#### Concept for the ultimate football betting book

The entire betting market is to be explained using the specific example of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Ultimately, predictions are to be made within the framework that is mathematically possible. A basic approach will be explained with which all probabilities for all possible events can be determined. The parameters required for this are derived, explained and processed in the necessary, but logical and understandable, mathematically correct formulae.

The basis for this is even a rather philosophical approach. This is: Every event in the future has a probability between 0 and 1. And that means greater than 0 and less than 1. Every event in the past, on the other hand, has one of the two values 0 or 1. Rephrased, this means: You can only know what was and not what will come. It is impossible to be a prophet. Anyone who claims to be would have to assign probability 1 to an event that lies in the future. But as soon as he is wrong in some prediction, he is out of the game forever. The loss would be, in a mathematical sense, infinite. One can only test the quality of individual forecasters by making long-term probability estimates on future events that differ from 0 and from 1. Later, in a certain sense, one can determine the best prophet.

And even this formulation already offers some philosophical pitfalls: the concept of “probability” is already in a sense unmathematical. For a mathematician knows only “true” and “false”. “Seems true” does not exist in this world. Is it true or not? Let’s wait and see… After that I can tell you. That’s why there’s the famous saying, “True prophets wait for events to happen.”

There are many reasons to doubt that anyone can really see into the future or that it is even possible. It is the game of chance that guides our destinies. It is understandable to look for clues as to what will happen. Man has developed the ability to think into the future. He has been trying to look into the future ever since. Nevertheless, this raises further questions, at least philosophically: Is it really desirable to know what will happen? What would happen if one actually knew who would become world football champion? The day of one’s own death? How many children one will have? Which woman will leave you, and when? The answer is simply: No! Life is wonderful because we don’t know what will happen. Let it stay that way.

To get back to the subject: You don’t know who will be world champion. You can only guess, try to make an assessment on the basis of certain previous experiences and results, who is the favourite, for example, or who should be given an outsider’s chance. One tries to determine probabilities that seem realistic in the sense of a distribution of chances. To the question, who will be world champion, there are only the answers: x per cent Spain, y per cent Germany, z Brazil. Nevertheless, probabilities are determined that can be used on the betting market, compared there and, with the appropriate confidence, bet on.

If you look at this question from the point of view of the betting market, it basically means that I would like to find out or look for where the much-cited “mass intelligence” could nevertheless be wrong. Which team is nevertheless overrated, which underrated. Where are the odds so high that they are in favourable proportion to the probability of occurrence, so that from the professional player’s point of view a bet is “worthwhile”, i.e. promises success in the long term, if one always takes the same principle to heart and has no bad luck to boot.

This brings us to the question of luck and bad luck, which of course plays a role in all business that depends on chance. As much as you don’t want to think about it at all, you are always forced to do so. And, of course, there are some philosophical considerations about it: Although “Murphy’s law” doesn’t quite fit the thought, this statement still contains a kernel of truth: “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. But if you examine it closely, this sentence, it expresses a mathematical law. This law is: every event, even those with the smallest of probabilities, will occur at some point, if you only try long enough. So even the super-GAU will eventually happen if we try long enough. I don’t know the probability, but it is certainly greater than 0.