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World Cup Forecasting Challenge For Quants

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the kickoff-in-four-days dept.

Math 111

databuff writes "As a break from projecting the strength of subprime mortgages, credit default swaps, and other obscure financial instruments, quantitative analysts at Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, UBS, and Danske Bank have modeled the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Now Kaggle has set up a forecasting competition, allowing statisticians to go head-to-head with these corporate giants. The challenge is to predict how far each country will progress in the tournament."

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111 comments

What's the x-bar (3, Interesting)

Misanthrope (49269) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481684)

For somebody falling to the ground clutching their leg long enough to get a card thrown?

Re:What's the x-bar (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32482034)

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Re:What's the x-bar (2, Insightful)

Buelldozer (713671) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485172)

My son plays competitively on a travelling team at the 11 year old level and there is one team that they frequently play who uses this tactic. It's unbelievably infuriating that they get away this bullcrap at tournament after tournament! My son's team plays ultra clean and we play 85% or more of our games without a roughness call, but when we play this other team there will be at least three against us!

I'm a calm soccer parent, the kind that's telling the loudmouths to sit down and shut up but when we play this team I want to charge the field and twist the ref into a pretzel! It's so blindingly obvious that this other team is acting, and poorly at that, that I'm stupefied at the referees who give them call after call.

We played the aforementioned team at a tournament this weekend and I witnessed an elbow to the solar plexus so vicious that it left my son gasping for air and unable to move for lack of breath. No call for that since my son isn't a part time actor. 10 minutes earlier though when he used a shoulder to push off a player the ref was all over it, resulting in a PK for a goal. Players who go down screaming and crying in apparently agonizing pain but who are up and ready to take a PK 30 seconds after the ref runs over? How does this happen time after time in the same game without the ref figuring out that they're being played for fools?

In my opinion players who ham it up and pretend to be hurt, at any level of play, in order to gain advantage are cowards who should be booed by the fans and ignored by the referees.

Re:What's the x-bar (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32486844)

recreational soccer is serious business

Re:What's the x-bar (1)

awol (98751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32490196)

Naah, the correct punishment is for the offender to be offered the oppurtunity to repent their acting or else the offending team is actually allowed to hurt them as much as they are acting. I reckon diving would be out of the game in a minute. Particularly if teams started picking a "specialty" player who was say 2 metres tall and 125kg with a side line in debt collecting.

Re:What's the x-bar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32490884)

The only reason teams do it is because it's effective...most of the blame should go to the refs. Especially when the players are that age since they're likely just emulating their favorite professional players.

When I played youth soccer and we played teams like this, our coach would politely talk to the ref before the game and basically say, "We've played this team before and felt that they dive/act to get an advantage. I'd just like to ask that you remember to card players if you see them dive or pretend to be fouled." The refs would always shrug it off, sometimes acting offended that he'd tell them how to do their jobs, but we got a few cards for diving issued, so I think having it in the back of their minds reminds refs that diving is a cardable offense.

That said, playing dirty is, to some extent, part of the game. I played center back and was considerably smaller than most of the forwards for the other teams. A certain amount of pushing and shoving is allowed, so I had to resort to a few dirty tricks to stay competitive. I think my favorite was my trick for winning headers against taller players. I got good at jumping off my opponents' foot. If you time it right, they have your full weight on their foot when they try to jump and barely get off the ground while you get an extra inch on your vertical. And refs don't call it because they a) rarely see it and b) can't tell if it was accidental.

Re:What's the x-bar (3, Funny)

severoon (536737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486190)

It's obvious to me with smart people like this behind the analysis, we should bet big on the correctness of their projections. Perhaps we should tie our economy to their analysis in some way that will potentially result in a large windfall? Who's with me?

I for one welcome (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32481688)

our bailed-out, match-predicting overlords.

Re:I for one welcome (0, Troll)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 4 years ago | (#32483894)

World cup...this is soccer, right?

Feh...I think the larger question is, "Who Cares?"

:)

Re:I for one welcome (-1, Flamebait)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#32484402)

Seriously.

I swear, if I come to /. and see one more European/South American centric article, I'm out of here

Bias (4, Insightful)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481698)

There are numerous problems here.

Firstly is very few fans of football can truly consider themselves independent enough to do this well. I will try, but I just know my bias's will in the end have some effect on the outcome of my selections.

