It would be remiss of me to not cover the ‘Clough Derby’, not least because both teams are interesting this season and because one of our ‘Scorecasters’ is a Derby fan.
Forest are on the edge of the playoffs in 10th place and just 5 points away from 6th. Derby on the other hand, despite everything financially going against them, on the pitch have put together form that would see them climb the table if not for the points deductions. They are unbeaten in 5 games, having not lost since 4 December in the league.
Our model predicts a 1-1 draw as the most likely score but favours Forest at 50% likely winners. Bookmakers Mean Odds (in the table below on the right) actually give both teams slightly less chance of winning that our model but for Forest they have them at just below 48% as winners.
Reading v Huddersfield
One game where there is a difference in likely winners in the different models is Reading v Huddersfield. This is a bit of an odd one, odds wise as our model favours Reading despite their current dreadful league form at 44.2% with Huddersfield just below 30% as likely winners. This is partly home advantage, partly expected goals and partly historic results.
After some midweek drama in one or two of the rescheduled Premier League games, the weekend arrives with more football (it’s also possible that all the postponements are the reason our model below doesn’t quite show all the matches).
Chelsea having failed to beat Brighton, now have a tough match against Tottenham, who may be on a high after their last minute goals against Leicester in their midweek game. One match can make all the difference between whether a manager is suddenly seen as ‘genius’ (Conte) or somehow ‘failing’ (Tuchel).
For this game though, there are some consistencies. Our model gives home advantage to Chelsea, it also takes note that Chelsea’s expected goals are much higher than Tottenham’s (almost ‘1’ whole goal more). Chelsea have an average of 2 goals per game, whereas Tottenham have only 26 from 19 matches.
In terms of predictions, our model predicts a 1-0 home win. In terms of likely winners our model matches up quite closely to Bookmakers Mean Odds (see table below for Outcome Probs and Mean Odds), with less than 3% separating the two models for a likely Chelsea win (59.4% to 56.8%).
Everton v Aston Villa
This is the early kick off on Saturday. The reason I’ve picked this game though is not so much that, or that Duncan Ferguson will be managing Everton, it’s more that there is a difference in predicted outcomes.
Villa have spent a fair bit in the transfer window, acquiring Digne from Everton and Coutinho on loan (who scored last weekend on his debut), Everton have also bought new full-backs but with a new manager it’s interesting that our model favours Everton at 43.4%, when none of this is taken into account, only past form, ELO ratings, home advantage and recent results.
Bookmakers mean odds slightly favour Villa, but only by 1.3% which really leads to the conclusion our model predicts which is a likely 1-1 draw. This exact score is 12.2% likely.
No Championship fixture tonight but plenty on Saturday and Sunday and with quite a few less Covid postponements than in previous weeks, at least as I type this.
Middlesbrough v Reading
I was curious to see what our scorecast would throw out, considering Reading lost 7-0 on Tuesday to Fulham.
Middlesbrough are 7th and have won 4 of their last 5 games so it really doesn’t look good for Reading. Our model is somewhat kinder to them than bookmakers odds (47.3% our model, 65.3% Bookmakers Mean Odds, see below, in terms of likely winner), however the most likely score is still a 1-1 draw, in part, because Reading usually score and for this match have just over 1 for expected goals.
Cardiff v Blackburn
Statistically speaking one team that caught my eye last season was Blackburn, who were the 5th highest scorers last season but only finished 15th in the league.
So far this year they are third and are second only to Fulham in terms of goals. This is yet another 1-1 draw as the most likely score, where other than Fulham or Preston who are likely to win according to our model, ten other games are predicted to also draw 1-1. Our model slightly favours Blackburn by 3% but there is only 0.1% between the two teams with bookmakers.
Tonight’s game is Brighton v Crystal Palace but for some reason our model hasn’t picked it up this week. That said, there are plenty of other games on:
Man City v Chelsea
Saturday’s early kick off is between the league leaders and second placed. Chelsea have drawn 4 of their last 5 league games whilst City have won all theirs so on form and with home advantage you might expect a City win. Man City are favourites and have nearly two on expected goals. City are pretty heavy favourites and our model matches up to Bookmakers Mean Odds in terms of the likely outcome (just 4 percent difference, see table above).
Aston Villa v Man Utd
This game looks interesting not least because Villa have acquired both Digne and Coutinho so there is the question of how well they are integrated into the team. Villa have lost their last two games and Man Utd their last match but are still 7th compared to Villa’s 14th. We have this as a 1-1 draw and teams form is probably reflected in that. The exact score is also 12.8% likely.
Tottenham v Arsenal
Tottenham v Arsenal in the North London derby looks very close but the difference is, the likely winners of this according to our model are Arsenal at 40.7% but bookmakers favour Tottenham at 41.4%. There really isn’t much between the teams as they are 6th and 5th.
There is actually only one Championship game taking place today, with the majority scheduled to take place tomorrow and Monday. Today’s game is Blackpool and Hull City with Blackpool in fairly poor form and Hull below them in 19th. We have a 1-1 draw as the most likely score, favouring Blackpool at 47%. Bookmakers Mean Odds have little between the two teams, only favouring Blackpool at 37.3% (see table below, on the right).
Reading v Derby
On Monday, Reading play Derby and our model favours Reading at 45.5%, with Bookmakers Mean Odds coming fairly close to agreement at 42.2%.
Despite Derby being bottom of the league due to points deductions (Reading also have some points deducted), they are actually in good form, having won their last three games. Our model also factors in home advantage, so that may help Reading. The most likely score is a 1-1 draw, with that exact score being 12.6% likely, and a 1-0 home win being 12%.
