How Often Does The Best Team Win The Flag?

Finals series are a significant part of Australian sporting life. No professional team sport I know determines its ultimate victor - as does, say the English Premier League - on the basis of a first-past-the-post system. There's no doubt that a series of Finals adds interest, excitement and theatre (and revenue) to a season, but, in the case of VFL/AFL at least, how often does it result in the best team being awarded the Flag?

Read More

VFL/AFL Home-and-Away Season Team Analysis

This year, Sydney collected its 8th Minor Premiership (including its record when playing as South Melbourne) drawing it level with Richmond in 7th place on the all-time list. That list is headed by Collingwood, whose 19 Minor Premierships have come from from the 118 seasons, one season more than Sydney/South Melbourne and 11 more than Richmond.  

Read More

The 2014 Grand Final : When the Coin Flipped

The Sydney Swans were deserved pre-game favourites on Saturday according to most pundits (but not all - congratulations to Robert and Craig for tipping the winners). At some point during the course of their record-breaking loss that favouritism was handed to the Hawks. In this blog we'll investigate when.

Read More

Grand Final History 1898-2013 : Winning Team Scoring Patterns

Only three teams in VFL/AFL history have trailed by more than three goals at Quarter Time in the Grand Final and gone on to win. The most recent was Sydney in 2012 who trailled the Hawks by 19 at the first break before rallying in the second term to kick 6.0 to 0.1, eventually going on to win by 10 points, and before that Essendon who in 1984 trailed the Hawks by 21 points at Quarter Time - and still trailed them by 23 points at Three Quarter Time - before recording a 24 point victory on the strength of a 9.6 to 2.1 points avalanche in the final term.

Read More

Scoring Catenation: An Alternative Measure of Momentum

Almost two years ago, in a post-GF funk, I recall painstakingly cutting-and-pasting the scoring progression from the afltables site for 100 randomly-selected games from 2012. I used that data to search for evidence of in-game momentum, there characterising it as the tendency for a team that's just scored to be the team that's more likely to score next.

Read More

Scoring Shot Conversion Rates: How Predictable Are They?

In my earlier posts on statistically modelling team scoring (see here and here) I treated Scoring Shot conversion as a phenomenon best represented by the Beta Binomial distribution and proceeded to empirically estimate the parameters for two such distributions, one to model the Home team conversion process and the other to model Away team conversion. The realised conversion rates for the Home team and for the Away team in any particular game were assumed to be random, independent draws from these two fixed distributions.

Read More

Leading and Winning in AFL

One of the bets that's offered by TAB Sportsbet is on which of the teams will be the first to score 25 points. After analysing scoring event data for the period 2008 to 2014 provided by Paul from afltables.com I was surprised to discover that the first team to score 25 points goes on to win the game over 70% of the time.

Read More

When Do AFL Teams Score?

Soccer goals, analysis suggests, are scored at different rates throughout the course of matches as teams tire and as, sometimes, one team is forced to press for a goal or chooses to concentrate on defending. Armed with the data provided by Paul from afltables.com, which includes every scoring and end-of-quarter event from every game played between the start of season 2008 and the end of the home-and-away season of 2014, we can investigate whether or not the same is true of AFL scoring.

Read More

Scoring In Bursts: Evidence For In-Game Momentum?

The notion of momentum gets flung about in sports commentary as if it's some fundamental force, like gravity, that apparently acts at both long and short distances. Teams have - or don't have - momentum for periods as short as a few minutes, for perhaps half a quarter, going into the half-time break, entering the Finals, and sometimes even as they enter a new season, though I think when we start talking about momentum at the macro scale we wander perilously close to confusing it with another fundamental sporting force: form. It's a topic I've addressed, in its various forms, numerous times on MoS.

Read More

Are Some Games Harder to Predict Than Others?

If you've ever had to enter tips for an office competition where the the sole objective was to predict the winner of each game, you'll intuitively recognise that the winners of some games are inherently harder to predict than others.

Read More

SuperMargin Implications? Yes, They Are Atrocious.

In a recent blog I developed an empirical model of AFL scoring in which I assumed that the Scoring Shots generated by Home and Away teams could be modelled by a bivariate Negative Binomial and that the conversion of these shots into Goals could be modelled by Beta Binomials.

Read More

Why AFL Handicap-Adjusted Margins Are Normal : Part II

In the previous blog on this topic I posited that the Scoring Shot production of a team could be modelled as a Poisson random variable with some predetermined mean, and that the conversion of these Scoring Shots into Goals could be modelled as a BetaBinomial with fixed conversion probability and theta (a spread parameter).

Read More