Simulating the Finalists for 2014 : After Round 20

Sydney's victory over Port Adelaide on the weekend - possibly their last serious challenge during the home-and-away season - served to firm up their Minor Premiership chances, as reflected by the latest version of the MatterOfStats simulations, which this week are based on the expected game margins shown at right.

Hawthorn are entitled to harbour some lingering dreams of knocking the Swans from the top branch, and the Cats are not completely without hope either, but the Swans emerged 1st in about 70% of all simulated seasons (of which there were 100,000 this week, the script that I use having been allowed to run on my laptop and keep my dog up for another couple of hours overnight. We all have to make sacrifices.)

Actually, even Freo are not completely precluded from top spot according to the simulations, but they are the quintessential "mathematical chance". They finished in 1st exactly 7 times in the 100,000 simulations, which makes them about as likely to win the Minor Premiership as them tossing 14 coins at once and having them all come down 'heads'. Personally, I'd back the coins. 

As you can see in the heatmap above, the range of possible ladder finishes for each team has narrowed substantially on the basis of last weekend's results. The "manhattan" style chart makes this even clearer.

The teams most likely to finish in each ladder position are now as follows:

  • 1st Sydney (70%)
  • 2nd Hawthorn (51%)
  • 3rd Geelong (66%)
  • 4th Fremantle (66%)
  • 5th Port Adelaide (54%)
  • 6th Kangaroos (54%)
  • 7th Adelaide (32%)
  • 8th Essendon (26% - note that Collingwood are 25% and Adelaide 24% chances)
  • 9th Collingwood (35%)
  • 10th West Coast (26%)
  • 11th Richmond (35% - note that Gold Coast are 25% chances)
  • 12th Richmond (40% - note that Gold Coast are 35% chances)
  • 13th Carlton (68%)
  • 14th Western Bulldogs (70%)
  • 15th Brisbane Lions (82%)
  • 16th Melbourne (49%)
  • 17th GWS (49%)
  • 18th St Kilda (86%)

Turning next to look at orderings within the Top 8 we find that a Sydney-Hawthorn finish is now a better than even money proposition, and a Hawthorn-Sydney finish is about a 3/1 shot. Combined, Sydney-Geelong and Geelong-Sydney finishes account for another 23% of the simulations, leaving about 3% of simulations to be spread amongst the remaining feasible though unlikely pairings.

The most likely Top 4 is Sydney-Hawthorn-Geelong-Fremantle, which occurred in about 1 simulation in 3, a little more than twice as often as a Hawthorn-Sydney-Geelong-Fremantle finish. Sydney finish 1st in 6 of the 10 most-likely Top 4 scenarios (including, as you'd expect, 4 of the 5 very most-likely), Hawthorn in 3, and Geelong in 1. Whenever Hawthorn's 1st, Sydney is 2nd, though when Sydney's leading the dance it's happy to partner Hawthorn or the Cats.

Even this late in the season a large set of feasible Top 8s remain, with the most-likely ordering - Sydney-Hawthorn-Geelong-Fremantle-Port Adelaide-Kangaroos-Adelaide-Essendon - only occurring in about 1 simulation in 30.

So, based on these scenarios, where's the value in the current TAB AFL Futures markets? For the same teams and markets as we identified last week, it turns out.

To be specific:

  • Hawthorn are value at $4.75 for the Minor Premiership (19% edge)
  • Collingwood are value at $2.75 to make the Top 8 (12% edge)
  • Gold Coast are value at $11 to make the Top 8 (7% edge)
  • Adelaide are value at $5.25 to Miss the Top 8 (36% edge)
  • Essendon are value at $2.05 to Miss the Top 8 (8% edge)