Swinburne tipping computer backs women’s AFL

Friday 17 February 2017

An AFL women’s match

The first season of the women’s AFL is well underway.

In summary

  • The Swinburne Computer has begun tipping the 2017 women’s AFL  season
  • The Swinburne Computer has been tipping men’s AFL for 37 years 
  • In 2016 the Swinburne Computer had a 70 per cent success rate 

Swinburne University of Technology’s tipping computer has shifted gears and is now tipping the Women’s Australian Football League (AFLW).

The Swinburne Computer has been predicting the results of the men’s AFL competition for the past 37 years, and now with the AFLW officially underway it is doing its best to predict the results, even if there is limited data.

“We’re basically starting off from scratch,” Emeritus Professor of Statistics and designer of the Swinburne computer Stephen Clarke says of how the computer will approach predicting the women’s league’s results.

With only four practice matches to gather data from before the beginning of the season and a new set of variables including how the players react to playing at a home ground and how they will perform interstate, Professor Clarke is using the season as a pilot program to help inform the computer going forward. 

“If the computer does better than 50 per cent, then I’ll be happy.”

Professor Clarke hopes to optimise the formula used to predict winners over the course of the season and implement changes for forthcoming seasons.

The history of the Swinburne Computer

Emeritus Professor of Statistics and designer of the Swinburne computer Stephen Clarke

“Originally the Swinburne Computer was run on the IBM mainframe computer at Swinburne, but over time it was transferred to a desktop computer,” Professor Clarke says.

In the 2016 season, the Swinburne Computer had a 70 per cent success rate, slightly above its usual 68 per cent long-term average. This year it is off to a rocky start trying to understand the AFLW, so far having a success rate of 50 per cent.

The Computer uses an adjustment system that is similar to what is used in international chess rankings. It gives a rating for each team and each ground, and adjusts ratings accordingly each week to calculate its own AFL tips.

View the tips on a weekly basis on the Swinburne Computer’s footy tips website.