Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Quant Facts: 25-15

Our "quant fact" predictions dropped to 25-15, with the Texas Rangers failing to close out the World Series (by yielding leads two times) in Game Six.  Congratulations to both teams on a great season and an exciting World Series.

Several people have commented about our analysis and lamented about the lack of hard-core, deep, analysis.  While we perform very serious research in other sports and financial work, our analysis for our book, "Who Will Win the Big Game?" -- and series of blog posts and articles -- is fairly simple, and is meant to demonstrate the power of sports analytics applied to concepts of sports psychology.  Our methods focus on statistics that relate to championship characteristics such as consistency, leadership, experience, and minimizing errors.

While we have developed game simulators that can predict, with more precision, the probabilities of certain events occurring in major sports such as baseball and football -- our more "simple"methods come up with interesting angles and sometimes pick underdogs.

If we want a more complex analysis, we can use our game simulators.  Or, we can apply all kinds of modern-day sabermetric-type analysis and try to come up with an edge.  But will it really be an edge?

If we use these methods and attempt to use them at sports books in Nevada, we do not believe there will be much of an edge over the casinos.  After all, that's their job: they are oddsmakers and the odds they put out are fairly "sharp" -- especially when factoring in how the oddsmakers will "balance" their book of business.

If we use complex analysis -- we will probably come up with similar results of the sports books.  This, then, yields no edge, as we will have to pay for the more expensive odds that the favorite would require.  On the other hand, our methods sometimes pick underdogs (such as New Orleans over the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV [winner], or Flyers in 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs [loser], and March Madness -- where we have been particularly successful).

In my work with Dr. Jay Granat, we use fairly simple methods to quantify concepts of sports psychology.  While some of these methods seem "simple," they demonstrate the power of sports analytics and sports psychology.  We believe that this approach can uncover edges in sports.