After 40 Premier League matches, the Model is beating the experts. By experts we mean former professional footballers Mark Lawrenson (aka “Lawro”) and Paul Merson (aka “Merse”), who make well-publicised Premier League score forecasts for BBC Sport and Sky Sports, respectively.
The harshest performance metric for a football forecaster is the percentage of exact scorelines they get correct. The Model is currently performing at 15%. This just edges Merse, who has predicted 13% of scores bang on. Whereas Lawro is trailing way behind, only getting 5% so far.
Number of Exact Scores Predictions Correct in Premier League 2018/19 Rounds 1-4:
The Model: 6/40
A more forgiving performance metric is the percentage of results forecast correctly. Again the Model is leading the pack, getting 65% correct. Lawro is getting less than one in every two results correct, 48%. Merse is doing better, 58%.
Number of Result Predictions Correct in Premier League 2018/19 Rounds 1-4:
The Model: 26/40
Finally, The Model is clearly outperforming Lawro at his own game, and Merse too for that matter. Using the points scoring system from the BBC Sport predictions game (40 for an exact score, and 10 for just a result), the Model has taken 28% of the points so far on offer. This compares with 16% for Lawro and 24% for Merse.
Accumulated “Lawro points” in Premier League 2018/19 Rounds 1-4:
The Model: 440
Should the Model be more humble?
Probably. 40 games is still a relatively small sample, and there is plenty of time for the experts to turn things around. Lawro remains the biggest threat, given his historical forecast performance outstrips Merse by some distance.
As discussed on this blog previously, we would expect the model to only get better and better as the season progresses.