was looking at the MLS website's "expert's predictions and I got curious about their success rates. I ran some calculations based on the final 2011 standings.
34.6 % of the games ended in draws.
43.5% of the games were won by the home team.
21.9% of the games were won by the away team.
Or, to put it another way, about a third of the games end in draws. Of those that don't end in draws, the home team wins twice as often as the away team. (This is higher than I would have guessed).
Based on this, I would say the "experts" are pretty lame. If I just automatically predict the home team will win every match, my success rate will be 43.5%. This is what the average of MLSsoccer's panel is, and nobody is above 45%. If I throw in a random draw a third of the time, I should be over 50%.
I also looked at goal differential at home and away based on the current 2012 standings. With 197 games played, the home team goal differential is +107, or 0.54. In other words, home field advantage is worth, on average, about half a goal. (For the Timbers, it is 1.00, the highest in MLS. Montreal is the only team that is close to this disparity.)
It seems like someone could look at two teams' goals scored, goal differential, figure in a factor for home-field advantage and a factor for amount of draws, and make accurate predictions 60% of the time.
No big point, just fun to look at this stuff.