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Picking RugbyComp Like a Statistician
Picking RugbyComp Like a Statistician
(And is that a good thing?)
10 Feb 2002
This is to be another statistical analysis from me. It is a representation of how keen I am getting for some Super 12. This makes two stats articles since I started the first last Saturday. Now before anyone gets any funny ideas, I am not a statistician, as one may tell from my woeful analyses if they ever read them. But I am somewhat fond of the little buggers as they pertain to sport. So without further ado, here is my guide to picking the Super 12 segment of RugbyComp, or other S12 tipping comps, like a statistician.

What Iím going to do is give some overall analysis of the series, based on results back to 1996. I may do a follow-up for individual teams, listing their bogey teams and what-not, but that would take real work. Since I do have all the raw data though, it could be done. If anyone wants my Excel97 spreadsheet for this, let me know as it may inspire me to pretty it up from its current nonsensical state and fire it out to interested parties. It has a couple of colourful graphs, etc. No guarantees though.

Also if somehow you win some money somewhere using this in tipping comps, you can deposit half of it in my bank account in Buenos Aires.

Picking Super 12 games.

Guideline 1.

Donít pick draws. We all know not to, but do anyway. Here's WHY not to. How bad it really is may shock you. The reason is that in Super 12 history, there have been 414 games played. Thatís sixty nine per season for six seasons (no giggling in the back row you lot). There have been eleven draws. That gives a total of a whopping 2.7% draws. The home team has won on 267 occasions for a total of 64.5% of games. Now, unless your tipping competition gives you nearly thirty times the reward for picking a draw compared to a home win, it doesnít seem to be worth it to pick one. Obviously in ones that look close you'd have considerably more chance than this average, but not THAT much more. In this case, you should probably back the home team for a marginal win. I've got the lowdown on RugbyComp here for you, direct from Pdeb himself.

I'm not sure if this applies to all segments this year or only the Super 12 one. If you pick the correct winner and margin you get 4 points. This would apply to picking a draw as well, so you have to be confident. If you pick the margin to within 7 points you get 2 points. If all you do is pick the winner you get 1 point. So RugbyComp is somewhat trickier than your standard tipping comp, but a draw is probably still not a worthwhile investment as you stand a bloody good chance of getting nothing.

Guideline 2.

Pick the home team. Its a short one here, but as I said, the home team has won 64.5% of the time. When in doubt, stick with them. Obviously don't always, but the away team does have to look like they're doing considerably better before its wise to pick them. This is one of the areas I'd like to elaborate on for individual teams at a later time, eg. Who does well at home, well away, and who is bloody awful in either or both cases, as well as who starts and/or finishes their seasons well.

Guideline 3.

Donít pick blowouts. I know its tempting when your boys are treating the Bulls to a run in your home paddock, but there arenít all that many blowouts in Super 12, or the game in general for that matter. Except Test matches involving Uruguay.

The average Super 12 score over all games is 30-23. The maximum score is 75 and has been achieved only twice, both times by home teams. So picking 100-0 is out. There have been 26 games where the home side scores over 52. Thatís only 6% before you decide that sounds like a lot. Similarly, the home team barely ever scores less than 13, and has never scored less than 5, which has been done once. Your analysis of the two teams playing should allow you to deviate this average score, but not by too much.

So, your ballpark for the home team is 13-50, averaging at 30. Stay away from the ends and a good pick for a quality team becomes 40 at home, a middle range one 30 and a bad one 20. (Actually 19 is the single most often recurring score for the home team, not the mean average, but the modal one)

Away teams are similar but the low end of the probable range is about 6 and the high end about 39 or 40. The middle range as stated earlier is 20. So picks would be between about 11-20-33.

85% of all games are decided by 25 points or less. So if you rate your team as being in great form playing away to a moderate form team and you want to pick them anyway, go for about 30-33, as per the above. Maybe drop the score for the moderate home team a bit to say 25 because remember, they are playing a superior unit than average and the stats will reflect the average.....

Guideline 3.

Pick with your noggin. Your team wonít win just because you picked them.

Anyone who follows this rule has more self-control than me. I'd also question their loyalty unless there was money on it. Iíll be picking the ĎTahs in every game, donít you worry about that. Brumbies Vs. 'Tahs at Bruce? Not a problem. 11 - 40. Mind you, they will be winning every game too, so itíll be all good. Go you big red fire engine!

Now, your gut instinct is always going to be based on more variables than this analysis ever will be. You will constantly be reevaluating teams week to week. If you think a team will win away, well and good, they probably will. What I am trying to do is give you a rough idea of, statistically, what kind of scorelines to reasonably predict, and also someething else to consider when picking the results themselves. Its not too hard to back the winner, and there are always going to be plenty of upsets, as well as scorelines that are so far off nobody has a right to pick them right. The trick is getting close to a good score prediction on the ones that follow form, or at least maximising your chance of doing so and thereby bringing in the big points. I find that to be the hardest part, and the one where pros like Jules leave me for dead. Having done this article, I suspect I often predict too low for one thing.

None of these stats are right, but if you find one that is particularly wrong, you can email me with abuse. Canít get fairer than that.


Let us know what you think!

Hmm, given my beloved Crusaders are going to win all their games about about 50 points it will be very interesting to see what happens when they come up against your mighty New South Welshmen Barge!

Bloody good analysis again though, even for the statistically incompetent like me who can't tell a mean from a moan or a modal from a noddle!

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