Simulating the Finalists for 2014 : After Round 19

With just four rounds of the home-and-away season yet to be played the levels of uncertainty about the final ladder position of each team are rapidly diminishing.

The latest round of 25,000 simulations use as their basis the projected expected scores shown at right and suggest that the most likely final ordering of the Finalists will be:

  1. Sydney
  2. Hawthorn
  3. Fremantle
  4. Geelong
  5. Port Adelaide
  6. Kangaroos
  7. Essendon
  8. Collingwood

Those eight teams finished as the Top 8 - in this or in a different order - in each of the 10 most likely Top 8 finishes.

The combination shown here was the one that appeared most often (in 1.6% of all simulations), though the combination in which Essendon and Collingwood swap places appeared only slightly less often (1.5% of simulations).

The only other combinations that appeared in 1% or more of simulations was the one where, compared to the most-likely option, instead of swapping Essendon and Collingwood, Hawthorn and Sydney are swapped at the top of the ladder (1.2%) or Fremantle and Geelong are swapped (1.0%) in 3rd and 4th.

The most common Top 2 was for a Sydney-Hawthorn finish (35%), with a Hawthorn-Sydney finish next most common (29%). Sydney-Geelong and Geelong-Sydney finishes were also relatively popular, coming in as the third- and fifth-most common pairings respectively.

Sydney-Hawthorn-Fremantle-Geelong (16%) was the most common Top 4, with Fremantle and Geelong trading places to make the second-most common Top 4 (11%).

Turning next to individual team finishes we see that Adelaide, Collingwood, Essendon and the Gold Coast have the widest range of plausible final ladder positions, while the Brisbane Lions, Carlton, St Kilda, Sydney and the Western Bulldogs have the fewest.

That same data, presented as a heat map, makes quite clear the concentration of probability for most teams around a narrow set of possible ladder positions, with Hawthorn and Sydney most likely to fight for 1st and 2nd; Geelong and Fremantle for 3rd and 4th; the Roos and Adelaide for 5th and 6th; Collingwood, Essendon, Adelaide and the Gold Coast for 7th through 10th; Richmond and West Coast for 11th and 12th, Carlton and the Western Bulldogs for 13th and 14th; the Brisbane Lions alone for 15th; GWS and Melbourne for 16th and 17th; and St Kilda alone for 18th.

Based on these simulated results, five wagers offer at least a 5% edge on the TAB at current prices:

  • Hawthorn for the Minor Premiership at $3 (5% edge - remember when we flagged them as value at $9 just 2 weeks ago?)
  • Collingwood to Make the 8 at $1.70 (19% edge)
  • Gold Coast to Make the 8 at $6 (18% edge)
  • Adelaide to Miss the 8 at $2 (8% edge)
  • Essendon to Miss the 8 at $3.25 (28% edge).

What's odd about that Essendon opportunity is that their price to Miss the 8 didn't move this week despite them losing to the Swans. The only logical - and I use that word very loosely here - conclusion is that the TAB thought the Dons had literally no chance last week against the Swans. That conclusion is, of course, directly contradicted by what was implied by their Head-to-Head and other prices.

Anyway, the five wagers with value are shaded grey below.