Thursday, September 29, 2016

Final NASL Table Predictions

Who will join Indy Eleven in the NASL's The Championship playoffs?

By: Brandon Cockrum

The final month of the season has arrived and NASL clubs have between five and seven matches remaining. As a weekend warrior statistician, I thought it would be fun to try to project some of the final standings using the performance of the clubs so far this season. For those of you that invest in the stock market (or those that plan to in the future), you should be familiar with the phrase, “Past performance is NOT necessarily an indicator of future results.” However, since we’re not investing our hard earned cash into this, we’re totally going to use past performance as an indicator of future results. 

As the winners of the Spring championship Indy has secured one playoff spot as well as the right to host a semifinal playoff game. The majority of table questions remain:

  • Which club will win the Fall season and the right to host the other semifinal playoff? 
  • Which club will win the Combined season? 
  • Which clubs will make the playoffs and what will the semifinal seeds and matchups be? 
To arrive at the results I put together a formula that used three different Points Per Game (PPG) figures to estimate the number of points that would be earned in a club's remaining games:
  1. Fifty percent of the estimated final points were pulled from Fall season home and away matches, the PPG from each were multiplied by the number of home or away games remaining for a club.  
  2. Twenty-five percent of the estimated final points were pulled from a club’s combined season PPG. 
  3. Twenty-five percent of the estimated final points were pulled from a club’s PPG over their last five games. 
Finally, I didn’t include all twelve clubs in the predicted standings. There’s really only eight of them that have a real shot at the playoffs (and, even more realistically, five of them are competing for one spot.) I’ve also included the standings for only the top four likely finishers in the Fall table. (Lastly, if you want predicted points for each and every team or feel that my formula is woefully inaccurate, feel free to do your own damn formulas.)

And now, your predicted final table results: 

Fall Season Winner: New York Cosmos 
Combined Season Winner: New York Cosmos
Semifinal Matchups: 1) New York Cosmos (H) vs 4) Miami FC and 2) Indy Eleven (H) vs 3) FC Edmonton

If the table predictions are accurate, New York is just two points away from having enough points to win both the Fall and the combined seasons. After posting a last-place finish (11th) in the Spring campaign, Miami’s player acquisitions will propel them way up the table and into a second place Fall finish. This performance looks to be good enough to edge out Minnesota by two and equal Tampa Bay in combined season points, with Miami FC winning the fourth and final seed via a tie-breaker on Goal Differential or Goals Scored. Indy and Edmonton finish second and third in the predicted, final combined season table. 

Do you have any predictions for how the Fall and combined tables will shake out? Think these results are whack? Share your thoughts on Twitter with Brandon (@brew_wallace) and Bloody Shambles (@bloody_shambles).


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