Is Nate Silver the Nostradamus of our time? Well, no. Nostradamus needed a couple centuries of hindsight to get the ball rolling, and then there was the beard. Silver is better, plus he predicts sports.
His latest: Brazil is a massive favorite to win the World Cup. The only surprise there, I suppose, is how much of a favorite Silver says the host team is.
Brazil has a 95 percent chance of winning the group stage, says Silver — while the next closest team, Argentina, is at 73.6. No surprise: it’s a weak stage, and Brazil is at home. But it’s in the knockout stage that Brazil really shines. Silver gives it a 45 percent chance to win it all, while no other team ranks higher than 13 percent (Argentina). That’s massive.
Percentage for the U.S. to win it all? Just 0.5.
So you’re saying there’s a chance!
Silver created the Soccer Power Index which ESPN uses to rank the teams. He writes for the blog FiveThirtyEight, which moved over to ESPN in 2012.
Although his political predictions are laser accurate — Silver correctly predicted the Presidential winner in all 50 states in 2012, after having nailed 49 0f 50 in 2008 — his sports record is a bit more spotty. In 2013 he picked the 49ers over the Ravens in the Super Bowl … although this past season he took the Seahawks over the Broncos.
And in the 2010 World Cup, Silver went with Brazil going all the way, but Spain won it. Spain was second in ESPN’s SPI.
— Brazil Character Lab (@scharlab) June 9, 2014
And I know, Silver doesn’t actually “predict” the games. He prefers to couch it as presenting statistics that point to a likely outcome. But let it be known that where the 2010 World Cup is concerned, he was outperformed in his own game by an octopus.