Only two weeks in and we can already see "the most even comp in years" narrative start to play out. There are 10 teams in the comp with a win a piece, 4 leading them and 4 trailing them.
Those 4 teams down the bottom also share the title of the only home teams to lose out of the 18 games already played. The Figuring Footy Scoring Shots (FFSS) predictor is backing another 7 home teams in this week. When the competition is tight, and teams are rated very similarly, Home Ground Advantage can really mean the difference between a win and a loss.
I have translated my calculated probabilities into inferred match odds and compared these to the current prices offered by some of the bigger bookmakers around the country, highlighting any major discrepancies. The reason I have done this is not to recommend or even advocate having a bet on any particular team (although I will certainly talk about "good bets" and "value"). But it is rather used as a way to explore the strengths and weaknesses of the model in greater detail.
Bookie prices can be seen as a general "public consensus" about what the true probabilities of a team winning a match are. When the model differs greatly from the public view it is good to know why. Is it seeing something else that the public are not valuing? Or, as you'll see this week, is it missing entirely something that others are taking into account? If it's the latter, then there is clear improvement that can be made, if the former, then I guess we're on to a winner.
All betting amounts will be discussed as unit bets assuming you have 100 units to play with as your full bankroll. For example if you have $1000 that you're willing to lose over the year if worst comes to worst, then 1 unit is $10. A higher unit bet shows more confidence in the models assessment and the value to be made. If you are interested in betting as a serious money building exercise, first I would question whether you really want to cope with the stress of the virtually guaranteed big losses you will experience week to week. If the answer to that is yes, then read as much as you can on Bankroll Management and the fractional Kelly Criterion. You are very likely betting too much to be sustainable.
New ratings after Round 2 were posted up on Monday morning with some quick discussion about team movements. I will not go into that again here, but rather quickly discuss some of the potential ratings fall-outs from this round.
The outcome of the Western Derby will undoubtedly change how we view the top-8. A win for Freo and that group of 9 chasing Hawthorn will tighten right up again. A big West Coast win and they will remake their claim as genuine contenders and Freo may well even slip to a below average (1500) rating.
The St-Kilda v Collindwood game will also provide us with some more information to better rate where these two teams are at. A big win, with strong underlying shot creation, will certainly push our estimates of Collingwood up to more in line with how the media saw them at the start of the season.
Hawthorn go in favourites, but certainly face a tough assignment against the Bulldogs at Etihad. If they can deal with Doggies without too much hassle, our ratings estimate of the reigning triple-premiers is sure to grow after some Round 1 wobbles.
The graphic above highlights all of FFSS's probability estimates for the week. The prices next to each team are the minimum suggested price to take if you were to bet on them to win the match, assuming that FFSS predictions are perfect. In reality this is, of course, very likely not so. Rather then write previews for every match of the week, I will instead comment on interesting discrepancies between bookie odds and FFSS odds, why these may exist, and whether there is any value in betting at the available price.
Port Adelaide v Essendon
FFSS, still blissfully unaware about the WADA-enforced changes at Essendon, sees the Bombers out at $9 with some bookies and thinks she's struck gold.
Despite now have two weeks to judge the new Essendon, and win last week, I'm still not confident in these predictions. I think we'll wait and see a little bit longer just what sort of team Essendon are. Mind you, I did think that last week too and missed out on a payday because of it.
St Kilda v Collingwood
St Kilda are one of the aforementioned win-less teams this season, so it is hard to have too much confidence in them. Still, at $2.95 against a pretty flat Collingwood, I think there is value to be had.
I have written before about how I think Collingwood are often unfairly favoured, which in turn drives up the price of their opponents. I guess that's just a sideaffect of having the being club and having the most media presence. I am still tipping Collingwood to win, but I think it will be closer than the bookies expect and wouldn't be all that surprised if the Saints got up.
BET 2 Units on St Kilda @ 2.95 - Luxbet, Betfair
Richmond v Adelaide
I have watched both of these team's first two matches and as such instinctively disagree with FFSS's prediction of a 61% Richmond win. The Tigers have looked flat. They almost got showed up by a poor team in Carlton week 1, and did get showed up by another poor team in Collingwood last Friday. The Crows on the other hand were unlucky not to beat North at Etihad week 1, and dispatched with Port fairly easily last week.
So then, why does FFSS tip Richmond as pretty clear favourites? Well firstly, FFSS actually rates Adelaide ever so slightly higher than Richmond. However, with the game being in Melbourne, the Tigers are given a roughly 81 rating points boost due to travel effects and the decreased Crows support. (Strangely enough, Adelaide have actually played 2 more games than Richmond have at Etihad over the last 2 years so this Home Ground boost is not as high as it usually is when teams travel between Adelaide and Melbourne.)
FFSS also discounts Adelaide's win last week a touch based on the quality of Scoring Shots they conceded. The Crows conceded 70 inside 50's and 31 Scoring Shots. If Port had converted their chances at the league average based on how difficult each shot was, they would have kicked 113 points.
Richmond on the other hand were not punished by FFSS too badly for last week's loss. Firstly, because the margin was so small. Secondly, because Collingwood kicked with slightly higher accuracy then they normally would have considering the chances they were afforded meaning we can consider the Tiges a little unlucky to lose. That being said, FFSS didn't have to actually watch the game. Richmond were awful.
To add the confusion further, important ex-Crow ruckman Ivan Maric will be back for his first game of the season. FFSS doesn't yet account for changes in the playing list so that hasn't been factored in to these probabilities at all.
What do we do with all this conflicting information? How should we weigh up the chances of each team winning? Buggered if I know. I'm just going to back the model and make a small bet on Richmond at outsider odds.
BET 2 Units on Richmond @ $2 - Sportsbet, bet365
West Coast v Fremantle
Fremantle's win probability of 35% makes them $2.85 outsiders in the eyes of FFSS. For last year's minor premier's playing at home that would usually seem ridiculously high. However for anyone who has watched them over the last two weeks, it probably seems on the low side.
Fremantle are rated as a well and truly average team by FFSS. Their fundamentals were not great last year despite finishing top, but the slide has well and truly kicked in now, down to 10th in the rankings.
When a team slips as much as they have it can mean one of two things. They have either got profoundly unlucky, or they have got measurably worse. I fear it's the latter in Freo's case, perhaps asking for one season too many from former stars like Pavlich and Sandilands.
Still, I expect a much tighter game this week. Ross Lyon will try and win (or lose) his way. On top of that, West Coast have yet to really prove themselves this year either and the added heat of a derby may even things up. Because of this, I feel $3.20 on Freo as outsiders still holds a little value.
BET 2 Units on Fremantle @ $3.20 - bet365