Thursday, 23 March 2017

1. SUMMER OF FOOTBALLING LOVE

The AFL Women's season over the last few weeks of summer has changed football. There are new teams, players, and fans. The venues are different and create a different vibe. Having attended a game and talked through games with others, the live experience totally different.

What is most significant though about the AFLW is the outpouring of love for what has happened. Commentary through the major media outlets as well as on blogs and podcasts has been effusive, and full of love and admiration for what is happening, and the ongoing developments. The seeds have been sewn, roots have taken hold, and saplings are forming.

We have, in the space of a few months during the 'summer of footballing love', witnessed and lived through a defining moment in Australian Football.


For the Men's competition, the wheels of change grind on. The new season brings new players, coaches, tactics and fans, as well as those that have yet to leave.
And there is also something new this season, the Premiers.
What a ride they took us on last year, and it is no better presented than in the season launch film in this link.
Into The Fury: The tale of the 2016 flag - westernbulldogs.com.au
Worth your time to watch.


So while the AFLW rounds out the summer of football love, you could make a case for that summer of love to have started in September as the Western Bulldogs began their finals tilt by dominating at Subiaco, against the expectations of every one.

They then rode a long long wave though September, building hope and love for footy and 'the story' of the Bulldogs. That wave engulfed the reigning Premiers, and was just enough to get over the Giants at their den, in what would be perhaps the best football game of the season.
By the first day of October, the tsunami-like wave of emotion, and commitment of the players, was stronger than the staunch and valiant Sydney.

It was an amazing ride. It was exciting, and fantastical. And it was followed by the evolution of football with the start of the AFL Women's League.


An extraordinary six months in the footballing landscape of our great game.



Expected Round 1 Results

So with all those developments over the summer behind us, autumn again beckons the Men's competition onto the fields of play.
It also brings the FMI tips and blog back to action for its 6th big season. Pioneers is a word not to be used, but there has been plenty of others joining in recently, and thats a good thing for footy and blogging - it drives innovation.

And the FMI system has again undergone a slight review and rework (all part of the competitve innovation process), so to start the season the following rankings are current.

RANKINGS
TEAMPTS
1Sydney/SMFC1385
2Adelaide1370
3GWS1352
4W Bulldogs/FFC1283
5Geelong1275
6Hawthorn1273
7West Coast1264
8North Melbourne1153
9Port Adelaide1147
10Collingwood1071
11St Kilda1001
12Melbourne996
13Richmond945
14Fremantle882
15Carlton875
16Gold Coast856
17Essendon708
18Brisbane Lions613



Following on from that another slight off-season modification to the system, the first round tips are as per below.
HOMEAWAYVENUEPREDICTED RESULT
R 1
Carlton2v-11RichmondMCGRichmondby8pts45
Collingwood17v20W Bulldogs/FFCMCGW Bulldogs/FFCby21pts35
St Kilda20v16MelbourneDockSt Kildaby1pts51
Sydney/SMFC25v-6Port AdelaideSCGSydney/SMFCby38pts78
Gold Coast10v-28Brisbane LionsCarrGold Coastby39pts78
Essendon-5v-10HawthornMCGHawthornby60pts12
North Melbourne-20v16West CoastDockWest Coastby2pts50
Adelaide7v32GWSAdelAdelaideby15pts62
Fremantle-56v16GeelongSubiGeelongby29pts29


Effective flip of the coin for the St Kilda / Melbourne game. Why this isn't in prime time I do not know. Instead we have Essendon vs Hawthorn instead... the comeback game.

The comeback of a player from a life-threatening cancer is an important moment. And it over-rides any notion of 'celebrating' the return of players found to have breached anti-doping rules.
By all means, these players should be able to return to play, but marking the event as significant is a step too far.

Also as a bonus surprise is the coin-flip North Melbourne / West Coast game.
Two points!.
This will be an interesting tip.

The form indicator highlighting GWS's better form over the Crows may be a harbinger for Adelaide, and the rest of the teams if the GWS get flying (as the media pundits think they will).
Otherwise, form is basically as per tip.

Other Notes:

  • The first few rounds are always the toughest to accurately tip as model tipping formats are based on past data, and changes year-on-year can be more rapid than models expect. An acceleration factor has been added to the model to try to counter that effect.
  • Hey guess what? That new recruit you think is really good... yeah well this model (and other ELO models) don't see things like that. Principle is every team has a 36 player list. One player falls, another rises to take their place. And really, everyone thought Adelaide would suffer without 'Danger' and the finished as defeated semi finalists. 
  • Coach changes, rule changes... yep same. The model is not interested. Its all about the raw data.

