Quantifying Odds of City Winning League

Quantifying Odds of City Winning League

Christmas marks a good time to look over the EPL games this year and look to the future to see how clubs are doing and what the final EPL table may look like. Manchester City goes in to Christmas 2 points clear of United at the top of the table. But what are City’s chances of being at the top at the end of the season? Obviously, a lot of things can happen between now and then.

The Euro Club Index puts City’s odds of winning the league at 39.8%, with a predicted final points total of 85. They also rank United’s odds of winning the league at 54.3% with a predicted final points total of 88. Here’s a link to the site if you’re curious about the complete table.

Omar Chaudhuri also looked at predicting the final points table using the Euro Club Index on his blog here.

Statto, a site that generates league odds, puts City’s odds of winning the league at 1.62:1, and United at 3:1. Here’s a link to the full table.

Clearly, its tough to predict the EPL winner at Christmas, and there are many different ways to do it. I tried a different approach in this post. Using the table at Christmas for the past 5 EPL seasons and the corresponding final table for that year, I did a simple regression that predicts the final points given a team’s Christmas points total. As one would expect, there is a strong relationship between points at Christmas and final points for EPL clubs. A scatter plot of the relationship is below:

I also added in to the regression the goals for and goals against at Christmas, as these can be good indicators of how a team is performing. If you’re wondering, the r^2 value (basically indicates how strong a relationship there is, with 1 being a perfect linear relationship and 0 being no relationship) was .8120 with goals for and goals against included. Using the standard error for the predicted final points, I also created a 95% confidence interval for the predicted final points total. The lower and upper limits of the predicted final points total are shown in the table below. This means that we are 95% confident, based on previous EPL results, that the final points total will be between the lower limit and the upper limit.

Predicted Final Points

What does the table tell us? First off, it seems to be down to City and United competing for the top spot. Obviously, there is a chance that Tottenham or Chelsea do catch the two Manchester clubs, but it is very unlikely. City’s predicted final points total is about 91 points, while United’s is just under 85. However, if we take in to account the standard error and look at the confidence intervals, we see that the predicted final points interval for City and United overlap. In fact, City’s interval is 85-97 points, and United’s is 81-89 points.

So yes, there is a good chance that City wins the league this year, no matter which kind of analysis you use. Additionally, there is an even better chance that either United or City win the league. However, some things are impossible to predict. No one knows what kind of injuries teams may face, or what will happen in the upcoming January transfer window. The only thing we do know is that there is still a lot of football left to be played.

***For more analysis of the table above check out my blog, Soccer Statistically