Scorecasting Economists

English Championship Week 2



The Championship still looks pretty close this week and will do until we have a few more wins in place.

Our model slightly favours two away teams (Preston away to Reading, and Derby away to Peterborough) other than that we’ve predicted a 1-1 draw as the most likely score for all games (there were actually 5 1-1 draws last week!).

Compared to bookmakers mean odds, we favour West Brom at home to Luton but they have West Brom at 55% compared to our 41.6% (our model also includes home advantage, otherwise there would be less difference between West Brom and Luton).


The table below shows our expected goals, which team we favour (Outcome Probs), Most likely score, the odds of each exact score in each game and bookmaker mean odds.

There is a big difference in the odds of a Huddersfield or Fulham win, for instance, where bookmakers mean odds show Fulham at 50% likely to win, whereas we have them only only 31.7%. This may be still affected by ELO ratings and immediate past results, although Huddersfield’s won’t have been great, Fulham were obviously relegated last season from the Premier League.

The two teams with the highest expected goals in our model, Hull City (who scored 4 last week) and Blackburn (2) both won, and are on 1.5 expected goals. Both are favoured by our model at 43.4% and 42.8% to win. Neither team are favoured by bookmakers though so these will be a couple of games to watch out for.





Premier League New Season 2021/22

Premier League New Season Preview 2021/22

This week we have a preview of the Premier League and at the of that a preview of the weekend’s games.

So, who do Scorecasting Economists predict to win the Premier League this season?

We have two tables below, the first table shows as a heatmap, which teams are most likely to win the league, finish in the top 4 (Champions League spots) or get relegated. The redder it is the more likely it is to happen.

The second table shows how likely each team is to finish in each exact league position.

Quite reasonably both tables put Man City as the most likely to win (after all they won it last season). They, along with the others we predict to finish in the top 4, have no chance of being relegated.

Outside of the likely top 4 the next likely contenders are Arsenal, Tottenham and Leicester. Everton for instance have less than a 5% chance of getting into the top 4. None of these teams have much chance of getting relegated.

At the other end of the table, sadly, the newly promoted teams are currently the most likely to also be relegated.

Norwich have a 44.2% chance of this happening. Away from that, both Brighton and Burnley are between 32 & 33% to go down. Even the teams we have listed 12th and 13th (Southampton and Aston Villa) have a 17% chance of being relegated but less than 1% of the Champions League. In the next section though, when we look at the exact positions, we can see that Norwich also have a reasonable enough chance of finishing outside of relegation.

Where exactly do we think teams will finish?

In the table below, as per above Man City are 73.4% to finish top but there are some other interesting aspects. Liverpool are 30% to finish second. Chelsea 25% to finish 3rd for instance.

Everton, West Ham, Wolves and Leeds all have between 12.7 to 6.4% chance of finishing 7th and thus getting into Europe next season. One of those (West Ham) is already in Europe this season so the extra matches this year may actually reduce that chance as the season goes on.




















At the other end of the table, in terms of exact likely positions, it gets quite close once we get to the last 8 teams or so.

Even Norwich have a 5& chance of finishing 12th, and Crystal Palace have a 6.1% chance of finishing 11th.

Norwich also have an 18.7% chance (the highest) of finishing dead last though. Newcastle for instance have a 10% chance of finishing 18th place but only a 7% chance of finishing last or even 11th. So in essence the exact positions at the lower end of the table are much harder to predict this year.


WEEK ONE Preview

Newly promoted Brentford start the new season at home to Arsenal and because it’s Arsenal, the model favours Brentford (actually it’s not because it’s Arsenal but, Brentford’s ELO rating is pretty decent due to the amount of matches they won towards the end of last season and home advantage is factored into our model).

Our model has Brentford at 41% to win with Arsenal on just 32.4%. It also predicts a 1-1 draw as the most likely score.

Our model has actually predicted a 1-1 draw as the most likely score for every match this week although it is unlikely you will see the same thing in future weeks as we base it on more recent results (see Score Picks).

If you look at the section to the centre-right called, ‘Draws’ you can see that a 1-1 draw is between 11.2% likely (Tottenham v Man City) to 12.7% (Everton v Southampton). 