With Arsenal in good form, this game should be a bit closer than it was during the 5-0 destruction they suffered against City at the start of the season. City too are in strong form. Our model predicts a 1-1 draw as the most likely score, with both teams on at least 1 for expected goals. There is however, a big difference in the confidence levels of our model (41.8% likely City win) and bookmakers mean odds (in table below, on the right), which give Man City at least a 60% chance of winning.
Chelsea v Liverpool
The other ‘big’ game is Chelsea v Liverpool which although also has a 1-1 draw as likely, our model slightly favours home team Chelsea at 42.2% with bookmakers mean odds favouring the opposite, in Liverpool at 38.3%. This looks like it will be closer than the Arsenal v Man City game.
Premier League and English Championship (28-30 December)
Publishing this a day late but it does give me a chance to compare yesterday’s results to our model. In terms of outcomes, we predicted the right outcome (correct teams winning or teams drawing) in 3 of the 4 games taking place yesterday, with Leicester v Liverpool the exception.
Although our model did have that as a draw, rather than a Liverpool win, unlike bookmakers mean odds which had a 69% chance for a Liverpool win (about the same amount of possession Liverpool had too).
Not much to say about today’s games though, as it feels like no surprises are particularly likely. In fact bookmakers mean odds (see table below) have Man City at over 80% to win (we have over 10% less confidence but at over 70% I’m not sure it makes much difference). We also don’t have a prediction for Man Utd v Burnley, probably because Man Utd played on Monday night so the model hasn’t corrected for that yet.
Again, a number of Championship games are not taking place due to Covid and teams being unable to field enough players. It’s also thrown out slightly our ability to refresh immediate past results, hence some blanks in the data below.
Of the games taking place, the most interesting is probably Blackburn v Barnsley as Blackburn just keep winning and are 3rd in the league. Barnsley, who made the playoffs last season are now looking in very serious danger of being relegated as have only 14 points from 23 games. Our model has only 1 percent difference in confidence between that and bookmakers mean odds, for a Blackburn win.
For Boxing Day, currently 3 games are not taking place due to the number of Covid cases with some of the teams involved.
Of those that are taking place, our model continues to stand up to bookmakers mean odds, at least in terms of overall outcomes, even though there are some percentage differences (see Premier League table below, in this section and the Championship at the end of the page).
Man City v Leicester has an almost 10% difference in the confidence levels for a Man City win (73% our model, 82.5% for bookmakers). Man City have had injuries but have so many good players, in particular the midfield able to rotate almost interchangeably, whereas Leicester have been a bit patchy form wise this season. We have this as 2-0 for Man City but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was 3 or 4-1 or more.
Tottenham v Palace is about to kick off in less than half an hour and was the game most likely to be cancelled, with Viera, the Palace manager not able to attend. We have this as a 1-1 draw, as the most likely score but that is largely because Palace just sneak into expected goals of just over one. We have Tottenham at 55% likely to win, with bookmakers only 2.4% higher. A 1-1 draw is 11.1% likely but a 1-0 home win is very close at 10.9% as the most likely exact scores. Personally, I think Tottenham will win.
In the Championship, only two games take place today with all the others cancelled for the reasons above. There are also two games tomorrow though. Middlesbrough v Forest is taking place today and we have that as a 1-1 draw. It looks close though with less than 10% between the likely winners in our model. Bookmakers mean odds are slightly more confident in Middlesbrough at 46.5% which reduces Forest to less than 25% as likely winners.
Tomorrow’s games also look like draws for Derby v West Brom (although bookmakers mean odds are quite a bit more confident of a West Brom win than our model at over 55% for a West Brom win (we have 42.6%). With QPR v Bournemouth, both our model and bookmakers have a 1-1 draw as most likely, although we favour QPR with bookmakers giving Bournemouth the edge.
When I started writing this, there were two games still scheduled.
However, Aston Villa v Burnley has just been called off. Seems fairly clear to me that if more than half the games are being called off (and it’s still possible more will) that it is probably going to be sensible to postpone matches until after Christmas at least.
Leeds v Arsenal is apparently still on, however (at 5.30pm), and if it remains that way it looks pretty favourable to Arsenal. Arsenal are fourth with Leeds 16th and in Leeds are in pretty poor form. Our model predicts a 1-1 draw as the most likely score with that exact score being 12.3% likely (a 0-1 Arsenal win is 11.2%, as the next most likely score).
On the other hand, our model favours Arsenal by a margin of around 18% (46.2%) over Leeds winning. When compared to bookmaker mean odds they favour Arsenal even more, showing them on 50% likely to win. Leeds are hovering around 25-28% so not much difference between our model and bookmakers.
If there are any games taking place tomorrow in each of them, Newcastle v Man City, Tottenham – Liverpool or Wolves v Chelsea we seem to be underestimating the likely winners by between 13-11.5%, with all the away teams heavily favoured and with bookmakers mean odds at over 60% for each and over 80% for Man City.
We do however have Liverpool and Chelsea, likely to draw (or at least that, that is the most likely score for those games).
I’m focusing on this game because it looks like it is currently going to happen. Whether the rest of the weekend’s games take place will depend, I guess, on how many players test positive tomorrow and Monday.
There are currently 5 games postponed in the Championship tomorrow.
Anyway, in tonight’s game, it looks like a West Brom win is certainly more likely than a Barnsley one. In our model, West Brom are at 44.7% as likely winners, this is over 12% lower than Bookmakers Mean Odds (see table below) which think a West Brom win is more likely.
Fulham v Sheff Utd
This game is currently ‘on’, although it looks like the Premier League at least is going to review on Monday whether it’s fixtures should take place, so one wonder if the EFL will do the same very soon. If it does happen, the two ex-Premier League teams will probably expect a Fulham win as there is just 0.5% between our most likely winners, Fulham (54%) and bookmakers mean odds which have Fulham at 53.5%