The model likes 1-1. In 11 of the 12 matches on Tuesday and Wednesday night the Model predicts 1-1 is the most likely outcome. Only in the bottom-of-the-table clash between Stoke and Huddersfield does the Model see a significant point of difference, with Stoke forecast to beat Huddersfield, with 1.6 goals expected for the home side but less than 1 for the Terriers. In this particular fixture, the Model provides a similar forecast to the average among bookmaker odds, with the former forecasting a 51% chance of a Stoke win and the latter 53%.
Brunton Park is not a happy hunting ground for Oldham. One win in six visits going back to January 2011, and last year’s 6-0 Boxing Day hammering that saw the end of Frank Bunn’s tenure at Boundary Park. Carlisle are only a point and two positions better off than Oldham, and indeed Oldham retain a higher Elo rating than Carlisle. But RED and the bookmakers are agreed that Carlisle are favourites on Saturday – RED puts their chances of winning at 44%, the bookmakers at 41%. A 1-1 draw is most likely (12.6%), followed by a 1-0 home win (11.5%) and a 1-0 away win (9%).
League Two sees perhaps the most even match imaginable. Scunthorpe entertain Bradford, with both teams expected to score 1.27 goals. Each team has a 36.3% chance of winning, according to RED, and even the bookmakers agree, favouring Scunthorpe by 0.3%, 36.3% to 36%. Needless to say, 1-1 is the most likely scoreline – 12.7%.
Bolton very nearly caused a significant upset, denied in the closing seconds against Sunderland last weekend. Have they turned the corner? The bookmakers don’t think so, giving them just a 9.5% chance at Portsmouth. RED isn’t much more hopeful, either, giving them just 15% to win. A 2-0 win for Pompey is most likely (11.4%).
Drama at Derby. It sounds like something out of “Dream Team” (really miss that show – soap opera and football combined, why did Harchester Utd have to end?) Mass drink-driving offences and the captain’s leg getting smashed don’t feature as variables in the Scorecasting Model. So perhaps Derby’s expected goals forecast this weekend of 1.4 at home to Birmingham is a little ambitious. Nonetheless, the Model and bookmaker implied forecasts of a Derby win are similar, at 45% and 43%, respectively.
Manchester Utd are struggling. Their “kids” and rotation players have in the past two weeks struggled to defeat third tier Rochdale in the League Cup and Kazakh champions Astana in the UEFA Cup. Last weekend they were comfortably brushed aside by West Ham. There is no respite for Ole’s men this weekend either, as they host Arsenal in the Monday night fixture at Old Trafford. Given recent form, it is no surprise that the Model makes Man U rare (though slight) underdogs at home. Both teams are expected to score one and a third goals, and the most likely outcome is 1-1 (12.3%). Incidentally, the Model is slightly more pessimistic based on recent form than the bookmakers, who imply a higher probability of a Man U win (41%).
The 1st Reading Football Economics Workshop is currently taking place. After the talks have finished, several participants are attending this weekend’s Championship fixture between Reading and Blackburn. According to RED, this won’t be a goalfest. Reading are expected to score 1.4 goals and Blackburn just 1.2 goals. The home side, although struggling this season, have a slight advantage, with a 40% chance of victory. Nonetheless, the most likely outcome is 1-1 (13%). Interestingly, the Model has almost exactly the same opinion on this fixture as the average among bookmakers, with the latter seeming to predict a 39% chance of a Reading win.
Man City were humbled in East Anglia last weekend. The long-term injury to Laporte appears to have left them threadbare at the back. But at home Manchester City are still a frightening beast, and the new Watford manager has slim chances in his first game. The Model expects Man City to score 2.6 goals to Watford’s 0.7, and gives the hosts a 78.3% chance of a win. The bookmakers appear to argue this is an underestimate, as the average of their odds implies an 86.3% chance of a home win. The most likely outcome is 2-0 (13%).