This week our predicted outcomes vary quite wildly from bookmakers mean odds. For instance they have Chelsea at over 75% to win against Crystal Palace and Liverpool winning away to Norwich (Liverpool are at over 72% with Norwich on just 11% to win).

One of the biggest matches taking place is Tottenham v Man City. Tottenham finished the season quite poorly and have a new manager. Harry Kane is officially still a Man City player at the time I’m typing this, so if he starts our 1-1 draw and the model favouring Tottenham’ are not actually totally unrealistic. Bookmakers disagree an have City on nearly 60% to win. Our model has home advantage factored in though which gives Tottenham’s chances a boost.

The other match where I suspect our model may turn out to be more accurate than bookmakers is Man Utd v Leeds. With Man Utd missing Cavani, I think will hinder them and Leeds will prove difficult opponents. Our model favours Man Utd slightly 40%- 34.5% but bookmakers have them at 62% to win.






English Championship 2021/22 Preview and week one

English Championship 2021/22 Season Preview


Week One


Football is back, so we’re back and predicting things again.

This week we’ve a double-header as we have a table predicting the most likely teams to be Promoted, Play-off contenders and Relegation candidates, as well as the usual weekly likely scores.

The first table below (with the shades of Orange and Yellow) gives the most likely odds of each of those outcomes for each team. It’s split into ‘Promotion, Play-Offs and Relegation’. On the left hand-side we have the teams listed by abbreviation (SHU = Sheffield United, WBA = West Bromwich Albion)

As you can see, unsurprisingly the three relegated teams are the most likely to go back up. All three benefit from ‘parachute payments’ which probably give them an unfair advantage for the next couple of seasons. A lot of the media assessments of the Championship seem to think that at least two of these three teams will go back up.

There are however also some interesting teams in amongst the more likely playoff contenders – Bournemouth, who were strong for most of last season and certainly don’t seem to have been massively weakened over the Summer, Cardiff and Barnsley (Cardiff who I think made a decent late run and Barnsley who emerged through clever use of data and building a ‘system’ – that will be properly tested with a new manager as their previous one has gone to West Brom) are also contenders.


Although in our model Swansea are likely play-off contenders again (quite similar odds to the top 5 in our model at 37.5), the factors not in our model, such as Swansea only appointing a new manager only a few days before the start of the season suggests it may be quite a bit more difficult to repeat last season.

Reading, another team that did well for part of last season (they were in the play-off positions for most of the season, only falling out in the latter part of the second half after a dismal end to the season) are now under severe financial restrictions so are more likely to be in a relegation fight than promotion battle (they are nearly 9% to get relegated in our model).

At the other end of the table we have Huddersfield in last place giving them next to no change of promotion (0.1%) and with a 45.7% likely relegation looming. Birmingham don’t fare much better on 40.7% and Bristol City and Derby County are also on 26% to get relegated. The other interesting thing is we’ve included a ‘promoted’ variable which has possibly given Hull, Peterborough and Blackpool a better chance of staying up than might normally be expected, that said most pundits seem to also give them a decent chance of staying up, in large part because teams like Derby are expected to struggle.

First Weekend of Football

On to this weekend’s games and you can see our likely winners in the ‘Home and Away’ section of ‘Outcome Probs’ below in the next table.  This is then compared to ‘Mean odds’ on the right of the table below. ‘Mean odds’ are the average bookmaker odds for this weekend. There is a decent amount of similarity between our two models but there are some differences which I will highlight below.

One or two, as usual stand out. With Derby v Huddersfield, bookmakers heavily favour Huddersfield at 54% (the highest odds they give for any team winning this weekend). Our model favours Derby but that’s because it takes into account past results and ELO ratings and not the number of fully contracted players Derby have!


As you can also see – all of the matches bar one game have a 1-1 score as the most likely outcome (all within 10.8%-12.4% likely to happen as the most likely score).

This is in part because there are no recent matches and although the table is partly based on ELO ratings, once the season gets underway in form teams will start to heavily influence the likely future outcomes.

