Forecasting football match results in national league competitions using score-driven time series models

Siem Jan Koopman*, Rutger Lit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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We develop a new dynamic multivariate model for the analysis and forecasting of football match results in national league competitions. The proposed dynamic model is based on the score of the predictive observation mass function for a high-dimensional panel of weekly match results. Our main interest is in forecasting whether the match result is a win, a loss or a draw for each team. The dynamic model for delivering such forecasts can be based on three different dependent variables: the pairwise count of the number of goals, the difference between the numbers of goals, or the category of the match result (win, loss, draw). The different dependent variables require different distributional assumptions. Furthermore, different dynamic model specifications can be considered for generating the forecasts. We investigate empirically which dependent variable and which dynamic model specification yield the best forecasting results. We validate the precision of the resulting forecasts and the success of the forecasts in a betting simulation in an extensive forecasting study for match results from six large European football competitions. Finally, we conclude that the dynamic model for pairwise counts delivers the most precise forecasts while the dynamic model for the difference between counts is most successful for betting, but that both outperform benchmark and other competing models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)797-809
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Forecasting
Issue number2
Early online date23 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Bivariate Poisson
  • Ordered probit
  • Probabilistic loss function
  • Skellam


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