comscore Google: Betting markets better than data in predicting World Cup results
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Google: Betting markets better than data in predicting World Cup results

Both Google and Microsoft (via Cortana) have been predicting match winners during this World Cup and Cortana has so far been spot on 12 out of 12 times while Google predicted the outcome of the German

world-cup-2014-paul-octopus-google-doodle

world-cup-2014-paul-octopus-google-doodleBoth Google and Microsoft (via Cortana) have been predicting match winners during this World Cup and Cortana has so far been spot on 12 out of 12 times while Google predicted the outcome of the Germany vs France quarterfinals incorrectly. Google had predicted France to win, while we all know Germany won the game 1-0. Today Google came up with an explanation of why it got it wrong. Also Read - UEFA Euro 2020: Colourful Google Doodle kicks off European Football Championship

Google’s prediction model is based on data based on the first four games either team played during the World Cup. Also Read - Android 12 beta 2 rolling out: New privacy features, tweaked design and more

So, why did we get Germany – France wrong? In the first four games of the World Cup, France took more shots than Germany, had more shots on target, and their shots were from a more “dangerous location” (that is, closer to the goal). This information complements actual goals to form an ‘expected goals’ statistic in our model. Also Read - Sundar Pichai: 5 interesting facts about Google CEO you never heard before

Moreover, in the first four games, Germany allowed their opponents to take more dangerous shots, and thus the expected goal statistic was higher for their opponents. And, it allowed their opponents to pass better in their third of the field. In the Germany-France game, France actually outshot Germany with 13 shots vs. 8 for Germany, and 9 vs. 6 on-target. With a little more luck on their side, they may have pulled ahead.

Meanwhile, Google contends that Cortana’s prediction also relies on betting market, apart from other data points, which Google’s model lacks. Eventually, what this tells us is there’s only so much that pure data can predict. You can never discount luck and other factors that data cannot predict.

As for Google’s prediction of upcoming matches, it is predicting a Germany-Argentina finals. Now that’s one prediction we hope comes true!

P.S. The featured image isn’t representative of the Germany-France game and is an ode to Paul, the Octopus. 

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  • Published Date: July 8, 2014 9:48 AM IST



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