World Cup Forecast Pool, with a Twist

The Brazilian Society of Operations Research is organizing a competition for predicting the results of the group stage at the upcoming World Cup.  If you have to ask for which sport, you probably aren’t the target audience:  it is for football (aka soccer).  Many sites have such pools for many sports:  for US college basketball, the OR blogs are practically given over to the topic every March.

This competition is a bit different though:  you aren’t allowed to simply guess the winners of each game.  First, you need to give probabilities of win, loss or tie, with scoring based on squared errors.  Second, you need to use some sort of model to generate the predictions, and be willing to describe that model.  And no fair modifying your results to better fit your own ideas!  You need to stick to the model’s predictions.    There are three subcompetitions, with track A allowing fewer types of information than track B, and track C limited to members of the Brazilian OR society.

There is quite a bit of past data on the players and teams, so perhaps it is possible to create useful models.  I look forward to seeing the results.  Deadline for entries is June 7, with games starting June 11.

2 thoughts on “World Cup Forecast Pool, with a Twist”

  1. Interesting post! Shame I’ve missed the deadline for this. Will have to stick with “normal” predictions.

  2. I put up a model in the Track A category – mostly just to make watching the World Cup that much more fun 😉 This World Cup is producing upsets all over the place so not sure if SSE will mean much for only one world cup.

    One thing that I do notice is that the mean and std of the SSE for the Track A appears to be lower than the Track C category (where you can estimate however you like)…so, it looks like on average that human intuition doesn’t help, and may even reduce, a prediction model’s accuracy. Fun stuff for a potential research paper 🙂

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