When I first started out with my system it wasn’t to use it against the Vegas line or even to predict games. I was frustrated and bored.
Back in 2003, I was still working for the man and that came with the OSHA required lunch hour. I went about my usual routine which entailed that days local paper and a cup of coffee at the bar of a nearby greasy spoon. I scanned the headlines, read the editorials and the sports page, finished the Jumble and crossword puzzle (they make them too easy on Mondays); I had raced through everything I usually do and nearly half my lunch remained.
This was especially unwelcome on this particular Monday. On this Monday the Panthers were coming off a loss. A bad loss. A thorough loss. 37-17 at the hands of the Tennessee Titans. Insert your jokes about the Panthers, but in week 7 of 2003 this was their first loss of the season. They didn’t even lose a preseason game. Hell this was only their second loss since before Thanksgiving of the year before.
So I started to dig through the box score for answers. It was just salt in the wound. I had lived and died through every minute of the game. I knew the answer – Fumbles! Carolina had lost 4 fumbles that game.
Then I started to doodle. But not your usual doodles of horns and glasses and blackened out teeth. I doodled the way math nerds doodle. I scanned the scores and my memory and realized that often turnovers exaggerated the gap between the teams on the scoreboard. I wanted to see if there was a quantitative number that could be put on turnovers. I decided fumbles were more damaging than interceptions because usually fumbles were closer to the defenders endzone, thus a shorter field. But interceptions lend themselves to be advanced and return yards can be demoralizing.
So I took the first downs – (3 * number of fumbles + 2 * number of interceptions + interception yards gained/10). I rounded of the interception yards to the nearest full number. The resultant was the offensive number for the team in that game.
Now virtually anyone can poke numerous holes in this. This was not intended to do anything but distract me for the remainder of my lunch hour. But a funny thing happened; the results for each team, and the number when I subtracted one team from the team they played, often produced a number remarkable similar to the actual difference in the scores. When they deviated, my equations numbers “felt” more descriptive of the game than the actual outcomes.
So the next week I did it again. And the next. And the results, as unscientific and unprofessional as the were, continued to mirror the weekly results with surprising regularity.
I used this to create my first predictor system. The Offensive Numbers each week divided by games played was one factor. The other factor was what their Offensive Number minus their opponents Offensive Number each week was cumulatively and divided by games played. There is a bit of an equation using these that i used to derive a “line” on upcoming games.
It was a spectacular failure!!! It was neither good nor bad at giving a winner versus the spread. It was the kiss of death in gambling -middling. Through 10 weeks this year it would be 64-64-4. In fact, every year it lives in the 50% zone.
But the reason it survives to this day isn’t just that it has sentimental value, it has shown to be a good predictor, even a decade later, for something else- The Vegas line. Also I still find that it gives me a better perspective on how much really separates the teams when often the scores seem wildly out of touch with reality.
Does anyone really believe that St. Louis is a 30 point better team than Indianapolis? Last years game between Seattle and Green Bay ended with the scoreboard saying the Seahawks won by two points. My version says Packers were 8 points better that game.
Let me show what this shows me this week, like most every other week.
Here is how it views last weeks results.
|Minnesota||17||Washington||27||Minn by 7||Wash. by 10|
|Seattle||25||Atlanta||13||Seattle by 23||Seattle by 12|
|Detroit||16||Chicago||17||Detroit by 2||Chicago by 1|
|Philadelphia||16||Green Bay||10||Phil. by 14||Phil. by 6|
|Jacksonville||8||Tennessee||6||Jax by 2||Jax by 2|
|St. Louis||9||Indianapolis||7||STL by 30||STL by 2|
|NY Giants||7||Oakland||1||NYG by 4||NYG by 6|
|Pittsburgh||11||Buffalo||10||Pitt by 13||Pitt by 1|
|Baltimore||11||Cincinnati||10||Balt. by 3||Balt by 1|
|Carolina||6||San Francisco||5||Carolina by 1||Carolina by 1|
|Arizona||11||Houston||14||Arizona by 3||Houston by 3|
|Denver||19||San Diego||20||Denver by 8||SD by 1|
|New Orleans||37||Dallas||9||NOR by 32||NOR by 28|
|Tampa Bay||14||Miami||14||TB by 3||EVEN|
Here is the spread it would give for the week 11 slate of games
|Indy||Tenn||Indy by 2||Indy by 3|
|Buffalo||NY Jets||Buff by 2.5||Buff by 1|
|Chicago||Baltimore||Chicago by 3||Chicago by 3|
|Cincinnati||Cleveland||Cinn by 0.5||Cinn by 6|
|Philadelphia||Washington||Wash by 1.5||Philly by 3.5|
|Detroit||Pittsburgh||Detroit by 5.5||Detroit by 2.5|
|Atlanta||Tampa Bay||TB by 1||Atlanta by 1.5|
|Arizona||Jacksonville||AZ by 5||AZ by 7|
|Houston||Oakland||Houston by 4.5||Houston by 7|
|San Diego||Miami||SD by 6||SD by 1.5|
|New Orleans||San Fran||NOR by 9||NOR by 3|
|NY Giants||Green Bay||GB by 12.5||NYG by 5|
|Seattle||Minnesota||Seattle by 14.5||Seattle by 12.5|
|Denver||Kansas City||KC by 1.5||Denver by 8|
|Carolina||New England||Carolina by 1.5||Carolina by 2.5|
And lastly here is how it would rank the teams; offensively, competitively and cumulatively.
|San Francisco||12.89||1.67||14. 56|
Now A Word From Our Sponsor
EEK! I trail again after my worst week of the year. In going 0-2 last week Platstat regains the catbird seat at 18-21-1 while I languish at 17-22-1.
I have no chance to catch them this week since we have no disagreeing picks.
|Deep Cool Agrees|
|NY Jets||+1.0||@ Buffalo|
As I have shared before you are far safer betting my picks that aren’t shared with Platstats 70% confidence picks. They are now 29-14-2 this season.
Here they are….
Philadelphia -3.5 vs. Washington
Tampa Bay +1.5 vs. Atlanta
Seattle -13 vs. Minnesota
Detroit -2.5 @Pittsburgh
New England +2.5 @ Carolina
Indianapolis -3 @Tennessee
San Diego -1.5 @Miami
Baltimore +3 @Chicago
New Orleans -3 vs. San Francisco