Update: The Monday Night game has numbers of a -3.5 spread, -185/+175 moneyline, and 35 point over/under. I’ll use those numbers when I put up the model results tomorrow.
This week seems to be the most appropriate place to point out that the models I use are completely team-based. They don’t know anything about individual players and their injuries, hopes, dreams, motivations, or desires. As far as I know right now, a number of potentially important people are out: Michael Vick, Big Ben, and the Monday Night Injury Showcase of not-Jay Cutler and not-Alex Smith. There are also a variety of receivers and running backs in various states of disarray. Of those quarterbacks, Smith is the only one that could potentially play (his uncertainty means that as of right now there’s no betting info for the Monday Night game, so I’ll try to update my numbers when they appear; as of now, I just put in some dummy numbers).
Why don’t I track injuries? Two main reasons: one is that it’s hard to put all that info in and my models have enough parameters as is; the other is that it’s hard to know what any one player is worth. There are few enough games already; if you try to separately evaluate ones that a certain player misses you also have to account for his back-up, the opponent, changes in game plan, etc. Even with a guy who has played long enough to gather a sample of missing games over years, like Big Ben, all of those factors change over time and make it nigh impossible to figure out his true value in a vacuum, let alone in a specific upcoming game. So I simply don’t bother. But if it makes you feel any better, games where someone important have been injured are still in the database. Thus the models “know” something about how teams perform; sometimes they might spontaneously get worse. The model doesn’t know it’s because of an injury, but it knows it can happen, and presumably that info shows up in the predictions. So you might want to view some of the predictions this week with a more skeptical eye than usual, but I don’t see any particular reason to be scared.
Here we go with the always-useless over/under picks. Since Chicago and San Fran are already pretty good defensively, I just gave them a number of 30 for now.
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Here are the moneyline picks. Bill Simmons has a line of -4.5 on the game, so I made up a moneyline of -250/+195 for Monday. I don’t even know if they correspond, but it’ll do for now.
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Here are the spread picks; I put in Bill’s line of -4.5 for now.
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Finally we have all of Bill’s picks. As a side note to his topic of Gary Bettman, I have two things to say about his position and the lockout: he works for the owners, not the players or fans, and so he should be doing whatever he can to make the owners more money; if he kills hockey, the owners will not be making any money. People may still go to the games when they start again (whether that’s tomorrow or next year), but the league will not make any kind of TV or merchandise revenue when people can’t see the games and they cancel chunks of seasons every 5 years. People want to buy NBA franchises even when they have a lockout; are people lining up to buy NHL teams?
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