Championship 1 October 2021
Stoke City v West Bromwich Albion
This game kicks off the Championship weekend. Home team Stoke are 5th but West Brom are joint 1st with Bournemouth both teams at the top, undefeated, having won 6 and drawn 4. These two teams have been playing each other for a very long time, the first time in 1888 with West Brom winning an FA Cup match 4-1
Stoke on the other hand have won 62 times to West Brom’s 49, one of these being the last time the two teams met in January 2020. We have both teams on the same expected goals (see table below). And there is 0.1% difference in the likely winner with teams on 36.7%/36.6% in our model in terms of expected winners. However, bookmakers mean odds (in the table below) favour West Brom at 42.8%.
Most likely score according to our model: 1-1
Elsewhere in the league, on Saturday it is the Championship, so this week our model predicts a 1-1 draw for every game as the most likely score! That said it also favours the home team in every game except Coventry v Fulham and Derby v Swansea.
Cardiff v Reading
Cardiff have lost their last four games, whereas Reading were on a 3 match winning streak, that was ended by Derby in mid-week, so both teams will be trying to reverse defeats. Our model favours Cardiff at 45.4% and Reading on just 29%. Bookmakers pretty much agree within 1-3%.
Championship 28 September 2021
Derby v Reading
Two teams that have been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately play each other Wednesday, Derby who have already been deducted 12 points and Reading who are also facing that possibility.
So far this season, their fates have also been fairly different. Although, both got off to a bad enough start, with Derby have fared worse and have already had their points deducted. Reading started badly but have now picked up and have won their last three games. Putting it bluntly Derby can’t score but also don’t let many in (scored 6, against 8) and bizarrely have a defence that would put them in the play-offs, if that was the measure.
Reading are the opposite. They are joint 3rd with a number of teams, on goals scored (16) but have the second worst defence in the league.
Our model (See table below in Score Picks) has rather boringly predicted a 1-1 draw as the most likely score. Our model favours Derby by just under 3% as likely winners, with bookmakers giving a more generous difference between the teams at over 11%. Despite Derby’s defensive record this does feel like a game where both teams will probably score.
Most likely score: 1-1
Cardiff v West Brom
There aren’t many games this midweek where there are vast differences between our likely predicted winners and teams that are favoured through bookmakers mean odds (see table above).
That said this game between Cardiff and West Brom has quite a difference in odds. We include home advantage in our model, which may help to explain why Cardiff are marginally favoured in this game by 2.6%, whereas bookmakers have Cardiff at only 24% to win, with West Brom on 48.5% (West Brom are unbeaten this season apart from a 6-0 defeat to Arsenal in the League Cup).
The last time the two teams played Cardiff won 2-1 but in the same season West Brom also won their home game 4-2.
Most likely score: 1-1 (13% likely according to our model as the exact score, the highest for any exact score prediction this week).
Premier League 25 9 21
The weekend kicks off with three of the four most likely league winners all playing at 12.30pm on Saturday.
The ‘big’ game is Chelsea v Man City. This is obviously far t oo early to decide the title but the three points from this game could prove decisive at the end of the season. The most likely score is 1-1. We favour City by just 2% as winners at 38.4% highlighting how close this is. Bookmakers have just 0.1% between the teams.
The ‘other’ game is Man Utd v Villa. Villa could be a problem for United in this game after winning 3-0 against Everton last weekend. We have Utd winning 1-0 as the most likely score. A Utd win is 57.5% likely which still somewhat reflects Villa’s potential for an upset here. Bookmakers disagree having Utd on just under 69% to win.
Model-wise the other game of interest is Brentford v Liverpool and includes the only other likely title winners. We actually have a 1-1 draw as the most likely score (exact score as 11.6% likely). Brentford have started well and home advantage is built into our model. That said we still favour Liverpool to win at 48.7% with bookmakers much more confident at 64%. I think Liverpool will win it but Brentford will be tough opposition.
Championship 24 September 2021
There are two Friday night fixtures in the Championship this weekend.
Coventry v Peterborough and West Brom v QPR.
Coventry have started the season pretty well and are in 4th place at present, Peterborough on the other hand are 22nd, and although they did win their last game had lost at least four in a row before that. We have Coventry drawing 1-1 although favouring Coventry at 50% (See table above).
The other game, has West Brom in 3rd and QPR in 8th. This also is a 1-1 as the most likely score but favouring West Brom at 45%. Bookmakers are surer at over 55%.
