PredictWise Blog

World Cup Recap: Accurate and Calibrated

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The PredictWise forecasts was 15-0 in the knockouts games (0-1 in silly consolation games). It certainly was exciting to watch this unfold as the data (heavily driven by markets) endowed me with a rooting interest for all of these games (with, of course, the notable exception of the USA v. Belgium game where I was rooting hard against the data!). Below are all of the games, after the group stage, and morning forecast:

All of these forecasts moved in real-time during the games; this was both a meaningful challenge and an exciting viewing experience. It is meaningful in that it test the infrastructure to deliver low latency, quantifiable market intelligence. It is an exciting viewing experience as the user gets to see an objective measure of the value of a key of play and current situation. I look forward to dissecting the time-granular forecast data in much more detail the near future.

While the error was low, the calibration was off for the knockout games. We had an average likelihood of victory of 68% for the favored team in the 15 knockout games. Which means we expected the favorite to win 10 of the 15 games. With a 15-0 record we underestimated the likelihood of any of the favorites winning the game; we should have had every team at 100%.

That being said, everything evened out nicely over the 64 games. Our forecasts in the knockout rounds did not include the possibility of a draw, so the likelihood of a draw is coded in as 0%. The morning of the game, the favorite team was forecast to win 59% of the games and won 66%, the underdog 23% and won 20%, and a draw 18% which occurred just 14%. Obviously, the 15-0 in the knockout round upped the average for the favored team a little too high; all of the buckets from 50% and above happened a little more often than they should. But, overall, hard to complain with this sort of calibration over 64 matches with 3 possible outcomes:

For a full recap of the World Cup coverage, please visit www.PredictWise.com/WorldCup.

All 64 game are listed below:

World Cup, Final: Germany for the Win

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Germany is 60% to win today over Argentina 40%. Both teams have played well enough to make it to the final. This was not much of a surprise as they were two and three going into the tournament, with semi-final loser Brazil as first. And, as noted from the beginning, Brazil was first not because they had the best team, but the home-field advantage. Argentina was slightly more favored going into the tournament than Germany for two reasons. First, they had slightly stronger fundamental data. Second, they had an easier group stage (Germany had to contend with USA, Portugal and Ghana).

For the sake of the score keeping I am going to pretend that the consolation match never happened! Seriously, why are they playing that silly match?!? With home team Brazil getting humiliated in the consolation match to Netherlands that makes us 14-0 in meaningful knockout games and 0-1 in silly consolation games.

Updating Predictions: likelihood of any game and likelihood of any team reaching any round. Details on method and full coverage.

World Cup, Consolation Game: Brazil to Rebound

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Brazil is favored at 63% over the Netherlands 37% in the consolation game today. After their disastrous loss in the semi-final game Brazil is likely to be extremely motivated to end their World Cup on a high note, while the Netherlands team, which lost their semi-final game in a shootout, is not going to be as motivated for this odd spectacle of sport!

Germany is favored in tomorrow’s final over Argentina.

Updating Predictions: likelihood of any game and likelihood of any team reaching any round. Details on method and full coverage.

World Cup, Semi-Finals, Day 2: Argentina over Netherlands

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Argentina 56% is favored over the Netherlands 44% in the second semi-final match. The game starts at 4 PM ET. Argentina got an early goal against Belgium in their quarter-final and then held on 1-0. Netherlands dominated Costa Rica in their quarter-final match, but could not put the ball into the net until the shootout.

Germany destroyed Brazil in the first semi-final match 7-1 (and that 1 goal came in the 90th minute). The game was a statistical toss-up, but feeling good about yesterday’s headline of Germany over Brazil!

Updating Predictions: likelihood of any game and likelihood of any team reaching any round. Details on method and full coverage.

World Cup, Semi-Finals, Day 1: Germany over Brazil

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Update: 5 minutes after I posted this the markets went to exact toss-up ... oh well, so much for thinking about binary outcomes as important today!

Germany 51% is playing Brazil 49% in the first semi-final game. The fundamental models that cannot account for injuries, like FiveThiryEight are going to give Brazil the edge (FiveThirtyEight is at 73% for Brazil). This is too high for two reasons. First, it does not account for two of Brazil’s stars missing the game. Second, it over accounts for Brazil’s home-field advantage. It assumes that Brazil is getting the typical home-field advantage for a World Cup game. But, this is the semi-finals and there will not be as much concern over Brazil getting eliminated (the World Cup would be disaster if Brazil got knocked out in the group stage, but will be fine if they got knocked out in the semi-finals). And, Brazil’s home-field calls are what made their quarter-final game chaos, if FIFA is smart they will make the referees call Brazil more fairly.

I generally do not put too much emphasis on the binary outcome, because there is no statically significance difference between 51% and 49%. But, the punters on Betfair have been incredibly consistent on keeping Germany on the winning side, so PredictWise will too.

Updating Predictions: likelihood of any game and likelihood of any team reaching any round. Details on method and full coverage.