Monday, December 31, 2007

Week 17 Result and Regular Season Summary

All my picks 6 wins 9 losses 1 tie

For the entire 2007 regular season:

All my picks 116-129-11 47.5%
My home overdogs 31-29-2 52%
My home underdogs 25-27-2 48%
My road underdogs 43-53-6 45%
My road overdogs 17-20-1 46%
Spread a factor 23-15-11 58%
Lady G’s best bets 18-40-3 32%
Readers’ choice 2-12-2 19%

A disappointing conclusion to a disappointing year for Lady Godiva – my second-worst annual result in seven years of playing a friendly office pool. The only good thing about week 17 is that the poor internet connection at toy boy Archibald’s dad’s house meant that I could not post best bets, which were truly dismal in 2007.

Almost everything went wrong in 2007that could go wrong. I finished the year with 10 consecutive weeks without a winning week. I would expect to finish out of the prizes in a year such as 2007 when overdogs beat the point spread in 52% of the games. It is still the case that underdogs have won 52% of all games from 1992 through 2007. Accordingly, I pick underdogs except when my value indicators tilt me to the overdog. I ended up taking 100 overdogs this year – a relatively high 39% of all 256 games. And, yet I finished below 50% with my overdog picks in a year when overdogs ruled.

As a result, my 47.5% record was a touch below the 48% to 56.5% range where I expect to end up two out of every three years. I am still averaging a 52.4% winning record for the full seven years since 2001 – just above the 52% record for a dead-simple, all-underdogs strategy.

One issue for pool players to think about before the 2008 regular season kicks off is whether information about underdogs’ past winning record is finally starting to affect point spreads. If we look at the most recent 10-year, 5-year and 3-year periods and exclude the 1992-97 period of unbroken underdog dominance, we do see diminishing returns for a bet-all-underdogs strategy. But, it is still the case that an all-underdogs approach rules in every 3-year period except 2003-2005. A 52% winning rate for overdogs in 2007 is not outside historical norms for random variation around a 48% annual average.

There is some further statistical analysis that I could do if I have time before September 2008. However, at this point, I do not see any reason to change my strategy next year. If we do see over the next several years that the past record of underdog dominance is not continuing, only then will we have evidence that the tried-and-tested pool strategy of going heavy on the underdogs is no longer working.

For those of you who play in pools that include the playoffs, I will be providing a full set of playoff picks this Thursday and every Thursday until the Super Bowl.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

NFL Week 15 Results

All my picks 8 wins 8 losses
My home overdogs 3-3
My home underdogs 1-0
My road underdogs 2-1
My road overdogs 2-4
Spread a factor 1-2
Lady G’s best bets 1-2
Readers’ choice (Indy-10.5 over OAKLAND) 0-1

For the season so far:

All my picks 102-112-10 48%
My home overdogs 30-28-2 52%
My home underdogs 18-23-2 44%
My road underdogs 38-43-5 47%
My road overdogs 16-18-1 47%
Spread a factor 16-15-10 51%
Lady G’s best bets 17-37-3 32%
Readers’ choice 2-11-2 20%

Typical of a tough year that I would back 12 of 16 overdogs in a week when underdogs finally came to the fore at 10-6 leaving me disappointed to end up 8-8. I’ve fallen back to even-steven with a plain-vanilla, all-underdogs strategy, the safest approach most years based on historical data.

I have now gone 8 consecutive weeks without recording a winning week. To avoid a losing 2007, I need to pick winners in 2/3 of the final 32 games over the next two weeks. To be honest, my goal now is to stay ahead of my 2002 record of 47.3%, my only previous losing year since I started playing in an NFL pool back in 2001.

Ex-boyfriend Reginald lorded it over me during 2002 and he's ribbing me by e-mail this year. Fortuntately, I'm still well ahead of Reginald when we compare our records over 7 years.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

NFL Week 14 Results

All my picks 7 wins 9 losses
My home overdogs 3-0
My home underdogs 0-2
My road underdogs 2-5
My road overdogs 2-2
Spread a factor 0-1
Lady G’s best bets 1-3
Readers’ choice (SAN FRAN +9 over Minnesota) 0-1

For the season so far:

All my picks 94-104-10 48%
My home overdogs 27-25-2 52%
My home underdogs 17-23-2 43%
My road underdogs 36-42-5 46%
My road overdogs 14-14-1 50%
Spread a factor 15-13-10 54%
Lady G’s best bets 16-35-3 32%
Readers’ choice 2-10-2 21%

Mama told me there would be years like this. 7-9 for Lady Godiva in a week when underdogs went 4-12. Overdogs won 13 of 16 outright with only one game turning on points. At 48%, I’m just a touch ahead of my 2002 record of 47%, my only previous losing year. I haven’t had a winning week since week 7. Since then, I’ve gone -18 or 41%. That’s one long and deep losing streak. Let’s not even discuss Lady G’s best bets.

At least, I’m two wins ahead of a plain-vanilla, all-underdog strategy, the safest approach most years based on historical data. To avoid a losing 2007, I need to pick more than 60% winners over the final 3 – not impossible, but pretty unlikely. I will be sticking to my underdogs-first strategy that worked well 5 out of the past 7 seasons until week 8 of this year.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

NFL Week 13 Results

All my picks 6 wins 10 losses
My home overdogs 3-3
My home underdogs 1-2
My road underdogs 2-4
My road overdogs 0-1
Spread a factor 0-2
Lady G’s best bets 1-3
Readers’ choice (CHICAGO +1.5 over New York Giants) 0-1

For the season so far:
All my picks 87-95-10 48%
My home overdogs 24-25-2 49%
My home underdogs 17-21-2 45%
My road underdogs 34-37-5 48%
My road overdogs 12-12-1 50%
Spread a factor 15-12-10 54%
Lady G’s best bets 15-32-3 33%
Readers’ choice 2-9-2 23%

Another losing week for underdogs and even worse for Lady Godiva. Underdogs have won only 1 of the past 8 weeks and are now -6 or 48% for the season to date – 1 win ahead of yours truly. Only 4 weeks left for Lady G to avoid my first losing season since 2002. I need a 56% winning percentage over the final 4 – not impossible, but too high to count on achieving consistently. I will be sticking to the strategy that worked well 5 out of the past 7 seasons until week 5 of this year.