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Women’s World Cup 2019 group stage and knockout predictions


Women’s World Cup 2019 group stage and knockout predictions

Ahead of the Women’s World Cup, which starts this Friday, soccer expert Mark Taylor uses the Monte Carlo simulation to assess which teams have the best chance of progressing through to the final.

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In the previous article, we looked at ways to estimate the abilities of teams who will be taking part in the upcoming women’s World Cup in France.

We chose to use the FIFA ranking points accrued by teams as the basis for our assessment, as head-to-head meetings in competitive matches occurs less frequently on the international stage.

This time around, we’ll make Women’s World Cup predictions by using a Monte Carlo simulation of the group and knockout stages. It’s a useful concept because we can go well beyond having an opinion on just a single match.

Group and knockout stage overview

A team will play three group matches and then will need to win a further four knockout games to lift the trophy and although there will be numerous matches where one side is heavily favoured over another, some upsets will occur.

This will change the expected route a side may need to take to lift the trophy, and by simulating 1,000s of different iterations, we will inevitably include any less likely matchups that could occur over the month.

We can also investigate how the format may assist the better teams, particularly in the seeded group phase where a potential route to the knockout stages also includes one via a third place finish.

With such a large margin for error, it will be a major surprise if the knockout stage isn’t heavily populated by the higher-seeded teams.

The top two in each group automatically qualify, along with the four best third placed teams and this has created a hugely lop-sided likelihood of qualifying for the knockout phase.

15 of the 24 teams have at least an 80% chance of progressing, with nine having a 90% chance or greater. While the likes of Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroon and Jamaica each has chances measured in single percentage figures.

Italy, as a mid-ranked country, with two similarly competitive group opponents and the tournament’s lowest ranked team, in Jamaica has the most diverse and closely matched of routes to the knockout stage.

Their most likely route (32%) is as the 2nd best 3rd placed side, but there’s also around a 13% chance they could top their group and a 24% chance they could finish as runners-up.

Who are the tournament favorites?

Unsurprisingly, the big four in the tournament, host France, USA, Germany and England are strongly fancied to top their respective groups and this view is shared by a FIFA rating assessment of all six group matches for the teams.

They implied probabilities of topping their group are, respectively, 0.73, 0.79, 0.73 and 0.65, although France may benefit even more from home field advantage and Germany and England could also profit from a small home continent advantage for the competition.

The two group where topping the table is at its most competitive is group C, where Australia (0.59) lead Brazil (0.27) by just 59 FIFA points and group E where 39 points separate the higher ranked Canada (0.61) from the Netherlands (0.32).

These two groups also appear to be where there is a degree of disagreement between the current odds and the FIFA rankings as to whom will be the group topper.

Women’s World Cup 2019 group stage and knockout predictions

Team

To make last 8

To make last 4

To make final

Winner

United States

68

40

28

18

Germany

79

55

30

16

France

77

45

27

16

England

71

45

25

14

Australia

68

41

22

10

Japan

53

26

13

6

Canada

51

24

13

5

Netherlands

45

19

8

3

Brazil

48

22

9

3

Sweden

57

18

6

3

Spain

38

15

5

2

Norway

44

17

5

2

South Korea

28

11

3

1

Italy

28

10

3

1

China PR

25

8

2

1

New Zealand

13

3

1

<1

Scotland

3

1

<1

<1

Thailand

2

<1

<1

<1

Argentina

<1

<1

<1

<1

Nigeria

<1

<1

<1

<1

Chile

<1

<1

<1

<1

Cameroon

<1

<1

<1

<1

South Africa

<1

<1

<1

<1

Jamaica

<1

<1

<1

<1

Which teams face a tougher route to the final?

Another use for a Monte Carlo simulation is to highlight where in the knockout stage a side might face a tougher task.

For example, Spain are one of the top ten ranked sides whose progression to the knockout stage is virtually assured (>0.90). But their most likely opponent in the last 16 would be the USA should the tournament favourites top group F.

Therefore, the route through the knockout stages can contain games of uneven difficulty and a simulation approach can easily reveal these, especially as group matches are played and some potential opponents become more likely challengers than others.

The top of the market is competitive amongst the top half dozen teams, particularly if we allow France more extra credit as hosts.

However, there seems little value at the very front of the market, although Germany do come the closest to representing a value price, until we reach Australia.

Australia will be available at a bigger price than that implied by the FIFA rating based simulation. They should have a relatively benign set of opponents in the early knockout rounds, have 12 squad players in the peak age range, along with an average of over 50 caps per player and are taken to at least outperform expectations.

Get the best 2019 Women's World Cup odds and World Cup betting advice with Pinnacle.

*Odds subject to change



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