Week 8

Quick picks:
Tennessee -7.5
Buffalo +3
Green Bay +3
Jacksonville +4

For example, when the difference between the prediction and the Vegas spread is between -5 and -3 points (home team preferred), picking the home team has been correct 9 of 12 times (75%). One could argue that when the difference is between -1 and 0, picking the home team yields only 16% so picking the visiting team would yield 84%. I will not highlight games which difference fall in this bucket.


Now let's take a look at these week's computer generated picks and their difference against this week's Vegas spread. Unfortunately, for this week there is only one game (Oak @ Ten) that falls in one of the 'good' categories, two (GB @ Den, Buf @ NYJ) that are very close to these categories, and one that is a huge outlier (Jac @ TB) which should be investigated further.


Let's look at stats for each of these 4 games:

Oakland @ Tennessee
When I initially saw the line I thought that it was an easy pick for Oakland. I thought that Tennessee would be an underdog or slight favorite. Apparently, last year's data is dragging Oakland to the mud. Although my model shows high confidence, 6 weeks of running this still does not give me a personal confidence for this pick. But I won't back down from my regression friend. Tennessee -7.5.


Oakland is clearly struggling in passing and rushing yards against opponents in the past 5 games. Averaging about 40 yards less in both categories. Tennessee on the other hand is rushing about 10 yards and passing above 60 yards more than its opponents in the past 5 games.


On average Tennessee is slightly doing better against the spread by averaging almost 6 points above while Oakland 4. Notice also that Oakland has been below the spread by about 4 points in the past two games.

Buffalo @ NY Jets and Green Bay @ Denver
These games have equal spread and equal prediction. Although both if these game fall into an undesired category by the model, they are still very close to the 1-2 bucket(which has picked 67% correctly). Both Green Bay and Buffalo are playing well and are still bringing doubt from bettors. So let's look at how they have performed recently.

The following graph shows the difference in the Vegas point spread and the actual result along with the Vegas line. Notice that the last game these two teams played (9/30/2007) although New York was a favorite, Buffalo covered the spread by 6 points. Last year New York was also favorite and this time Buffalo covered by more than 20 points. The model's pick plus this graph is enough for me to conclude Buffalo +3.


Look at the following two graphs. Green Bay clearly kicking ass in the yards department. Also notice Denver's struggles covering the spread, although they are still favorites in this game. I say no way. Green Bay +3.


Week 7

In green you will see games where the prediction confidence is at its highest, 65%-70%. In orange, the confidence is at the second highest level 55%-65%. Notice that my Vegas Line and point spread predictions take the home team as reference. That is, when the Vegas line is negative, then the home team is favorite. For example, the Arizona @ Washington game has Washington favorite by 8 points and the computer generated point spread prediction is 2.1 points more than the Vegas spread which falls into this year's low confidence category (see previous posts) and hence the row is kept white. Other games where the difference is too high, confidence is low since other factors not included in the model may be affecting the estimate.

This week we have 2 games with high confidence and 2 games in 'medium' confidence. The San Francisco @ NY Giants, the estimate is favoring the home team by more than 4 points. The Tampa Bay @ Detroit game, the prediction is giving the visiting team a slight advantage. In orange we have Dallas covering the spread by more than two points and New Orleans beating Atlanta but falling short of the 8.5 points.


In the coming weeks, I will be exploring how outliers may be affecting my estimates and weigh those observations differently. As for now, let's explore the data concerning the Atlanta @ New Orleans and the New York @ San Francisco games:

Atlanta @ New Orleans
A first look at the passing yards difference between each team and their opponents in the last 5 games shows both teams averaging less yards than their opponents in the past 5 games. Atlanta is averaging about 30 passing yards and about 38 rushing yards less than their opponents. New Orleans is not performing that well either against opponents, averaging around 12 passing yards and 15 rushing yards less than their opponents..


Evaluating the data on how each team has performed against the Vegas line, we plot the number of points above or below the Vegas line in each team's past few games. We clearly see how New Orleans started very badly by being 20 point or more below the Vegas line. Remember in New Orleans lost by 17 against Tennessee on week 3, by 17 against Tampa Bay, and by 31 against Indianapolis on week 1. They rebounded last week by beating Seattle by 11. Besides last week's lost by 21 (16 points below the spread) against the Giants, Atlanta has been bouncing around the spread with its highest peak on week 4 with a 10-point win over Houston. So do you think Atlanta will rebound from last week's loss and New Orleans will continue its streak? Considering that last year New Orleans beat Atlanta twice by more than 20 points, probably but my model does not think so. Tough pick: Atlanta +8.5


San Francisco @ NY Giants @
The graphs clearly support the model's decision that 9.5 points is not enough. The passing game, the rushing game, and past few games show that the Giants are playing much better. You be the judge:


Tampa Bay @ Detroit


Good luck!