Saturday, September 12, 2009

Football Returns

It's been a long offseason.

Too long, indeed.

The football drought is like global warming - you can't feel it until it happens. But the season has begun, and so has the betting.

New format for me this year: less talk, more stats. I'm timed constrained now, so I would rather post frequently with no commentary than infrequently with useless blather. To that end, here's a quick summary of new stats and a taste of what it will look like:

1.) A new process has been added (crafted by, of all people, my lovely wife) that identifies games in which Vegas has a bias. It's a succinct "model of the market." A perfect example of this from 2007, the Pats perfect season: from Week 3 through Week 11, NE was giving high, but earthbound spreads. Starting Week 12, the spreads rose to ludicrosity. This can be explained because there was inherent bettor's bias reflected in the early spreads. Vegas continued to think, "they can't POSSIBLY cover AGAIN." The level of bias was sustained until after Week 11, when Vegas (and bettors) abandoned their bias. Understand that "bias" is non-directional, it simply means that Vegas is setting spreads in a way that doesn't reflect reality, either too high or too low. This has helped isolate games to "arbitrage" using statistical information to correct for excess bias.

2.) A new way to measure team performance volatility by measuring the expected performance gap (how a team should perform) versus actual performance (how a team did perform). Hypothetically, long run results should show that higher ranked teams (teams who perform as expected consistently) should have better results as picked by the model. So far, there is a statistically insignificant performative advantage to lower volatility teams, but I'm hopeful I can iron that out.

3.) A new power ranking system, taking volatility and expected performance into account. It looks a lot more like traditional power rankings, with some nice wrinkles.

Without further ado, here are this week's bets:

1 CHI @ GB +3.5
2 PHI @ CAR +1.5
3 MIA @ ATL +4
4 DET @ NO +13
5 SF @ ARI +6.5
6 TEN @ PIT +6.5
7 STL @ SEA +8.5
8 NYJ @ HOU +4.5
9 TB v. DAL +6
10 JAC @ IND +7
11 KC @ BAL +13
12 DEN @ CIN +4
13 WAS @ NYG +6.5
14 MIN @ CLE -4
15 SD @ OAK -9
16 NE v. BUF -10.5

Almost all away, almost all dogs.

Note that bets for Weeks 1-3 are HIGHLY VOLATILE, as there is no seasonal data on which to base performance. I don't recommend any betting until Week 3 at least.

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