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.

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