Some of the other games look fairly unbalanced Bournemouth v Luton and Stoke v Hull City, at least on current positions in the league table. These are two of the games, where we have a home 1-0 win. That said Reading have started to win (2 in a row) and play Middlesbrough at home, who are just 2 places behind them in the league. We favour Reading but bookmakers mean odds point to Middlesbrough so this could be close.
Championship 18 September 2021
The first thing that sticks out from the Championship fixtures for the weekend is that in our model, we have Fulham beating Reading 2-0 at home (see table below – Outcome Probs).
We have a likely Fulham win at 65%, with bookmakers making this seem pretty likely at 69%. So it doesn’t look great for Reading who at least managed a win against Peterborough in midweek. Reading’s problem is Fulham also managed to win 4-1 against Birmingham and are still top. Both teams are high scorers at the moment, trouble is Reading also have the joint worst defence in the league, along with Peterborough.
Elsewhere, things look quite good for QPR and Huddersfield, with both teams on at least 50% to win with our model. Bookmakers agree with us that they are favoured in terms of percentage to win (about 5% less per match by bookmakers mean odds) but our model still has both teams drawing 1-1.
A 1-1 draw being the most likely result across the league simply reflects the closeness of the Championship, and that is what our model has predicted. Derby v Stoke for instance is 13% likely to be an exact 1-1 draw, the most likely exact score of the week.
There are also a number of games where the team we favour, differs from bookmakers, which again highlights how close the league is. One big difference is in the Barnsley v Blackburn game where our model has home team, Barnsley at almost 50% to win. Bookmakers have just 3% between the teams with Blackburn leading at 36%
Premier League 17 September 2021
The Premier League kicks off at 8pm tonight with Newcastle v Leeds.
Amazingly, we have the two teams on the exact same odds 37.1% in our model, with bookmakers slightly favouring Newcastle at 41.3%. An exact score of 1-1 is 12.2% likely according to our model (see table below in Draws).
Two other fixtures particularly, jump out from the table – namely Liverpool v Palace and Man City v Southampton.
We have both teams winning 2-0, with each at least 70% likely to occur (well a home win is, that exact score for either team is 12.9% and 11.3% likely, respectively).
Top of the league Man Utd and second placed Chelsea, on the other hand, appear to have it much tougher. United are away to West Ham (who may struggle without Antonio), where we have a 1-1 as the most likely score – bookmakers however favour Man Utd at 54% (compared to our 35.7). In Chelsea’s game we favour them at Tottenham by 41.5% but bookmakers have them on 55%. Be interesting to see who is right.
I suspect that our model favours the home team too much in these particular instances but that is largely because our model doesn’t take into account individual player likely absences such as Son for Tottenham in addition to West Ham minus Antonio who is suspended.
Championship 14-15 September 2021
Top of the table
League leaders West Brom look set to pile the misery on for Derby tonight, with a 61% chance to win in our scorecasting model (See table below).
Bookmakers mean odds have them at 63.5% to win so only just over 2% difference between us. West Brom have the highest ‘expected goals’ total this week. This is the only match where a 1-0 win is the most likely exact scoreline in our model.
A 1-0 exact score is 11.6% likely in our model with a 2-0 win at 11%.
The other unbeatens
Bournemouth are home to QPR.
Apart from West Brom, these are the only two teams still unbeaten in the league after six games.
We have this one as a draw but heavily favour the home team, Bournemouth. Bookmakers agree but have 5.4% more confidence that Bournemouth will win.
Reading v Peterborough
At the other end of the table, Reading have slipped into the bottom three of the table.
If most recent past results between the two teams were everything to go by then tonight’s home game against Peterborough may be a bit tricky.
Just over eight years ago, Reading lost away to Peterborough 6-0 the last time the two teams matched up.
If current form is anything to go by then the two teams will draw but if they do it will be a score draw because Reading aren’t lacking goals, only five teams have scored more than them so far. Sadly for Reading though they have also let in more goals than anyone else in the league. The expected goals factor is somewhat reflected in our model though with Reading on 1.63 expected goals to Peterborough’s 1.19. We favour Reading at 47.5% to win with bookmakers less confident on 43%.
10 September 2021
Premier League football returns Saturday lunchtime, following the international break.
