Monthly Archives: June 2015

France put up a spectacular effort, but they failed to derail the best possible matchup in this World Cup: Germany vs. USA. Nate has run his bankroll to $13,919,560, which feels really silly to type given his starting bankroll of $100k.

Game 49: USA vs. Germany

Germany to Advance, Risking 5.4%: $751,658 to win $626,382

America may be the traditional powerhouse, but Germany is the best team in the world.

I’ll be traveling tomorrow so I need to take care of Day 18 now:

Game 50: Japan vs. England

England to Advance, Risking 4%: $526,717 to win $877,862

While I root for Nate in general, Japan winning would give us a much more competitive final.

For those of you following @Octonion, he’s backing Team USA for 9.32% and England for 2.24%.

Nate ran his bankroll to $13,181,430 yesterday, going three-for-three. Not bad. Today we see the other two quarterfinals, although Nate is only financially interested in one of them:

Game 47: Japan vs. Australia

Nate agree with the line.

I root for both these squads in general, but I think Japan can provide the best test in the final for the USA-Germany winner, so I’ll be rooting for them.

Game 48: England vs. Canada

England to Advance, Risking 4.00%: $527,257 to win $738,160

For those of you living and dying along with @Octonion, he’s putting 20.73% of his bankroll on Japan, and 1.6% on England.

Question: What does it take for the Women’s World Cup to make it to the front page of the NY Post? A huge game between China and America? Perhaps a clash of the titans between Germany and France? Or, well, I’ll let you guess.

Last we saw Nate he was adding a small win to his bankroll, running it up to $11,399,465. Today he is taking that bankroll out for a spin:

Game 45: Germany vs. France

Germany to Advance, Risking 18.24%: $2,079,262 to win $1,082,949

Nate’s not showing a lot of faith in a tough French squad. Or maybe he thinks Germany is just that good. We’ll find out if Germany faces USA.

Game 46: China vs. USA

USA to Advance, Risking 28.00%: $2,609,657 to win $521,931 (It will be $3,495,976 to win $699,015 if Germany advances and the USA-China line remains the same)

Nate’s bankroll is going to increase roughly 15.63% if both favorites advance. If France faces China, Nate will be down 41.13% on the day. As always, Full Kelly leads to some steep waves.

@Octonion is starting the day of with France 11.94%, and will follow that up with a 34.6% wager on USA. Big swings folks.

Enjoy the games.

The defending World Champions may have won in a shootout, but that is no reason to give them the disadvantage of playing in the last octofinal game. On the plus side, they are definitely in the softer half of the bracket. The bracket wasn’t random, so I suppose it more than evens out in their case.

Yesterday Nate’s bankroll dropped down to $11,326,973. Today he’ll only be investing a fraction of it as the lines have moved a bit towards agreement with him:

Game 44: Japan vs. Netherlands

Japan to Advance, Risking 1.78%: $201,368 to win $72,493

And for those following @Octonion, he’s taking the other side, backing Netherlands with 0.66% of his bankroll. After today there will be a small break before a the quarterfinals.

Australia pulled off a nice victory over Brazil, but Colombia advancing would be an absolute stunner.  Yesterday’s results upped Nate’s bankroll to $11,396,661. Let’s take a look at today’s slate:

Game 42: England vs. Norway

Norway to Advance, Risking 0.89%: $101,065 to win $107,129

This is the most even matchup of the octofinals.

Game 43: USA vs. Colombia

USA to Advance, Risking 5.00%: $564,780 to win $31,377

Followed by the least even matchup of the octofinals.

@Octonion surprisingly disagrees on both plays, putting 19.99% of his bankroll on England, and 4.6% of it on Colombia. At this point I am rather curious about the England-Norway game.

It was a rough start to the knockout round for Nate Silver as both favorites advanced. That knocked his bankroll down to $9,113,241. Let’s jump into today’s action:

Game 39: Brazil vs. Australia

Australia to Advance, Risking 11.62%: $1,058,687 to win $2,487,915

More faith in the underdogs. We’ll see if it is rewarded.

Game 40: France vs. South Korea

South Korea to Advance, Risking 6.44%: $747,193 to win $4,408,439 (Updated)

A split in the first two games would net Nate a little under $2M, but it will require a fairly sizable upset along the way.

Game 41: Canada vs. Switzerland

Canada to Advance, Risking 12.50%: $1,356,745 to win $542,698 (Updated)

Home country advantage matters in international futbol.

For those of you following @octonion, he’s backing the same 3 teams for 9.19%, 1.76%, and a whopping 37% of his bankroll respectively. So far he is down 3.19%.

Happy Fathers day!

With South Korea’s defeat of Spain, Nate Silver moved up above $10M. That is the arbitrary round number I decided to use to determine whether or not he’s earned the first ever Rocket Car Award. For those of you unfamiliar with the reference:

Mind you, Lou is correct in suggesting most projections that substantially differ from the market prices are garbage. However, in Nate’s case he has regularly been putting out projections that have called for him to wager > 10% of his bankroll on a game. Normally, that would be ruinous. In this case, Nate has seen his bankroll grow an average of 4.83% per-game. That is over the course of 98 games. For those of you who prefer Z-scores, he’s run his up to 2.71. I never expected anyone to claim a Rocket Car Award, although some of the stuff  Ken Pomeroy’s work pulled off in the early years was even more impressive.

