Friday, January 28, 2011

Australian Open Men's Final

Australian Open tennis always seems capture our interest, with the lull in sports before the Super Bowl -- and the allure of the hot Aussie weather in the middle of cold winters here in the northeast US. (This is particularly true with so many snowstorms -- making people snicker about global warming!)

In the men's championship at the Australian Open, we have a rare final with neither Federer nor Nadal playing for the first Grand Slam of the season. Here are some "quant facts" for the men's final:

  • Based on "Big Point Performance (BPP)," a slight edge goes to Djokovic over Andy Murray. We developed "BPP" in our book, "Who Will Win the Big Game?" -- a statistic that looks at performance on key points in a match. Murray played the big points huge in his semifinal match win over Ferrer, but the edge goes to Djokovic when studying both the quarterfinals and semifinals.
  • The head-to-head match-up goes to Djokovic, who leads Murray 4-3.
  • In Grand Slam finals, Djokovic is 1-2, while Murray is 0-2.
All three factors point to Djokovic, so we will go with Novak Djokovic to claim his second Grand Slam.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Game Theory and NFL Play-Calling

I found this article on a website that has lots of good, interesting, articles. Here, they apply concepts of game theory to NFL play-calling. Good stuff -- with mentions about Nash Equilibrium and "A Beautiful Mind."

Previous research on the balance between running and passing in the NFL has largely missed the mark because it has focused on only half of the equation. Opposing defenses have been ignored. In this article, I'll illustrate how game theory can be applied to football play calling, and how it explains the balance between various strategies.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Quant Facts" -- Sports Prediction Update

The Packers and Steelers advanced to the Super Bowl -- and their victories in the NFL Conference Championships brings the book's blog's record to 19-10 for our "quant facts" predictions.

We have studied concepts of sports psychology and quantified certain championship characteristics based on decades worth of data from the finals of major sports ranging from the NFL and MLB, to the NHL, NBA, and even golf and tennis. The indicators -- sometimes pick underdogs -- and relate to concepts such:
  • Experience,
  • Leadership,
  • Consistency,
  • Minimizing errors, and
  • Confidence.
Our work for the finals of major sporting events is often picked up my major media such as the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal, so keep your eye on our blog. We'll hopefully link to an article if it is picked up by a major newspaper.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

NFL Conference Championships

As we prepare our analysis for the Super Bowl -- we took a look at what the quant facts say about the NFL Conference Championships. Our "research project" and book -- studies the results of championship finals in many of the major sports over the past 20-30 years. We have quantified key concepts of sports psychology, championship characteristics, and winning factors.

In the NFL Conference Championships, an early look at our championship factors points to Green Bay beating Chicago and Pittsburgh beating the Jets. In particular, we look at key concepts of sports psychology such as:
  • consistency,
  • defense, and
  • minimizing errors.
We'll have more details about the factors we focus on -- in our Super Bowl analysis -- once the finalists are decided. Enjoy the games.

As we get ready for the Super Bowl, here is one of last year's popular articles we did for the NY Times (on Square Pools):

Carlton Chin and Jay Granat are authors of, "Who Will Win the Big Game?" -- which takes a quantitative look at concepts of sports psychology. They have been quoted in the New York Times, Wall St. Journal, and CBS.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Granat Interviewed by CBS on Jets

Dr. Granat, co-author of the book, "Who Will Win the Big Game? A Psychological & Mathematical Approach," by Carlton Chin & Jay Granat, was interviewed by CBS. Granat discusses sports psychology concepts such as confidence and mental toughness. Below is an excerpt from the interview. The entire link is below, which has a video clip:

“His freewheeling style; his playful style is freeing up the players, at least this group of players to perform to their fullest potential,” Dr. Granat said.
"I think he thinks out what he’s gonna do before he does it very often. Take a second look, because you can’t argue with success,” Dr. Granat said.

And Dr. Granat said psychologically, when looking at Rex Ryan you can’t forget the impact of his legendary coach father, Buddy Ryan.

“That family style, this is the way they approach the game. They’re not soft-spoken. They’re tough. They’re probably mentally tough. They believe in themselves. And they’d rather err on the side of being overconfident than under-confident,” Dr. Granat said.

Some opponents and teams say Rex Ryan is crazy. But if you talk to a sports psychologist, what you hear is crazy … like a fox.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Mental Error of Mental Errors -- BCS Championship

In last night's college football championship, Oregon committed the "mental error of all mental errors" by not finishing a tackle as time was winding down in a tie BCS championship game. Everyone stopped playing, and then Auburn's "almost-down" player realized that the whistle hadn't blown -- and scurried about 30 additional yards from midfield to within easy reach of a national title-winning field goal. These things happen, but it's too bad the title game had to come down to an odd play like this.

The 2011 BCS game featuring #1 Auburn and #2 Oregon was very exciting -- and had a fair amount of errors and mistakes (such as interceptions). Ultimately, execution and minimizing errors are some key indicators of success. Our "quant facts" of sports psychology factors focus on key execution factors (such as consistency), minimizing errors, and leadership & experience (which are correlated to confidence and execution). In combination, these factors have proven to be useful in predicting champions.

In addition -- although both teams are known for their high-powered offenses, the defenses once again showed that a good defense can slow down a good offense.

Oregon's loss drops our blog's record in "quant fact" predictions to 17-10. We try to quantify key concepts of sports psychology -- and the results have shown that these factors can be used to gain an edge in (and predicting) winning championships.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hockey Puck Splits in Half; 2011 College Football BCS Game

This is not our normal information -- but thought this was worth sharing. Check this YouTube video out; the slow-motion is fun to see.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Who Will Win the College Football Championship?

Please take a look at our article on the upcoming BCS College Championship Game on Monday, January 10, 2011. Here's an excerpt:

"...our research has verified that certain key concepts of sports psychology can be used to build winning teams. Measuring factors - such as leadership, coaching, hard work, minimizing errors, and consistency - has proven to be useful in determining champions and winners. Focusing on these concepts of sports psychology can yield different results than typical sporting measures and could be interesting to sports executives as well as sports fans. Let's take a look at the "quant facts" for the BCS Championship Game featuring the top-ranked teams in college football."
Please click below for the article at Yahoo. (Published predictions on the book's blog have gone 17-9 since Carlton Chin & Jay Granat's book "Who Will Win the Big Game?" was published in early 2010.)