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Journal Article

A Birth Process Model for Association Football Matches

Mark J. Dixon and Michael E. Robinson
Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series D (The Statistician)
Vol. 47, No. 3 (1998), pp. 523-538
Published by: Wiley for the Royal Statistical Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2988632
Page Count: 16
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A Birth Process Model for Association Football Matches
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Abstract

Data from over 4000 recent association football (soccer) matches from the main English competitions show clear evidence that the rate of scoring goals changes over the course of a match. This rate tends to increase over the game but is also influenced by the current score. We develop a model for a soccer match that incorporates parameters for both the attacking and the defensive strength of a team, home advantage, the current score and the time left to play. This model treats the number of goals scored by the two teams as interacting birth processes and shows a satisfactory fit to the data. We also investigate football cliches and find evidence that contradicts the cliche that a team is more vulnerable just after it has scored a goal. Our model has applications in the football spread betting market, where prices are updated during a match, and may be useful to both bookmakers and bettors.

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