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Thirsty Lizard

Can Plucky Underdogs Norwich Upset the Odds at Preston?

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Been discussing this with Bill and ICF on another thread, but for those of you with an interest in these things we are the underdogs tomorrow night. 

This reflects my view that in many ways this will be our toughest match of the season. It looks likely that we will go into the game without either Vrancic or Leitner for the first time in ages. Preston are on a very good run and will probably feel that they owe us one after they were unlucky to be on the wrong end of a 2-0 scoreline earlier in the season.

There is also the danger of an 'after the Lord Mayor's Show' factor after our last two games against Ipswich and Leeds. 

Current Betfair odds look like this. 

 

Preston Norwich Odds 2 12-02-2019.PNG

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14 minutes ago, cornish sam said:

And yet fivethirryeight rate us as 47% to win with a roughly even split between a draw and Preston... Time to lump on....

Thanks for that Cornish. I haven't really looked at that website before which is most remiss of me. Interesting stuff and there is impressive depth in their statistical modelling/use of Poisson theory etc in relation to football. 

However - if I have understood their methodology correctly there is nothing in their modelling which takes into account what you might call short term factors that relate to a particular game - in particular the effect of team news on the odds and the relative periods of rest each team has had before the game. Therefore I would be careful before using their ratings systems as a basis for betting on matches. 

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3 hours ago, Bethnal Yellow and Green said:

I think these kind of numbers will also have been taken into consideration. 

Yes. Experimental 361's latest E-Ratings are a good illustration of how the performance stats stack up (as opposed to league position). 

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26 minutes ago, westcoastcanary said:

Yes. Experimental 361's latest E-Ratings are a good illustration of how the performance stats stack up (as opposed to league position). 

Just out of curiosity Westcoast - if the actual League table isn't a measure of performance what does it measure? You'll understand my concern when I look at the E 361 table and learn that we are in 6th place behind the likes of Brentford and Aston Villa. 😉

 

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It’s a hard game but I can’t see us losing this. There is certainly value to be had in backing us to win this one.

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It will undoubtedly be tough, but I’m not sure why PNE will have thought they were unlucky to be beaten at our place earlier in the season.  It was a fairly bog-average game but they didn’t do a lot to deserve to win it.

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2 hours ago, Thirsty Lizard said:

Just out of curiosity Westcoast - if the actual League table isn't a measure of performance what does it measure? You'll understand my concern when I look at the E 361 table and learn that we are in 6th place behind the likes of Brentford and Aston Villa. 😉

 

League position depends solely upon points gained, irrespective of how those points are acquired. The performance stats provide insight into what it is you and other teams are doing which explain how you have gained those points. For example, Bethnal's post highlights the fact that our GF total far exceeds our expected goals, indicating that we are heavily reliant on exceptional finishing rather than quality of chances created. If you also factor in that our GA is worse than our expected goals against would indicate, a picture emerges of a side whose league position is higher than its performances merit. It is perfectly possible that we can maintain this through to the end of the season, but "possible" is not a synonym for "certain" or even "highly likely". It highlights the importance to us, for example, of Pukki continuing his current form.  

Edited by westcoastcanary
Typo

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25 minutes ago, Branston Pickle said:

It will undoubtedly be tough, but I’m not sure why PNE will have thought they were unlucky to be beaten at our place earlier in the season.  It was a fairly bog-average game but they didn’t do a lot to deserve to win it.

"Unlucky to be beaten" doesn't mean "deserved to win". The performance stats for that game would indicate a 1:1 draw rather than 2:0 home win. I wouldn't say PNE were unlucky; if memory serves me right it was more a case of being let down by their finishing. That was the problem bugging them in the first part of the season and correcting which makes them the form side they currently are. 

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6 minutes ago, FenwayFrank said:

No sh1t Sherlock 😂

As Sherlock would undoubtedly point out, the mystery lies in you having quoted a sentence which ends in a comma. Like the dog that didn't bark in the night, it's the blank space that's informative (about you I mean FF).

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9 minutes ago, Branston Pickle said:

It will undoubtedly be tough, but I’m not sure why PNE will have thought they were unlucky to be beaten at our place earlier in the season.  It was a fairly bog-average game but they didn’t do a lot to deserve to win it.

Well they hit the underside of the bar when it was still 0-0 and had the better of it up until the 80th minute when we scored (and yes I know that games last 90 minutes) - but you see what I mean. 

 

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27 minutes ago, westcoastcanary said:

League position depends solely upon points gained, irrespective of how those points are acquired. The performance stats provide insight into what it is you and other teams are doing which explain how you have gained those points. For example, Bethnal's post highlights the fact that our GF total far exceeds our expected goals, indicating that we are heavily reliant on exceptional finishing rather than quality of chances created. If you also factor in that our GA is worse than our expected goals against would indicate, a picture emerges of a side whose league position is higher than its performances merit. It is perfectly possible that we can maintain this through to the end of the season, but "possible" is not a synonym for "certain" or even "highly likely". It highlights the importance to us, for example, of Pukki continuing his current form.  

I'll let you know when I've stopped laughing at that statement westcoast, but it probably won't be anytime soon.......................

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11 minutes ago, Thirsty Lizard said:

I'll let you know when I've stopped laughing at that statement westcoast, but it probably won't be anytime soon.......................

