Scorecasting Economists

Championship 20 April 2021

Whilst most of the footballing world is (correctly, in my opinion) getting very cross about a European Super League, English Championship football goes on.

Looking across the table you have an ex-European Cup Winners (Nottingham Forest), and teams that have won the Premier league or old Division One, or won cup finals or appeared in them, such as Blackburn, Derby, Huddersfield, Norwich, Watford, Millwall, Cardiff, Preston, Middlesbrough, Coventry and a few others.

In fact most of the teams here have competed at the top-level at some time or other and plenty in the very recent past have finished in the top half of the Premier League.

I’ve not seen Norwich play this season but am looking forward to watching them next season, and they are hoping to take the Championship title tonight by winning at home to second-placed Watford.

Our model predicts a 1-1 draw, favouring Norwich at 45% for a likely win, with Watford at only 29%. Bookmakers have it closer at 39.6% to 31.7% in terms of winners.

Play-off places look pretty sown up suddenly with only Reading outside with a chance. They are now 4 points adrift from Barnsley. With our model typically under-marking Reading compared to bookmakers, Reading have just over a 25% chance of winning against Luton according to our model with bookmakers giving them much better odds at 40%,

Barnsley on the other hand have fairly consistent odds – 40% for a win in our model, 44% with bookmakers with a 1-1 draw predicted.

Right at the bottom of the table, our model gives the faintest of an escape chance for Wycombe (they’d need to get at least 10 point to have a chance of staying up because their goal difference is so bad). We have them with a 40% chance to win against Bristol City but bookmakers have an almost opposite prediction with Bristol on 38.

Premier League 16 4 21

Premier League football somewhat clashes with the F.A.Cup semi-finals this weekend. It also has meant that some of our data is for games taking place later in the week or a couple of games haven’t got data collected for them.

Some things jump out from the data we do have – firstly that Chelsea are 13.7% likely to get an exact 2-0 win and 13.8% likely to get a 1-0 win.

They are overwhelming favourites against Brighton at 68% likely winners in our model and 60% with bookmakers.

For some reason our model hasn’t picked up the Fulham v Arsenal or Man Utd v Burnley on Sunday.

It has however collected the data for Leeds v Liverpool on Monday night.

Liverpool are 14.4% likely to get a 1-0 away win against Leeds as the most likely score in that match. Frankly there aren’t many matches where I’d expect Leeds in where there is only one goal. Bookmakers also favour Liverpool by 8% more than our model does. I wouldn’t write off Leeds.

Everton play Tottenham tonight and our model 1% between the two teams and just 0.02% on expected goals.

I think our model is underestimating West Ham against Newcastle in tomorrow lunchtime’s game. If there has been a surprise team this season, West Ham are definitely one of them. I can’t think of anyone who thought they’d be in the top four at the start of the season. Our model predicts a draw but bookmakers have West ham on 47.5% as likely winners, with Newcastle on only 25%. I think it’s probably somewhere between what we have and what bookmakers mean odds are showing.

Championship 16 April 2021

Championship 16 April 2021

Football continues this weekend and continues to kick off at odd times, such as 6pm on a Friday. Whilst these times can help maximise TV viewers by avoiding clashes with some matches, it will be interesting to see how far this carries on into next season with fans returning to stadiums.

Blackburn play Derby and Reading are home to Cardiff tonight in the early kick offs, and these look like they are scheduled so they don’t clash with the Everton v Tottenham game at 8pm.

Both today’s games are predicted to be 1-1 draws in our model.

Looking more closely though Blackburn are nearly 14% more likely to win than Derby in our model, with bookmakers giving a 17% difference between the two teams on likely winners. Similarly with the other game, Reading are 42.6% likely winners with bookmakers giving nearly 1% extra odds. They also have Cardiff at 4% less likely to win than we do.

There are also two, 2-0 wins predicted; Swansea v Wycombe and Brentford v Millwall.

The home teams are 3rd and 4th in the league and whilst they are both a good few points off of automatic promotion, are looking rather likely for play-off spots. Wycombe are still bottom having lost their last match after a 2-match winning run. Bookmakers are slightly less generous than our model but still strongly favour both home teams.

Both Norwich and Watford are predicted to draw 1-1 in their matches, this pretty much means Norwich are simply not going to be stopped from winning the league. Except for one thing, they each play one another in their next game, so the league could be decided on Tuesday evening in yet another 6pm game.


Championship Midweek 13-15 April 2021

Championship Midweek 13-15 April 2021

Just four midweek Championship matches taking place this week with poor Rotherham having to play Tuesday and Thursday after having to postpone a number of games due to COVID-19 breakouts at the club earlier in the season.

They are in a pretty precarious position as a result of this. Currently six points adrift of Coventry City so Thursday night’s game is critical as Coventry are the team directly above them.