Secondly it isn't just about stats at something like the world cup where there are very few second chances and It is a game where you can completely dominate the opposition and still lose to a single error or bad ref decision.

Re:Bias (5, Funny)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481760)

They're Americans, they're most likely not football fans to begin with!

Re:Bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32482028)

Danske Bank (Translates to "Danish Bank" in Danish) is American? It's a strange world we're living in ;-)

For Americans: World = World ;-) (2, Informative)

fantomas (94850) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485258)

For American non-football fans, the "World" in "World Cup" means that lots of different countries from around the world participate. Different kind of "World" from "World Series Baseball" which I believe has a different interpretation of what the word means ;-)

Sorry, couldn't resist it ;-) Hey, you're in the football world cup too, and you're not too bad at the game either!

(yes I know it might just mean the name of a newspaper rather than a particularly limited view of how many countries there are out there...)

Re:For Americans: World = World ;-) (1)

huckamania (533052) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486400)

Major League Baseball attracts the best talent from the entire world. Japan has a Professional Baseball League, but the best players still come to the US to play in the Majors. Japanese players that come into the league are considered rookies, the same as some one coming up from Scranton AAA (minor league).

The same could be said about the NBA or the MLH. I'm sure there are enthusiasts for Russian Hockey or Italian Basketball, but try finding results in your local paper.

Here is my algorithm, starting with the final...

If (team.name = "brazil")
      Losses = 0;
      Goto End;
If (team.name = "germany")
      Losses = 1;
      Goto End; ...

Re:Bias (1)

BeardedChimp (1416531) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481786)

I'd be interested to know if they do any better than those who play fantasy footaball [wikipedia.org] . My guess is no.

Re:Bias (2, Interesting)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482112)

Of course, the two groups (Quants & those who play (& succeed) at fantasy football) are not mutually exclusive.

Re:Bias (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482146)

I think you should *read* that article on fantasy football. Hint: it's not about predicting games between actual, real teams.

Re:Bias (2, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481820)

Secondly it isn't just about stats at something like the world cup where there are very few second chances and It is a game where you can completely dominate the opposition and still lose to a single error or bad ref decision.

How does that differ from what the quants usually deal with?

Re:Bias (1)

umghhh (965931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482002)

On the face of it is as silly however the damage done to the real economy is much smaller if predictions do not cause collapse of economy (yes I know they are not guilty or not alone) or at least a small melt down so there is a difference albeit not the one suggested.

Re:Bias (2, Interesting)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482108)

I recommend Terry Pratchett's book 'Making Money'. One "quant" essentially created a glass model of economy which was so good, that he moved some money by manually moving liquids inside. It looks like our quants are beginning to have such influence on current economy.

Re:Bias (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 4 years ago | (#32483404)

You may want to reread the book. The gold was discovered to be missing by looking at the model, not the other way around.

Re:Bias (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486130)

And it was later brought back by tweaking the model.

Re:Bias (2, Informative)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32483586)

I recommend Terry Pratchett's book 'Making Money'. One "quant" essentially created a glass model of economy

As ever, truth is stranger [wikipedia.org] than fiction. Saw it on a BBC documentary/OU program once, it's quite possible that Sir Terry saw it too. - although he probably doesn't remember...

Re:Bias (1, Offtopic)

SoVeryTired (967875) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485456)

Tasteless.

Re:Bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32485658)

What's tasteless?

Re:Bias (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481882)

Firstly is very few fans of football can truly consider themselves independent enough to do this well.

Yeah one year where I work a French manager cleaned up in the office Aussie rules footy tipping competition using just football statistics and a copy of excel. The losers always bet their team to win.

Re:Bias (2, Insightful)

Starcub (527362) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482204)

Secondly it isn't just about stats at something like the world cup where there are very few second chances and It is a game where you can completely dominate the opposition and still lose to a single error or bad ref decision.

When I was in college, my buddies and I would frequently bet our money on the dog races. They published detailed stats for every race and you could compile a statistical profile of each performer. In fact, I wrote a program that attempted to predict the position of each dog in the race as the race progressed. However, what was not provided and could not be predicted is what dog would lose it's footing and go tumbling to the far rail and which part of the pack he would take with him.

Re:Bias (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32484416)

However, what was not provided and could not be predicted is what dog would lose it's footing and go tumbling to the far rail and which part of the pack he would take with him.

