2019 Season - Prediction Contest

Discussion in 'NWSL' started by cpthomas, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. cpthomas

    cpthomas BigSoccer Supporter

    Portland Thorns
    United States
    Jan 10, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Thanks, STT, I'll check out those resources. Doing college Division I women's soccer stats (ratings and ranks) and the NCAA women's soccer tournament and NWSL prediction competitions has had the totally unintended consequence of getting me interested in how people make predictive decisions. That got me into some of Kahneman and Tversky's work on human decision-making. And it relates to what's going on in lots of places in today's political world, although I'm not sure exactly how. It keeps me going in my old age.:eek::laugh:
     
  2. cpthomas

    cpthomas BigSoccer Supporter

    Portland Thorns
    United States
    Jan 10, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Predictions for the playoff semifinal games on Sunday 10/20:

    Red Stars 2 v Thorns 1
    Courage 2 v Reign 0
     
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  3. 59Amerinorsk

    59Amerinorsk Member

    Chicago Red Stars
    Norway
    Mar 31, 2017
    * CRS 3 POR 1
    * TAXI 5-4 NCC - in penalty kicks ; (1:1) after regular time ; (2:2) after first AET ; (2:2) after second AET ; 5-4 penalty kick win by TAXI
    :cool::p:eek:
     
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  4. 59Amerinorsk

    59Amerinorsk Member

    Chicago Red Stars
    Norway
    Mar 31, 2017
    :ROFLMAO:
     
  5. blissett

    blissett Member+

    Aug 20, 2011
    Italy
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    Ok, my prediction:

    CHI 3 POR 1 in regulation
    NC 0 SEA 0 >>> SEA scores in extra-time for a final score of 0-1

    I decided to go with the Vlatko's upset: since rumours have him as the next USWNT coach, I guess he'll really want to show off his expertise in these play-offs. :giggle:

    As for Chicago: they never reached the match for the title before; if they don't manage to do it this time, I am really not sure when they could ever hope to do it!

    Is there anything else I have to predict? Did I miss anything? MVP is only nominated in the final, isn't it?
     
  6. McSkillz

    McSkillz Member+

    UCLA Bruins
    United States
    Nov 22, 2014
    Los Angeles
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Okay my turn:

    Chicago Red Stars 2 - 1 Portland Thorns in regulation

    North Carolina Courage 1 - 2 Reign FC
    - Reign FC scores 1 goal in 2nd extra time for the upset

    There's no rhyme or reason for these predictions, I just thought it would be funny.
     
  7. cpthomas

    cpthomas BigSoccer Supporter

    Portland Thorns
    United States
    Jan 10, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I've got the predictions so far entered into the system.

    For this part of the contest, predicting the results of the upcoming games, as I read the scoring system you don't actually have to indicate when the game score will be achieved (i.e., at the end of regular time, after extra time, etc.). You just predict what the score will be and, if you predict a tie, who will advance on pks. The computer then will take your prediction and evaluate it according to the points system.

    This actually (and perhaps oddly) is different than the pre-season playoff games prediction process, where you did need to predict the winners (though not the scores) and how the winner would advance (at the end of regular time, after extra time, pks).
     
  8. Smallchief

    Smallchief Member+

    Oct 27, 2012
    Club:
    --other--
    NC 3 -- Sea 0. NC firing on all cylinders can run any other team off the field -- and I think they'll be firing on all cylinders.

    Chi 2 -- Por 1. Chicago's looked great the last few weeks, and Portland has not.
     
  9. lunatica

    lunatica Member+

    Nov 20, 2013
    CHI 2 POR 1
    NC 0 SEA 1
     
  10. Smallchief

    Smallchief Member+

    Oct 27, 2012
    Club:
    --other--
    I'd be interested in hearing theories on why Blissett and others finished at the top of the prediction table. Was it taking chances on predictions and getting an occasional one right? Or playing the odds better with scientific predictions?

