World Cup Day 8: Blowouts and Z-Scores

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.


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