In-Game Win Probability Models

in R Sports Analytics

October 7, 2022

An in-game win probability uses the current “state” of a game/match to estimate the probability that a team will ultimately win the game/match. These types of models exist for a variety of sports.

I recently published an article on in-game win probability models for Canadian football in the “Journal of Business Analytics”. The article can be found online here: Article Link.


Below is a list of literature (organized by sport) related to in-game win probability models. This list is not intended to be inclusive of all relevant literature, but can be used as a starting point for exploring the literature around this topic.


Lindsey, G. R. (1961). The progress of the score during a baseball game. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 56(295), 703-728.


Robberechts, P., Van Haaren, J., & Davis, J. (2019). Who will win it? An in-game win probability model for football. arXiv preprint arXiv:1906.05029.

Robberechts, P., Van Haaren, J., & Davis, J. (2021, August). A Bayesian Approach to In-Game Win Probability in Soccer. In Proceedings of the 27th ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery & Data Mining (pp. 3512-3521).

Klemp, M., Wunderlich, F., & Memmert, D. (2021). In-play forecasting in football using event and positional data. Scientific Reports, 11*(1), 1-10.

American/Canadian Football

Stern, H. (1991). On the Probability of Winning a Football Game. The American Statistician, 45(3), 179-183.

Lock, D., & Nettleton, D. (2014). Using random forests to estimate win probability before each play of an NFL game. Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, 10(2), 197-205.

Hill, S. E. (2021). In-game win probability models for Canadian football. Journal of Business Analytics, 1-15.

Highly Recommended: NFL win probability from scratch using xgboost in R (2021):


Maddox, J., Sides, R., & Harvill, J. (2022). Bayesian estimation of in-game home team win probability for college basketball. arXiv preprint arXiv:2204.11777.


Guan, T., Nguyen, R., Cao, J., & Swartz, T. (2022). In-game win probabilities for the National Rugby League. The Annals of Applied Statistics, 16(1), 349-367.


Albert, J. (2015). Player evaluation using win probabilities in sports competitions. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Computational Statistics, 7(5), 316-325.

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Posted on:
October 7, 2022
2 minute read, 362 words
R Sports Analytics
football soccer win probability sports
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