It wasn’t pretty, exactly, but the Lions won again last night to move to 5-0. There were 26 penalties between the two teams, which is the most I can remember in quite a while (for a game I watched, at least). But as a Lions fan, the best part I can think of is that the Lions faced a little adversity (going in down 10-7 at halftime) but came back and got a solid win on national television. I don’t think people across the nation really care about Detroit as a city (those commercials that say Chryslers are ‘imported from Detroit’ aren’t 100% joking), but if they’re only ever going to hear about the sports teams it might as well be good news. Hopefully that good news will continue for a while, as the model doesn’t see the Lions as an underdog until week 13 against the Saints (they are the tiniest of favorites for the Thanksgiving home game against the Packers, but even that is a ways into the future).
Speaking of good news, let’s look at how Luigi did this weekend. It managed to go 9-4 against the over/under, moving to 30-30-2. Can’t get much more average than that. It was a pretty upset-filled weekend as far as the model was concerned, only going 7-6 picking the correct outright winner. But remember that these are probable picks; if it says a team should win 75% of the time, the model wants to be wrong 25% of the time. I’ll check in on that later in the year. That puts Luigi at 36-25 for the season. In terms of the moneyline Luigi was 3-3, but connected on the Seattle upset. It’s only 17-20 overall.
In terms of the spreads Luigi was 8-5 in all games against Bodog, moving to 33-25-1. But it would have skipped Houston-Oakland, which it was wrong about, and Denver-San Diego, which it was also wrong about, so in pickable games it was 8-3 and moves to 32-19-1. Doing pretty well so far. Bill Simmons has his own picks as always with different lines. He went 7-5-1 while Luigi went 8-4-1. On the season Bill is 41-33-3 and I am 46-28-3. Five weeks finished, up five games.
Now the power rankings. You can compare and contrast to Brian Burke’s rankings here if you’d like. Brian’s model is pretty high on Dallas and Tennessee compared to mine; Luigi is more bullish on the Patriots and 49ers. Looking only at my model, the big mover was indeed San Fran, who jumped from average to 6th. Sticking with the Lions, they jumped from 7th to 4th, improving on both offense and defense.
And the season predictions. These predict the outcome of every game (including those already played, except week 1) knowing what we know about the teams right now. You can compare the ‘won’ and ‘EV so far’ columns to see which teams have been lucky; Detroit and Green Bay have both won about a game more than expected, for example. On the other side of things, the Eagles have played like a 3-2 or 4-1 team, not a 1-4 team. If you add the ‘won’ and ‘remaining wins’ columns you get a prediction for the final win total. For example, the Packers are predicted to take the NFC North at 13-3 while the Lions go 11-6. I think the worst division winner is expected to get to 9 wins this year, so hopefully we’ll avoid last year’s NFC West debacle.