Computer right so far - it's the Kangaroos


Students who enjoy Australian Rules Football may be motivated by this article. Whereas sporting predictions are often accompanied by odds, this prediction is given as a percentage. Omitting the possibility of a drawn match it is easy to state

Pr(North Melbourne win by 13) = 0.63.

The implications for other possible outcomes are not quite so clear. Is the probability of a North win by less than 13 points greater than 0.63? One might guess yes. Is the claim in the article that

Pr(Swans win) = 0.37

realistic with no condition set on the points? It might be interesting to discuss this aspect with the mathematics professor who wrote the computer program.

As with many articles which occur in the media before a big sporting event, once the event has happened, they lose their interest. An interesting topic for discussion with students is the difference between probability calculations for once-off events and those which occur over and over again, such as coin-tossing. How much subjectivity is involved in the two situations?

For those familiar with odds it would be possible to translate the 63% into an approximate odds ratio (8 or 9 to 5).


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