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White Hart Pain: Here’s why you listen to Sir Francis Galton and back Tottenham to beat Liverpool

Here's why a 19th century mathematician says you should be backing Spurs this weekend

by Josh Powell | August 28, 2014

The ‘Regression to the Mean’ is a phenomenon popularised in the late 19th century by Sir Francis Galton, or G-Dog to his mates.

Simply put, G-Dog’s theory was that if a result is extreme on its first measurement, it will tend to be closer to the average the second time around. While that may apply to science, maths, physics and plenty of other subjects you can’t remember learning about in school, it also could apply to this weekend’s match between Tottenham and Liverpool. Here’s how…

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Bookmakers, punters and pundits alike will refer to this fixture at White Hart Lane last season, were the Reds ran riot, thrashing Spurs 5-0 courtesy of goals from Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling, Jon Flanagan and a brace from Luis Suarez.

But that result was the extreme result, and this weekend you might be better off siding with Galton’s theory that the result will regress to the mean, and that equates to backing Tottenham to win at 8/5.

Taking that result out of our statistics, Spurs’ record at home to Liverpool in the Premier League is very strong.

  • Of the 21 Premier League games between Tottenham and Liverpool at White Hart Lane, Spurs have won 11 of them, giving them a strike rate of 52 per cent
  • Liverpool have won just five times there since the Premier League began. A strike rate of just 24 per cent
  • Before last year’s thrashing Tottenham had won the last five league games at home to Liverpool on the spin

Brendan Rodgers Liverpool

The regression to the mean might not just apply to the winner of the match, but also to the scoreline. A 5-0 win between two sides with similar aspirations to break into the top four, and potentially mount a title challenge, is rare, and the average score between these sides in London is usually considerably tighter.

  • 76 per cent of the 21 games were either draws or one goal wins, suggesting a narrow win should be expected rather than another hammering
  • Seven of the 21 games have finished 2-1 to Spurs – by far the most common result between these two sides at White Hart Lane in Premier League history

Spurs are 8/5 to take all three points from Sunday’s game, and 4/1 if you fancy Mauricio Pochettino’s side to win by exactly one goal or 17/2 if you fancy it to finish 2-1 to Tottenham. Alternatively, if you think Sir Galton’s theory is completely meaningless in this instance Liverpool are 17/10 to win the match and 275/1 to repeat their 5-0 hammering.

  • The latest Tottenham v Liverpool odds are just a click away: Desktop | Mobile

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