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Groll, Andreas; Kneib, Thomas; Mayr, Andreas and Schauberger, Gunther (22. July 2016): Who’s the Favourite? – A Bivariate Poisson Model for the UEFA European Football Championship 2016. Department of Statistics: Technical Reports, No.195 [PDF, 588kB]


Many approaches that analyze and predict the results of soccer matches are based on two independent pairwise Poisson distributions. The dependence between the scores of two competing teams is simply displayed by the inclusion of the covariate information of both teams. One objective of this article is to analyze if this type of modeling is appropriate or if an additional explicit modeling of the dependence structure for the joint score of a soccer match needs to be taken into account. Therefore, a specific bivariate Poisson model for the two numbers of goals scored by national teams competing in UEFA European football championship matches is fitted to all matches from the three previous European championships, including covariate information of both competing teams. A boosting approach is then used to select the relevant covariates. Based on the estimates, the current tournament is simulated 1,000,000 times to obtain winning probabilities for all participating national teams.

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