No hold market for NFL preseason in 2019

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Predictive analytics for the 2019 College Baseball World Series

Who should win the 2019 College Baseball World Series? Analytics and markets can help answer this question.

Ken Massey tracks a number of baseball rankings. However, only some of these numbers are predictive going forward.

My research in college football has shown that using margin of victory is essential for predictions. A method like RPI on the Massey site is immediately not considered.

A method like Elo can be predictive, but only if margin of victory is used in the calculations, not just wins and losses.

Two methods I know use margin of victory are Dokter Entropy and Massey Ratings. Here are the ranks of the 8 World Series teams by these two numbers (Dokter, then Massey).

  • Vanderbilt: 1st, 1st
  • Mississippi State: 3rd, 2nd
  • Arkansas: 4th, 4th
  • Texas Tech: 6th, 8th
  • Louisville: 8th, 5th
  • Michigan: 30th, 17th
  • Auburn: 35th, 11th
  • Florida State: 37th, 10th

The top 5 teams (Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Texas Tech and Louisville) are the primary contenders, as they rank in the top 10 by both metrics. Michigan, Auburn and Florida State are on the outside looking in.

The markets agree with this assessment. These are the odds at Caesars.

These odds translate into these implied win probabilities.

  • Vanderbilt, 21.0%
  • Arkansas, 21.0%
  • Mississippi State, 18.7%
  • Texas Tech, 9.3%
  • Louisville, 9.3%
  • Florida State, 7.6%
  • Auburn, 7.6%
  • Michigan, 5.3%

These odds have probably moved since June 10th.

Podcast: Ed Miller on the Logic of Sports Betting

On this episode of The Football Analytics Show, Ed Miller, a writer and data scientist with a background from MIT, joins me. We discuss his new book The Logic of Sports Betting that he co-wrote with Matthew Davidow.

Among other topics, we get into:

  • The seismic event that convinced Ed not to become a teacher (3:13)
  • How market making sports books set the spread or total for a game (11:14)
  • Why parlays aren’t necessarily bad bets (13:36)
  • The crucial concept of a no hold market (21:40)

Ed also had a make over on the television show Queer Eye back in 2006, and I had fun asking him about that experience (29:55).

His book The Logic of Sports Betting is fantastic, and we couldn’t cover everything in this interview. I highly recommending getting a copy from Amazon.

To listen here, click on the right pointing triangle.

To listen on Apple Podcasts, click here.

Podcast: Prof Cade Massey on the NFL draft

On this episode of The Football Analytics Show, Professor Cade Massey of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania joins me to talk about the NFL draft.

Cade performs research on judgment under uncertainty, and the NFL draft has provided fascinating real world data.

Among other topics, we discuss:

  • The most valuable draft pick per unit cost (the answer might surprise you, 6:02)
  • The delicate judgment on teams trading up to draft a QB in light of his research (10:16)
  • Whether Arizona should draft Kyler Murray in 2019 (14:21)
  • Whether the NFL can catch up with the NBA and MLB (22:37)
  • The most important advice for NFL teams to adopt based on his recent Behavior Scientist article (28:38)
  • The simple way Wharton has made their MBA admissions better, which NFL teams could learn from (30:23 to 35:14)

Cade is always a great guest, and I hope you enjoy this interview.  If you want to check out his paper on the Loser’s Curse, click here.

To listen here, click on the right pointing triangle.

To listen on Apple Podcasts, click here.

Podcast: Ben Reiter on how the Astros won the World Series

Ben Reiter of Sports Illustrated joins me to discuss his book Astroball, now available in paperback.  This book tells the story how the Astros used analytics to win the 2017 World Series.

Among other topics, we discuss:

  • How Ben convinced Astros GM Jeff Luhnow to open up about his methods (5:20)
  • The synergy that allowed the Astros to become one of the best at player projections (7:26)
  • How the Astros use analytics to identify undervalued pitchers (17:52)
  • A hypothesis on small baseball players, and how this relates to parenting (21:26)
  • The frontier in analytics that will keep the Astros ahead (23:20)

The book is a must read for anyone who values analytics in any sport.  To grab your copy, click here.

To listen, click on the right pointing triangle:

To listen on Apple Podcasts, click here.