Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Importance of 2nd and 3rd Goals

Sometimes you don't know what you've got sitting in front of you. Story goes that a relative of mine ordered something from an infomercial which arrived with a set of circular decorative pieces. Not knowing what they were, they were cycled through a variety of uses and purposes. It was only some time later during the holiday season that a guest wondered aloud why there were napkin rings on the Christmas tree.

On Thursday I put together a crude statistical assessment of the value of a goal [What's a goal worth?]. In doing so I found the winning percentage of a team based on their goal total. All just as a step along the way to putting a value on a single average goal.

Looking back over the numbers it occurred to me that I hadn't given enough attention to those intermediary statistics.

A graph of winning percentage based on goals scored looks like this:

Not surprisingly, the more goals scored, the more points a team is likely to earn. Obviously. But by looking at the points growth from goal-to-goal we can also take into account the value of each goal.

As you can see the first goals means little to additional points earned. Most teams aren't winning games 1-0. But it's those second and third goals that bring the greatest increased values. 

As with the previous assessment of an average goals value, it is crude, but it allows us to put an approximate number on something that we all know to be true.

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