Saturday, 2 February 2013

Football Sim: Predictions for 2/3 Feb 13

This is probably going to be the last set of predictions before I put some proper time into improving the model. We know that on current performance, it's going to slowly lose money if you bet on it and that's not tremendously exciting. Improvements from here are much harder than building the simulator in the first place, but I've got a few promising ideas to follow up.

Populating the fixtures with expected starting line-ups is also a complete pain in the neck and takes far too long. I'm going to have to sort that out, because sometimes my Friday evenings are based around beer rather than football match modelling.

Having said that, putting this set of forecasts together has thrown up a few interesting effects and led to me tweaking the algorithm a little already.

Here's what we've got. Starting line-ups from Fantasy Football Scout.

A few of those percentages stick out as disagreeing with the bookies odd this morning. Taking those ones in order...

Everton vs. Aston Villa

Everton are predicted to win, sure, but the bookies give Villa almost no chance and my model thinks they could win it. Why does it think that?

The big reason (that we'll see again for the Man City game) is that the model doesn't really understand defending yet. It will penalise teams that have only average ball retention but which are above average at defending. Conversely for Villa, it doesn't know that their back line has shipped 46 goals so far this season. The model also currently sees a player like Fellaini as a striker with decent shooting accuracy and below average passing - it doesn't understand the physicality of his game.

It's far from perfect! I did say I was doing my development work in public. Anyway, on to...

Manchester City vs. Liverpool

I'm sure this is the defending factor again. Could happen though and maybe this prediction will make some Liverpool fans happy.

Reading vs. Sunderland

I like this one, it's interesting! I've got Reading at 10% (decimal odds 10.0). The bookies odds say they're going to win the game. What's that all about then?

Well first of all, the model's using player stats over the season so far, not just the past few games. Up until Christmas, Reading really weren't good, which drags their performance down.

The big question in this game though is what's going to happen with Adam Le Fondre? The sim doesn't do substitutes yet and he's not in Fantasy Football Scout's predicted starting line-up. We can't do super subs.

Without Le Fondre starting in the sim, Reading will struggle badly to score.

We've played the game 1000 times without him. Let's stick Le Fondre in for Guthrie, play it another 1000 times and see what happens. We'll be giving Le Fondre his super-sub stats over the whole game.

That's quite a difference! Sunderland still win it, mind.

Now let's hope the favourites don't let us down this time and we can do a little better than last Tuesday evening.

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