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Soccer Matches as Experiments - How Often Does the 'Best' Team Win?Models in which the number of goals scored by a team in a soccer match follow a Poisson distribution or a closely related one, have been widely discussed. We here consider a soccer match as an experiment to assess which of two teams is superior and examine the probability that the outcome of the experiment (match) truly represents the relative abilities of the two teams. Given a final score it is possible by using a Bayesian approach to quantify the probability that it was or was not the case that the best team won. For typical scores, the probability of a misleading result is significant. Modifying the rules of the game to increase thc typical number of goals scored would improve the situation, but a level of confidence that would normally be regarded as satisfactory could not be obtained unless the character of the game were radically changed.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Skinner, Gerald K. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Freeman, G. H. (Warwick Univ. Coventry, United Kingdom)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2009
Subject Category
Statistics and Probability
Distribution Limits