The introduction of future draft pick trades in 2015 has given us, the footballing public/nerds, the wonderful spectacle of clubs quite literally taking bets on each other and then “death-riding” them the following year in the hopes of securing a better pick.
Not as much dramatic squiggling this week, with most results falling somewhere around expectations. But a great one to be a Port Adelaide fan!
Port had the best week by solidifying their finals’ claims in an 89-point hammering of Fremantle. As a result, the top 7 is already LOCKED IN:
I may be going early on that. That isn’t really a sure thing. But right now there are seven teams who will probably be playing finals, plus a whole mess of teams who might.
The other top 6 teams – Adelaide, the Bulldogs, GWS, Sydney, and West Coast – also had pretty good weeks, or least not terrible ones. But that’s the problem: they all did. So no-one stole a break.
The Crows, for example, would be very happy with their win over the Hawks, but even though GWS’s 102-point demolition of Gold Coast proved that Adelaide’s Round 1 victory really meant something, so too did it confirm that the Giants are a serious obstacle to the flag. So it’s a good news/bad news situation.
The Swans and Cats are an interesting pair. You would probably rather be Sydney, who put up a good fight against the Bulldogs despite a raft of injuries. But the fact that Geelong are now 2-0 while Sydney are 0-2 is starting to bite. There isn’t usually much room for error at the top of the ladder, so although Sydney are rated the better team, the question becomes whether they’re so much better that they can overtake the Cats after giving them a 2-win head start.
North Melbourne had about as good a week as you can have when you lose by one point. And Gold Coast had about as good a week as you can have when you lose by 102, because Fremantle and Brisbane showed they’re bad enough to compete for the spoon, and Carlton doesn’t look like breaking out of the bottom 4, either.
Not much action on Flagpole this week, since it already loved Adelaide, and expected nothing less from them than what they delivered. But a handy bump for the Giants, Bulldogs, and Port.
Two more articles on what early results really mean.
First a fantastic follow-up to the great piece last week from The Arc:
Here’s a version of that graph extended to the full home-and-away season. Cool, IMO. Using this chart, you can look up how many games your team is on pace to win for the year. For example – if your team has won 6 from their first 9 (a 6-3 record), then they’re on pace to win 13.9 for the year – enough to comfortably make the finals.
And here’s a particular examination of Round 1 upsets by Hurling People Now:
We have considered two classes of results: eventual finalists beaten in round one by teams who missed the finals, and eventual finalists beaten by other finalists who finished lower down the ladder.
A brilliant article on ESPN by The Arc’s Matt Cowgill, looking at how much we can predict from early wins/losses:
What’s better than beating the premiership favourite by 56 points? Doing it while the second premiership favourite goes down in a screaming heap at home to Port Adelaide!
Last year, the Squiggle had a torrid love affair with the Crows, who offered a blistering attack of the kind the squiggle can’t resist, and then, just when it seemed like all sizzle and no steak, and the squiggle’s friends were like, “He’s no good for you, he can’t be trusted, and he rides a motorcycle,” began delivering solid defensive efforts as well. Adelaide were Squiggle’s Flagpole pick from mid-season right up until Round 23, when a catastrophic home loss to West Coast dumped them from 2nd to 5th. And two finals later, they were gone.
But now they’re back! And doing the exact same thing, lifting off vertically, by scoring more than expected while holding their opponent in check.
Adelaide had the best week, but Port’s was also huge. Sure, Sydney have a history of starting the season slowly, but they were still widely expected to account for the Power, and didn’t. As a result, Port bounced right up into Top 8 territory:
There are four teams there all on 11 predicted wins from 8th to 11th, so that will change very easily.
Then there’s Essendon, who answered the question, “So will the Bombers be much better this season?” with, “For now, yes!”
West Coast, Melbourne, and Richmond also had great weeks. In particular, they kicked big scores, even moreso than the rest of the competition. That’s a bit of a Round 1 trend; at least, if two years including this one can make a trend. Last year it faded away, with average scores winding up only a little above the long-term average.
Gold Coast’s week was the worst, despite the big comeback, since they dropped a game to the wooden spoon favourite and probably had the most disappointing result of the bottom 6. But Hawthorn’s was pretty bad, too.
Flagpole! This is a premier predictor that rates performances based on how similar they are to those from past premiership-winning teams. In practice, this mostly means that it cares more about attack than defense, since attacking teams have won a lot of flags over that period, while defensive teams have been coached by Ross Lyon.
P.S. Sorry for the graphical glitchiness that makes GWS and Adelaide’s squiggle lines a bit thin this week. Will be better next week.
A few musings on the shape of the season that’s about to begin:
- Figuring Footy (warning: contains Eddie McGuire pic):
2017 promises to be one of the most exciting seasons of footy in recent memory. There are probably 16 clubs with legitimate aspirations of, come September, giving the finals a big shake up the way the Dogs did last year.
- Matter of Stats gets wonky about Round 1 predictions and where they come from:
This week we see that Home Sweet Home has the highest Disagreement Index (readers from last year will know that this is completely unsurprising), and that disagreement levels are generally high as the Tipsters are split 5-4 in three of the games, and 7-2 in two more.
- FootyMaths Institute welcomes you to the new season with some old wisdom:
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.
New to Squiggle Dials is PlusSixOne, with some interestingly divergent tips on a couple of games, being more bullish on Essendon (vs Hawthorn) and Port (vs Sydney) than all other models. PlusSixOne delivered a healthy 70.5% tip rate last year in what was a reasonably tough season, so are worth watching!
FootyMaths institute takes a stab at rating pre-season performance by adjusting for quality of opposition:
And as it happens, by the FMI method, St Kilda did indeed have a good pre-season series. And as another wake-up call to the competition, Essendon were next best, with Richmond and Brisbane all but a tie for third.
Read more at: FOOTYMATHS INSTITUTE: POST-JLT: BREAK
The Arc has an analysis of entries into tip-the-finalists competition:
Entrants to the finalists-tipping competition are very sure that the GWS Giants will make the finals, with good reason. The median estimate was that the Giants have an 88.4% shot at the finals this year. That’s more bullish than the chances given to the Giants by the betting markets (79%) or our Elo model (72.8%). At the other end of the scale, the clear consensus is that the Lions have a tiny chance of making it.