Predicting winners in horse racing, football (or fund management) is a difficult game.
The First Actuarial Monkey League has for some years offered addled brains the chance to pit their predictive skills against 1000 monkeys whose picks are random. Beat 500 monkeys and you are in alphaland.
Last year’s winner is next year’s loser, sustained outperformance from regular participants is rare to non existent.
The Monkey League operates on a handicap basis with bookies’ odds ensuring that a Chelsea or a Man Utd. must exceed the bookies expectations for you to win by backing them.
So while the happy monkey swings in the tree, the hapless football pundit buries his head in books and stochastic charts missing all the fun.
I have given up getting angry at occasional racegoers who pick a string of winners based on the colour of jockey’s silks, name of horse etc…
Here is a really useful observation. There are four South American teams left in the world cup, the favourites have female characteristics Bra-zil and Argen-Tina. The outsiders have a male name bias Para-Guy and Ura-Guy. From this we can deduce that South American nations that align their names with their feminine side have a better chance of winning football competitions than those who adopt a more macho stance.