Home GAA Allianz Football League: Using Statistics To Predict 7 Winners This Weekend

Allianz Football League: Using Statistics To Predict 7 Winners This Weekend

INPHO/Donall Farmer

Last week I introduced the Gaelic football team ratings. I explained that they are based on a mathematical formula.

The formula takes into account previous results, opposition rating, score margin, home advantage and stage of competition. The way the formula works is that it makes a “predicted result” and then compares the actual result to the predicted result. The difference in the prediction and actual outcome gives rise to a change in team ratings.

When the formula is 66% in favour of one team that means it’s predicting them to win. Over the previous 6 years it has a 72.9% success rate at predicting these wins. So let’s take a look at a few of it’s predictions for this weekend.


Kerry v Mayo

ELO Ratings Verdict: 77% in favour of Kerry

Both teams had contrasting starts to the league campaign last week. The score line did not give Kerry justice as they eased to a 3-point win over Donegal. The game was well over before the final whistle and the Kerry management used this opportunity to rest some of their key players in the closing stages.

Mayo had a sluggish start in the league last year and began the 2017 campaign in the same way against Monaghan last week. Mayo’s style of play means that their players need to be incredibly fit to execute their game plan, but they’re only back training over a month.

Kerry, on the other hand, prefer a kicking game as opposed to Mayo’s short passing. This means that Kerry players run far less than Mayo players so fitness levels at this time of year shouldn’t be an issue for them.

Allianz Football League Division 1, O'Donnell Park, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal 5/2/2017 Donegal vs Kerry  Kerry's Tadhg Morley
INPHO/Presseye/Lorcan Doherty


Dublin v Tyrone

ELO Ratings Verdict: 93% in favour of Dublin

This fixture isn’t as straightforward as the formula makes it out to be. Dublin were convincing winners over Cavan last weekend but like Mayo, they are only back training in the last month. They are of course on a 30-match unbeaten streak so the formula favors them big time. Tyrone have been disappointing over the last couple of seasons but there seems to be a new optimism brewing with them.

They recorded a 6 point win over Roscommon last weekend and I’ve a sneaky feeling they might cause an upset on Saturday night.

Allianz Football League Division 1, Kingspan Breffni Park, Co. Cavan 5/2/2017 Cavan vs Dublin Dublin's James McCarthy
INPHO/Donall Farmer

Clare v Down

ELO Ratings Verdict: 90% in favour of Clare

Clare had a fantastic 2016, winning the division 3 league title and reaching the All-Ireland quarter-finals. Coming up a division is always difficult but they earned a very respectable point away to Derry last weekend. Down have been on a negative spiral ever since they narrowly lost to Cork in the All Ireland final 7 years ago. Even a couple of years ago a home game against Fermanagh would’ve been a shoe-in for Down.

A 9-point defeat is a reminder that Down will have it cut out for themselves to stay up in Divison 2 this year. Clare should continue their good form and dispatch of Down on Sunday


Tipperary v Sligo

ELO Ratings Verdict: 89% in favour of Tipperary

Another team who had a breakthrough season last year, Tipperary picked up from where they left off with a win over Antrim last weekend. The youthful Tipperary team will hope to challenge the big two in Munster yet again this year. Sligo were held at home to Armagh in their opening league game. It didn’t look good for them for a while but a late rally saw them come from 6 points down with 15 minutes to go.

Tipperary will have watched how Armagh let such a big lead slip and they won’t make the same mistake.


Carlow v London

ELO Ratings Verdict: 87% in favour of Carlow

Neither Carlow or London managed to win on the opening weekend of the National Football League. Carlow did however manage to pick up a point to Westmeath. Carlow are a team on the up, from 2011 to 2016 there has been a 51% increase in GAA players in the county. The success of it’s college teams will no doubt have a major impact on the future of Carlow football in the coming years.

Back to the present, and although London have improved under the management of Ciaran Deely, they’re still a bit behind some of the teams in Division 4. An 11-point loss to Waterford would have been very disappointing for London last week but unfortunately I don’t see their luck changing this weekend.

All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Qualifiers Round 2A, Kingspan Breffni Park, Cavan 9/7/2016 Cavan vs Carlow Carlow's Hughie Gahan with Ciaran Brady of Cavan
INPHO/Tommy Grealy

Monaghan v Cavan

ELO Ratings Verdict: 78% in favour of Monaghan

A battle between two Ulster teams in a very competitive Division one, this match is very important even if it is only the second weekend of the league. Cavan will be very disappointed with their display against Dublin last week. Aside from some promising signs in the opening stages, you never got the sense that Cavan could beat the best team in the country.

Monaghan will be buoyant after their win away to Mayo and will be looking to get a step closer to retaining their Division 1 status for another season.


Armagh v Laois

ELO Ratings Verdict: 72% in favour of Armagh

This is a game Armagh really need to win to start building their confidence again. Letting a 6 point lead slip against Sligo was a missed opportunity but they can right their wrongs against an unconvincing Laois side. Laois were hammered last weekend against an on-form Louth team.

They only managed to score 9 points against the wee county, the lowest of any of the 32 teams competing in the National Football league on the opening weekend. Armagh should win this one.

Dr. McKenna Cup Round 3, Athletic Grounds, Co. Armagh 18/1/2017 Armagh vs Down  Armagh's Oisin Mac Iomhair with Down's Ryan McAleenan
INPHO/Presseye/William Cherry

At the time of writing, a 7-team accumulator for the 7 predicted winners can be got at odds of 13/1 with one of the major bookmakers in Ireland. This post is not an endorsement for gambling. Gambling odds are used for comparative purposes.

About Shane Mangan

Shane is a graduate of Sport Science and Health from ITT. He is currently doing a Masters by research relating to data analytics in team sports. Previously a performance analyst with the Dublin hurling team, Shane is now a sport scientist with Louth GAA.