With two wins though and their survival chance do change significantly. Rotherham’s first game is against 11th placed QPR who have 10 points from their last five matches so it doesn’t look too good and a defeat tonight then puts extra pressure on the Thursday game.

Rotherham are predicted to draw with QPR and the model hasn’t picked up Thursday’s game. It does however favour QPR for tonight’s game at 43% to win. Bookmakers look likely to have a draw as the most likely as well with 1% difference between the teams likely win chances.

Fellow relegation battlers Huddersfield and Sheffield Wednesday are also playing tonight but against teams in the playoff places. Swansea have just broken a losing streak of 4 games so will be expected to win against Wednesday and Bournemouth who play Huddersfield have four wins in a row. Bournemouth have a 53% chance of winning and as I type this are already winning 2-0!

The model includes Friday’s game but I’ll cover that on Friday. The model also includes Blackburn v Derby but that isn’t taking place this midweek.


Premier League 9 April 2021

Premier League 9 April 2021

Man City v Leeds

Tomorrow lunchtime’s game should be interesting. Leeds are one of the teams that if all things go right for them they could damage Man City. I think if City score early on though there is very little chance for Leeds.

Historically the teams have pretty much shared the spoils with City winning 3 more of the games between the two at 45-42 wins.

Man City are on 2.72 for expected goals (so essentially have a good chance of putting at least 2 past Leeds). Our model gives Leeds only a 5% chance of a win.

Most likely score: 2-0

Tottenham v Man Utd

Tottenham are still in 6th place despite pretty much every week there being question marks about either how they are set up to play or how they actually perform.

You would think Man Utd fans would be feeling reasonably confident for this game but our model has the two teams almost even with 37.3% for a Tottenham win and 35.4% for Man Utd. Bookmakers slightly favour Man Utd at 39.5%.

Most likely score: 1-1

Sheffield Utd v Arsenal

This is probably as good a chance for a win against Arsenal that Sheffield United will get.

Arsenal collapsing against Liverpool and then being really poor against Slavia Prague yesterday has meant Arsenal (in 10th) really need to bounce back but they have been so inconsistent this season that you do really wonder if that will happen this weekend.

Our model seems to think so, giving them a 53% chance. Bookmakers even have them on 61% to win. I’m not convinced.

Most likely score: 0-1


Championship 9 April 2021

Championship 9 April 2021

Watford v Reading

Tonight’s game is actually the 120th time the two teams have met. Foolishly I thought “these two won’t have played each other much”. How wrong I was. Looks like a significant chunk, or about a third, of those matches took place between the 1920’s and 1950’s when Reading was in old the Third Division South. Reading have won 45 of the match-ups whereas Watford have won 48.

In terms of form though, Watford are second in the league and have won four of the last five games. Although Reading won their last match, they have only the one win in the last five.

Our model predicts a clear win for Watford with bookmakers very closely agreeing (55% our model; 53% bookmakers mean odds).

Most likely score: 1-0

Derby v Norwich

Our model predicts a Norwich win, which may well push Derby back down the table. A 1-0, 2-1 or 2-0 win for Norwich are all around 10% likely (see Away wins in the table below) with Norwich having a 60%+ chance of winning in our model but only a 53% chance with bookmakers. Norwich have nearly 2 for expected goals with Derby only 1.

Most likely score: 0-1

Wycombe v Luton

Can Wycombe escape relegation? With 10 points from the last five games and 3 wins it’s actually possible especially if others in the relegation spots don’t perform. I suspect their biggest issue is likely to be the amount of games in hand Rotherham have, even if Wycombe do continue their current form.

Our model favours Wycombe at 43% whereas bookmakers actually favour Luton at 42%.

Most likely score: 1-0 home win.




Championship, Monday 5 April 2021

Championship, Monday 5 April 2021

Middlesbrough v Watford has already kicked off as I type this (there is simply too much football on, so because the Premier League had rolled across three days I hadn’t realised the Championship was in full on two separate days!)

That game looks like a 1-1 draw is predicted in our model, if it is conditional on a win occurring then Watford are predicted to win 1-0. This seems more likely especially if we remove the home advantage that is not necessarily in effect without fans.

After the 12.30 match, Reading v Derby looks interesting, partly because our model actually predicts a Reading win (a 1-0 is 13% most likely score; but a 1-1 is the second most likely at 12.9%). Our prediction is also only 1% different from bookmakers mean odds.

Elsewhere, only one match has a different outcome predicted to bookmakers and even that is actually predicted a draw in our model. This is Luton v Barnsley.

Outside of the last five games where their form is actually quite similar (Barnsley have one more point from 5 than Luton), if we again remove home advantage then you can see why bookmakers would have Barnsley as favourites.

Luton are actually only 0.1% higher on likely winner percentages than Barnsley in our model anyway, hence the likely score from us being 1-1.

Six 1-1 draws are predicted and Six 1-0 home wins.  With the most likely winners overall being Norwich and Brentford.