So take that information in hand as you tip, and remember ...
     No Wagering!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

2017 UNPREDICTIONS: EXPECTED WINS

Twice more unto the breach, dear reader, twice more.

Now in its 6th big season, its your FMI's trusted and ever present assessment of the season ahead.
And this year its a double shot of posts.
This post is on the expected number of wins per teams generated via simulations of seasons. And an alternative look at the season finishing ladder position has been blogged, with both generated by the same simulations.

Basis:
Under the FMI approach, the ratings of each team are used to calculate ranges of possible match results, adjust ratings after each and event, and continue iterations for the whole season, then repeat the process again and again.

The rankings used are as per the end of the 2017 season, and are listed below. The league fixture also has an impact, and the handicapping of it is examined as per this post.

A further note: There has been a small style change to the blog this year as below. Nothing earth-shattering but just a small adjustment to make the blog present better.



SEASON WINS

After running 10,000 season simulations, the data was collected and aggregated to produce the below spread of expectations, expressed as a percentage.

With such a diverse array of outcomes, the order in the left most column is speculative to say the least. What is visible is the clusters of teams with similar expectations.
For example, there is a block of teams from Sydney down to West Coast all in the 14 to 19 win window. Compare this to the Hawthorn to North Melbourne block that is centered on a spread of 11 to 15 win window.
EXPECTED WINS012345678910111213141516171819202122
1Sydney/SMFC1248121618181362
2GWS1248131618171172
3W Bulldogs/FFC1358141718161152
4Geelong11359131617151162
5Adelaide124691215151412731
6West Coast12581215161413741
7Hawthorn1236811141313128521
8Port Adelaide1471217201611721
9Collingwood124691215161411732
10N Melbourne1247912141413107421
11St Kilda24812151715128421
12Melbourne13610141717149631
13Richmond1481519191496311
14Gold Coast371418201711631
15Fremantle3817232214831
16Essendon271320201611631
17Carlton412181917128531
18Brisbane Lions112328201151

At the foot of the table, the groupings become tighter as the rankings points become more distant from their neighbour. Even with that in play, there is still a grouping of teams around the 4 to 8 win field.


Taking a more broader view of the win windows, the below table is slightly easier on the eye and makes the mess of data above more discernible.

EXPECTED WINS17-2212-166-110-5
1Sydney/SMFC7426
2GWS55441
3W Bulldogs/FFC52461
4Geelong51462
5Adelaide51453
6West Coast39574
7Hawthorn176320
8Port Adelaide37125
9Collingwood56133
10North Melbourne347471
11St Kilda14795
12Melbourne10809
13Richmond27028
14Gold Coast5841
15Fremantle4951
16Essendon3861
17Carlton2970
18Brisbane Lions198

TEAM CHARTS

Below are charts for each team that show the distribution of expected wins, grouped 2 per chart (and regionally where appropriate).


Once again in 2017, the two Sydney teams look to be playing in the same space. Will be interesting times come finals, and lets look forward to another derby final.


Port Adelaide's numbers are strong in the FMI analysis, and this varies from other pundits. Adelaide should be on track for another finals berth based on the spread below.


Another lean year for the Lions is on the cards, while for the Gold Coast it is hard to see where improvement will come from. A good crop of kids are developing, but so are those in others teams.

West Coast look set to outshine Fremantle again. The uneven-ness in the Eagles chart is interesting and hints at a struggle to maintain a finals spot this year.



Both the Saints and Blues did exceptionally well last year, with one stopping the rot, while the other nudged the finals. For St Kilda, doing that well pushed them into a tougher fixture bracket, so maintaining the status quo will be a KPI. Carlton needs to focus on a rebuild.


The well defined peak in the Collingwood chart is interesting. The companion blog post has them finishing 9th overall, but the peak on 14 wins suggests a very close race for 7th and 8th this year. North's curve is flatter, reflecting the assumption that they are destined to fall from the finals race.



Another sharp peak for Essendon, while a more curved line for the Tigers. Both teams have upside this year as shown by the extension of the curve higher up the expected wins scale.



Geelong's possible place in the finals is emphasized by the strength of results over 15 wins. The Hawthorn curve is low and slow, and along with North Melbourne, the only ones to not broach the 15% mark at peak. Could finish anywhere.



The almost perfect bell curves here are a thing of beauty. For the Bulldogs, it pits them about where they were in 2017, so ready for another Premiership tilt. Melbourne's curve, like Essendon and Richmond's above has a nice forward lean to it. Upside, for the usually down Demonistas.


As before, the sister post to this one on 'expected ladder position' might be worth your time too.

Good luck to all teams and tipsters in 2017.