Our Lions XVs – how close were they?

Everyone loves making our British and Irish Lions starting XVs, a pursuit which starts a long time before the players are named, let alone steppimg on an aeroplane to Australia, New Zealand or South Africa. This year, and probably last year too, was no different. Fans, blogs, journalists, ex-players and others all had a go and once the three Tests had been played, it was possible to see how close or otherwise they came to Warren Gatland’s selections. An impressive 11 starters was the best score but others managed to name as few as five of those who started a Test in New Zealand.
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The 76 predict the League Two play-offs

After a poor start with only 14  of the 76 predictors  managing to correctly forecast one of the two finalists in the Championship play-offs, attention turns to the League Two play-offs as the second legs of the two semi-finals will be played this evening. Again, a big favourite  emerged from the 76 but this time it was not the same team as the one the market odds most favoured.

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The 76 predict the Championship play-offs

As I discussed here, I received 76 predictions for the winners of six finals or end of season competitions last week. Those 76 can perhaps be seen as “the crowd” and therefore it is interesting to analyse whether that crowd has some wisdom, at least in comparison to the market odds or a predictive model like the Euro Club Index (ECI). As the semi-finals of the Championship play-offs conclude tonight and tomorrow, how did the 76 predict in comparison to the market and a statistical model?

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The 76: Predicting the big end of season matches

Last week, I invited people to predict the winners of the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and the three Football League play-off finals this season to win a copy of one of two books, Soccermatics or The Agony and the Ecstasy. There were two teams remaining in four of those competitions and four in the other two so 256 different combinations of six teams were possible. By Saturday’s deadline, 76 people had submitted 51 different entries so 205 combinations of teams remained unnamed in those submissions. What was the most popular combination and which is the most likely to be correct?

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Win a great book by predicting the 3 English play-offs & a bit more

The competition is now closed but you can still order Richard’s book by following the link in this article.

Two years ago, I met writer Richard Foster (virtually) who, at that time, was working on his definitive history of the English League play-offs which began in 1987. Richard’s book The Agony and the Ecstasy was published around the time of the play-offs in 2015 and I devoured its contents during my summer holiday that year. As someone who was present at the very first play-off final to be held at Wembley Stadium (Cambridge United v Chesterfield, 1990), the play-offs mean a lot to me and this book brings all of that to life.
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How are your prediction skills?

The competition is now closed but you can still order David’s book and get a 10% discount with the link in this article.

Around two years ago I met, in a virtual sense, David Sumpter, a professor of mathematics at the University of Uppsala in Sweden and a football nut like myself. He was writing a book called Soccermatics, which combined his work in the field of animal behaviour and his love of football, which he generously allowed me to read and comment upon. He also used my Premier League prediction data in one chapter of his book and his publisher has kindly allowed me to reproduce the relevant passages at the link below. I can also offer a copy of David’s book to the winners of a competition which I have set further down this article and, if you would like to order a copy anyway, there is a discount code below which you can use.

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The market says this is the Lions squad

Everyone has been selecting squads for the British and Irish Lions tour for months now but the real squad will be unveiled on Wednesday morning at 9am UK time so who is likely to make it and who will miss out? The best way to try and select a squad as close to the real thing as possible is to look at the betting odds. It would be a huge surprise if the set of players named in this blog were not extremely close to being the actual squad. For one trio of England players, their selection will be remarkable. For other England players, their likely omissions were not foreseen, even last weekend.

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