But enough preamble, let me introduce y’all to Christopher D. Long:

Christopher has been very good about keeping his code and his projections in the open, and requested I track him for the World Cup (his request was made after the tournament started, which is why he is only being introduced now). As such, I’ll give him the same $100,000 bankroll I gave Nate, and wish him the best of luck. Here are his knockout round projections:

Back to Nate. He currently has $10,173,170 to work with. Here is how he’ll invest it today:

Game 37: Germany vs. Sweden

Sweden to Advance, Risking 9.03%: $918,385 to win $4,004,160

Bold upsets are Nate’s bread and butter, but this one seems ill-fated.

Game 38: China vs. Cameroon

Cameroon to Advance, Risking 1.53%: $141,544 to win $240,624

This is a much closer matchup between a couple of tournament longshots.

Christopher is backing Sweden (4.85% of his bankroll) and China (3.04% of his bankroll).

Nate Silver was briefly above $8M after Cameroon defeated Switzerland, but finished yesterday at $7,709,694. Today is the final day of the group stage, and we are going to see something new.

Game 33: England vs. Colombia

England -0.5, Risking 12.16%: $937,288 to win $650,895

Straightforward enough to start the day.

Game 34: France vs. Mexico

Mexico +0.5, Risking 6.99%: $473,391 to win $1,527,068

I’d love to see Mexico pull off the outright upset.

Game 35: Spain vs. South Korea

South Korea -0.5, Risking 11.37%: $896,460 to win $2,285,973 (Edited)

I haven’t been impressed with South Korea’s tactics so far this tournament, but maybe they’ll adjust vs. Spain.

Game 36: Brazil vs. Costa Rica

This is where I had to make an executive decision. Brazil is already slated to play Australia in their next meaningful game. The market is taking the fact that this is meaningless to Brazil into account. As such, I am excluding it from this exercise the same way I ignored the 3-4 game in the 2014 World Cup. For those of you are curious, this is what it would be if I wasn’t skipping it:

Brazil -0.5, Risking 46.76%: $2,610,642 to win $992,640

Thankfully, after today we’ll be heading into the elimination rounds, where Nate will be joined by a friendly rival: Christopher D. Long (@octonion on Twitter).

All four teams Nate bet on yesterday won against their handicap lines, but lost against the lines Nate ended up playing. Them’s the breaks folks. Hopefully his luck is a little better today. Today the bankroll starts at $3,766.930.

Game 29: Ecuador vs. Japan

Draw, Risking 0.31%: $11,772 to win $329,606

Nate has not had success betting on the truly massive dogs despite the fact they have covered at a reasonable clip.

Game 30: Cameroon vs. Switzerland

Cameroon -0.5, Risking 18.71%: $702,578 to win $4,355,983

This is another case where Cameroon might cover the handicap line (+0.75), but still lose for Nate. However, that’s the trade-off between laying even money vs. getting a sizable payoff when you win.

Game 31: Sweden vs. Australia

Australia -0.5, Risking 6.67%: $540,743 to win $1,622,228 (Edited)

Same thing here, although to a lesser degree.

Game 32: USA vs. Nigeria

USA -0.5, Risking 5.41%: $409,692 to win $139,295 (Edited)

Finally, some loyalty. Part of it is that the wagering markets have become progressively less impressed with this US squad. Germany has become the tournament favorite despite the fact that they too have picked up a draw along the way.

Tomorrow we are going to see something completely different from Nate. Brace yourselves.

Back before the 2014 World Cup I gave Nate Silver $100,000. If you’re curious about following along from the beginning, here is the opening article:

and the rest of them can be found here:

I actually started tracking Nate as an offshoot of tracking Goldman Sachs. When I saw their World Cup numbers I commissioned this piece:


That’s from artist Penelope Barbalios for those who are curious.

Nate went on an amazing tear and continued that run through the 2015 World Cup. I was wondering how impressive his run was, so I solved for the Z-Scores of both runs, and of the combined run. For the 2014 World Cup it was an impressive 1.73. For the current World Cup it is 1.97. When you combine the runs, it comes out to 2.60. That’s around a 1 in 215 shot by pure chance. Not bad Nate, not bad.

Onward to day 8:

Game 25: Ivory Coast vs. Norway

Ivory Coast +0.5, Risking 15.41%: $855,406 to win $21,385,158

Yes, that really is an attempt to win $21M in a single game of futbol.

Game 26: Germany vs. Thailand

Thailand +0.5, Risking 3.71%: $174,318 to win $17,341,879

Yes, that really is an attempt to win $17M in a single game of futbol.

Game 27: Netherlands vs. Canada

Netherlands -0.5, Risking 7.31%: $330,348 to win $1,906,108

Attempting to win almost $2M in a single game of futbol now seems reasonable in comparison.

Game 28: New Zealand vs. China

New Zealand -0.5, Risking 10.09%: $422,780 to win $1,395,173

This seems downright pedestrian, and yet it is 10% of his bankroll.

Please note, both sets of games are simultaneous. I don’t expect I’ll have to update due to a win in one of the early games, but if I do the numbers are going to be pretty silly.