Of course it can be predicted.

You may not be able to, but that doesn't mean it's not possible.

Re:Bias (2, Funny)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485802)

Of course it can be predicted.

You may not be able to, but that doesn't mean it's not possible.

In fact, it's easy to predict when you're the guy with the control for the remote shock-collar.

Re:Bias (1)

eharvill (991859) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482330)

Secondly it isn't just about stats at something like the world cup where there are very few second chances and It is a game where you can completely dominate the opposition and still lose to a single error or bad ref decision.

This. World Cup 2002, US loses to Germany. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport3/worldcup2002/hi/matches_wallchart/germany_v_usa/default.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Bias (1)

Geirzinho (1068316) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486348)

Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans win.
  -Gary Lineker

Re:Bias (4, Insightful)

aBaldrich (1692238) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482348)

Here in Argentina we use to say that statistics are like miniskirts: they give you a nice idea, but hide the most important things.

Re:Bias (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32483076)

Here in Argentina we use to say that statistics are like miniskirts: they give you a nice idea, but hide the most important things.

Like Maradona's hand?

Re:Bias (1)

cHALiTO (101461) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486142)

Maradona wouldn't need to hide his hand under the miniskirt, he can just openly throw his hand in, it'd just give the press more to write about ;)

Re:Bias (1)

mallydobb (1785726) | more than 4 years ago | (#32484046)

and I predict Argentina will go far :)

"used to"??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32486822)

Here in Argentina we use to say that statistics are like miniskirts: they give you a nice idea, but hide the most important things.

Using past tense implies that you now believe that there is something more important than what a miniskirt hides.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32481706)

If there was a way to ram a credit default swap up a quant's ass, I would.

Considering how well they did in the past... (2, Informative)

Bysshe (1330263) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481710)

I wouldn't put too much stock in their predictions. You know its fishy when they forecast Angola as a "team with strong fundamentals and underlying security". (I'm not even sure Angola has a team).

Re:Considering how well they did in the past... (1)

databuff (1789500) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481782)

Worse than that, JP Morgan picked Slovenia to finish fourth. Ahead of teams like Germany and Slovenia.

Re:Considering how well they did in the past... (1)

Traxton1 (154182) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481858)

That does sound worse.

Re:Considering how well they did in the past... (4, Interesting)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481988)

Worse than that, JP Morgan picked Slovenia to finish fourth. Ahead of teams like Germany and Slovenia.

...that's basically how credit default swaps work.

Re:Considering how well they did in the past... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32489106)

As for kaggle I think it's better people focus their minds on the future http://www.globalconscious.com/
and not the present day betting stats

Re:Considering how well they did in the past... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32482266)

Slovenia ahead of Slovenia, that would be a great one ;)

Re:Considering how well they did in the past... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482336)

It could happen - you know how these Balkan countries are...

Re:Considering how well they did in the past... (1)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482662)

Actually, he said Slovenia "ahead of Germany and Slovenia." Now, the team of Germany and Slovenia does not exist, so we could form the vacuous statement, "If Slovenia and Germany and Slovenia play in the tournament, Slovenia will finish ahead of Germany and Slovenia." Vacuous statements are considered to be true in formal logic. Therefore, Slovenia will finish ahead of Germany and Slovenia. QED.

Re:Considering how well they did in the past... (1)

CaptnMArk (9003) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482884)

It's nice to see someone confuse Slovenia and Slovenia in the right direction for once.

Nate Silver, (1)

hoytak (1148181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481748)

we at slashdot would appreciate it if you showed those big banks how to work properly with stats.

Re:Nate Silver, (1)

databuff (1789500) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481804)

Did you see this? http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/12/world-cup-2010-advancement.html [fivethirtyeight.com] Would be nice if he entered. Or else it looks like there's enough info for somebody to enter using his behalf.

Re:Nate Silver, (1)

eharvill (991859) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482362)

Interesting. At a high level I can mostly agree with the stats. I am surprised that it has Ivory Coast with a higher percentage to advance than Portugal. Even with a healthy Drogba (not sure if he's going to play yet anyway) I don't see that happening.

We all know how good these guys are at predictions (0)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481796)

I'm sure they'll have no problem picking the winning team , look at how well they forecasted the crash of arrival of the global financial crisis..

Oh , wait...

Re:We all know how good these guys are at predicti (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32481986)

You're not as clever as you think you are.