The exception to the 1-1 scoreline is Sheffield United who also top our likely Promoted teams, they are at nearly 60% to win in our model, with bookmakers having them on 52%.











Premier League end of season

Premier League – last day of the season

Premier League – last day of the season

Today is the final day of the Premier League season.

We end the season with some almost exact odds as bookmakers in our model’s predictions:

Liverpool v Crystal Palace – both our model and bookmakers have Liverpool on over 80% to win. Liverpool have really picked up in the last few weeks and after 4 wins in a row are actually back in 4th. Their goal difference is pretty close to Leicester’s (+4) but Leicester have a tougher match against Tottenham (they are still favoured in our model but only at 43.6% – with bookmakers having them on 48.4% to win).

There isn’t much to play for in the Leeds v West Brom game but our model has them at 66.6% to win, with bookmakers having only 0.3% difference in their mean odds. So a Leeds 2-0 win seems a reasonable prediction.

Man Utd don’t look so good against Wolves, where our model has them at just under 50% to win but bookmakers actually have Wolves edging it on 41%. This sounds like bookmakers are taking into account Utd’s UEFA League final in midweek.

In our model, Chelsea are favourites against Villa at 52% whereas bookmakers gave them on 65% to win.

West Ham are favourites against Southampton and again our model has their likely win at pretty close odds to bookmakers – 53.7% to 55.4.

So if our predictions come right, West Ham will finish 6th; if Liverpool win by more than Leicester then they will claim a Champions League spot but in 7th, a Tottenham draw, Everton defeat to Man City, could lead to Arsenal sneaking in on the last day – they are predicted to win 2-0.


Premier League Mid-Week 18-19 May 2021

Premier League Mid-Week 18-19 May 2021

There are only European places now to play for in the Premier League (and whatever increase or decrease in prize money you get for finishing one or two places higher or lower in the table).

We have a full set of games though crammed into two days in midweek, with another full set of final matches playing out on Sunday.

One of the curious things is that as the table narrows and we have a full set of results to measure across the whole season, football becomes sort of a bit more predictable (apart from the odd shock). There is only one game where our predicted most likely outcome differs from bookmakers mean odds – that is Southampton v Leeds, where our model favours Southampton at 39% whereas bookmakers actually favour Leeds by almost the exact same amount.

Apart from that, there is one game where there is a significant difference in the extent of the odds that might effect the overall outcome:

For the West Brom v West Ham game we slightly favour West Ham at 40% to win, with West Brom on 34%. Bookmakers have West Ham on almost 20% higher odds at 59% to win.

Both teams are also pretty close on expected goals at 1.25 (West Brom) to 1.38 for West Ham. Our model predicts a 1-1 draw as the most likely score but if there is a win it’s more likely to be West Ham (see Score Picks, Most & Conditional).

Elsewhere, Man City are on close to 3 expected goals against Fulham, with a 79% chance of winning.

The repeat of the FA Cup final has Chelsea winning 1-0 and getting some consolation against Leicester.

Our model has Liverpool winning 1-0 away to Burnley but only giving them a 62% chance to win compared to bookmakers who think Liverpool will walk it at 76.5%. This would give Liverpool a last day of the season chance to get in the Champions League.


Premier League weekend 14/5/21 – 16/5/21

Premier League weekend 14/5/21 – 16/5/21

It’s the FA Cup final on Saturday afternoon so four teams are not playing in the Premier League this weekend (Arsenal, Chelsea, Leicester and Man Utd).

This seems to have played havoc with our data collection so the only two matches we can cover at the moment are tonight’s game between Newcastle and Man City and the FA Cup final itself, largely because it is being played out again on Tuesday.

The title is won and relegation places are finalised so the remaining weeks are really about the jostling for European places.

Liverpool have made a late surge and if they can win away to West Brom they are then only one place off a Champions League place behind Chelsea.

I think West Ham are probably too far off for them to claim a Champions League spot now but an away win against Brighton would keep them in contention. Both teams are relying on Chelsea to drop points though (our model has them winning on Tuesday so this probably sorts that question).

In tonight’s game though, Newcastle don’t have much hope against league winners Man City despite the fact they won their last game.

