If your friendly, non-profit pool extends through the playoffs, take all the home underdogs this week.
I admit to flying blind with playoff picks. The historical data show that favourites won 52% of all playoff games against the point spread from 1992 through last season, well above the 48% winning rate for overdogs in all regular season games since 1992. But, 176 playoff games since 1992 is too small a sample to draw conclusions. Plus, the overdog playoff tendency over the entire period is actually based on 60% dominance from 1992 through the 1999 Super Bowl. Underdogs plus the points have prevailed in 54% of playoff games in this decade.
I don't have any data for the relatively rare occurrences of home underdogs in the playoffs. So, I'm just relying on home underdogs' winning percentage in past regular seasons (but not this one) to recommend all home dogs this weekend.
Week 17 results:
2008 Regular Season:
I was pleased to finish above 50% after opening the season at 39% for the first 4 weeks. But, I can't claim to have added any value this year. A simple all-underdog strategy finished at 51.2% and a simple all-road approach did even better at 52.7%.
Home underdogs finished below 50% this year, while road dogs' 53% winning rate with the points was above the historical norm. But, otherwise it was a very average regular season. Overdogs won just over 2 of every 3 games outright and just under 1 out of every 5 games turned on points.
My problem this past year was that my system for identifying "value" overdogs failed me for the second consecutive year after good results from 2001 through 2006. Nevertheless, I'm going to stick with my system next year, but I definitely plan on keeping my day job.
25-18-1 or 58% against the spread for underdogs of 12.5 points or more. So far, Stanford undergrad whiz kid Gibbs (see 1 November post) is correct with his analysis showing that we can expect to see heavy NBA underdogs finish above 50% by a statistically significant margin over a long period of at least one full season. I will continue tracking this trend on behalf of players in non-profit NBA pools.