It looks like there should be quite a few draws as the likely result this week in the Championship and not many away wins (see the ‘Score Picks, Most’ section).
On expected goals though, a bunch of teams stand out – Bournemouth, Blackburn, Brentford and Swansea all expected to out-score their opponents from whatever home advantage there is with no crowds. Brentford v Coventry though is predicted to be a draw (see Score Picks, ‘Most’), although if there is a win (see ‘Cond’ in the Score Picks section), then it will be a win for Brentford).
Bookmakers broadly agree with our model, with Derby v Watford, Luton v Stoke City, Rotherham v Norwich, the exceptions where our model predicts wins for the home team and they predict away wins.
In this strange season, the first international break has arrived, which has caused a small amount of schedule change in League One that our “Supercomputer” hasn’t been able to make sense of – Blackpool’s game with Ipswich being brought earlier due to Charlton and Sunderland postponing their matches with Ipswich and Blackpool respectively due to the international break.
One match has already taken place, Fleetwood thrashing Hull 4-1 last night. The bookies were taken aback by this, though we had Fleetwood 57% for the win. For what it’s worth, there are similar disagreements for Gillingham’s game with Oxford (we think Gills, bookies think Oxford), and Northampton’s game with Peterborough (we think it’ll be closer than the bookies who strongly fancy Peterborough).
In League Two, Morecambe have had a fine start. But neither the model (17.5%) nor the bookies (28.6%) think they’ll continue with that at winless Oldham, who only have their single point thanks to a last-minute equaliser at Colchester. Maybe I need to place a bet on this, given the inevitable disappointment come 5pm…
We continue at Scorecasting Economists to provide forecasts before matches have taken place. It’s something we enjoy doing – it’s interesting to try and predict something, to record it, and then to see how you did. You can compare against bookmakers, for example, which are another source of forecasts. We do that in our tables each week. In the coming weeks we will (re)develop our pages here on evaluating forecasts – are we even any good?
For now, though, here are our lower league forecasts. We provide a most likely scoreline, which very commonly is 1-1, since this is the most common scoreline. Given this, we also provide a conditional most likely scoreline – the most likely scoreline with the team most likely to win, winning. Henc fo League One below, 1-1 is most likely between Wigan and Doncaster, but because Wigan are most likely to win, a 2-1 Wigan win is the conditional most likely score:
In League Two, we have:
Covid-19 denies us what would have been a fascinatingly tight match between Grimsby and Bradford.
Lots of clear home wins predicted this week. The only 2 main exceptions being Liverpool away to Aston Villa and Man City away to Leeds.
Not much overall disagreement between our model and the bookmaker’s predictions either.
Can Man Utd get a result against Tottenham? United have looked tired since the season started but Tottenham have had to play a lot of matches very close together, whilst still scoring.
One of the biggest differences in individual result predictions between our model and the bookmakers is in the Newcastle v Burnley fixture, where although both predict a Newcastle win, ours gives just over a 50% likelihood compared to their 39%.
There is also a greater degree of certainty about the bookmakers prediction for Liverpool to win against Aston Villa with an over 70% chance of an away win predicted compared to our 59% (our own End-of-season forecast has a 45% chance of a Liverpool title retention http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/econscorecast/2020/09/26/end-of-season-forecasts-premier-league/).
For the Championship this week we have favourable predictions for all home teams, although the model suggests quite a few games are going to be close.
There are however one or two differences with how the bookmakers are predicting things (see Mean Odds in the table below).
Our model has adjusted for Reading’s excellent start to the season (3 wins in a row!) and whilst the most likely result is a draw (Watford are unbeaten too, with 1 draw and 2 wins), the expected goals fractionally favour Reading. The bookmakers on the other hand have Watford winning.
The other difference is with Coventry at home to Bournemouth tonight. This is possibly an anomaly based on some of Coventry’s previous form relating to last season’s promotion chase in League 1 vs Bournemouth’s form during their relegation battle at the end of last season in the Premier League. Our model has based on this form, Coventry winning on both likely results and expected goals. The bookmakers though have a 45% chance of Bournemouth winning.
Elsewhere there are some clear outcomes expected – our model agrees quite closely with bookmakers that Luton will beat Wycombe for instance.
Are things starting to take shape? In League One, big boys Wigan have started with two defeats, so have defeated play-off finalists Oxford, while favourites Portsmouth have only drawn their opening matches.
In League Two, Cambridge have started like a house on fire (again). What does it all mean? Well, you can look at the chance in end-of-season probabilities here if you’re interested – the bottom line is we’re only 4% through the season. Lots left to be determined…
So what about today, game week 3? Here are our forecasts:
Last week in the Premier League produced the highest scoring weekend, where 10 matches were played. https://www.premierleague.com/news/1837431
Can the high scoring weekend be repeated? Well, there are quite a few clear win predictions across the model.
Clear wins are predicted for Man Utd away to Brighton, Man City at home against Leicester (despite Man City now having no fit striker), Liverpool v Arsenal, Tottenham v Newcastle, and Chelsea away to West Brom.
The model has predicted in-form Crystal Palace to beat Everton but betting companies have Everton as clear winners.
We plan to issue regular end-of-season forecasts this season. Not least, because that’s what all fans are ultimately bothered about – what each match means for their chances of going up or down.
As an Oldham fan I’m significantly exercised by two opening defeats in two games that should have yielded some points. Should I be?
The answer, of course, is probably not. The first two matrices below are for League Two. The first is before the opening matches, and the second is after the first two matches.
Each cell in each matrix is a probability of a team finishing in that position. As would be expected, there’s a huge spread of possible positions for teams – though the teams more likely to be at the top and bottom are clear in the matrices – we’d expect Exeter to be nearer the top, and Morcambe to be nearer the bottom.
Teams with momentum look good – Harrogate and Barrow, though naturally that’s dissipating a bit after two games – despite solid starts by both. Teams dropping like lead balloons equally, as Bolton and Southend are expected to struggle. Tranmere buck that a little.
Southend’s miserable start has had consequences. They go from 23.4% for the drop to 31.3%, a considerable jump in two games this early. Oldham have only moved from 7.8% to 11.2%, which while worrying is only a small change. After all, only about 4% of the season has been played.
Perhaps you’re more concerned about League One, and so below are the two matrices for League One:
We posted our pre-season forecasts here, and the stand out pick was Everton for relegation. Models are only a function of the data going into them, and for our slimmed down model to simulate, pre-season transfer activity wasn’t in there. But their Elo rating after last season wasn’t particularly high, hence they weren’t expected to rip up trees.
We’ve updated based on the first two game weeks. Everton are now only 25% for the drop, with more likely candidates Brighton (30%), Fulham (31%), West Ham (36%) and West Brom (41%) with higher probabilities.
At the top, Liverpool are 45.5% for the title and favourites, Man City at 36.6%. It already looks like it’s a two-horse race – our probabilities reflect this, the early results suggest it, and the bookmakers agree. Note though that the bookies have City as clear favourites (about 54% to Liverpool’s 39%).
In the Championship this week, despite teams playing to an empty stadium, it looks like home teams seem to have an edge overall.
The only away result in week 3 that looks slightly likely is a Swansea win against Wycombe Wanderers and even that looks like it will be close.
Of the three teams that have managed to win both games so far (Reading, Bristol City and Luton) only Bristol City against Sheffield Wednesday are predicted to keep their winning streak.