Meta-Competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32481840)

Where's the competition to predict who will win the prediction competition?

Don't they have other things to do? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32481938)

I mean, the financial market is still a mess and I'd rather have them working on the real issues we face. Or is this a quick glance at what actually always goes on at those companies? Are they nothing more than professional gamblers and don't care about their responsabilities?

You got it in one (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482104)

"Are they nothing more than professional gamblers and don't care about their responsabilities"

Stock markets are nothing more than casinos for the more "respectable" end of the social spectrum.

Re:Don't they have other things to do? (2, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482368)

I mean, the financial market is still a mess and I'd rather have them working on the real issues we face.

I'd say anything that distracts them is a good thing. Of course I'm saying that based on their previous performance, which is exactly the kind of thinking that got us into the mess.

Re:Don't they have other things to do? (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482480)

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

They could get lucky this time...

YEah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32481964)

What a bullshit...

For the record... (5, Interesting)

SoVeryTired (967875) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481972)

For the record, quants rarely try to predict things in the market. That's left to people who work in econometrics. The main job that a quant does is to price financial instruments in a way that is consistent with the market prices of other liquidly traded assets. I'm being deliberately vague about what precisely is meant by "consistent" because that often depends on the choice of model, but there are also model-free results which require certain asset prices to obey certain relations: put-call parity [wikipedia.org] , for example.

Re:For the record... (1, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482018)

For the record, quants rarely try to predict things in the market.

I'm not sure the distinction you are using. Quants predict nothing. They are used to see which companies appear undervalued, and thus would be good values (and not in the sense of a value vs growth company). They are also used to determine which appear overpriced. Then, if you hold shares in an overvalued stock, you sell it and buy the undervalued one. Of course, Google has perpetually be "overvalued" even while rising in value greatly, and many companies with troubles have been "undervalued" while their stock dropped.

But it's true that quants are never used to "predict" anything like a specific target price. They are used as an indicator to the relative valuation of a stock based on numerical data to determine whether it is expected to go up or down in value in the future. But then, that sounds a lot like a prediction, even though everyone working with them will say they don't predict anything. Or, to more plainly state my opinion on the matter and your statement, they don't actually predict anything, but they are often used in order to predict things.

Re:For the record... (4, Insightful)

SoVeryTired (967875) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482044)

I'm not sure the distinction you are using. Quants predict nothing. They are used to see which companies appear undervalued, and thus would be good values (and not in the sense of a value vs growth company). They are also used to determine which appear overpriced.

I think that's more like a financial analyst. A quant typically works one level of abstraction away from the stock market itself, calculating prices and hedging strategies for stock options or credit default swaps, say.

I know there's a lot of anti-quant sentiment around at the moment, and this being slashdot, I'd like to add a disclaimer: I'm just trying to describe the job that a quant does in theory. I'm not making any statement about whether the methods they use at present are effective. Please keep that in mind before flaming me.

Re:For the record... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32484848)

Please keep that in mind before flaming me.

You must be new here...........;)

Re:For the record... (2, Interesting)

InbredTom (1189565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482166)

Just to furnish your comment with some more detail. Quants calculate the risks attached to financial instruments. So they can tell you, statistically, what losses may be incurred on an asset in a given time frame or how you should hedge the risks attached to a complex financial security with simpler, more liquid securities. Now, of course quants can't predict the future, but they can (or at least should be able to) prepare you for future eventualities by assigning future eventualities with a probabilistic distribution.

So quants are well accustomed to considering future events, designing models of the future and identifying critical factors that future outcomes are particularly sensitive to. So by considering future dependencies and what-if scenarios, and then attempting to measuring these outcomes, quants are well qualified to model what may happen in the world cup. Now we know there is major unpredictability in sport--this is particularly true for football (soccer), and more so in a cup-format tournament--so much like their analysis of CDOs and other funky products, don't be surprised to discover they are all wrong!

Just my tuppence worth.

Stats game... (2, Interesting)

Dicky (1327) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481998)

<spam>If you think you're good at this sort of thing, you might want to join the free online prediction game I run [scorefive.com] . There's a US$50k prize up for grabs, if you're better than these guys...</spam>

(Yeah it's spammy, but check my account ID - it's not like I just signed up recently or anything)

Re:Stats game... (4, Funny)

frenchbedroom (936100) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482040)

STFU spammer !

