Whose World Cup Predictions Should You Follow?

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I don’t know about you, but I had a poor showing in the first round of my World Cup bracket predictions and need to turn things around. The only problem is, I don’t know who to trust and every World Cup “expert” seems to have a different opinion. I just want to know, who should I follow to championship glory?

Are you asking yourself the same question? Based on the Google Trends, it seems like a lot of people are scrambling for the answer as we speak. Check out the quadrennial popularity spike in search popularity for “World Cup predictions” and a closer look at this year’s peak.  

(Source: Google Trends)

(Source: Google Adwords)

To find where to place my bet, I have compared the group-stage predictions for 7 of the most popular websites publishing their World Cup predictions (note: fivethirtyeight.com’s data was unavailable at the time of publication). Want to know which site is the best? The results from group play are in and the answer is: Bloomberg!

Best Overall:

Bloomberg correctly predicted the final group ranking for 17 of 32 teams. While that may not seem like much more than a flip of a coin, the site was one of only two I analyzed that correctly predicted the finishing position for more than half of the teams playing in this year’s World Cup. The other one? ESPN with 18 correct picks.

What set Bloomberg’s picks apart from ESPN was the ability to correctly select both teams to advance in 3 separate groups, where ESPN failed to do so a single time. Interestingly, no one picked both correct teams to advance from a group without also picking them in the correct order.

Take a look at how the rest of the sites fared with their overall picks:

Google agrees. A search for “World Cup predictions” places Bloomberg as the top listing out of 28M results.

Overall Results

The experts fared much better at predicting the winners and losers for each group. The sites accurately forecasted the correct winners and losers 66% of the time. Of those picks, all 7 sources picked how Brazil, Cameroon, Australia, Honduras, Argentina, and Iran would place with just one, CBS Sports, incorrectly picking how France would finish. Conversely, no one picked how Spain, Netherlands, England, or Costa Rica would finish.

Group D proved to be the most difficult to predict. Of the 28 picks, only 4 were correct. Furthermore, no one picked the group winner, Costa Rica, to advance to the knockout round and only Bloomberg and Yahoo! Sports selected Uruguay to advance. Meanwhile, Groups A and E were the easiest, with predictions matching the results 75% of the time.

Want to know how each site performed? Take a look at how your go-to source for information fared in group play:

Ready for the knockout round? Make your picks and join the roughly 1 in 7 people worldwide expected to watch the World Cup on the edge of their seats this year. Think you have a better source for predictions? Let me know in the comments, so I can save my bracket and hop on the championship run. 

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