How to predict goals in a football match


So there’s a lot of interest in previous
videos that have done around football matches and how to work out the
mechanics of all match and historical data and the like like that so I think
it’s worth doing a few videos on football and giving you some of the
knowledge that you’ll need to participate effectively in football
matches but we’re going to start right at the beginning which is we need to
talk about goals that’s what we’re going to talk about in this video please like
or dislike the video or leave a comment below that will allow me to produce
better videos and more of them in the future
so yeah the basics of football okay the first thing you learn about football is
its highly variable why is that the case and that is because you’ve got a fixed
time limit you’ve got the possibility of a match ending in a draw and also you
don’t tend to have that many goals during a match on average the number of
goals is relatively small and because of that football tends to be variable but
also it can throw up unexpected results you know there’s an incentive not to
concede a goal because you can get a draw but also if you look at at ninety
three minutes or you know 9600 depending upon the extra time that’s added on to a
football match and it’s quite possible that a goal could go in accidentally or
by a complete fluke and actually win the match so the first thing to point out is
it’s really hard to you know nail a prediction you can you know push
something in the right direction you can say that something is likely to happen
or less likely to happen but if people say – you all are united gonna win it
the weekend the only thing you can really say is well they’ve got an X
percent chance of winning and there’s a standard deviation of Y which will mean
that that doesn’t occur but of course nobody wants to hear that and I remember
going to a football match not so long ago and people saying what do you think
of the first half and I gave them this statistical analysis of what happened in
the first half and they just laughed and said no actually you know did you enjoy
it well the problem is once you get into that mindset it’s difficult to throw it
away so you know you’re looking at a team you want them to win but you know
in reality that because there are only a few goals again
that luck could have a part of it and they could play really well but not win
and that’s the nature of football now when you’re looking at League
competitions there’s an incentive to draw and in knockouts European
competition there’s an incentive to get an away goal but when you’re looking at
outright Cup competitions you know it’s winner-takes-all so you’re
like you can play a much bigger part in a Cup competition than it does within
the league so the first thing you need to do is you need to separate out each
of these into their component areas to analyze them properly
and and that’s why when people ask me about the ratings I often say to people
I’m great at domestic football they’re not so great at Cup or European
competition because all the adjustments required to adapt for that make that a
little bit harder whereas on European European on domestic leagues
I’ve actually got loads and loads of data so for English football I’ve
actually updated going back to 1888 more 1889 because there’s not that many
matches I got in 1888 but for every single match I’ve got yeah for as many
matches as I can get I’ve got all of the data surrounding it in terms of what
happened in the match how it happened how many goals were scored when they
were scored and so on and so forth and the advantage of having a database like
that is you can cross compare situations so you can actually look at scenarios
that was similar and and compare them with scenarios that are coming up over
the next weekend and so on and so forth and that’s part of how I form my
judgment is going back through that database to cross compare similar
looking sets of matches so for example I can look at a match this weekend
highlight the key characteristics behind it and then I can map it against that
database to look at all of the information that came spinning out of it
and that’s a way of looking at some of the data but you know that’s probably
more appropriate for another video is what we want to talk about here is goals
and as you mentioned otherwise I mentioned a little bit earlier I was
saying that football is very variable and the reason for that is you generally
get small number of goals in a match so over 93 96 minutes or so you’re going to
get less than three goals on average in a match
and therefore you know you could get to three goals really quickly and then none
for the rest of the match or you may get none for the entire match and so on and
so forth so typically what you do is you start
when you’re looking at assessing a match and what chance there is of there being
absolutely no goals at all and how would you do that well again you go back to
historic because what we’re trying to do is we’re not trying to predict what’s
going to happen in the actual match itself and then what we’re trying to do
in this video is understand how many goals are likely to be scored and how
that influences all of the other elements within the match so if you
actually do a plot of all of those matches from 1889 and plot it forward
you get this lovely graph that occurs which I should shall magically appear in
front of you I have it down here I’m going to read it to you so you don’t
have to look at me looking down when the graph appears but if you look at this
graph this is an analysis of English football all the goals scored in every
match for over 100 years and what you notice first of all if you look at the
blue line the blue line Peaks around two to three goals per game and this is
where you get the average number of goals in a match so the average number
of goals over many decades now for a long period of time averages out at
about two point six goals per game and so you can tell that you know whenever
you based your decision on how many goals that you’re going to likely to
have an again that’s where you’d start you’d start right down the middle and
you’d say I think they’re going to be two point six goals again now you can
see that if you go to the left on that blue line their chance of having no
goals at all in a game is about 7% so on average about 7% of games will end up
with no goals at all and that could be for any number of reasons maybe both
teams aren’t very good at scoring goals and therefore they get no goals or maybe
it’s just luck that you know that hits the post to goal is disallowed it’s
offside somehow the goalkeeper close it away
from the line and it wasn’t awarded a goal and various things thereon I
