Sunday, May 13, 2007


It's the business end of the season, which is a big distraction from my Ph.D thesis write up, but thankfully my thesis is almost there.

So today sees the Premiership conclude, but more importantly for me, it sees Oldham play Blackpool in the first leg of the play-off semi-finals in League One. Blackpool fans are confident, and rightly so: Blackpool won their last seven league matches, including a 6-3 demolition of Swansea on the final day. But Swansea have lost against play-off sides all season, and the high-scoring match was because Swansea had to go for the jugular to try and displace Oldham in the play-off positions.

Nonetheless, Blackpool are clearly a very good side. They also won 1-0 at Boundary Park in the league earlier in the season, and Oldham have won just once in the twelve most recent matches between these sides - I don't like the sight of Blackpool much! But Oldham raise their game against the better sides, so let's see!

The now fail-safe model (haha) suggests that Oldham are actually favourites for the first leg, perhaps surprisingly, with a probability of 37.8%, which translates to decimal odds at 2.64. Not far from where Betfair is currently at, with Oldham favourites at 2.57. Goes somewhat against a strong statement here, that Blackpool are "firm favourites". Perhaps the Blackpool fan here ought to check out the bookies before making such assertions.

Nonetheless, any betting man fancies Blackpool over the two legs for sure. Hopefully the underdog tag will help the Latics. For the first leg, the draw has probability 31.2%, and Blackpool a surprisingly small 30.9% chance. Let's hope these numbers reflect reality - they reflect the model estimated over the season, but that's not today!

As for scorelines, a narrow 1-0 Oldham win is the most probable scoreline, with a probability of 14.8%, closely followed by a 0-0 draw, at 14.2%. So suggestions are for a cagey and tight match this evening. The 1-1 draw has a probability of 13.5%, and a 1-0 Blackpool win, a repeat of the league match, is at 12.9%.

In the absence of Finktank bothering to predict this one, I imagine these odds are similar to what the post, because generally they are.

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