And yet you have just made exactly that point to Branston regarding the home game against Preston?

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I thought Westcoast you are sure we will finish 4th? You've mentioned a few times and I've supposed that you have thought so because of your critical analysis and look at data such as on the 361 site?

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49 minutes ago, Thirsty Lizard said:

Simple question Westcoast. Do you believe that our league position this season is higher than our performances merit?  

Yes or No?

Yes. At the halfway point, as sonyc correctly observes, I predicted a 4th place finish for precisely that reason. The pattern hasn't changed; we have continued to gain more points than our overall performances would indicate; indeed, our reliance on the factors on which that depends, such as Pukki's exceptional contribution game after game, has been even greater than before. Four out of the last six games have been cases in point, the exceptions being those against WBA and Birmingham.

This thread started with people wondering how on earth anybody can consider us underdogs against Preston. As Bethnal pointed out, it's for the reasons I have since been expanding on. Metaphorically speaking, it's a case of people believing you can't defy gravity for ever; eventually you are going to fall. Can we defy it for long enough to ensure a soft landing in the promotion places? Time will tell. 

Now, can I please hear your reply to my point about your reply to Branston? :classic_biggrin:

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Hmmm - interesting Westcoast. Okay - well for obvious reasons I hope you're wrong. 🙂

As for the Preston game I don't think we were lucky - in the end we deserved the win because our finishing was better than theirs. The point I was making was that I think Alex Neill may use the game at our place for a bit of extra motivation for them tomorrow night. Here's his interview after the game earlier in the season. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, westcoastcanary said:

League position depends solely upon points gained, irrespective of how those points are acquired. The performance stats provide insight into what it is you and other teams are doing which explain how you have gained those points. For example, Bethnal's post highlights the fact that our GF total far exceeds our expected goals, indicating that we are heavily reliant on exceptional finishing rather than quality of chances created. If you also factor in that our GA is worse than our expected goals against would indicate, a picture emerges of a side whose league position is higher than its performances merit. It is perfectly possible that we can maintain this through to the end of the season, but "possible" is not a synonym for "certain" or even "highly likely". It highlights the importance to us, for example, of Pukki continuing his current form.  

So exceptional finishing doesn't count towards the merit of a teams performance then? And there's me thinking that quality goal scoring was an important factor in determining how good a team was! 

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5 minutes ago, Thirsty Lizard said:

Hmmm - interesting Westcoast. Okay - well for obvious reasons I hope you're wrong. 🙂

As for the Preston game I don't think we were lucky - in the end we deserved the win because our finishing was better than theirs. The point I was making was that I think Alex Neill may use the game at our place for a bit of extra motivation for them tomorrow night. Here's his interview after the game earlier in the season. 

👍 Well I hope so too Thirsty.

Re. the Preston home game, my verdict, in contrast to yours, would be "We won because our finishing was better".
I think the two games against Leeds are good examples of what we are discussing: were Leeds 3 goals better than us when they beat us 3:0 at Carrow Road? No they weren't. Were we 3 goals better than them when we beat them 3:0 at Elland Road? No we weren't. In both cases a 1:1 draw would have done our two good teams justice.

And while I'm on about Leeds, the reason they have consistently headed Experimental 361's E-Ratings is because, unlike us, their league position much more closely mirrors their performance stats. 

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1 hour ago, sonyc said:

I thought Westcoast you are sure we will finish 4th? You've mentioned a few times and I've supposed that you have thought so because of your critical analysis and look at data such as on the 361 site?

We're winning this League, I've no stats to back it up, I'm telling ya.

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I preface this by saying I find xG and 538 really interesting and useful, but...

I don’t agree that higher goals than xG shows we rely on exceptional/lucky finishing.  It could show that we have a forward line who are really good at getting themselves better than average space to shoot (which would makes shots easier to score than their xG values). We can also observe in whether that is true in play, which I think it is.

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11 minutes ago, Hairy Canary said:

So exceptional finishing doesn't count towards the merit of a teams performance then? And there's me thinking that quality goal scoring was an important factor in determining how good a team was! 

It's a hugely important factor in determining how many points you pick up; indeed, it can turn a decent team into a promotion winning team, or a hopeless team into a relegation-avoiding one (as all those Ipswich supporters blaming their plight on the sale of Waghorn clearly realise). 

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4 minutes ago, splendidrush said:

We're winning this League, I've no stats to back it up, I'm telling ya.

What are you telling me? That we are currently top, or that we are going to finish the season as Champions?

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1 hour ago, 7rew said:

I preface this by saying I find xG and 538 really interesting and useful, but...

I don’t agree that higher goals than xG shows we rely on exceptional/lucky finishing.  It could show that we have a forward line who are really good at getting themselves better than average space to shoot (which would makes shots easier to score than their xG values). We can also observe in whether that is true in play, which I think it is.

I think you'll find that the amount of time and space the shot taker has is factored in to the xG for the chance.

Incidentally, exceptional finishing isn't by any means the only contributory factor. DF drew attention to another in a recent interview when he spoke of wearing other teams out. That's important because it isn't dependent on one or two individuals; it's a squad-wide asset in a way that TK's goal scoring isn't.

Edited by westcoastcanary
Added second paragraph.

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