    In my own case, I think my downfall on predicting is always wanting to see more goals than are likely to be scored -- and my predictions reflect that desire.

    For me, the perfect score of a soccer match is 3-2. I don't predict that but that's what I want to see.
     
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  11. McSkillz

    McSkillz Member+

    UCLA Bruins
    United States
    Nov 22, 2014
    Los Angeles
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I don’t take a statistical approach because quite frankly I’m not very talented in that area. I don’t even really much do research other than international duty and who’s playing at home either. I don’t really have a favorite team either nor do I consider current standings until close to the playoffs. So my take on it is that any one team is totally capable of beating another team in this league at any given week and I go off human intuition. What seems right to me or at least very close when I’m thinking about it? I found it very difficult to want to predict 0 goals on one side because any little mistake like a trip in the box can spark a very doable PK so even if the other team has a very strong defense there’s always that chance of a mistake. The 2-1 score line was always my go to bet because both teams are capable of scoring at least one goal against each other and due to the competitiveness of the players, they aren’t settling for a tie besides a few exceptions. The big thing for me is not overthinking it and going with your gut feeling. Sometimes I was pleasantly surprised, most other times, I was usually off with exact score line predictions. Not sure what approach I’ll take next season...
     
  12. CoachJon

    CoachJon Member+

    Feb 1, 2006
    Rochester, NY
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think I totally missed predicting this past weekend's games. Anyway, here is my guess for Sunday.

    NC 2 SEATAC 1
    CHI 2 POR 1
     
  13. blissett

    blissett Member+

    Aug 20, 2011
    Italy
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    #713 blissett, Oct 19, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019
    Well, I'll reveal something that's probably quite unexpected: I am the son of a "statistician" predictor, although not nearly as scientific as @cpthomas is.

    Back then when football pool lotteries were very popular here in Europe (and especially in Italy, where I live), my father had gathered a ponderous data-base written on a series of paper notebooks (at the time, personal computers were at their infancy and anyway he didn't have any) to try and predict the outcomes of the games of Italian Serie A (the men's tournament, of course: the women's league didn't exist yet).

    As I have mentioned, though, his method was quite different from @cpthomas's one: he wasn't looking at inferring each team's results from their "historic" series, but he was trying something very different and much less scientific (at least in the strict sense of the term, although he was experimenting in a quite scientific way), that was much more based on human intuition and its fallacies. Basically he was trying to find "patterns": he was studying if it could be true that teams in similar situations (for what concerned quite a lot of little details) could end generally having similar results. And what did he mean for "similar situations"? Oh, basically anything: from high number of injured players in key positions, to having played a important match in Champion clubs' Cup (Champions' League ancestor) during the week; from the motivation coming from the team's position in the rankings, to having had a recent change of coach; from strong local rivalries (like in derbys) to weather forecast for the match.

    To make it short, he had the dream of taking "everything" into consideration and then, by crossing data, he should have been able to make the optimal prediction. Of course it was an illusion: he had some occasional good results by following his method, but nothing that was deviating very much from what you would have statistically expected from a "hard" player devoting a lot of his time to that game.

    If I tell this story it's because, although I am not sure if I inherited anything relevant from him, maybe there is a thing I have in common with my father: the wish to nail upsets or mild-upsets. You see, football pool lotteries were based on sharing the jackpot of each week amongs the punters: so, the less people were winning by nailing all of the matches, the higher part of the jackpot the few winners would have earned. In fact, what my father was especially aiming for was nailing the matches that most of the punters were going to predict wrong, because he was feeling that these were the matches that were going to give him the edge over the pack (and earning him a better part of the jackpot, had he happened to win).