actually think that nil nil is quite hard to predict because they sort of
come out of the blue and it can be a really competitive match an
uncompetitive match it sort of comes out of the blue so I find that the hardest
to predict is if a match is going to be you know you know it occurs that
regular sort of raid it’s going to be sort of depending upon the structure of
match seven or eight percent so odds at eight would be twelve and a half and
decimal odds and you can say that that’s going to occur with a certain amount of
regularity by predicting it as a little bit harder however if I you can see
therefore you know the graph rises rapidly from one to two goals and then
it tells off a little bit but it’s a slightly shallower on the right-hand
side so that’s the curve that’s the distribution of goals that you tends to
look at you will pitch it at two point six probably favor a few more goals for
uncompetitive matches but if you’re trying to predict less than that it’s
you can see the the graph falls away a little bit steeper on the left-hand side
but when I look at a match and when I come up with football ratings I’m
looking at the profile of the match and I’m sort of saying well on average
there’s going to be two point six goals and I’m going to nudge it in one
direction or the other depending upon what I expect to see in the match and
you when we do another video we’ll talk about the draw because you tends to look
at how many goals are on match then you actually price up the draw and then you
go forward and do all of the other things in the match but yeah you know my
center point is two point six and then I’ll move up or down according to how
many goals I think it going to be scored if you look at a historical data set
like you know this team haven’t scored in six games that doesn’t mean that
they’re more likely not to score in the next game so there was a match last
night with Derby who was struggling to score and they won to nil away and it’s
a common trap to fall into it’s a classic gamblers fallacy trap where you
see a sequence of you know results occurring and therefore you you suddenly
imply more importance on the next match when in fact you can’t do that it
doesn’t work like that the ability you know there may be some evidence within
there but unless if you can describe what’s going on it could be that they
were just really unlucky and you know like I said they hit the post goal was
disallowed you know some dodgy offside decisions and so on and that’s why the
Golden go in but they’re probably creating the chances they just haven’t
taken them or it could be that they were up against a team that had very good
defensive record and you may not even know that yet
take you know a third of the season to go before you realize that it’s the
structure of the team that stopped them during that little period of winning or
not scoring or something they’re in they’re off so anyway sent to point two
point six and then you’re saying you know are we going to go above a brother
I know it sounds weird talk in terms of 0.6 of a goal or 0.7 or 0.3 but what
you’re doing is you’re saying if this mattress played a hundred times on
average how many goals would be scored in this type of match and that’s where
you’re getting your average figure form and it’s an important to work like that
but also that explains to you why it’s so hard to get a result correct if
you’re trying to tip a tipping is is sort of suicide on football because you
know the team may have had enough shots and action on the pitch to have scored
two or three goals and actually end up scoring none just through you know blind
bad luck so it’s very hard to get it right and I suffer from this when people
I go to Fort Hodge people say what’s the score going to be Peter then and I can’t
tell them and yet they always forced me to make a decision on it so I just give
them the most common score that’s likely to occur and hey presto very often a
notice and I look like genius all I’ve done is just picked the most
common score based upon the bias that I see within the match but if you look at
this graph again one of the things that you’ll notice is I’ve plotted the home
and the away team so you can see if you look at the home team they tend to sort
of peak here one or two goals per game and then it tells off significantly but
you can see that the chance of them getting no goals in a game is a several
of just under 20% but then you flip to the weighting and you can see the chance
of them not scoring is much much higher so what you’re looking at there is home
advantage and if you look at the number of goals that are likely to be scored in
a game then I pretty much automatically twist the model to be 0.4 of a goal
favorable to the home team because point four of a goal is what you see with home
advantage home advantage is worth point four of a goal which when there is only
an average of two point six goals per game is pretty significant that’s you
know is very significant you can see as we go to the right-hand side of the
graph it just tails off and then the chance screen four five six or so
angles tails off fairly dramatically and typically from a coaching perspective if
you’re in a two nil lead and you’re only expecting two point six goals in a game
and there are thirty minutes left what do you do would you go on the attack and
try and win it three or four nil or do you just sit back thinking well they’re
not going to score two goals in 30 minutes or it’s very unlikely and that
is what tends to happen so that explains that you know really thin tail when
you’re looking at games with many more girls and I tweeted the other week where
I said I can’t remember which match was I think this man United went for nil up
a half time and I said you know teams that race to a significant lead at
halftime tends to sit back and the match ended up for one and that’s a common
characteristic because from a coaching perspective and from a player
perspective why risk much more when you can just sit back defend deep knowing
that if the average number of goals is quite small over a match that if you
defend and don’t make any stupid mistakes don’t get injured and don’t do
any of those things don’t get booked red carded etc etc and then you’re probably
quite likely to win a game without a fuss and just why bother risking it so
you tend to finance a characteristic a lot of matches teams tend to defend a
lead rather than attempt to add to it which can be frustrating from a fan’s
perspective because you want them to absolutely stuff the away team but you
can’t think like that in in those sort of terms tactically that’s an inept
attitude so especially from a coaching perspective you tend to do the thing
that gets you the result which very typically is defending and the you know
that’s the way the football works and it can be a little bit boring that way but
if we merge all of those statistics together and stick them into a matrix we
can put the away team at the top and the home team down the side and then we can
actually look at how those two things begin to interact and it’s quite funny
really because if you want to be clever and you want to be assured of getting
the right result most of the time the best results to pick for a particular
matches one all because actually one all occurs much more frequently than any
other type of result in fact it occurs about just under twelve percent of the
time so actually came close to winning a
tipping competition once and all that I did was going every week and just enter
1 or 1 or 1 or 1 or 1 or 1 or which was absolutely hilarious I beat I came over
how and it was about 80,000 people or nearly 80,000 because I didn’t win the
competition there were people above me just by predicting the most common score
so people were inserting their knowledge and bias into the market and
successfully getting completely the wrong school so the next graph I’m going
to throw up actually shows you all of the potential results so across the top
you have the away team and the amount of goals they score and then down the left
you have the home team and how many goals they’re going to score and I’ve
shaded it so that you can actually see where the most common occurrence of
scores are and you can see actually from that perspective that merges the data
that we saw in the previous graph quite well and focuses you in on what the most
common score lines are within football and you can see it’s biased towards the
home team but if you look at the home team you can see that they tend to score
a goal or two girls quite frequently and the away team is more likely to score
one goal less likely to score two and may actually not score any at all so
from that you can begin to cluster together the most common occurrences now
along the bottom what I’ve done is I’ve added up all of those totals as well so
you can see that for the home team I’ve circled away team nil-nil sorry add
no goals let’s do that properly for the away team no goals adds up to nearly 34%
of the time and one goal adds up to 36% of the time
two goals is only 19 percent of time then you can see scoring three goals
away from home it tails off quite significantly
apart from if you’re playing West Ham at the moment it seems sorry if your West
Ham supporter eye everybody has to go through that Marron again and it’s not
pleasant I’m sure their form will return soon but if you look on the other side
of the graph this is the number of goals on average to the home team I likely to
score so you can see scoring and no goals it goes 18 percent of the time and
scoring one goal 30 percent of the time to girls 24 percent and then again it
tails off a little but not as steep as the away team and if you wanted to work
out the chance of like a 2-1 all you do is
add up both those columns if you sort of said you know I want my team to win by
two one you can actually multiply those two end numbers and then that will give
you their likelihood of the result it should I haven’t checked that but that’s
what it should do so yeah the number of goals within football gives you a clue
as to how the match is going to play out and there’s a bias towards the home team
so when you look at that bias towards the home team is worth generally about
0.4 of a goal and that’s generally reflected in all of the stats that you
can see and if you want to look at the average number of goals in an actual try
and work out how many goals are going to occur in a match then you would tend to
use that total goals graph that we saw before you put yourself in the middle
and you say well based upon the defensive record based upon the
attacking records I think they’re going to be less goals so we start to push it
down a level and based upon you know a good attack or a weak defense you’d
start to push it up a level and you know this team’s at the top of league versus
team at the bottom you tend to push the model towards three goals in the match
and if it’s a very competitive match and it’s between two teams they’re very
close to each other in the league and there’s not much to separate them it
could be at the bottom it could be a top or whatever then you tend to push it
down towards two goals but generally you won’t find me forecasting outside the
range of two to three goals it will fall somewhere in that range because you
can’t forecast an eel nail you can’t forecast no goals at all all you can say
is that there is a chance that that could occur but you wouldn’t actively
forecast it because what you’re doing is you’re saying there’s a standard
deviation here’s your forecast of you know two point four goals and in fact
there could be an extra goal on top of that or there could be one less you know
you plot your standard deviation around that center point so you pick your
center point being two point seven or maybe two point two and then you accept
that there could be goals going for on goals not going in on that particular
match and that would affect the outcome but it’s you’re looking at that center
point it’s the most important thing because if you do that accurate over a
long period of time then you tend to produce pretty consistent and good
results but yeah in terms of average number of goals two point six in terms
of the specifics of those two point six goals have a look at the
because this tells you the total number of girls and average that occur within a
match and the frequency which they occur how they’re distributed to the home when
you’re waiting and if you’re looking at a three one or two nil or a tool or
something like that have a look at the second graph and that actually plots
that out beautifully for you and shows you what are the most common occurrence
within a match once you’ve got your head round that and we can start to move on
to specific topics so I’ll follow up on other videos with detail about certain
things and logically you tend to start with the draw when you’re looking at a
football match I know that may sound unusual to some of you but we’ll cover
that in the next video once you’ve digested what I’ve said about total
goals in a football match anyway I hope that’s been helpful for you please
comment and like if you do if you do comment and like more frequently and ask
me questions I read all of them and I’ll take that forward to the next video so I
hope that’s been helpful for you and look forward to giving you the next
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