Saturday, February 26, 2011

March Madness: Coming Soon!

March is coming up fast, and we will have our "quant facts" analysis of the sports psychology factors for the Final Four.  In the meantime, we are excited to be working on a pool for the NCAA Men's Tournament - where the match-ups of each round are modeled as a financial marketplace.

The pool will be open to all, and there will be prizes.  Note that this pool will be round-by-round, and that entries are due a little earlier than for other pools.  Please visit our blog for more information as the March Madness Tournament gets closer.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl, Championship Factors & Quant Facts Recap

Congratulations to the Green Bay Packers and their legions of fans.

Green Bay's Super Bowl victory drops our book's blog's record to 20-11 in "quant fact" predictions, still impressive considering that our championship factors sometimes make interesting predictions (like picking the underdog) based on a quantitative analysis of concepts of sports psychology.

As usual, even at a high level of competition, errors are often the deciding factors in championships.  It is notable that this is true not only for athletes, but success in many activities.  Athletes need to perform at a high level of competition while minimizing mistakes.  Some of the traits associated with "minimizing errors" include championship characteristics such as consistency factors, experience, and confidence.  

That is, players and teams that are experienced, confident, and good at the more "consistent" tasks -- will tend to make fewer mistakes and prevail.  The "quant facts" we have studied with respect to sports psychology help to "put the wind at our backs" -- and can be useful characteristics for any sports orgranization -- at any level.

In Super Bowl XLV, we predicted that the Pittsburgh Steelers would prevail based on a variety of championship traits.  Our factors showed that play-in and play-out, the Steelers would tend to control the game better -- and would tend to have fewer mistakes.  However, the game needs to be played out -- and in Super Bowl XLV, the Green Bay Packers made fewer mistakes -- and won the big game.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Super Bowl Stats

These numbers are not related to sport psychology (check our NY Times article out for that), but with the Super Bowl coming up, we thought you might find these stats interesting.

Will the Game be Close?

We've been spoiled lately, because many of the recent Super Bowls have been close and exciting games.  In particular, 4 of the last 7 games have been decided by 4 points or less.  

And, due to the nature of the game (Conference Champions are competing!), many fans expect close games. However, do you remember the blowouts we've had in the past? Let's take a look at what the past Super Bowl numbers say:
  • About two-thirds of Super Bowls are decided by 10 points or more, and
  • About 50% of the games have been decided by 14 points or more.
How Many Points Might be Scored?

Here's a look at the average total points scored in the Super Bowl, by half, and in total. We looked at three sets of games: every Super Bowl, games since 1983 and games since 1994 (the years listed in the charts are based on the regular season; this includes every Super Bowl through Feb. 2009, excludes last year).

1st Half
2nd Half
All Super Bowls

How do Underdogs perform in the Super Bowl?

Recent underdogs have performed well in the Super Bowl:
  • 3-0 in the last three Super Bowls,
  • 7-2 in the last 9 Super Bowls, and
  • 9-4 in the last 13 Super Bowls.
However, if we look at every Super Bowl played, the underdogs are:
  • 20-21-3 in forty-four Super Bowl games. Slightly subpar, with 3 pushes.
  • When the point spread is 5 points or less (like this year), the underdog is 9-8.

Super Bowl Square Pool Probabilities (NY Times)

If you are in a Square Pool, the New York Times published our Super Bowl Square Pool Probabilities last year (both online and "in print" on Super Bowl Sunday).  The charts show the probability of winning a Square Pool by quarter, based on the underdog and favorite.  To use the probability charts this season:
  • replace last year's underdog, the Saints with the Steelers, and 
  • replace the favorite, the Colts, with the Packers.  

Then, look up the numbers you received to view your chances of winning any particular quarter. 

Special thanks to Don LaFronz, a financial advisor and good friend, who originated the idea and helped devise the methodology.

Carlton Chin is a graduate of MIT and a fund manager at Adamah / CARAT Capital.  Jay Granat is a psychotherapist and founder of  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Super Bowl Quant Facts & Sports Psychology (NY Times)

Here is an excerpt from our article, picked up by the NY Times, where we try to quantify key concepts of sports psychology to study methods of building and developing winning teams and champions.

In our book, “Who Will Win the Big Game?,” we studied factors related to sports psychology that might help predict the winner of the Super Bowl. The results are based on every Super Bowl starting in January 1967, or forty-four games. With an eye towards key concepts of sport psychology, as well as statistical analysis that attempts to identify factors that are as independent from one another as possible, five key statistical factors were identified. These statistics are related to principles of sport psychology like experience, leadership, error control and consistency. So important are these concepts to winning championships that they have proven to be common themes across all major sports. Last year these factors accurately predicted a Saints’ victory over the Colts.

Jay Granat and Carlton Chin study and quantify championship characteristics related to sport psychology.  They are particularly interested in qualities that are more readily coached, taught, and practiced.

The entire article can be found at (entire link below)

With Djokovich winning the championship at the Australian Open, our blog's "quant fact" predictions have compiled a 20-10 record -- often picking underdogs to win major championships.

We'll have more Super Bowl info on our blog over the next few days.