In sport, score is a metric that determines the overall outcome of a game. It can be achieved by a variety of different methods, depending on the type of sport.
In basket/net sports, like basketball and soccer, players attempt to place the ball through their own team’s goal area (or hoop). They can also hit the ball through the net, or score by kicking it into the opposing team’s goal.
Points are a common way to measure the performance of athletes in individual-based sports, such as tennis and golf. They may be abstract quantities defined for the sport, or more natural measures of distance or duration, such as a tournament victory.
The point metric that a sport uses to measure its score usually depends on the type of sports, but is also influenced by the scoring conventions of the particular game. In racquet sports, a point is scored when a player hits the shuttlecock or tennis ball into the opponent’s net, whereas in bowling, the score is determined by the number of strikes against the opponent’s pips.
Across all four sports, scoring events follow a Poisson distribution (Figures 1 and 2) with an empirical probability that varies only modestly over the course of gameplay. These variations, however, follow a common three-phase pattern, in which a relatively constant rate is depressed at the beginning of each period and then increases dramatically at the end of the period.
In college football (CFB), NFL and NBA games, lead-size dynamics produce small deviations from a purely Poisson process. This suggests that latent team skill differences produce small lead sizes and make outcomes more predictable.