IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Solving the Problem of Inadequate Scoring Rules for Assessing Probabilistic Football Forecast Models


  • Constantinou Anthony Costa

    (Queen Mary, University of London)

  • Fenton Norman Elliott

    (Queen Mary, University of London)


Despite the massive popularity of probabilistic (association) football forecasting models, and the relative simplicity of the outcome of such forecasts (they require only three probability values corresponding to home win, draw, and away win) there is no agreed scoring rule to determine their forecast accuracy. Moreover, the various scoring rules used for validation in previous studies are inadequate since they fail to recognise that football outcomes represent a ranked (ordinal) scale. This raises severe concerns about the validity of conclusions from previous studies. There is a well-established generic scoring rule, the Rank Probability Score (RPS), which has been missed by previous researchers, but which properly assesses football forecasting models.

Suggested Citation

  • Constantinou Anthony Costa & Fenton Norman Elliott, 2012. "Solving the Problem of Inadequate Scoring Rules for Assessing Probabilistic Football Forecast Models," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-14, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:jqsprt:v:8:y:2012:i:1:n:12

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Forrest, David & Goddard, John & Simmons, Robert, 2005. "Odds-setters as forecasters: The case of English football," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 551-564.
    2. Victor Richmond R. Jose & Robert F. Nau & Robert L. Winkler, 2009. "Sensitivity to Distance and Baseline Distributions in Forecast Evaluation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(4), pages 582-590, April.
    3. Fildes, Robert & Stekler, Herman, 2002. "The state of macroeconomic forecasting," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 435-468, December.
    4. Fildes, Robert & Stekler, Herman, 2002. "Reply to the comments on 'The state of macroeconomic forecasting'," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 503-505, December.
    5. Gneiting, Tilmann & Raftery, Adrian E., 2007. "Strictly Proper Scoring Rules, Prediction, and Estimation," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 102, pages 359-378, March.
    6. Garthwaite, Paul H. & Kadane, Joseph B. & O'Hagan, Anthony, 2005. "Statistical Methods for Eliciting Probability Distributions," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 100, pages 680-701, June.
    7. I. Graham & H. Stott, 2008. "Predicting bookmaker odds and efficiency for UK football," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(1), pages 99-109.
    8. Gianluca Baio & Marta Blangiardo, 2010. "Bayesian hierarchical model for the prediction of football results," Journal of Applied Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(2), pages 253-264.
    9. Armstrong, J. Scott & Collopy, Fred, 1992. "Error measures for generalizing about forecasting methods: Empirical comparisons," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 69-80, June.
    10. Dixon, Mark J. & Pope, Peter F., 2004. "The value of statistical forecasts in the UK association football betting market," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 697-711.
    11. Leitch, Gordon & Tanner, J Ernest, 1991. "Economic Forecast Evaluation: Profits versus the Conventional Error Measures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 580-590, June.
    12. Hendry, David F, 1997. "The Econometrics of Macroeconomic Forecasting," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(444), pages 1330-1357, September.
    13. Goddard, John, 2005. "Regression models for forecasting goals and match results in association football," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 331-340.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Babatunde Buraimo & David Peel & Rob Simmons, 2013. "Systematic Positive Expected Returns in the UK Fixed Odds Betting Market: An Analysis of the Fink Tank Predictions," International Journal of Financial Studies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 1(4), pages 1-15, December.
    2. Siem Jan (S.J.) Koopman & Rutger Lit, 2017. "Forecasting Football Match Results in National League Competitions Using Score-Driven Time Series Models," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-062/III, Tinbergen Institute.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:jqsprt:v:8:y:2012:i:1:n:12. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.