PredictWise Blog

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.

Today’s Games: In the early game Argentina 64% faces Belgium 36%. Argentina and Belgium have both played solid tournaments, but both below expectations. That puts the early favorite Argentina still in the driver’s seat against Belgium. In the second game the Netherlands 80% have Costa Rica 20%. Costa Rica is the Cinderella of the World Cup, the only team with low expectations to make it this far. Yet, it is unlikely that they will continue on past today.

Yesterday’s Games: Yesterday saw favorites Germany and Brazil both advance, as expected. The interesting thing is clear: the data is saying Germany over Brazil in the semi-final matchup.

Overall View: While I hate to talk about binary prediction, at 10-0 in the knockout rounds, there is not much movement on at the top! But, with Germany expected to beat Brazil, they are slightly more likely to win the tournament.

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

World Cup, Round 8, Day 1: Germany, France, Brazil, and Colombia

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Today’s Games: 134 years ago on July 19 France declared war on Prussia starting the ill-fated (for France) Franco-Prussian War. 100 years ago today the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria was laid to rest, one more turning of the wheel that would lead to full blow war in Europe by August 1, 1914. 74 years ago on September 1, 1939 World War II began with the German invasion of Poland; France fell on June 22, 1940. Meanwhile, today, Germany is 59% to defeat France 41%. While the French team has played well all tournament, the Germans are still a slight favorite. The later match features Brazil 69% to defeat Colombia 31%. Brazil is really benefiting from an easier draw than most, a little home field advantage, and less travel.

Yesterday’s Games: USA lost a heartbreaker to Belgium on Tuesday night. Argentina won a tight match against Switzerland.

Overall View: With the favorite teams going 8-0 in the round of 16 there is not much movement at the top.

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

World Cup, Round 16, Day 4: USA, USA, USA … USA, USA, USA!!!

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Today’s Games: USA is 36% to beat Belgium 64% at 4 PM ET today. The Belgium team was a pre-tournament favorite that has sunk in probability of winning the World Cup as they have played. They had an incredibly unimpressive 3-0-0 run in the weakest group. Pre-tournament Belgium would be a much larger favorite for this game. Argentina is 80% over Switzerland 20%. Argentina is a pre-tournament favorite which has also went a very unimpressive 3-0-0. They also had a weak group and they did not win big, but they did what they had to do and continue to be a tournament favorite. So far the favorite is 6-0 in the round of sixteen … I will be rooting for 7-1 with the underdog USA taking the lone steal. While Belgium is favored to ultimately prevail, I have the most likely outcome as 1-1 (could there be another set of shoot-outs)?!?

Yesterday’s Games: Yesterday saw favorites France and Germany both turn it on late. Germany is a slight favorite in their Friday clash.

Overall View: With the favorites continuing to roll along there is not much movement at the top. It will start to get interesting in the quarterfinals when favorite teams have to lose!

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

World Cup, Round 16, Day 3: France and Germany

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Today’s Games: France and Germany play their round of sixteen games today and both are big favorites to advance. France 82% plays the opening match against Nigeria 18% at noon ET. France was a big mover during the group stage; while they tied Ecuador, they demolished their two other opponents, including Switzerland. The second game features Germany 88% against Algeria 12%. Germany came into the tournament as the third most likely winner and continues to look strong. They are further helped by playing Algeria, who squeaked into the round sixteen with 4 points, by beating South Korea and tying Russia.

Yesterday’s Games: Yesterday’s outcomes were as expected, but very close games! Netherlands defeated Mexico by scoring in the 88’ and 94’ minute of regulation (for you non-soccer fans the game is only 90’ long, but the game does not end until they have accounted for any time the play on the field stopped). On a personal note, it was a lot of fun watching that game in a bar in Rotterdam, Netherlands! The second game went through overtime into penalty kicks with Costa Rica, the slight favorite, prevailing over Greece. Costa Rica played down one person for about 60 minutes. The red card (or in this case two yellow cards) is one of the harshest in-game penalties in sports.

Overall View: Again, yesterday’s outcomes did not make a huge dent in the likely winner. Brazil is still most likely with about 25%, followed by Germany, Argentina, and the Netherlands. France, pending a victory today, will join the top five tomorrow.

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