Monday, 25 June 2018

World Cup Predictions: "Half-time" Summary

At the very beginning of the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup Finals we published a blog post showing our predictions for the tournament (informed by FIFA rankings, WSC's world cup guide, a Panini sticker album and lots of coffee) and also those of an experiment that we did with a pair of dice to predict the scores.



Readers of Soccer Mad Boffins will doubt have been losing sleep wondering how well our predictions have fared- and how accurate the 'dice' world cup predictions have been.

As we are now at the half-way point of the competition (32 games completed, 32 remaining) we thought today a suitable point to take a look.

Avid World Cup fans will already be aware that Russia 2018 has provided a lot of entertainment - from the use of VAR and goal-line technology, and the fact that after 32 games there have been no nil-nil draws and a total of 85 goals scored (an average of 2.7 goals per game).



If we compare this with our own predictions and those of the dice, we can see that Dr Alex G. Gillett is so far the most accurate predictor of total number of goals, whilst Dr Kevin D. Tennent had predicted a slightly more defensive start to the tournament, and the dice were wildly optimistic (although what a World Cup that would be!):



Alex (91 goals = average of 2.844 per game)

Kevin (64 goals  = average of 2.000 per game)

Dice (123 goals = average of 3.844 per game)



Regarding accuracy of exactly predicting the score-lines, again Alex is slightly in front of Kevin with 4 of the 32 games to date correct, whilst the dice have been completely wrong!:


Alex:  4 (Serbia 1 v 2 Switzerland ; Germany 2 v 1 Sweden; Belgium 3 v 0 Panama, and; Tunisia 1 v 2 England.)

Kevin: 3 (Uruguay 1 v 0 Egypt,  Denmark 1 – 1 Australia, Poland 1 v 2 Senegal)

Dice: 0



To make things more interesting, we employed a points based competition in which each predictor (Alex, Kevin and Dice) could win up to 5 points per game, following the simple rule of:

Correct outcome (win / lose / draw)= 3 points
Correct 'Home' team goals = 1 pt

Correct 'Away' team goals = 1 pt

So, for correctly predicting that England would beat Tunisia 2-1, Alex won 5 points (3 for correctly calling the win + a point each for the correct number of goals for each team).

Based on this formula our 'league table' looks very close between Alex and Kevin with a mere 3 points between them, but the dice are some way behind - the random factor notching up a mere 38 points to date:


1) Alex (84 points)
2) Kevin (81 points)
3) Dice (38 points)


However, we are only half way through the tournament.  Digging deeper into the data we can see that Kevin's belief in Argentina progressing to finish fourth was way-off, and that Alex's belief in the power of Iceland will perhaps prove to have been somewhat misplaced in light of their defeat by the 'Super Eagles' of Nigeria. Meanwhile, the dice's 'faith' in both Mexico and Switzerland is so far paying off - if form continues, that could shake things up quite dramatically.  

Remember, both Alex and Kevin have predicted Brazil and Germany to meet in the Final, whilst the dice have called it Mexico v Switzerland.  Only time will tell...there is clearly still everything to play for.




2 comments:

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