Predicting the outcome of a future game between two sports teams poses a challenging problem of interest to statistical scientists as well as the general public. To be effective such prediction must exploit special contextual features of the game. In this paper, we confront three such features and address the need to: (i) use all relevant sample information; (ii) reflect the home court advantage. To do so we use the relevance weighted likelihood of Hu and Zidek (2002). Finally we demonstrate the value of the method by showing how it could have been used to predict the 1996–1997 NBA Final series results. Our relevance likelihood-based method proves to be quite accurate.
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1214/lnms/1196285406