We have City on 8.5% less than bookmakers to win at 65%, whereas they have them on 73.5% to win.

Now they don’t have to win it will be interesting to see who they actually pick and whether a few lesser known players get to play. The most likely score is a 2-0 Man City win at 11.3%, with a 1-0 City win at 11%.

FA Cup final

On Tuesday in the league Saturday’s FA Cup final is replicated between Chelsea and Leicester and we have that included in the model.

The model favours Chelsea as it factors in home odds and has Chelsea winning 1-0 with a 57% likelihood to win with bookmakers having them at 53%. Leicester are only on 19% to win in our model and 21% with bookmakers.

Even if you take away the factor of home advantage which Chelsea won’t really have at Wembley, it still looks like a Chelsea win is most likely.

*We will likely update the remaining fixtures on Saturday

Premier League midweek 11-12 May 2021

Premier League midweek 11-12 May 2021

Relegation to the Championship is now confirmed for Fulham, West Brom and Sheffield United so the main things to fight for are European places, although technically Man Utd could still win the league.

If they win tonight they are seven points off of Man City, who would have to lose all three games or lose two and draw one, with Man Utd winning all three.

Man Utd v Leicester

This is the first game of the midweek games this week. It’s 2nd v 4th so should be pretty close. We have Man Utd as clear favourites with over 2 on expected goals, at nearly 69% as likely winners (Leicester on just 13%) and a 2-0 home win as the most likely score.

Bookmakers radically disagree and have Leicester as more likely winners than United at 38.2% to win and Utd on only 33.5%. (Having now seen the line ups and Utd switching out 10 players, bookmakers mean odds look a lot more likely)

Southampton v Crystal Palace

We have this as a 1-1 draw but favour Southampton at 43% compared to bookmakers who have them on 48%.

Chelsea v Arsenal

The way Chelsea have been playing recently you’d think they will win this. The team was rotated somewhat at the weekend so may be again for this match. Arsenal also had some changes from their Uefa League Semi-Final defeat at the weekend, so it’s quite likely that both teams look a bit different again to what they did.

Compared to the Utd v Leicester match what is actually fairly amazing is we have Chelsea on almost exactly the same odds as bookmakers do to win (55.6% to 55.2%). Both our model and bookmakers give Arsenal give exactly the same likelihood to win – 19.2%.

There are also games taking place on Thursday, in particular Man Utd v Liverpool but our model won’t update for that until Man Utd have played tonight.



Championship 8 May 2021

Championship 8 May 2021,

With the top half of the table secured, the English Championship season ends on Saturday this weekend, until the promotion playoffs start.

So this weekend is all about relegation, or surviving it.

There is a  massive fixture of Derby v Sheffield Wednesday at 12.30 which will probably settle things.

There are a few different scenarios but if either team wins then they are safe, unless Rotherham also win, in which case they are safe, unless Derby win.

Our model predicts a 1-1 draw in the Derby v Sheffield Weds game.

Derby have a slightly higher expected goals (1.39) than Sheffield (1.11). A home win is also reasonably likely.

A 1-0 win is the second most likely score at 11.4% compared to the 1-1 (12.7%) – these are shown in the table below in the ‘Home wins’ and ‘Draws’ sections. Bookmakers have Derby on slightly lower odds to win (40.4%) than our model (43.3%) whilst our model and bookmakers have less than 1% difference between them on whether Sheffield Wednesday can win (30%-30.9%)

Rotherham are away to Cardiff and our model gives them little hope of survival.

Cardiff are really the most likely team to win in this whole weekend set of Championship matches (62.7%), according to our model. Bookmakers actually seem to disagree with this extent of favouring Cardiff. Their mean odds, have them at only 40.2% to win, giving Rotherham more than double the chance of winning than we do (33.6% to our 15.3%).

Wycombe, mathematically are not relegated. Realistically they’d need to win by a ridiculous amount and have Sheffield Wednesday only win 1-0 against Derby. That said, our model relegates them by not only predicting a 1-0 Millwall win but it is also less than 1% different to bookmakers mean odds when predicting the likelihood of a Millwall home win (51.8% to 52.7%).