A number of key players are now unavailable due to either injuries or Covid-related restrictions (including the two Brazilian goalkeepers, Ederson and Allisson and strikers from the same teams (Man City and Liverpool), Gabriel Jesus and Firmino).
You would expect most of the biggest teams squads will be able to absorb this but both these teams have away games that might be a bit tricky. Our model has both City and Liverpool drawing 1-1 against both Leicester and Leeds but we still favour each of these teams, Liverpool at 46% and Man City at 53% to win. Bookmakers mean odds agree with this but have an increase in confidence by around 8-9% (see below).
Premier League – Expected Goals, Most likely winners, most likely scores (and exact scores odds) and bookmakers, Mean odds:
After three games in the league so far, just one team has managed to win them all – Tottenham – and they kick off the weekend away to Crystal Palace who haven’t managed a win yet but do have two draws. They also are predicted to draw 1-1 with our model favouring Tottenham at 44.5%, bookmakers having them 5% higher on 49.5%. In the table above you can see that a 1-1 draw with Palace is in fact the second most likely of all the exact scores across the league this weekend at 12.7%.
In total there are six other unbeaten teams (including 10th placed, newly promoted Brentford) and also eight winless teams, with three at the bottom having lost all three games, Wolves, Norwich and Arsenal.
Arsenal are apparently quite likely to escape from this part of the drop-zone this weekend, with a 2-1 win the most likely score in their home game against Norwich. We have an Arsenal win at 61.4% likely with bookmakers only 2% higher. Wolves on the other hand may manage to get a 1-1 draw away to Watford with that exact score at 12.8% likley (the highest odds for an exact score in our model this week).
There is also much fanfare of course over the return of Ronaldo. The game is at 3pm so won’t be on TV in England but according to our model he is unlikely to make much difference to the result.
Man Utd are predicted to win 2-0 against Newcastle with a win 68.5% likely in our model (bookmakers, who do take into account Ronaldo’s appearance have Man Utd on 80.2% to win with a Newcastle win at just 6.5%)
Championship football returns this weekend following the international break.
Even at this early stage some teams are clearly setting the pace.
Recently relegated Fulham and West Brom are both first and second on 13 points each, although with our model both teams are currently predicted to draw this weekend (See table below for most likely outcomes).
English Championship – Expected Goals, Most likely winners, most likely scores (and exact scores odds) and bookmakers, Mean odds:
Both teams are also favoured as winners, if there is one (Fulham 47% and West Brom 51%), bookmakers on the other hand have their mean odds (the average odds across bookmakers) at between 60% (Fulham) and 61% (West Brom) for wins for the top two.
QPR in 3rd on 11 points and Bournemouth in 6th are also unbeaten. For these two, it is also reasonably likely they will also remain unbeaten at the end of the weekend. They are at between 42-44% for each team to win respectively, in our model, with bookmakers giving slightly higher odds for Bournemouth.
At the other end of the table there are three winless teams, Blackpool, Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest.
Forest are bottom with just one point.
Sheffield United really should be doing better as a recently relegated team but they also have the lowest amount of goals in the league, scoring just one. Amusingly, Sheffield United are one of two teams our model picks to win and bookmakers pretty much agree with this. We have Sheffield United at 55% to win with bookmakers just under 3% higher, so it looks pretty good for them at home to Preston.
English Championship End of August
Derby v Nottingham Forest:
The ‘East Midlands’ or ‘Clough’ derby is one of two games that start off the weekend’s Championship fixtures.
Our model predicts a draw but Forest have had a terrible start to the season losing all four games, so even Derby who have been struggling as well, should fancy their chances with home advantage.
Our model favours Derby at 42% to 31.5% for Forest, with bookmakers ‘Mean Odds’ (see table below) having the teams a lot closer with just over 4% between the two on likely winners (36.4% – 32%). It sounds like it could be close.
Most likely score: 1-1
Cardiff City v Bristol City
The other early kick-off is the ‘Severnside Derby’ and that look much less even than the other early game. We favour Cardiff at just under 60% to win, with bookmakers at 48% but still only giving Bristol a 24% chance.
Most likely score: 1-0
In the 3pm games, our model gives a 1-1 draw for Preston against West Brom, whilst still heavily favouring West Brom at 45% (this is 10% less than bookmakers though).
We favour Huddersfield over Reading, but only by 2% (bookmakers have an 8% difference between the sides).
Top of the table Fulham will fancy a win against Stoke (we have them at 56% to win, bookmakers mean odds at 50.5%).