Monday, September 03, 2018

All-Ireland Football Finals Winning Margins (1892-2018) #Analytics #GAA

Yesterday's All-Ireland Final winning margin between Dublin and Tyrone of 6 points was the biggest since 2007 when Kerry beat Cork by 10 points. In 132 All-Ireland finals*, this was only the 10th time the winning margin was 6 points. Many football fans (me included) expected a bigger margin as the Dubs have been rampant this year. But a closer look at the winning margins since 1892 shows that overall the margins are quite small - the vast majority of finals are won by 4 points or less.

Click/Tap Image to Enlarge.
Data Source: Wikipedia.
The most common winning margin is 3 points (22 times), followed by 1 point (20 times) and 4 points (19 times). My €5 bet @ 7/2 with Paddy Power yesterday that Dublin would win by 1-3 points looked a good bet on the balance of probability. As you can see on the chart above, huge winning margins are rare. The biggest winning margin ever of 19 points was Cork's 6-6 to 1-2 win over Antrim in 1930. In more recent times Kerry's 5-11 to Dublin's 0-9 (17 points) was the biggest winning margin since Mayo's 18 point win over Laois (4-11 to 0-5) in 1936.

One point margins are common (20 times), though incredibly five of these occurred in the past nine finals. Unlucky for Mayo as they have lost three finals (2013, 2016, and 2017) by the minimum amount - all to Dublin.

So - if you like a bet on things like winning margins, be sure to look at the probabilities as well as checking on a team's form before you part with your money. In the long run, betting on winning margins of 1-4 points will pay off.

*Finals between 1887 and 1891 not counted as a goal was then worth 5 points. 

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