Recent Changes

Playoff Odds

This system is an attempt to model the Major League Soccer season, and provides useful insight into the probability of various occurrences in the remainder of the season.

The algorithm projects the results of future matches by simulating them, using data about which teams are playing and where the match will be played. It uses the league-wide season-to-date scoring average to project the average number of goals scored per match, and contains an estimate of the league-wide home-field advantage calculated from previous 2016 results. Team-level data (see Power Rankings) are added to this model, although the algorithm currently finds that an MLS team's 2016 results have little predictive power when projecting its other 2016 results.

The algorithm results in a reasonable model for wins, losses, and draws, although draws in the 2016 MLS season (as of 2016 Aug 31) are running a bit ahead of what the model says they should have been. The actual schedule is used, and each match is simulated individually. The season is simulated a number of times (currently 100,000), and the results of the simulations are tallied and presented.


The algorithm uses the correct tiebreakers to break ties in the standings (wins, goal differential, goals scored) until reaching the "disciplinary points" tiebreaker. The system is not aware of various teams' disciplinary points, nor does it contain a model for estimating future disciplinary points, so remaining ties after the first three tiebreakers are broken randomly.

Power Rankings

The power rankings algorithm uses 2016 regular season results (including context, like home-field advantage) in order to estimate the performance of each team offensively and defensively. The offensive and defensive ratings are combined to produce a single power ranking.

The power rankings correspond to the relative frequency with which each team should score a goal against each other team. As such, they represent the probability that a team would win against other teams in a golden goal situation. High-scoring teams will tend to have more wins (and losses), and fewer ties. For this reason, given two teams with the same power ranking, the higher-scoring team should perform better in the standings.

Future work