eldavojohn writes "Strange things happen when math and sports collide and a recent paper claims that soccer matches are too close to random. More specifically, when using a Bayesian approach (after a match) to quantify the probability that the best team won they found it did not represent the relative abilities of the two teams. They concluded that 'a level of confidence that would normally be regarded as satisfactory could not be obtained unless the character of the game was radically changed.' And the suggested fix? Continue the match incrementally until the score differential becomes significant enough to satisfy the statisticians--although they recognize this as being a lengthy and ugly fix. The paper looks at some other interesting odds and concludes that the probability of the best team winning the World Cup is only 28%."
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