Projecting the finalists: a challenge

Note: Entries for this competition have closed. Thanks to all who entered!

My projections of the finalists in the 2017 AFL season will be wrong in ways that will seem embarrassing in September. Some team – Essendon? Fremantle? – will drastically outperform my model’s expectations and crash into the top eight, prevailing despite the relatively slim odds I’ve given them. Some other team – North Melbourne? Hawthorn? – will flame out, with finals nowhere in sight.

If you think you can do better than my projections, you should enter my competition! It’s free to enter and there’s no prize, other than the most important prize of all (bragging rights).

Picking winners

To enter the competition, all you need to do is fill out the form below. Just specify how likely you think it is that each team will make the finals in the 2017 AFL season. If you think the Giants are certain to make the eight, put 100 in the box corresponding to GWS. If you think the Lions will definitely miss the finals, put 0 in their box. You can have decimal places, so 40.3 is a fine response. Make sure that all the numbers you enter add up to 800 in total.

It doesn’t matter how you come up with your probabilities. You could use a complex model, or use your gut, or pick the numbers out of a hat. Just make sure you put a number between 0 and 100 in each team’s box and make sure that all the numbers you enter together add up to 800.


Rules of the game

Enter your finals probabilities by midnight AEST on 13 February, 2017.

Entries will be ranked according to their Brier score. This score ranges from 0 to 1, with a lower score being better.  If you correctly pick all eight finalists, giving each of those teams a probability of 100 and all other teams a probability of 0, you’ll receive a perfect Brier score of zero. If you assign a 100 probability to eight teams that all miss the finals, you’ll receive the worst possible score, one. All other scores will fall somewhere between zero and one. For an explanation of how the scoring works, read this good Buzzfeed piece about the US election. If all this scoring business seems a bit too technical, don’t worry – all you need to do is enter your probabilities above.

My picks

For the record, these are the pre-season probabilities I’ll be entering in the competition, based on simulations using my Elo model.

Team Probability of making the finals
Sydney 81.7
Western Bulldogs 73.6
GWS Giants 72.8
Adelaide 75.9
Geelong 65.5
West Coast 66.4
Hawthorn 62.2
Port Adelaide 51.3
North Melbourne 48
Collingwood 42.5
St Kilda 37.2
Melbourne 38.9
Richmond 27.6
Carlton 15.3
Fremantle 15.3
Gold Coast 15.3
Essendon 6.6
Brisbane 3.7



Creator of The Arc