Back in August 2014, we collected 48 pre-season predictions for the Eredivisie. These forecasts came from fans, statistical models, online media as well as a group of prominent media experts. The majority of entries gave the order of the 18 clubs with the number of points that each would accrue in the season but the prominent media experts only provided a rank order and were therefore given points based on averages for each position. The full overview can be found in this article: https://scoreboardjournalism.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/48-forecasts-the-eredivisie-predicted/. With the season ending today, who can be called the oracle of this season’s Eredivisie for providing the best predictions?
How did the groups perform?
Looking at the groups as a whole, the prominent media group did the best when deviation from the actual points was the measure, followed by online media with the fans and statistical models bringing up the rear. However, both of those latter groups were dragged down by single predictions which were much much worse than the majority. In the case of the fans’ group, the bad prediction was only marginally better than an entry with all 18 clubs ending the season on 47 points. The prominent media group also had the advantage of being given points based on averages per position over previous seasons.
In terms of deviation from the correct ranks, the prominent media were again the best, just, from the statistical models, with the online media group third and the fans bringing up the rear.
The winners (points)
Steve Lawrence’s statistical model was the overall winner with a standard deviation of the difference between predicted points and actual points of 7.94. Steve’s model was based on the average age of each of the 18 squads adjusted by the transfer value of that squad and was by far the best of the statistical models as the next best had a standard deviation of 9.78.
In second place and the best of the online media group was Joris van de Wier, a Willem II supporter who has spent the last year or so living in Edinburgh following Heart of Midlothian in order to write a book. The standard deviation of his predictions from the actual points was 8.36.
Third, and the best of the fans, was Robert Tempelman with a standard deviation of 8.37. So, although the prominent media entrants did well as a group, they didn’t provide one of the best three entrants, at least if points were the measure. The best of that group was Sport1 presenter Emile Schelvis who finished seventh.
The winners (positions)
Judging the predictions based on how accurate they were in predicting the correct positions for each Eredivisie club gives a slightly different result though. In this case, the winner is Joris van de Wier with a standard deviation of the difference between predicted ranks and actual ranks of 2.60. Steve Lawrence is then second with 2.65 and Robert Tempelman comes in third with 2.69. Basing it on positions also produces a different winner of the prominent media group as Hans Kraay junior finishes joint fourth in the competition with a standard deviation of 2.85.
Are they really the best?
Of course, it is possible that the best predictors just got lucky but it is interesting to note that this year’s winner Steve Lawrence also produced a similar performance last year https://scoreboardjournalism.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/eredivisie-20132014-predictions-how-did-they-fare/ although he was beaten then by Soccermetrics who came nowhere near their 2013/2014 performance this time around. In addition, Emile Schelvis was crowned the best predictor in the Voetbal International competition for 2013/2014 which added up points for how many positions different the entrants were from reality with their predictions. Perhaps Steve and Emile really are good at this but even two seasons is nowhere near enough time to judge.
Moving onto 2015/2016
At Scoreboard Journalism, we hope that you have enjoyed this exercise and I would like to invite everyone back again for next season. I hope that the prominent media entrants can send me points this time around and I’d like to get a fan representative from every club if possible. If you would like to enter, please comment below or tweet @simongleave. The same goes for anyone who’d like to sponsor this competition with some prizes. Congratulations to Steve Lawrence and Joris van de Wier on this season’s success. Roll on 2015/2016.