Brazil Serie A 2018/19 Season Preview
With the new Brazilian Serie A season kicking off in less than a fortnight, our Analyst takes a look at the upcoming campaign, using expected goals to select the best outright bets.
What happened last year?
Last season’s champions were Corinthians, who took an early stranglehold on the title thanks to going 19 games unbeaten. They eventually won the league with ease, finishing nine points clear of Palmeiras.
Coritiba, Avai, Ponte Preta and Atletico GO suffered relegation, whilst Sport Recife won their last three games to escape by the skin of their teeth.
The actual table only tells part of the story though, and sometimes doesn’t reflect a team’s performances in matches.
Infogol's Brazil Serie A expected goals (xG) table - sorted by Expected Position
According to Infogol’s expected table from last season, sixth-placed Flamengo were the best team in the league. They had by far the highest expected goal difference (xGD) over the 38 games, and were the best attacking team (61.2 xG), so were extremely unlucky to finish as low as they did.
Corinthians were very impressive too, though were very fortunate in the first half of the season as can be seen in their 6 game xG graphic below. They really stepped on the gas in the second half of the season though, and their process improved vastly.
Corinthians 6 game rolling Expected Goals (xG) - the green line represents where their process began to improve
Santos managed to finish third but based on chances created and conceded in matches, they were the third worst team in the league. They bettered their xGD by 18 goals, an over-performance that is unsustainable.
As can be seen in the sparkline below, only three teams kept a positive 10 game xGD average all season long; Corinthians, Palmeiras and Flamengo – with Flamengo’s consistently the highest compared to the others.
Infogol's Brazilian Serie A 2017/18 Season Sparkline
Teams whose process was impressive and deserved more reward were Vitoria and Sport Recife, both of whom were embroiled in a relegation battle. Vitoria, who finished 16th, were the sixth-best team according to xG, and as the sparkline shows, their rolling xGD was positive for almost the whole season.
Sport Recife beat the champions Corinthians on the final day of the season to deservedly stay up, our data suggesting that their most likely finishing position based on performances was eighth.
Who will win the title this year?
Palmeiras are the bookmaker’s favourites to win the title this season, but at 4/1 they look very short, especially when you factor in that they had only the fifth-best process last season.
Flamengo are second favourites at 6/1, and they look a much better bet given how well they performed last year. If they can maintain their process, they will be in with a big shout of lifting the trophy.
Of the rest, Corinthians make some appeal at 9/1, especially given how comfortably they won the league last year, and that their process was very good. Atletico Mineiro and Cruzeiro are both 7/1 shots, but lack of consistency in their process last season (see sparkline) suggests they are best left alone.
Another intriguing and closely contested Brazilian Serie A season is expected, with plenty of teams in with a chance of winning the league. Preference is for the best team on our data from last season, Flamengo, who look a good bet at 6/1. Corinthians at 9/1 is a good each-way bet also.
Flamengo to win the title @ 6/1
Corinthians to win the title e/w @ 9/1