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Football fans’ great expectations: why they should lower them by 10% | Greg Wood


Master statistician Nate Silver has crunched football’s numbers and found managers are paying price for supporters’ blind faith

How well do you know your football team? And how do you think they will get on next weekend? Because my bet would be that however well you think you know your team, no matter how dispassionately you feel you can assess their chances after season upon season of occasional highs and abundant lows, there is a database in the United States that knows a great deal more about your club’s performance than you do.

In fact, there are quite a few databases which contain more wisdom about the nitty-gritty of how and why football teams succeed or fail than any human could ever hope to learn. But the vast resource of sporting information and analysis on the website is of particular interest for two main reasons. The first is that they give it all away for free. The second is that it was founded by the statistician Nate Silver, who can fairly claim to have written the book when it comes to using statistics, data and probability to predict what will happen in sporting events, elections and much more besides.

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