A study of a number of pundits, journalists and AI bots found that Michael Owen was the best at predicting how the football Premier League would finish.
“Michael Owen is single handedly the most clueless pundit of all time.” @amitTHFC
“Mr Owen, I have to question your credentials as a pundit!” @nochdawe
“I have totally no clue how Michael Owen can be a pundit.” @bernard_gooner
“Michael Owen for example, class footballer. Shite commentator and pundit.” @Nidge_93
“Michael Owen is the most biased and the least intelligent pundit I have ever seen on TV.” @femisobodu
A quick search of Michael Owen on your favourite social platform will turn up plenty of views such as the ones subscribed to above. But, a recent review by Betlings of a number of the top football journalists who predicted the Premier League at the start of the season have shown that Michael Owen, writing on the BetVictor blog, was by far the most accurate at predicting where teams would finish. Not only did he finish ahead of fellow former players Robbie Savage and Matt Le Tissier, but also ahead of several AI/Machine Learning predictions and writers for FourFourTwo and The Guardian.
He is followed by @JPW_NBCSports at NBC Sports with 64 errors.
Some extra cred goes to @philmcnulty for being one of very few who believed Sheff Utd wouldnt be relegated.
— Betlings (@betlings) July 27, 2020
What Did Michael Predict?
You can read through what Michael predicted 12 months ago here, but let’s take a deeper look and see what set Michael apart from the rest of the predictors.
Firstly, Michael got 3 teams spot on, more than 9 out of 10 of his adversaries. He correctly predicted Chelsea to finish 4th, Norwich to finish 20th and, crucially Bournemouth to finish 18th and get relegated. This was the outlier. Of the 11 tipsters that Betlings looked at, no one had Bournemouth in the bottom 3. Joe Prince-Wright was the closest, backing them to finish 15th.
Many pundits expected Chelsea, who had just been handed a transfer ban, to be in somewhat of a rebuilding phase. Although Michael and all 3 AI bots had Chelsea in the Top 4, others weren’t as confident, with some having them finishing as low as 7th.
Did He Back Liverpool To Win The Premier League?
Looking at the Top 2, the ex-Liverpool star had Manchester City and Liverpool the wrong way around. However, so did 10 of the 11 tipsters. Everyone Betlings analysed had both teams sitting in the Top 2, but only Matt Le Tissier picked Liverpool to win the league, so that error didn’t hurt him too much.
What Did Michael Get Wrong?
Across all 20 predictions, Michael only picked 3 teams more than 3 places away from their final position. They were:
- West Ham (predicted 7th, finished 16th) who many expected to perform better after promising Summer recruitment.
- Watford (Predicted 11th, finished 19th) who were relegated, but a team that none of the 11 tipsters had predicted to finish in the drop zone.
- Sheffield United (Predicted 19th, finished 9th), the surprise package of the Premier League season and a side who only Phil McNulty predicted to NOT get relegated.
Michael will once again be providing his tips and thoughts for the new season here on the BetVictor blog shortly, so keep your eye on our Twitter feed for more top-class punditry.