PredictWise Blog

World Cup, Round 16, Day 1: Brazil and Colombia favored

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Today’s Games: There are two games today. The round of 16 kicks off the same way as the group stage with Brazil 79% over Chile 21%. Going forward I am only making probabilistic predictions on the final outcome, not on the outcome of regulation. This would be a much closer match if it were not played in Brazil; the roar of the crowd is important, but the subjectivity of the referees is much more important. The second game features Colombia 64% over Uruguay 36%. Of course, this would be a much closer match if Uruguay’s start player were not suspended for biting.

Yesterday’s Games: No games yesterday! Just the afterglow of the USA’s entry into the round of 16 on the boot of suddenly popular Ronaldo (who secured USA’s advancement by scoring on Ghana for Portugal).

Overall View: Brazil 24%, Argentina 18%, and Germany 18%, my top three teams heading into the World Cup, still look as strong expected (and still in the same rank order). The Netherlands, who started at 11th and France, who started at 6th, are the big upward movers and are now 4th and 5th. Spain was ranked 4th, which was my only team in the top 7 that did not qualify. Belgium, which rounded out my original top 5, actually fell in ranking, despite a 3-0-0 record. I now have them in 7th. Although, they are favored over USA on Tuesday.

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

World Cup Group Stage: Accurate and Calibrated

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The predictions were well-calibrated for the group stage. There were 48 games with three possible outcomes each. I took all 144 predictions and bucketed them as 0%-10%, 10%-20%, etc., and took the average prediction on the x-axis and the percentage that came true on the y-axis. The closer to the 45° line the better the calibration as that means the predictions occurred at the rate I predicted. And, this chart looks good! It is not surprising, because in aggregate, the average probability for favored team was 57% and they won 58% of games and the average probability for draw was 24% and they drew 19% of games. Thus, the draws were slightly over-forecasted and the underdogs winning was slightly under-forecasted.

I did not report binary outcomes for the group stage, but I did have predictions for which teams will get out of the group stage. This is not directly the same, but it is very close. And, they looked great as well. The highest likelihood team took the top seed in 6 of 8 groups. The second highest likelihood team took the second spot in 3 of 8 groups. Additionally, I had Netherlands as a second highest likelihood and they took the top spot in their group. Thus, 10 of 16 teams were favored with 9 of 16 teams favored in their position.*

As a comparison, Goldman Sachs had 4 of the top seeds and 1 of the second seeds. I did not capture all other predictions, but this record is higher than any of the other forecasts I followed.

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

*I updated my math: 6 + 3 + 1 = 10 ...

World Cup Day 15: USA, USA, USA … USA, USA, USA …

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Today’s Games: USA plays at 12 PM ET today and I have carefully outlined their path to the round of 16 here. In short, if they win, draw, or Portugal and Ghana draw they are in with 100%. If they lose and Portugal wins they are likely still in the next round. If they lose and Ghana wins they are in trouble. USA is 11% to win, with 56% to lose, and 33% to draw. This is the highest probability of drawing I have had for any game. Portugal is 50% to win, 29% for Ghana to win, and 21% for a draw. In the other group, group H, which is playing at 4 PM ET, South Korea is 20% versus Belgium 54% with 26% to draw. And, Algeria is 27% against Russia 47% with 26% to draw. Belgium is in with 6 points and Algeria has 3 points. So, if Belgium wins or draws, a Russia win would put them in the round of 16 and an Algeria win or draw would put them in the round of 16. South Korea’s 2.5% likelihood of advancing rests on a Russia win, South Korea winning by 2 or more goals than Russia beats Algeria. Eight teams go into this final day of the round robin and four teams will come out the other side …

Yesterday’s Games: Groups F and E went exactly as expected yesterday with Bosnia knocking down Iran to give Nigeria the second spot in group F. And, France holding onto the top spot with a draw, while Switzerland grabbed the second spot with a win over Honduras.

Overall View: Again, no substantial changes at the top with most of the pre-tournament picks continuing as expected. As of this morning there are 12 set spots in the round of 16 draw. We did not explicitly pick the binary outcomes, but we did have probability of advancing for all 32 teams. Of the 12 teams that have qualified so far, we had 8 of 12 as likely to advance: Brazil, Mexico, Netherlands, Colombia, Uruguay, France, Switzerland, and Argentina. For the other four teams, we had Chile at 49.9% to advance, Greece at 30.2%, Costa Rica at 7.7%, and Nigeria at 41.9%. Of the 12 teams that advanced, 7 were in the proper position (which means 58%

World Cup Day 14: Group E and F ... then the USA!

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Today’s Games: Groups E and F finish their round robins today. Group F kicks off at noon with Nigeria 10% against Argentina 65% with 25% to draw. And, Bosnia at 48% against Iran at 26% and 26% to draw. Argentina is through to the next round with 6 points and Nigeria is in command for the second spot with 4 points. Iran has 1 point and can tie Nigeria if they beat Bosnia and Nigeria loses to Argentina. If that happens, they will likely advance on goal differential. Group E feature Honduras 12% and Switzerland 67%, with 21% to draw. And, Ecuador 17%, France 59% with 24% to draw. France is almost definite to advance with 6 points, but Ecuador and Switzerland are tied with 3 points each. Switzerland is about 67% to advance assuming they are likely to take more points off of Honduras than Ecuador off of France.

Yesterday’s Games: Italy was the slightest of favorites yesterday over Uruguay, but lost in a tight 1-0 game. I am really at a loss to explain why Uruguay’s star player bit an Italy player, but it could cost them dearly if he is suspended. Another upset in group C where Ivory Coast advanced with a win or draw against Greece, but lost on a penalty in injury time.

Overall View: Not much movement up top today with none of the major favorites playing.

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

World Cup Day 13: Still no faith in Costa Rica!

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Today’s Games: Groups C and D play their final games today. The action opens with group D as England 55% hopes to provide some comfort for their early exit against the surprising Costa Rica 20% squad (with 25% for a draw). Italy 39% versus Uruguay 34% with 27% to draw is the more interesting match for the group. Costa Rica is through to the round of 16 with 6 points and Italy and Uruguay are tied with 3 points. So whoever wins is through and a draw would go to goal differential which Italy will win, as they are at 0 and Uruguay is at -1. Hence, Italy is 66% to advance and Uruguay is 34%. Group C plays next with Japan 25% against Colombia 50% with 25% to draw. And, Greece 23% against Ivory Cost 51% with 26% to draw. Colombia is through with 6 points. Ivory Coast has 3 points to Japan and Greece’s 1 point. Ivory Coast advances with a win or draw, if Japan loses or draws Colombia. Greece advances with a win if Japan loses against Colombia. Japan needs to win and Ivory Coast lose to have a real shot of advancing.

Yesterday’s Games: Mexico looked strong against Croatia for the second spot in group A. And the Netherlands looks strong against Chile in securing the top spot in group B.

Overall View: Not much movement up top today with none of the major favorites playing.

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