Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Who Will Win the NBA Finals?

Here is an excerpt from our analysis on the NBA Finals, published in the NY Times:

Keeping Score: Championship Characteristics in the N.B.A. Finals

After analyzing the championship games or series of the N.F.L., N.B.A., Major League Baseball and N.H.L., and the major finals in golf and tennis, we identified 50 championships characteristics in our book, “Who Will Win the Big Game? A Psychological and Mathematical Method.”

Based on this research, we focused on several championship characteristics that might help predict the winner of the N.B.A. finals, which start Tuesday night in Miami.

Last year’s analysis highlighted leadership factors and correctly predicted that the Lakers would win the championship.

Read more here:

Monday, May 30, 2011

Indy 500 & Sports Psychology

We discuss, research, and quantify concepts of sports psychology that often determine the outcome of sporting events. Yesterday's Indy 500 is a sad reminder of how important these factors can be:

  • Experience
  • Mental errors
  • Focus & concentration
  • Consistency
Here's a quote and article about the Indy 500:

INDIANAPOLIS – One turn. One stinkin’ turn.

JR Hildebrand made it through 799 of ’em without any trouble. As the young Californian approached that final left, all he had to do was keep his car off the wall, speed down the main straightaway and collect a win in the Indianapolis 500 on his very first try.

Instead, Hildebrand made the sort of colossal blunder that will forever link him to the Jean Van de Veldes of the sporting world.
Hildebrand was faced with a choice when he came up on another rookie, Charlie Kimball, going much slower as they approached the fourth turn.

The prudent thing would’ve been to back off and tuck in behind Kimball until they were on the main straightaway. Then Hildebrand could’ve gone on by to take the checkered flag.

Instead, showing his inexperience, Hildebrand decided to stay on the gas and go around on the outside. That put him into “the marbles,” the tiny particles of rubber that gather near the wall, making that part of the track especially slick.

He never had a chance.

“Is it a move that I would do again?” Hildebrand said. “No.”

Read more:

Friday, May 27, 2011

Quant Facts: Predictions now 24-11

With Miami defeating Chicago in the NBA semifinals, our blog's record is now 24-11 in quant fact predictions.

We will analyze the NBA Finals and NHL Finals within a few days. Please visit our blog -- and/or sign-up to receive notice when we update our blog or twitter (z-trader).

Sunday, May 15, 2011

NBA: Eastern Conference Finals

There is a lot of interest in the NBA Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls.  Based on an analysis of factors related to the NBA factors we have researched in our book, "Who Will Win the Big Game?" -- and applied for the NY Times for last year's NBA Finals, we favor the Miami Heat over the Chicago Bulls.  Here are several of the key factors (2 factors for Miami; 1 for Chicago):

  • Leadership -- and star power.  LeBron James has his fans -- and his detractors...  In either case, he is an NBA "great" who can control the game and help "will" his team to victory.
  • Consistency -- field-goal percentage points to Miami over Chicago.
  • Defense -- points to Chicago.  
This prediction will count for our blog's "official" quant fact results.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Quant Fact: Long-Shot & Favorite Bias

Just a quick blog post on a "quant fact" related to some big sporting events today. In addition to the Kentucky Derby -- there is a big-name boxing match-up between Shane Mosley and Manny Pacquiao.

We think it is interesting that historically, there is a "long-shot-favorite bias" whereby the public overvalues long-shots and undervalues favorites.

In both horse racing and boxing, there are often mismatches. And due to these mismatches, there are long-shots that are more interesting for the general public on which to place a small wager. After all, it is more exciting to take an underdog and win $50 on a $10 bet -- than to win $2 on a $10 bet. This creates value for some -- who follow the stats and numbers.

Here is a paper on this bias: