AFL Crowds and Optimal Uncertainty

Fans the world over, the literature shows, like a little uncertainty in their sports. AFL fans are no different, as I recounted in a 2012 blog entitled Do Fans Really Want Close Games? in which I described regressions showing that crowds were larger at games where the level of expected surprisal or 'entropy' was higher.

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Are Some Games Harder to Predict Than Others?

If you've ever had to enter tips for an office competition where the the sole objective was to predict the winner of each game, you'll intuitively recognise that the winners of some games are inherently harder to predict than others.

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Entropy in AFL Scoring (Revisited)

At the distinct risk of diving yet deeper into what was already a fairly esoteric topic, I'm going to return in this blog to the notion of entropy as it applies to VFL/AFL scoring, which I considered at some length in a previous blog. Consider yourself duly warned - this post is probably only for those of you who truly enjoyed that earlier blog.

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Measuring the Surprise in a Season's Results

In the previous blog we looked at the average level of surprisals generated by teams and by team pairings across all of VFL/AFL history and during the most-recent seasons. Today, as promised in that blog, I'm going to analyse surprisals using the same general methodology, but by season.
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Are the Victory Margins for Some Games Harder to Predict than for Others?

It's unarguable that the winner of some games will be harder to predict than the winner of others. When genuine equal-favourites meet, for example, you've only a 50:50 chance of picking the winner, but you can give yourself a 90% chances of being right when a team with a 90% probability of victory meets a team with only a 10% chance. The nearer to equal-favouritism the two teams are, the more difficult the winner is to predict, and the further away we are from this situation the easier the game is to predict.
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A First Look At Surprisals for 2011

We first discussed surprisals back in 2009 (if you perform a site search using the term "surprisals" you'll be linked to a couple of PDFs as well as to a handful of blog posts on the topic) as a method for quantifying the surprise associated with the outcome of a football game.
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Surprisals in 2009

This year we'll once again be using surprisals as a way of quantifying how unpredictable the results of each round and each team have been.

In addition to measuring the surprisal of head-to-head results, which is what we did last year, we'll also look at how surprising each result has been from a line betting point of view - a measure of how accurately the bookies have been able to predict not just the winner but the margin too.

If you're interested in the details, please download this document.