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Soccer Betting Tips, Evolution of Predictions and the First Poisson Method

Betting tips help you predict the right outcome of the soccer match in order to place a bet. The most popular tips are the statistical predictions. Poisson method is the oldest prediction method and the one best known in literature.

This article summarizes the Poisson method for soccer prediction, its advantages and disadvantages.

Statistical soccer prediction methods mostly started appearing from the early 90s, but the first (and so far the most famous) method was published by Moroney in 1956. According to this method, soccer match scores can be successfully modeled as random observations drawn from the Poisson probability distribution. Let’s assume that x and y represent the number of goals scored by home and away teams respectively. Thus, according to the Poisson method x and y are random variables, each one coming from its own independent Poisson distribution. The Poisson distribution function differs for each team.

The function has its own parameters (mean in the Poisson case), defining the expected number of goals scored by the opponents. Once the parameters of the distribution function are correctly estimated, the match outcome can be successfully predicted. It is clear that when estimated empirically, the parameters of any function include some error due to the limited number of observations. Thus, the predictions of soccer match are usually incorrect. This estimation error defines the confidence intervals assigned to the predicted number of goals.

The main advantage of the Poisson model is its ability to predict the expected number of goals. It holds for almost all soccer tournaments. Additionally, the estimation of mean for the Poisson distribution is usually based on all the historic matches played during a specific tournament, thus making the estimation reliable.

However, this method has many disadvantages. It predicts scores for each team independently, not taking into account the opponent’s team’ strength; It doesn’t distinguish between the attack and defense skills of the teams and doesn’t consider the time-dependent changes of these skills; In addition, it doesn’t refer to the influence of home ground advantage on the final score.

All those drawbacks resulted in further developments based on this method. The newer methods distinguish between attack and defense strengths of the teams, consider the strength of the opponent team and take into account home ground advantage. We will discuss these developments in our next articles discussing the evolution of statistical soccer predictions.