Bayesian Hierarchical Models for the Prediction of Volleyball Results


Statistical modelling of sports data has become more and more popular in the recent years and different types of models have been proposed to achieve a variety of objectives: from identifying the key characteristics which lead a team to win or lose to predicting the outcome of a game or the team rankings in national leagues. Although not as popular as football or basketball, volleyball is a team sport with both national and international level competitions in almost every country. However, there is almost no study investigating the prediction of volleyball game outcomes and team rankings in national leagues. We propose a Bayesian hierarchical model for the prediction of the rankings of volleyball national teams, which also allows to estimate the results of each match in the league. We consider two alternative model specifications of different complexity which are validated using data from the women’s volleyball Italian Serie A1 2017-2018 season.