Viva the sweepstake
Playing with friends or colleagues to guess which team will win the World Cup – known as a pool – can increase the excitement of a tournament. Some even wager a small amount of money to increase the stake. Just as this poll question asked about the intention to participate, so did ING’s Cup-o-nomics report. That larger report, with a representative sample of more than 8,000 people in 15 countries, found that 2010 champions Spain had the highest share of people who intend to participate in a World Cup pool, at 49%. The United States, a country without a strong tradition of football (or soccer as it is known there), had the lowest share. The average wager ranged from highs of EUR83 in Russia and EUR80 in France down to EUR11 in the Netherlands.
Tame your pride
Thinking tricks and traps can skew our predictions when picking a team to win a tournament. A bias towards our home team doing better than objective statistics suggest, for example, is common. The Cup-o-nomics 2014 infographic warns against overstating the importance of the recent past and the chance of being tricked by “patterns”, such as perceived runs of goals or wins that are simply not there.