Premier League predictions

If at the start of the season you were to predict the finishing positions of the 20 Premier League teams and then compare your predictions with their actual finishing positions, if you had no previous knowledge of teams’ performance, what would be your expected margin of error? The measure here is the sum of the absolute differences between teams’ predicted and actual positions. So if every team was out by one (either over- or under-predicted), then it would be 20.

I’m not sure whether it’s easy to create a formula for n teams, but a random Excel trial of 26,126 such prediction sets yielded a minimum difference of 56 (an average discrepancy of 2.8 positions per team), a maximum of 192 (9.6 positions per team) and an average of 131 (6.6).

My brother’s performance in his work competition based on the teams’ current positions is 80, 0.4% of my random trials bettering this. Is 80 good? And where will he be in May?


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