The Points System Needs An Overhaul

The points system used in the AFL is flawed. Every competition around the world uses a similar system, where if you win you gain x points, a draw/tie gives you half of the points for a win and get zero points for a loss. The AFL is no different: win and get 4 points, a draw is 2 and nothing for a loss. The AFL bills itself as a unique game, but there is no uniquity to the system that helps form the finals race and, ultimately, the Premiership.

I would like that to change. Here I will introduce what I call the AltFL system, a system that equally places emphasis on offense and defense as well as the scale of margin. The theory behind it is to encourage teams to score more, while penalising teams who don’t score then “splitting” the winning points up equally. Below has a few equations that will hopefully explain it somewhat:

Offense = (Amount of pts) * (Points For / (Highest Score Ever)) i.e. 2 * [Pts For / 239]

Defense is same as offense but negative (ie -2) and utilities the points conceded instead of points for.

The “wins” equation uses Pythagorean Expectation (see here for an in depth explanation and how it relates to the AFL) and is multiplied, in my calculations, by 4.

This throws up some interesting results when the Lazy Man’s version is used on season 2015. Hawthorn and West Coast finished the year as 1 and 2 on the AltFL’s pre finals ladder, with both teams ending up playing off in the Grand Final. Fremantle, under the AltFL system, would have been a big loser falling from first on the AFL ladder to 7th. But there were no other big changes, only Adelaide (5th up from 7th) moved more than 1 ladder position. The AltFL ladder successfully tipped (in relation to the AFL ladder) 6 teams, but only tipped the top 2 when it came to the after finals AFL ladder.

How will the system go this season? Will it be a true indicator of strength? All will be revealed in Season 2016.

The Beginning

When I first had the idea to try to predict AFL games (back in 2009), it was all about trying to tip better that those in competition x. I had no idea that there would be others who have thought the same. But there is, namely Tony from Matter of Stats and the Footy Maths Institute (the guys at Hurling People Now give great insights into club lists also).

I am going to (hopefully) be doing some ratings of my own and be publishing the results of which here. So starting from the Pre-Season competition, I will be looking at the past and what is to come for season 2016.