Move Over Paul The Octopus – AA’s Numbers Geeks Have The Euro’s All Sorted

If you want to beat the bookies in the coming Euro championships there is a squad of number-crunchers in the AA’s Dublin office who may just be able to give you the edge.


The Pricing and Analytics team has assembled a mathematical model to assess exactly how the tournament is going to work out. It looks more blue than green with France emerging favourites with Ireland, north and south, struggling to make up the numbers. The Republic will (just) make it out of their group but have only a 1% chance of making the final.


Pricing Director Mark Watterson, born optimist and supporter of both Ballymena United & Northern Ireland, reports that the final will be a dull affair with France edging out Spain 1-0.


The team gathered data from many sources; bookies odds, previous match results, team rankings and pieced them together to give each team an attacking and defensive rating. They then put the data through a mathematical simulation model for the entire tournament, game by game, and ran the computations 10,000 times across 150,000 matches.The result is a prediction of the tournament winner and the finishing every position for every team.


The AA’s Analytics team includes actuaries, engineers, statisticians and even a PhD in Astrophysics. They like nothing better than writing code and don’t like to be disturbed when in full flight. When they are not programming optimisation algorithms they like to see if they can put one over on the bookies.


So what does the model tell us?

-France will just shade out Spain 1-0 in the final. They will overcome  Germany in the semis while Spain will edge out Portugal after penalties

-Ireland’s group winner Italy edged out by Germany in the Quarters

-France have a 22% chance of winning, Germany second at 16%, followed by Spain at 14% with England fourth with a 9% chance

-If you want to beat the bookies the value bet for dark horses are Russia and Austria which the AA calculates should be 30/1 and 24/1 while you can back them all the way out at 40/1 with Paddy Power

-For Irish fans, Ireland will start out with a battling 1-1 draw with Sweden before losing to Belgium then finally salvaging a draw with Italy in the final game to grab a spot in the Last 16 as one of the best third place teams. They have a 52% chance of making the last 16 but just a 1% of making it to the final

-Not as good news for Northern Ireland fans who have just 33% chance of progressing from the group

-Wales reach the knockout stages in 55% of the time but only make it to the Quarter finals 22%

-England’s impressive run through the qualifiers will continue through the group stages where they have a 90% chance of progressing out of the group and a 59% chance of making the quarter final. They have a 33% of matching their previous best Euros position and making the semi final


AA’s Conor Faughnan says:


“When we can get them to concentrate on their day jobs, the AA pricing team spend their time making sure that AA Patrols get to our members quickly by placing them in the most likely breakdown locations. The also calculate and set the prices for all AA products.”


The model was built mainly by champion geeks Paul Connolly & David Connolly, no relation (we think). Paul used to be a Quant analyst in a bookmaker and dedicates his spare time to taking his former employers to the cleaners with elaborate models. David is a trainee actuary by day and a gambling enthusiast by night.


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