Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Super Bowl XLVI Recap

Getting the Super Bowl right picking

NY Giants +3 over New England

brought me back to 50% for the full year at 128-128-11. I finished a dreadful 7-14-1 with my efforts to identify "value overdogs". A plain-vanilla, all-underdog strategy finished well ahead of yours truly at 135-121-11 or 52.6%, just above the long-term average for all-underdogs.

I have been under 50% in the playoffs 8 of the past 9 years. I need to develop a consistent approach and stick to it.

One strange Super Sunday quirk is that the NFC team won the coin toss 14 years in a row until finally losing this year. The chances of calling a fair coin toss correctly 14 times in a row are less than 1 in 10,000.

Professor Steven Levitt, author of the best-seller Freakanomics, argues that the Super Bowl is an unusually good day to pick the underdog. Underdogs are 22-22-2 in 46 Super Bowls so far. But, Professor Leavitt is confident that once we have a statistically significant sample of 1,000 or so Super Bowls, his prediction will be borne out -- provided bettors continue to overvalue overdogs for the next 950 years.


Another quirk is how streaky the conferences have been in taking turns dominating on a straight-up basis. The NFC and AFC (successors to the NFL and AFL) split the first VI Super Bowls. Then the AFC won VIII of the next IX contests. Then the NFC took XV of the next XVI including XIII in a row. The AFC turned the tables to win VIII of the following X matches. And, now the NFC is on a IV out of V run. All in all, the NFC has won XXV of XLVI.