Recently, David Butler wrote on the complexity of the League of Ireland, an entry which attracted quite a bit of attention. The post had been stimulated by research we are conducting in the area. Another snippet from this considers the number of goals scored on the back of the various rule changes initiated in the League from 1971 to 2014.
One of the many common mistakes we make as decision-makers is to over estimate the chances of an unlikely event occurring, despite evidence existing to the contrary. One such example can be seen in sports betting. Betting shops often advertise score line results prior to games. One such example I saw recently was for the Burnley vs. Arsenal match. The ad read (if my memory serves me right), "Burnley 1 - 4 Arsenal 22-1. Bet €10 collect €230". The game ended Burnley 0 - 1 Arsenal. The simple fact is that very few games ever end up 1 - 4. The League of Ireland is no different.
Below is a matrix which provides an overview of the frequency of match results in the League of Ireland from 1971 to 2014. These results are very similar to those of the Football League in England.
In the context of the LoI more than 40% of games ended either 0-0, 1-0, 0-1 or 1-1. Including games that finished 2-0, 2-1, 2-2, 0-2 and 1-2 we find that more than 71% of games are covered by these nine possible score lines. Including score lines 3-0, 3-1, 3-2, 3-3, 0-3, 1-3 and 2-3, we find that 89% of games end in results ranging from scoreless draws at one extreme to games where both teams scored 3 goals each, with the match ended tied at 3-3. Every other scoreline is made up by the remaining 10%.
So when you watch a match, the chances of 1-4 are very limited. It's probably best to expect 1-1 or 1-0.