Thursday, 14 January 2016

How Many Points Might the Premier League Champions Gain?

One of the difficulties with seasonal sporting projections is that they are often presented in terms of the average expected outcome.

In the NFL it is rare to see projected win totals for the regular season that are in excess of around 10 wins for the 16 games season, even for the very best contenders. Yet in reality a handful of sides almost always achieve more than 10 wins. This season Carolina won 15 of heir 16 games.

A side may win nearly all of their regular season matches through a combination of skill and luck. However, projections cannot really help when trying to predict which team will see their returns buoyed by the addition of a few lucky victories.

As Simon Gleave has pointed out, the same conundrum exists in simulating the outcomes of the remainder of the Premier League. Most models appear to agree that the winner of the 2015/16 title is most likely to have gained around 80 points.

Prior to Wednesday night's games the top four teams, Arsenal, Manchester City, Leicester and Tottenham were expected to respectively win an average of 81, 76, 74 and 74 points in simulations using team ranking derived from shot models.

However, averages tell little about the range and likelihood of points that may be won by any of the main challengers in this season's title race.

By simulating the remaining matches based on team ratings and the number of actual points won to date we may get a more informative picture of how the title race may evolve.

There appears to be a not insignificant 14% likelihood that the title will be won with between 74 and 78 points and a similar chance that one of the championship winning teams will gain 86 or more points to lift the title.

The combination of current team strength, number of points already won, but also spending during January and fortune with injuries, refereeing decisions and a multitude of other variables will decided the ultimate "who" and "how many" of the 2015/16 title race.

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