    For somehow different reasons, I guess I often do the same. So, to finally answer to @Smallchief after this long preamble, it's not like I am "taking chances on predictions and getting an occasional one right": this would be pure gamble and of course it could be some kind of a sound strategy, but it's not what I use to do (ok, except that time when I tried to predict a NC's 6-0 win :D. That one was mostly a gamble, I admit). My approach is different: since the most dangerous opponent at this game and the one I am most eager to beat is "the robot", what I say to myself is: "If I keep playing it safe and predicting the outcome that most people who are aware of the historical stats would predict, I am sure going to lose to the robot: how could I do that better than a machine?". So, I have to look for my edge elsewhere: I have to nail those matches that the robot is not likely to correctly predict. Basically, at each week, I have to say to myself: "Upsets or mild-upsets happen: they happen all the time. So where could one happen this week? And will it really happen this week?". Then I reflect on these questions (mind, not always consciously: sometimes it's just a proceeding that's by now ingrained in my mind) and I try not to just "randomly take chances" or to choose the game and score that would reward me the most; on the contrary, I always try to have a reasonment behind what I feel could deviate from the "standard", statistical-based prediction. What does this reasonment involve? Oh, sometimes maybe (again, consciously or not) some of the "patterns" that my father had tried to teach me in my infancy; sometimes, as @McSkillz mentioned, just some kind of "gut feeling", that shouldn't be dismissed so easily, especially when it comes from avid followers of NWSL: sometimes, when you know very well a particular environment or situation, your instict can serve you as much well as you reason, because it can happen that you have unconsciously processed a quantity of data that you're not even aware of.

    Anyway, behind my prediction there is always an "idea": I like to think that it's not pure gamble, but it has some kind of speculation behind it. Maybe I am just as delusional as my father was (for records: he's still alive, but he doesn't play football pool anymore), but, hey, what do they say? Like father, like son! :laugh:
     
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  14. cpthomas

    cpthomas BigSoccer Supporter

    Portland Thorns
    United States
    Jan 10, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    blissett, well into the season I thought I observe you doing exactly what you've described, looking for 1 "predictable upset" that the robot, by rule, couldn't predict. I also thought that once you got your pretty good-sized lead, you became more careful, essentially trying to protect your lead rather than build on it. The latter would have been a very "futbol" tactic.
     
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  15. BlueCrimson

    BlueCrimson Member+

    North Carolina Courage
    United States
    Nov 21, 2012
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Club:
    Sydney FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    North Carolina 1, Reign 0 in regulation
    Chicago 1, Weeds 2 in regulation

    I'm sticking to my "never predict Chicago to beat the Weeds" stance. I don't care what form the two teams are in, the Red Stars have been horrible against the Weeds.

    And not only has North Carolina never lost to the Reign at home, the Reign have never even scored a goal in Cary.

    Everything looks set for yet another Courage/Weeds final.
     
  16. blissett

    blissett Member+

    Aug 20, 2011
    Italy
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    Although I guess I can get what you're saying, I am not familiar with this use of the term "futbol" (it's not used in my country). What does it refer to, exactly?
     
  17. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    cpt and add/correct, but if I'm understanding the intent correctly:

    Here in the states, people have started using the term "futbol" (a.k.a. the Spanish word for the sport) to distinguish soccer from American football. In this case, the concept of easing off and protecting a lead is a very "futbol" (soccer) tactic because, among the popular sports in the US, soccer is the only one where you often see a team protect a lead - probably because soccer is so low-scoring compared to other US sports.

    Hockey may be the closest to it, but in the other big sports (baseball, basketball, gridion) there's an expectation for each team to score in turn, and in those three as well as hockey the scores are often higher than in soccer, so leads aren't as fragile.
     
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  18. blissett

    blissett Member+

    Aug 20, 2011
    Italy
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    Oh, ok, now I get it.

    I assume that, on top of being written very differently, "futbol" is also spelled in a way that make it easy to tell that word apart from the English pronunciation of "football"?
     
  19. cpthomas

    cpthomas BigSoccer Supporter

    Portland Thorns
    United States
    Jan 10, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Correct!
     
