I was wondering whether there are any theories or formulae in mathematics(other than the general concept of probability) which can be used to make very accurate predictions such as predicting outcomes of a cricket or football match.. Also, is prediction possible without any statistical data at our disposal?


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    $\begingroup$ No or we would all be rich. $\endgroup$ – Paul Jun 8 at 12:24
  • $\begingroup$ See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_series $\endgroup$ – lhf Jun 8 at 13:08
  • $\begingroup$ You may want to search online for things like "predicting outcomes of football matches", there is literature on this (for example, see this.) $\endgroup$ – Minus One-Twelfth Jun 9 at 2:39

Probability theory is to provide you with the methodology of computing probabilities given other probabilities and certain relationships between events.

Probability theory cannot predict the occurence of events. The most that probabilty theory can do for you is well described in the following joke -- better said: probability theory explains why the following is a joke.

Traveller: Hey, ticket officer, what is the probabity that there will be a bomb on the airplana?

Ticket officer: It is about one to one thousand, sir.

Traveller: Quite high of a probability. Huhh. Let me think... Hey, and what is the probability that there will be two bombs on the same plane?

Ticket officer: The probability of that event is is one to one million, sir.

Traveller: No problem. That is OK. So I will check in one or two bombs.

  • $\begingroup$ This is my favored joke about probabilities ! I have another one about statistics that I do not think I could post here. $\to +1$ for reporting the joke. Cheers :-) $\endgroup$ – Claude Leibovici Jun 8 at 13:22
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    $\begingroup$ Come on Claude, tell us please....... @ClaudeLeibovici $\endgroup$ – Aqua Jun 8 at 15:36
  • $\begingroup$ Send me an e-mail (address in profile) and I shall tell you. $\endgroup$ – Claude Leibovici Jun 9 at 1:43
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    $\begingroup$ @Claude Leibovici: zzzgyorfi@gmail.com. $\endgroup$ – zoli Jun 9 at 6:53

The answer to your question is "no" when applied to "such as cricket matches" but often "yes" in other contexts.

If you flip a coin over and over again there is no formula to predict the next toss, but several that make very accurate predictions of how close to half heads half tails you will probably be in the long run, or how often you should expect to see a run of $10$ heads in a row.

The mathematics that models where the planets will be in the sky years from now or how to guide a space probe to Mars or Pluto makes astonishingly accurate predictions.


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