We're down to the final two weeks in our Blood Bowl league, where the top 3 in each division will advance to the playoffs. Finishing in the first seed is worth a bye which will heal your guys and earn some SPP so it's pretty clutch to get all the way to first, but it's still important to hit the top 3. My division currently has 4 teams mathematically eliminated and 4 teams clumped up near the top. 4-0-1, 4-1, 4-1, 3-1-1. The 4-0-1 team still has to play both of the 4-1 teams in the last two weeks. The draw came between the 4-0-1 and 3-1-1 teams. And the 4-1, 4-1, 3-1-1 form a cycle where each beat one of the others. I was planning on looking at all the different ways the last 2 weeks could play out when I remembered the Sports Club Stats website. It simulates the games in the regular season of the NHL (and many other leagues) to paint a picture of who's likely to be making the playoffs. It also has a feature allowing you to upload your own rec league so I decided to look into creating a league on there to see if it could handle our league. It turned out to be fairly easy to do (I had to type out all the games for every week and include the scores for finished games) but I actually like doing repetitive data entry and it didn't take very long.
The results are here.
I believe the simulator places a fairly large emphasis on prior goal differential being a predictor of future results. He's been running the simulator for many years so I imagine this predicting method works well for real sports. There's been some debate about how reasonable it is for Blood Bowl. In hockey if you get ahead by one goal early you can't reasonably expect to just hold onto the puck for the rest of the game. In Blood Bowl it can happen, and can be the right play. In my game against Randy I went up 1-0 in the first half, got the ball in the second half, and refused to move. My dwarves just stood in a big pile punching any elf that dared try to get at the ball. If I'd tried to score then there would have been a reasonable chance at winning 2-0 or 2-1, but it would have opened up an opportunity to tie 1-1 or maybe even lose 2-1 since elves can do all sorts of crazy things. I took my guaranteed win (I think I took a shot to score at the end of the half and failed) and only added 1 to my goal differential. Is that actually worse than when Robb ran up the score and won 4-0? I don't know. My team doesn't have the explosive ability to score 4 times and his does, so maybe it is reasonable.
At any rate, my group (group 2) has the 4 teams sitting between 72 and 80% chance of making the playoffs. The simulator pegs the odds of the 3-1-1 team losing another game at 2.3%. That seems really low, and is likely a result of the goal differential thing. His opponents are a combined 3-7 with a goal differential of -10 so maybe that makes sense? I did enter the odds of a tie at 25% which seems to be playing out in his numbers. Maybe that number is too high? Group 2 has only had 1 tie in 20 games. On the other hand group 1 has 5 ties in 20 games. Oh, small numbers of dice.
Despite currently having the second most points in group 2 I am currently the slight favourite to make the playoffs and to finish first. I have the advantage of still playing Sceadeau who is the only person ahead of me. If I win both of my games I'm guaranteed to finish first. Sceadeau is in the same boat. Win out and come first. On the other hand Sceadeau has two 'hard' games on the schedule since he has to play both the 4-1 teams. Lose them both and he's in a world of trouble. The other 4-1 team is really hoping we draw. I think that's his best chance at the first seed. Win out, and have us draw. Otherwise he needs to win out while Sceadeau beats me, or win out which I beat Sceadeau and then lose to a currently 1-4 team. All quite plausible, and he does have a 26% chance of finishing first.
The other division is more open. One team is eliminated. One team is guaranteed to make the playoffs and is 93% to finish first. Even if he loses both of his games he still has a good chance of finishing first. The other 6 teams all have paths to the playoffs and there's lots of interplay between them still. This week alone has current #2 in points against #3, #4 against #7, and #5 against #6. I think the large number of draws to date is what's causing the clumping and the craziness. Most everyone there wants to win while seeing everyone else tie again.
As far as my team is concerned winning this week would be awesome, but a tie is still really good. I'm guaranteed in the playoffs with a tie this week and a win next week. A draw will damage my chances of coming first and getting that precious bye... But I like playing games so maybe I don't even want a bye? We're playing cross groups for the first round of the playoffs so I'd get to play someone I haven't played yet. Sceadeau is playing Khemri and only has one guy with an agility above 2. I need to aggressively target that guy and hope he doesn't regenerate! Alternatively it's tempting to spend some money on petty cash in order to drug test his 'passers'. I don't want him to get a second guy who can handle the ball, or a first guy who can really handle the ball!