Premier League, Good Friday 2021

Premier League, Good Friday  2 April 2021

Arsenal v Liverpool

This is 9th v 7th with both teams under-performing this season.

Liverpool have won 90 of the historic match-ups between the two teams with Arsenal winning 81. The two teams haven’t played each other since October when Arsenal won although, that was in the League Cup, so it’s not clear that it’s much of a form guide. Our model has gives the two teams an exact equal chance to win at 36.3% although bookmakers favour Liverpool at 43%.

Most likely score: 1-1

Chelsea v West Brom

A Chelsea win has at least 75% chance of happening according to our model. Bookmakers actually have them at 79% to win. In terms of actual results, our model predicts a 16.7% chance of a 2-0 win (I think this is actually one of the highest most likely score likelihoods we’ve had). A 1-0 home win also has a 16.1% chance of happening. I know some Chelsea fans thought Lampard should have had more time but Chelsea have been far more consistent under Tuchel. They also have the second best defensive performance in the league.

Most likely score: 2-0

Man Utd v Brighton

Man Utd aren’t going to catch Man City now but Brighton need probably two or three more wins to be completely safe from relegation and get away from Newcastle and the bottom three. Our model doesn’t think that’s very likely this week giving them just a 15% chance of an away win, despite the fact they’ve won their last two games. Man Utd also have the second highest expected goals this weekend on 1.82.

Most likely score: 1-0

Newcastle v Tottenham, Fulham v Aston Villa

As with Brighton, Newcastle really need a win and really their best hope is if the Tottenham that lost to Dinamo Zagreb in the Uefa League is what shows up. Our model has Tottenham to win at over 55% though and this is hardly surprising considering how bad Newcastle have been.

Fulham actually have better odds than Brighton or Newcastle of getting a win but only just. We have them at 25% for a win with bookmakers having them at 29% away to Aston Villa, who have clearly struggled without Grealish but he is apparently available so that will probably make it more difficult for Fulham..

Most likely scores – both the relegation threatened teams predicted to lose 1-0.


Championship Good Friday 2021

Championship, Good Friday, 2 April 2021

Championship football returns this weekend and so do our forecasts.

With only eight or nine games left for most teams, things are really narrowing for either winning the league, getting into the playoff places or avoiding relegation.

Title challengers

It looks like there is only one team that could realistically stop Norwich now and that is Watford.

The last time league leaders Norwich lost was back in February, away to Swansea but they did drop a couple of points in their last match against Blackburn.

We have Norwich winning 1-0 away to Preston. Norwich are 46% likely to get a win with Preston at only 27%. Bookmakers actually favour Norwich more than us at 56%.

Watford on the other hand have won their last 5 games but before that run lost to Bournemouth.

They are heavily favoured against Sheffield Wednesday at 70% as winners in our model, with a 2-0 win predicted (this exact score is showing at 12.5% likely in the Home wins section of our model) as the most likely score. Watford are also the only team in the league this week with more than 2 for expected goals.

Playoff places

In the playoff places, Barnsley play Reading in the early evening game today.

Our model favours Barnsley at just under 50% with Reading on only 25% for a win. Bookmakers have slightly better odds for Reading but not much. Our model predicts a 1-1 draw as the most likely result. For the other two teams in the top six, Swansea and Brentford, we have both these teams winning 1-0 in their respective matches.

Relegation spots

At the other end of the table, there doesn’t look like much joy for the bottom six teams.

Only Derby in 19th and Wycombe (who are adrift at the very bottom of the league) are predicted to get draws.

The other four teams we have losing. Our model favours Derby by about 5% (38.1-33.3%) against Luton whereas bookmakers have Derby on 45% to win.

Whilst a Derby win would pull them away from 22nd placed Rotherham its worth noting that Rotherham have only played 34 games compared to everyone else having played 37 or 38.

Championship 20 March 2021

Championship 20 March 2021


The Championship clashes with the FA Cup today, although only Bournemouth are left in from this level.

Things continue to look good for Norwich (who play Blackburn). There is only a 3% difference between our likely outcome and bookmakers mean odds (63%-60%), so they should be safe for at least a 1-0 win.

Our model predicts a 1-0 win for Bristol City against Rotherham and gives Bristol a 60% chance of a win. Bookmakers still favour Bristol City but by 20% less than us.

Watford have a 70% chance of winning against Birmingham which is hardly surprising as the form of the teams in the bottom quarter of the table is really quite bad at the moment. Birmingham do have 2 wins in their last 5 games though. Watford have won four in a row now and a 2-0 win is predicted.

Barnsley are in excellent form as well and are also predicted to win 2-0, against Sheffield Wednesday (we give Barnsley a 65% chance of winning).

There are no games where our model outcomes actually differ from the overall bookmakers odds, just differences in the extent. The differences in form at this stage between the bottom half of the league and the top half appear to be decent predictors.