So really the most likely result is quite banal for the neutral.

A 1-1 draw keeps Derby up and relegates everyone else. If that then happens, Rotherham would need to win by 6 goals against Cardiff (they would then presumabl stay up having scored more goals, despite being on the same goal difference). Stranger things have happened but not often.


Premier League 7 May 2021

Premier League 7 May 2021

It’s the final week of the Championship in England but somewhat of a bumper Premier League week too, with a host of midweek fixtures in addition to the weekend games.

The majority of the weekend games are included in our model below (at the time of writing it hasn’t updated for the UEFA league teams).

A draw for Newcastle tonight away to Leicester would see them clear of relegation, if Burnley can beat Fulham.

However, we have Newcastle getting soundly beaten 2-0 away to Leicester and Burnley drawing with Fulham. In some ways, all this would do is prolong the agony for both teams as Fulham would still be 8 points behind Newcastle with 3 games to go. Bookmakers have Leicester on exactly the same odds to win as our model at 66.6%, so it doesn’t look good for Newcastle but they do have a big enough points cushion to survive.

Fulham have a 35% chance of winning against Burnley, whereas Newcastle have less than half that tonight (13.5%). Leicester are of course 3rd in the table so again it really doesn’t look for Newcastle but it also doesn’t look to be enough to keep Fulham up.

Elsewhere our model stands up pretty well. Wolves v Brighton has some differences, with bookmakers favouring Brighton (42%) to win and our model favouring Wolves (46%).

Our model favours Man City against Chelsea (57% to 17%) but bookmakers have City on less than 50% in what is a rehearsal for the Champions League Final. Our model also under values Everton slightly against West Ham at only 24.5% whereas bookmakers have them on 31.1% – although our model has a 1-1 as the most likely score.

**Edit** 8 May 2021

Model has now updated to included Thursday night’s Uefa League Semi-Finals, so includes Man Utd and Arsenal games. Arsenal are overwhelming favourites to beat West Brom (Our model is almost identical to bookmakers mean odds). Man Utd are most likely to draw away to Villa. However, if there is a win, it is most likely to be a 2-1 away win. Again our likely winner odds, as with the Arsenal game are very close to bookmakers odds.



Premier League 30 April 2021

Premier League 30 April 2021

There is still plenty to play for in the Premier League at the top half of the table this weekend.

Man City haven’t won the league yet but are 10 points clear with 5 games to go.

Our model suggests they should get a clear win away to Crystal Palace. They are showing at over 2 for expected goals and we have them at 69% to win, with bookmakers having them at 71%.

Chelsea’s Champions League quest (assuming they don’t win the tournament anyway) continues and they should do well at home to Fulham. Again we have them on over 2 for expected goals and at 74% to win (bookmakers temper this with only 65.7%).

At the other end of the table West Brom really have to win to stay up (a defeat won’t completely relegate them but it will bring it very very close, especially if Brighton win against Leeds).

We have West Brom drawing 1-1. Our model favours them at 43% whereas bookmakers have them only on 30%, giving an over 40% chance of a Wolves win.

Our model probably favours them because it takes into account home advantage, although West Brom do also have one more point from their last 5 games than Wolves.

If Brighton beat Leeds then it’s all over for West Brom. We have a 1-0 home win as the most likely result (13.5% for a 1-0, with 13.4% chance of a 1-1 draw). Bookmakers favour Brighton at 42.5% with our model only giving Brighton a 39% chance of a win.


**Edit**. Model now includes Man Utd v Liverpool, with a 1-1 predicted but our model favouring Man Utd at 55% to win, with bookmakers only having them on 34.5% to win. If Chelsea do win this takes Liverpool a lot further away from a Champions League spot. There is actually an equal chance of a 1-0 win for Man Utd (11.1%) as there is a 1-1 draw (also 11.1% – in the table below under ‘home wins’ and ‘draws’)

In addition, includes Newcastle v Arsenal, with again a 1-1 predicted but favouring Arsenal at 46.4% to win, with bookmakers having a very close 46.9% win likelihood for Arsenal too.