  20. cpthomas

    cpthomas BigSoccer Supporter

    Portland Thorns
    United States
    Jan 10, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    SiberianThunderT and Tapas&Futbol, I don't see current game predictions for you for the semi-final games. Did I miss something?
     
  21. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    I haven't done predictions for the past few weeks
     
  22. blissett

    blissett Member+

    Aug 20, 2011
    Italy
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    For the Championship Game prediction, I am torn.

    On one hand, I've said before that one of my big assets, this season, was the will to ignore any allegiance or sympathy for a team and to just spit out the result I expect irrespective of what I would "prefer" to see. By this point of view, I can't deny that I will root for Chicago on Sunday, for many reasons (I like the team and most of his players more than NC's ones; I am specifically a fan of some of them in particular as Yuki Nagasato; I love diversity so I would like a new team to get the NWSL's title; I find Red Stars' style of play quite attractive and I liked their slow but steady growth through the latest years; I like rooting for the underdog as much as the next guy; and so on). So, the trap for me would be represented by the risk of being blinded by the fact that I am more emotionally attached to a team than to the other one (although I have the utmost respect for the Courage and a win by them wouldn't displease me at all).

    On the other hand, all of my success this season, as explained in one of my last posts, has come from predicting "reasonable upsets": NC dominated the league and deservingly won the Shield, so a win by Chicago could sure be seen as an upset, but there's also no doubt that it will fall into the category of what @cpthomas called, with a quite fitting oxymoron, "predictable upsets", i.e. literal upset if you only look at the stats, but very possible given the general conditions. And I guess whoever saw the Red Stars play in the semifinal (and in the last month, for that matter) will agree that, on paper, they can potentially win the match. Despite the fact that they only won by 1-0 vs Portland, they mostly looked in control of the game and they look enough fit, cohesive, self-assured and tactically aware to pose a serious problem to the Courage. They can feel they have a momentum and they want to exploit it.

    It is true that my strategy had always been to go for a "predictable upset" mixed with other more ordinary predictions, while this time there is no other prediction that I can blend the upset with. There is only one game, so I simply have to choose if going with the upset or not, while being aware that I could be tricked into a wrong prediction by being emotionally involved.

    Anyway, in the end, I guess I'll go with the upset. I am aware that NC playing at home will be a huge boost for them, so a win by Chicago would be even more of an upset than it already seems, but anyway I'll go with:

    NC 1 CHI 2 (in regulation)

    I can't see the Courage not scoring at home, in front of their supporters, especially given their offensive power, so I am crediting a goal to them anyway. But I guess Chicago can score early and keep the lead through the game as they did vs Portland. I predict a win in regulation, because I feel like NC have an incredible level of fitness and they would break any team in extra-time as they did with the Reign.
     
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  23. cpthomas

    cpthomas BigSoccer Supporter

    Portland Thorns
    United States
    Jan 10, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    blissett, don't forget to predict the championship game MVP -- the one chosen, that is, who might not be the actual MVP.
     
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  24. cpthomas

    cpthomas BigSoccer Supporter

    Portland Thorns
    United States
    Jan 10, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Championship prediction:

    Courage 2 v Red Stars 1

    MVP: Debinha (I went with the winning team's player who made the Team of the Month most frequently, to be true to a more or less stats approach)
     
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  25. blissett

    blissett Member+

    Aug 20, 2011
    Italy
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    #725 blissett, Oct 22, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
    Well, given my prediction, of course I'll go with a Chicago player (although it's true that I could try a gamble by choosing a Courage's player to try and somehow salvage at least a part of my prediction in case everything goes wrong :laugh:). For sentimental reasons, I'd like to say Yuki Nagasato, but I feel that, if Chicago wins, it will be through the utter power of Sam Kerr's goals: she's the kind of player who can basically disappear from the game or don't even actually show up if her team loses (as it happened with Australia at the World Cup), but if her team wins she's surely going to steal the show.

    So, since I predicted a Red Stars' win, my prediction for MVP is Sam Kerr.
     
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