*looks at parent's UID*
*gasps*
A 4-digit prime UID !
*slowly backs away from parent's lawn, sweating profusely*
Ha ha, my mistake, carry on...

Re:Stats game... (0, Offtopic)

alexhs (877055) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482408)

Well, it's the closest prime UID to 1337, but it's still not 1337. Lame.

Re:Stats game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32482768)

That's wannabe 1337.

Re:Stats game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32482268)

I see your spam, and raise you: http://scoreshelf.com

Re:Stats game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32482380)

I know you bought that ID in Ebay, lol. You chinese bot you.

How is this different? (1)

Clayperion (1763442) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482026)

How is calculating odds for gambling/sports forecasting any different from calculating odds for gambling/the stock market?

Re:How is this different? (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482060)

Because a company's bad 10 minute, or one man having a bad day, isn't usually leading to the demise of that company (things that could easily happen in sports, like overturning a 2:0 score to a 2:3 score in the last 10 minutes of a play). Or self-inflicting a goal, or taking a suspension (a red), or even colliding with a team mate (like the goalkeeper) and be taken out of the field on a stretcher.

Re:How is this different? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482386)

Or a crooked referee.

Re:How is this different? (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482586)

Yes and no.

In 10 minutes a company could be responsible for a giant oil spill which causes billions worth of liability.
In 10 days massive accounting fraud could be discovered taking down an energy trading company and a storied auditor.
In a day the markets could realize that a investment bank that's leveraged 40:1 primarily in MBS isn't worth a 10th of what it was last week.

etc. etc.

The fact that banks are engaging in this challenge strikes me as an admission that their expertise is fundamentally no different from bookmaking.

Re:How is this different? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32483692)

The first one of those is not like the other two.

In one of them a single error occurs. In the others, an ongoing continuous error is discovered.

My god! What have they done? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32482036)

Cease this madness now! If we allow these "Quants" to exist alongside normal humans, it won't be long before they take over the world! Quants already have prescient ability to predict the future. Soon, their brains will massively enlarge while their limbs and body will atrophy. They will become soulless living computers, suspended in nutrient tanks. Do we really want to be ruled by such monstrosities? Enact the Anti-Mutant Acts now before it is too late.

Just use the odds from any sportsbook to beat them (1)

webplay (903555) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482088)

Just go to Vegas or look up the current World Cup odds at any online sportsbook and it is very likely that these odds are better predictions than whatever they came up. These sportsbook odds are based on actual money bet by people who know something about sports betting instead of financial types. If these quants were actually confident that they had some sort of an edge, they would put their money where their mouths are (and affect these sportsbook odds). Of course, these sportsbook odds are also affected by amateurs, but the same is true with almost anything else, like the stock market. Another issue is the smaller liquidity compared to the stock market, but the amount of money bet on the World Cup should be large enough to make it less of an issue.

A cheaper proposal: (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482098)

For just $10,000 in unmarked and nonsequential bills, Vinnie "the kneecap" is willing to venture a prediction as to when any particular team is going to drop out.

"When yous got a problem, pick Vinnie. We don't predict; we Promise."

Marked sequential bills will also work (1)

nroets (1463881) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482610)

Why hire Vinnie when the locals are so much better at it [iol.co.za] ?.

Markov Chain Monte Carlo Online WorldCup Simulator (2, Interesting)

dcmouser (980136) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482100)

I've written an online Markov Chain Monte Carlo simulator where people can experiment with pairwise team predictions in order to not just predict tournament winners, but more interestingly, to evaluate the most profitable expected payoffs from current betting odds (which are almost never the most likely teams to win). The page goes into the statistical basis of Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) quite a bit, and the simulation is all done client-side using javascript. Might be interesting for those who like this kind of stuff. http://www.donationcoder.com/wcp [donationcoder.com]

Stop the quants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32482168)

After spoiling the global economy, if not enough, quants want know to spoil soccer.

Is anybody has a method to get rid of these assholes ?

Chanel JewelryChanel Jewelry SaleChanel Bangles (-1, Offtopic)

Corrinla (1827876) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482206)

chanel jewelry [chaneljewelryhotsale.com]

For what it's worth... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32482212)

Spain or Brazil - the same as the bookies. So what do the brokers say?

