Sunday, January 27, 2008

Super Bowl Pick and Playoff Results So Far

New England -12.5 over New York Giants

Playoff results so far:

All my picks 3 wins 7 losses
My home fave picks 3-6
My home dog picks 0-1
Spread a factor 0-2
Lady G’s best bets 1-4
Readers’ choices 1-2

All overdogs’ strategy 4-6
All road teams’ strategy 7-3

Lady Godiva is like the little girl with the curl. When I’m good, I’m very, very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better.

I wish. Truth be told, I’ve had a bad year. But, I’m not discouraged. I have followed a consistent approach to NFL pool success based on years of historical data – underdogs during the regular season and overdogs during the playoffs. As explained in previous blog entries, the 2007 regular season turned out to be one of those rare years when overdogs won a higher than normal percentage of games outright with a lower than normal percentage of outcomes reversed by the point spread.

The 2008 playoffs also deviated from historical norms. Overdogs have won 6 out of 10 games, 1 below the long-term average. And, 2 overdog straight-up victories were turned into losses by the point spread, up a touch from the 1.5 long-term average.

What does historical data tell us about picking the Super Bowl? Not much because a sample size of 41 is probably too small to be generate significant results. For what it’s worth, overdogs have won 28 of 41 outright or 68%. This is consistent with overdogs’ 67% and 69% winning percentages in the regular season and playoffs respectively since 1992. However, five overdog straight-up Super Bowl victories have gone to the underdog on points and two others were turned into ties. So, the overdog record against the spread in Super Bowls is 21-18-2 or 54%. This is consistent with the historical record showing that playoff games are less likely than regular season outcomes to be reversed by the point spread. So, I’m taking New England.

However, check out Freakonomics author Professor Steven Levitt’s interesting analysis that the Super Bowl is one game when we can count on the oddsmakers aiming to line bets up evenly on each side so that their profit comes solely from commission.

The Super Bowl action is so large that gaming houses cannot run the risk of having to pay out to more winners than losers even if the oddsmakers may think they have a better idea of the “true” point spread than their customers. Professor Levitt believes that picking the underdog in the Super Bowl is your best strategy on a consistent basis because Super Bowl bettors are less sophisticated than usual and overvalue overdogs even more than regular season bettors.

We shall see.

See you all next season. I won’t be very active during the off-season. Check back for NCAA basketball tournament picks at the end of March. If I can convince toy boy Archibald’s pal, Paul (Jarhead) Bloyer, to reveal his scientifically-based picks, I will post them.

Jarhead is a true sports geek whose nickname comes from his military haircut left over from his days in the Canadian Forces. I can’t claim to know enough about American college basketball to advise anyone on their picks in non-profit NCAA office pools, but Jarhead claims he has a mathematical system that will put you in a strong position against know-nothing NCAA pickers.

Jarhead also has a system for professional golf pools that I am hoping to convince him to reveal to my readers in time for the Masters tournament in April. And, I may allow Archibald to post his NHL and NBA playoff picks on this site in the spring. In the meantime, I will running polls on the American presidential election and may throw in a few of Archibald’s goofy pop culture polls.

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