Statistical Football prediction is a method used in sports betting, to predict the outcome of football (soccer) matches by means of statistical tools. The goal of statistical match prediction is to outperform the predictions of bookmakers, who use them to set odds on the outcome of football matches.
The most widely used statistical approach to prediction is ranking. Football ranking systems assign a rank to each team based on their past game results. Several different football ranking systems exist, for example some widely known are the FIFA World Rankings or the World Football Elo Ratings.
Football match predictions
There are three main drawbacks to football match predictions that are based on ranking systems:
- Ranks assigned to the teams do not differentiate between their attacking and defensive strengths.
- Ranks are accumulated averages which do not account for skill changes in football teams.
- The main goal of a ranking system is not to predict the results of football games, but to sort the teams according to their average strength.
Another approach to football prediction is known as rating systems.While ranking refers only to team order, rating systems assign to each team a continuously scaled strength indicator. Moreover, rating can be assigned not only to a team but to its attacking and defensive strengths, home field advantage or even to the skills of each team player (according to Stern). An example of a football rating system is the pi-rating system which provides relative measures of superiority between football teams (also applicable to other sports), and which is said to outperform considerably (in terms of profitability against the betting market) the widely accepted Elo rating system.
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