So, there's this guy named Steve. Here's a description of him: "Steve is very shy and withdrawn, invariably helpful, but with little interest in people or the social world. A meek and tidy soul, he has a need for order and structure and a passion for detail." I'll throw in one more clue: Steve lives in the United States.
Now that you know a little bit about Steve, try to answer these questions: Is Steve more likely to be a farmer or a librarian? And: Is Steve more likely to be a farmer or a salesman?
Got it? OK -- and here's why you (probably) got it wrong. Although he certainly sounds like a librarian, Steve is way more likely to be both a salesman and a farmer. To be specific, he's 83 times more likely to be a salesman and 22 times more likely to be a farmer. Why's that? Well, there are a lot more farmers and salesmen than librarians in the United States.
If you've heard this story before, you probably read it in "Thinking, Fast and Slow," the book by Nobel Prize-winning behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman. I bring it up to make the following point: We suck at predicting things.
And so, rather than try to tell you what is going to happen in the 2022-23 season right now -- at the beginning of July -- I wanted to point out a couple of outcomes that seem incredibly unlikely at this point in the summer but probably aren't as unlikely as you think.
Tottenham win the Premier League
We'll start with the most likely of these outcomes.
Most likely, you say? I thought, you know, Liverpool and Manchester City were arguably the two best teams in Premier League history. And didn't they both just sign the one type of player they were missing: gigantic, athletic, domineering center-forwards?
Yes, that is all true. They lapped much of the field on both points and goal differential.
And neither one was much of a fluke, as their underlying numbers were way ahead of the chasing pack, too.
On top of all that, you might now be thinking: "Tottenham weren't even third in winning points, scoring goals, or creating and preventing chances." Once again: All true! However, there was one major inflection point in Tottenham's season: They changed managers on Nov. 2, replacing Nuno Espirito Santo with Antonio Conte.