Early analytics has Tottenham Hotspur in the top four but not title race

The first Premier League prediction from fivethirtyeight.com have come out, and analytics have Tottenham in the top four but not as a legitimate title contender.

With the transfer window more than half over, preseason well underway, and real matches only a few weeks away, predictions for the season are starting to emerge. One of our more trusted sources for sports analytics, fivethirtyeight.com, has dropped the first numbers for the upcoming Premier League campaign and Spurs are in the mix. Although Tottenham has a clear shot at the top four, the numbers do not yet consider the lily whites title contenders.

Unsurprisingly, Tottenham is part of the top four conversation

Given the team’s finish last season and a productive summer transfer window, it was not surprising to see Spurs as a strong contender to finish in a Champions League position again. The current SPI rankings from fivethirtyeight.com are based on last season’s finish and summer spending; thus, Spurs remaining in the top four makes sense. Of note, Spurs were projected fifth before last season.

Until real matches are played, this is unlikely to change, and based on the results and summer; analytics see a repeat of last season.

Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Spurs are predicted as the top four and to finish in that order, with City winning the league by a quasi-comfortable five points.

Another two-team title race?

City is a near lock already, with a 91% probability of finishing in the top four. Liverpool is second with an 83% probability, with Chelsea (60%) and Spurs (42%) coming in a distant 3rd and 4th place.

The gap between the top two is exacerbated when looking at the odds of winning the league. City again leads with a 46% probability of winning the Premier League again, with Liverpool holding a 30% probability.

Chelsea is well below Liverpool, with just an 11% probability and then come Spurs with a 5% probability of winning the Premier League.

It is worth noting that the 5% probability of winning the league added to the 10% probability of finishing second, the 14% probability of finishing third, and the 13% probability of finishing fourth; that constitutes Spurs’ 42% probability of finishing in the top four.

If you are wondering, these probability statistics are based on 20,000 simulations of every game from the season. It does have some legitimacy but also favours those with a pre-existing track record of success, like City and Liverpool, particularly until real matches are played.

Relegation not a worry for Tottenham?

Until a team reaches forty points, relegation can be a concern; however, according to the analytics and those 20,000 simulations, it should not be a worry for Spurs or any of the teams above them, with each holding a less than 1% probability of being relegated.

Given Spurs’ finish last season, their coach, and the summer window underway, relegation should not be something on fans’ minds, but it is nice to see the analytics ‘feel’ the same way.

These predictions are just predictions; as we know from last season’s finish, anything can happen because while numbers can deceive, the ball never will.