Breaking Bad? Analysis of 2012 AFL game results in relation to Days Break.
Geelong has been dealt with three six-day breaks to start the 2013 AFL season.
Will this affect them? Or more importantly, will this affect potential fantasy relevant Cats such as Jimmy Bartell(newly appointed DPP) and of greatest importance, can I glean a football punting edge by factoring in each team’s days break into my line betting formula? The only way to answer these questions is to undergo some statistical analysis.
By analysing all game results in 2012, I shall now explore the degree to which “Longer Break” affects game results.
Research Stat 1:
The average percentage of Longer Break winning teams per round was 58.4%
This was not a very impressive finding. I decided to dig a little deeper by removing the expansion teams and Melbourne. Without wishing to offend, these teams could ruin the data set due to the fact that they generally were not competitive and would lose even with the Longer Break advantage.
Research Stat 2:
After removing GWS, Gold Coast and Melbourne, the average percentage of Longer Break winning teams per round was 60.8%.
This still represents an inconclusive statistic. My next exploration was to consider this Longer Break affect over the course of the season. Perhaps, as the season progresses and teams become weary, the Longer Break affect may become more significant.
Below are the graphs to try and support this theory;
Both graphs do support my theory as the trend line for each data set has a positive gradient.
Research Stat 3:
Teams with a longer break than their opponent will be more advantaged during the later stages of the season.
While this seems like common sense, it is comforting to confirm the finding with actual game data.
Next, I thought it relevant to look only at teams going into games with a 6 day break. Again, it makes logical sense that the shorter the break, the greater the impact on team fatigue and performance.
Research Stat 4:
The percentage of games won in 2012 by teams playing against a team coming off a six day break was 52.6%
This was surprisingly disappointing! Not what I expected but on closer inspection I realised that the AFL more often than not fixtures a 6 day break team against a supposed weaker opponent …. A good will gesture? This fact accounts for the low 52.6% result.
In an act of desperation, my final idea was to only look at team’s scores in the final quarter in relation to days break. Surely the shorter break teams would be more likely to “run out of legs” in the final quarter.
Research Stat 5:
Teams with a Longer Break outscored their opponent on 51.3% of occasions in 2012.
And after removing GWS, Gold Coast and Melbourne …
Research Stat 6:
Teams with a Longer Break (excluding GWS, GC & MFC) outscored their opponent on 61.1% of occasions in 2012.
- The effect of days break advantage on teams becomes more evident over the course of a season; however, this affect is minimal.
- The six day break disadvantage is inconclusive at this stage given the AFL tends to allocate these to a more fancied team.
- Longer Break team are more likely to outscore their opponent in the last quarter of a game.
As a result of the above investigation, I will not be including a Days Break factor into my 2013 line betting formula.
I would welcome any feedback.