks pretty good for them at home to Preston.
English Championship End of August
Derby v Nottingham Forest:
The ‘East Midlands’ or ‘Clough’ derby is one of two games that start off the weekend’s Championship fixtures.
Our model predicts a draw but Forest have had a terrible start to the season losing all four games, so even Derby who have been struggling as well, should fancy their chances with home advantage.
Our model favours Derby at 42% to 31.5% for Forest, with bookmakers ‘Mean Odds’ (see table below) having the teams a lot closer with just over 4% between the two on likely winners (36.4% – 32%). It sounds like it could be close.
Most likely score: 1-1
Cardiff City v Bristol City
The other early kick-off is the ‘Severnside Derby’ and that look much less even than the other early game. We favour Cardiff at just under 60% to win, with bookmakers at 48% but still only giving Bristol a 24% chance.
Most likely score: 1-0
In the 3pm games, our model gives a 1-1 draw for Preston against West Brom, whilst still heavily favouring West Brom at 45% (this is 10% less than bookmakers though).
We favour Huddersfield over Reading, but only by 2% (bookmakers have an 8% difference between the sides).
Top of the table Fulham will fancy a win against Stoke (we have them at 56% to win, bookmakers mean odds at 50.5%).
Premier League Week 3
Man City v Arsenal
The first match this weekend is Man City v Arsenal and although our model has been somewhat kind to Arsenal in the first two weeks it now shows no mercy. City are on at least 2 ‘expected goals’ and at 68% to win. Bookmakers ‘Mean odds’ are even more confident than that, putting them at over 76% to win and Arsenal on just 8% and it really doesn’t feel like Arsenal are equipped to withstand City but let’s see.
Most likely score: 2-0
West Ham v Crystal Palace
The other game with a similar odds margin for us is West Ham v Crystal Palace. West Ham are somewhat provisionally top of the league after two games, with Palace only managing one point from their first two. We have West Ham with a 2-0 home win as the most likely score. We are even closer to bookmakers Mean Odds with this prediction (just 3.2%).
Most likely score: 2-0
Elsewhere in the league, we favour Man Utd slightly less than bookmakers (which is possibly because Wolves get home advantage. Personally can’t see Wolves drawing with Man Utd, although in our model it is the most likely score (1-1) at 12.4%). We also have a Brighton win against Everton at exactly the same odds (39.9%) but a 1-1 as most likely score. Tottenham look likely to beat Watford and are close to 2 on expected goals (I’d expect that to go up in the next few weeks as Kane starts scoring), again not much between our model and bookmakers on the likely outcome.
Liverpool v Chelsea
We also favour Liverpool more heavily than bookmakers do in the Liverpool v Chelsea game although it does feel like a 1-1 in that game is the most likely outcome. It does feel pretty likely that both teams will score.
Most likely score: 1-1
Premier League Week 2
The weekend starts with with Liverpool and Burnley in the lunchtime kick-off. Liverpool got off to a good start last week against Norwich so this could quite a one-sided game. It’s only been a week but already our scorecasts are giving some clear predictions. Our model thinks Liverpool are likely to win (surprise!) at 73% (see table below). 2-0 is the most likely score (at 12.3% likely).
The Man City v Norwich game also comes in at 2-0 as the most likely score (assuming Man City can manage to score at all…). Man City are over 80% likely to win. Bookmaker mean odds have them at a massive 87% to win. Giving Norwich less than 4% (a 1-0 Norwich win is at 2.1% likely in our most likely scores).
Other results are fairly predictable but in a different way.
As both Brighton and Watford will be looking for 3 points against each other you’d think a draw was quite likely (our model naturally predicts a 1-1 draw but favours Brighton, as do bookmakers).
Similarly, if you are a Crystal Palace or Brentford fan you’d be hoping for a win but this match looks incredibly close at 38%-35% in our model or 37%-33 with bookmakers mean odds.
On Sunday Arsenal are at home to Chelsea. It’ll be interesting to see if any of the new signings make much difference for either side. It’s hard to see past a Chelsea win, after Arsenal’s start to the season last week. Both teams are remarkably at 1.22 on expected goals in our model though. This is because although it factors in ELO ratings and past results, it also gives home advantage. In our ‘Outcome Probs’ indicating the most likely winner, each team is on exactly 36.3%. Bookmakers of course have Chelsea on 54% to win.
English Championship Week 4
Bristol City play Swansea tonight, kicking off the weekend’s Championship fixtures.
Bristol City managed to win their midweek game away to Reading but Swansea have gotten off to a pretty dreadful league start managing to lose two and draw just one game. The odds however, are not in Bristol’s favour in our model (we favour Swansea at 46% to win) and I suspect this is in part based on last season’s results. Bookmakers though have Bristol City as slight favourites at 40% – 30% (Swansea).
Six teams are on seven points in the league and two of those are playing each other, West Brom (top on goal difference) are away to Blackburn in sixth. The most likely result is a 1-1 draw but our model favours West Brom at 43.6% which is very close to bookmakers at 42.6%.
At the other end of the early season table, neither Preston nor Nottingham Forest have picked up a point. Things don’t exactly look promising for Forest away to unbeaten Stoke (26.4% for a Forest win in our model, 23% bookmakers mean odds) although Preston may fancy at least a point against newly promoted Peterborough (Preston are favourites at 48.4%, our model and 43.4% bookmakers).
Some other likely results of note are Coventry at home to Reading (both our model and bookmakers favour Coventry, although a 1-1 is the most likely score), and Bournemouth at home to Blackpool, where there is just 0.4% between our 58% likely Bournemouth win and bookmakers having them on 57.6%.
English Championship Midweek 17-18 Aug
Midweek matches are back to normal times in the Championship with no more 5.30pm or 6pm kick offs.
Again though there isn’t that much between teams in our prediction model.
All the most likely results are 1-1, this was the same at the weekend where we got only 1 match exactly right (unlike the opening weekend where 5 matches ended 1-1).
This week there is one game where a 1-0 home win and 1-1 draw are almost exactly likely in our model and that is Swansea v Stoke (see table below under Home wins and Draws, both exact scores are at 12.1% likely).
If you look to the right of the table below, you can see that in our ‘Outcome Probs’ and Bookmaker ‘Mean Odds’ there really isn’t that much difference in terms of likely winners in each match. The Swansea v Stoke game is the biggest difference between our model and mean odds. We heavily favour Swansea as well as Barnsley, Hull and Reading. There is also a decent chance of a win for Bournemouth, Blackburn and Cardiff.
Bookmakers agree that Reading are favourites against Bristol City (Reading have the 2nd highest expected goals this week), West Brom favourites at home to Sheffield Utd and most other games where we have favoured a team.
However, Preston North End, despite losing both their matches so far, are ahead in our model by 10% away to Huddersfield but bookmakers have Huddersfield favoured at just 38%.
All this just shows that at the early stages there really isn’t that much in it and quite a few teams have a fair chance at some surprise results in the next few weeks.
One match does stand out more than most however and where bookmakers agree pretty closely on our odds – Hull City v Derby County, where we are 0.4% different on the likely winner odds (Hull at around 49% and Derby to lose at between 27 and 24%).