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During the South Africa 2010 World Cup, Paul the Octopus gained worldwide if fleeting fame by correctly guessing the winners of eight matches. Not bad for a cephalopod with no access to Big Data analytics tools! But we here at Baidu thought we could do a bit better. So our Big Data Group (BDG) and Big Data Lab (BDL) collected and analyzed global data on national football teams and professional club teams, and tried to find an optimal estimation of match result probabilities based on historical matches and match odds from several bookmakers and prediction markets. We tested the accuracy of match odds from bookmakers and the calibration results from estimated probabilities to empirical frequencies, to eliminate possible biases or noises.

Our model's accuracy was validated by the data from the elimination matches in the 2010 World Cup. We compared the results of elimination matches that our model predicted with the real results to calculate the accuracy rate. As seen below, the test results obtained 75% accuracy, where green indicates a correct prediction and red color is for a wrong one. We expect the accuracy to increase to about 80% after we further optimization and enhancement.

Match Time Real Results Prediction
2010/7/12 2:30 Netherlands 0-0 (0-1) Spain Spain Correct
2010/7/11 2:30 Uruguay 2:3 Germany Germany Correct
2010/7/8 2:30 Germany 0:1 Spain Spain Correct
2010/7/7 2:30 Uruguay 2:3 Netherlands Netherlands Correct
2010/7/4 2:30 Paraguay 0:1 Spain Spain Correct
2010/7/3 22:00 Argentina 0:4 Germany Argentina Incorrect
2010/7/3 2:30 Uruguay 1:1(4-2) Ghana Uruguay Correct
2010/7/2 22:00 Netherlands 2:1 Brazil Brazil Incorrect
2010/6/30 2:30 Spain 1:0 Portugal Spain Correct
2010/6/29 22:00 Paraguay 0:0(5-3) Japan Paraguay Correct
2010/6/29 2:30 Brazil 3:0 Chile Brazil Correct
2010/6/28 22:00 Netherlands 2:1 Slovakia Netherlands Correct
2010/6/28 2:30 Argentina 3:1 Mexico Argentina Correct
2010/6/27 22:00 Germany 4:1 England England Incorrect
2010/6/27 2:30 United States 1-1 (1-2) Ghana United States Incorrect
2010/6/26 22:00 Uruguay 2:1 South Korea Uruguay Correct
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