Banks are using other peoples money to make money for themselves, then claiming it's all down to such highly skilled workers (what a joke).

Brains / intelligence has NOTHING to do with the amount of money you earn. I mean am I really supposed to believe that a nurse that wipes other peoples dirty asses are worth less than a gambler? Or a surgeon that saves lives?

Banks that use other peoples money SHOULD be paying dividends back, not cashing in and paying their bosses six figure salaries. It's not as if a clerk gets a share of that whopping bonus pot. Oh and has anyone actually been charged with fraud yet because that is exactly what happened, on a grand scale!

Their predictions suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32482232)

England is overvalued in every model. People who think England is good usually do so based on the performance of their local teams. Most of the players on those teams aren't British, and will be playing for their own national teams. England is left with a bunch of crappy players.

The U.S. is potentially undervalued, although they are a risky bet. Their problem has usually been a lack of strikers who could score. They handled themselves well in defense and midfield, but couldn't reliably score. This year, they appear to have solved that problem, but the recent friendlies have shown that they have some problems with their defense they need to work out. There's a good chance they'll have it worked out though, as it's not so much a problem with lack of talent, just bad planning (not covering some players, bad positioning, etc).

For the safe bets look at Brazil, Germany, Italy, and France.

Goldman Sachs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32482260)

Didn't they take an ex-employee to court for stealing software that they claimed could be used to fix (as in rig) the market? Maybe I am misremembering.

Crowd source (1)

symes (835608) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482720)

This is a classic case where the mean crowd response is likely to have greatest predictive success - in which case just looking at global betting markets will give the most accurate prediction.

Re:Crowd source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32483090)

Uhm, proof? Why should I accept that strong claim of yours? Citation please about how betting markets can predict soccer matches better than statistical models, or you're a liar.

Re:Crowd source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32483488)

I disagree. You would have to normalize for disposable income and population of betters. I.E. some function of odds and GDP by PPP and Population. Because odds are generally set by the law of supply and demand a bunch of very hopeful englishmen can drive up the chances of the english team winning.

Re:Crowd source (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32483724)

Crowdsourcing is so last year.

Knowing how they like to do business (1)

ComputerGeek01 (1182793) | more than 4 years ago | (#32483150)

Are they releasing these "odds" to the public while betting against them?

lmao (2, Insightful)

Alinabi (464689) | more than 4 years ago | (#32483688)

Who knew JP Morgan had a sense of humor? I mean, England World Champions? Hilarious!

Not too new (2, Informative)

KGBear (71109) | more than 4 years ago | (#32484038)

15 years ago, when I was working as a Systems Analyst at a Brazilian bank that shall remain nameless, it was common knowledge that trading desks all over the country were engaging in this kind of thing. They would create "financial products" tied to World Cup statistics and use all the technology, corporate and individual knowledge at their disposal to try to predict the outcomes and win or lose huge sums of money. Individuals bet with their own money and the corporations they worked for (and who provided the infrastructure for this) tended to look the other way. One such "product" I remember well was the so-called "GDC" ("Gols Da Copa" - Cup Goals) which created a market around the total number of goals to be scored during the World Cup. I knew one trader who payed for his house with his GDC money. Most of the time it was a mostly harmless hobby (if you discount the fact that gambling is illegal in Brazil) but as the World Cup final approached, I was very aware that the resources who were supposed to be working on models of commodities, foreign exchange and other markets did little else than model the World Cup; this included both people and computational resources. I wonder if some of my old colleagues in Brazilian banking ended up finding positions in Wall St.

Re:Not too new (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#32484576)

I would think that if I were running an investment bank I would encourage my employees to engage in this sort of behavior - use company resources, but not funds. I think this sort of thing would make for remarkably good training for predicting actual financial markets. This fact is also why I think the economic utility of investment banks is wildly overstated.

Just a guess here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32484770)

The football will deflate. The stadium will catch on fire. The fans will stampede and some will die. But it's all okay because the quantitative analysts and the brokerage houses will steal a ton of money!

One word... (1)

the_hellspawn (908071) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485680)

Italia

Re:One word... (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 4 years ago | (#32487172)

What is "The country where pizza was invented, Alex?"

Another sophisticated _free_ contest (1)

juosukai (1714458) | more than 4 years ago | (#32487282)

http://bit.ly/a5OAnH [bit.ly]

(usenet, rec.sport.soccer).

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