Quick Thursday Night Pick

And now, our first glimpse at predictions for the NFL!  I’m not going to lie; Luigi has me a little worried this week.  It looks like he’s talking crazy talk.  But even week 2 usually turns out alright, so we’ll see how it goes.  The rest of the games are also already predicted (which is how I know crazy talk is involved), but I’m going to hold off on those until the weekend when Simmons posts his picks and the lines are more finalized.  But tonight, we have the Chicago Bears traveling to play the Green Bay Packers.

Let’s start with win probability.  Remember that the percentage is how likely the home team is to win.

home away Luigi Yoshi 1 Yoshi 2 SBR Consensus Moneyline
GB Chicago .165 .455 .372 -220/+200

So, the models all seem to agree that the Bears are actually preferred to win.  Luigi is the most in favor.  It’s hard to say at this point if the models ‘know’ what’s going on or if the Bears just looked good playing the Colts while the Pack looked bad playing the 49ers.  I guess we’ll find out!

This year instead of using gambling lines from Bovada, I’ll be getting them from SBR, which has a number of sites listed and forms a consensus for them.  Obviously the lines change with time, but I try to get them Sunday morning when possible.  If you don’t know what the numbers mean, why don’t you check out that ‘how to bet’ link in the header?  All three models think that the Bears have a pretty good chance of winning; for their +200 odds to pay off they would only need to win 33% of the time (a third of the time they’ll win and you get $200 for an expected value of 66.67; two thirds of the time they lose and you lose your $100 for an expected value of -66.67).  So all the models agree that the Bears are worth a look.

So we see that the Bears are potential favorites to win outright.  How much should they win by?

home away Luigi Yoshi 1 Yoshi 2 SBR Consensus Spread
GB Chicago -11.8 1.51 -8.84 -5 at -110

The spread lists Green Bay as 5 point winners.  Luigi and Yoshi 2 both think Chicago will win by more than a touchdown while Yoshi 1 thinks the Packers will get a narrow win.  Now you might think it’s odd that Yoshi 1 gives the Packers less than a 50% chance of winning but thinks they’ll score more points.  Remember that the win probability and point differential predictions actually come from different models, so they’ll have disagreements in situations like this, where the game is around 50/50 in its opinion.  More importantly, all three models think the Bears will cover, and all three think the outcome is more than a few points away from the spread.  So I would be comfortable (in an abstract sense; I never feel comfortable picking games) in going with the Bears to cover.  If the models had picked Green Bay to win by anywhere from 4 to 6 points, I would advise you just stay away.

Finally we can look at the over/under, or how many total points we think will be scored.  Luigi is not very good at this, so consider it a lark while I see if either of the Yoshis are any good.

home away Luigi Yoshi 1 Yoshi 2 SBR Consensus O/U
GB Chicago 53.6 41.4 51.3 51 at -105

Again we see that Luigi and Yoshi 2 are up in the same direction while Yoshi 1 is far more moderate.  The online sites are expecting a fairly high-scoring game (I would consider it bad form to do this, but combining the spread with the O/U gives a predicted score of 28-23; something like 20-17 or 24-20 is more typical).  Luigi thinks they’ll make it over, Yoshi 2 thinks it’s pretty much right on, and Yoshi 1 rarely guesses far away from the average, which in this case would be to take the under.  Frankly your guess is as good as mine.

As a side note, the Hilton SuperContest has the Packers as 6 point favorites.  I base my SuperContest picks on how far away the model is from their line and take the top 5.  With Luigi and Yoshi 2 picking the Bears to win big, this game will almost certainly make the list.  The official picks will show up on Sunday with the rest of the predictions.

Any which way, we get a good NFC North rival showdown.  Enjoy!

Quick Update – Bill Simmons has a pick for tonight up; he’s also taking the Bears to cover +5.5.  So we’re on the same page there.

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3 Responses to Quick Thursday Night Pick

  1. Luigi may have had too much vino this week! Or maybe he needs to be institutionalized, because giving the Pack only 15% chance to win at home is just crazy.

    (I’m only playing. I know there’s a ton of variance with this kind of thing this early in the year.)

    But a serious question: are you confident enough in this model that you would be the Bears straight up?

    • Alex says:

      I haven’t looked at the moneyline predictions as closely as I’ve looked at the spread, but Luigi seems to favor underdogs in general, which is an ok strategy because even though they don’t win as often, you get more money when they do. What I really need to do is take a solid look through my data and see what kind of confidence I can put on the win probabilities; maybe Luigi expected the Bears to win but it was a ‘close call’ for what the odds were. Although in this particular case, it liked them so much I doubt that was the case.

      So, if I had been strolling through a casino at the time, I would’ve considered putting a little money on the Bears. I might not have fully expected them to win, but I would’ve been happy getting double my money if they had. I also probably would’ve ripped up my ticket after the half; the game wasn’t out of hand yet but the Bears looked terrible.

      > Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2012 03:39:50 +0000 > To: akonkel@hotmail.com >

  2. Pingback: NFL Week 2 Picks | Sport Skeptic

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