On Any Given Sunday NFL Favorites Win And Underdogs Lose

The NFL is an organization built on the perception of parity. “When you come into a season, every fan thinks that their football team has a chance to win the Super Bowl,” league Commissioner Roger Goodell said in 2011. Jonathan Kraft, president of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, echoed this sentiment during a pregame radio show earlier this season, saying: “The difference between 0-2 and 2-0 can be a couple of plays in individual games. And I’m not surprised because the one thing I’ve learned is if you expect something to happen in this league, it’s likely not going to happen. And you see that lesson repeat itself over and over. It’s what makes it so special and why people love to follow it.”This is a narrative that built a multi-billion dollar business, one that encourages supporters and inspires graphics that go viral. It keeps fans involved when their teams are struggling and brings them back each year. Even the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-14 in 2014 and 2-3 so far this year) think they have a chance in 2015. Each game is a new set of downs, a shot to continue a winning streak or turn around a flagging franchise. You either win or you lose. The excitement comes because your team has a chance to do both.But the “Any Given Sunday” idea — that any team has a chance to win any game — is less true than NFL executives want the fans to believe.Sure, you might see your favorite team go from worst to first over the course of a season, but that’s more a function of luck than anything. Teams play such a small number of games that they might have ended up in the cellar even though they weren’t that bad the year before. Conversely, even if a team stinks, it can luck its way to an 8-8 year.But beneath that luck, the NFL is much more unequal than Major League Baseball or the National Hockey League. Instead, it’s on par with the NBA, a league that’s dominated by its transcendent talents.That’s what we found by comparing leagues simultaneously, judging their competitiveness on the same scale. We turned to gambling to do it. While game results and win-loss metrics can be affected by scoring systems and number of games, sportsbook odds are the one unifying metric. In a world with perfect competitive equality, each team would have a 50-50 chance of winning. But as the gaps in talent between the teams grow, games are no longer a coin toss. For example, in Sunday’s contest between Green Bay and St. Louis, the underdog Rams were given roughly a 1 in 5 chance of emerging victorious.The chart below shows a compendium of the pregame probabilities, derived from Sports Insights betting odds, of the home team winning each game in each of the four pro major sports over the past 10 years1The data set provided by Sports Insights included regular and postseason games for each league. The time spans it covered varied for each league. For the NBA, we had data from the 2004-05 season through 2014-15; for the NHL, 2005-06 through 2014-15; for MLB, the beginning of the 2005 season through Aug. 22, 2015; and for the NFL, the beginning of the 2005 season through Sept. 21, 2015. or so.2We used implied probabilities given pregame money lines taken from Sports Insights. For example, say the Steelers are -250 on the money line against the Jaguars. A bet of $250 on the Steelers to win the game would yield a $100 profit if the Steelers win. In probability terms, Steelers backers think Pittsburgh is more than 71.4 percent likely to win. However, the implied probability for this game also has to account for the sportsbook’s take, which is generally a tick over 2 percent. In our data, we normalized the team win probabilities so that they summed to 1. In the Steelers example, the -250 favorite matches a probability of 71 percent, or a true underlying probability of about 69 percent. In the vast majority of NHL and MLB games, the home team’s chance of winning falls between 35 and 70 percent. That’s the big spire you see in the middle of the graph, and it suggests that the home team is never that big of an underdog or favorite. Many games, if not most of them, are a near 50-50 proposition. The curves for the NFL and NBA, though, are more spread out because fewer games in those leagues are tossups. The NFL’s curve may look even, but that really suggests that the games feature more lopsided matchups. Bad NFL home teams are bigger underdogs than bad MLB teams. Every week, there are several NFL games where you can be fairly confident which team is going to win and which is going to lose before they take the field for warmups.In hockey and baseball, even the worst teams are generally given a 1 in 4 chance of beating the best teams. Meanwhile, in the NFL and NBA, teams like the 2013 Jacksonville Jaguars and the 2014 and 2015 Philadelphia 76ers are sometimes given no more than a 1 in 20 chance by odds makers. And while only about 1 in 100 NHL or MLB contests feature a heavy favorite (75 percent or higher), about 1 in 4 NBA and NFL games reach such a standard. That is, about a quarter of NFL games each weekend are bigger mismatches than the most lopsided baseball or hockey games — think the Dodgers hosting the Phillies or the Sabres traveling to Pittsburgh.Parity in the NFL is perceived, a phenomenon born out of each season’s tiny sample size of games. Sabermetricians Tom Tango and Phil Birnbaum, for example, argue that you learn as much about true team talent from 12 NFL games as 14 NBA games.336 NHL games and 69 MLB games also meet the same standard. But while the NBA gives teams 82 regular-season games to prove themselves, the NFL provides only 16 games. It’s easier for a less-talented NFL team to luck its way into a few victories and make the playoffs. And the NFL’s playoff format, which can reward divisional winners at the expense of teams with more talent, helps, too. It means that the 2014 Carolina Panthers, at 7-8-1, can make the second weekend of the playoffs, a major marker of a successful year, even though few people would argue that they were one of the league’s best teams. In fact, they were a 7 to 1 underdog in their playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. While the Panthers reached the postseason (after all, someone had to win the NFC South last year), they were given little chance to win a title.What’s also interesting about these results is that unlike each of the other leagues, which fix schedules almost entirely using divisional or conference affiliation, the NFL goes out of its way to encourage closer games by using an unbalanced schedule. When there are fewer games between the Pats and Bucs and more between perennial powerhouses like the Pats and Broncos — who have met in six of the last seven regular seasons — the league, on average, artificially narrows the curve in the chart above. Perhaps that’s a good thing for a league that relies on the myth of parity to keep supporters interested. If the NFL made its schedule following the rules used by other major sports, it might become abundantly clear to the fans that Any Given Sunday is only true in the movies.CORRECTION (Oct. 12, 1:30 p.m.): An earlier version of this article gave an incorrect time period for its analysis of pregame probabilities for major sports leagues. The probabilities were not based on all games since 2005; the time periods varied by league, and in several cases, games in recent weeks were not included. We have added a footnote clarifying the exact dates. read more

Shark week Titus seeking opinions from Kimmel Simmons

“As far as a career, I don’t really know what I want to do,” Titus said. “I thought about acting or writing scripts. I’ve thought about being a sports writer. I’ve thought about everything, I guess.” Fortunately, he has a few people looking to lend a helping hand. “I’m flying out to L.A. to meet with [ABC’s] Jimmy Kimmel and [ESPN’s] Bill Simmons, and we’re going to try and figure something out,” Titus said. “I thought of some stuff that would be fun, but I haven’t really tried to pursue anything seriously because I’m going to wait and see what they have to say. “I don’t really know,” Titus said. “I’m open to anything.” As a friend of then-Ohio State freshman Greg Oden, Mark Titus began his OSU basketball career as a team manager. However, shaky camera work, lazy water bottle filling and sub-par punctuality quickly forced him back into the general student population. But when injuries left coach Thad Matta’s roster dwindling, Titus was again asked to help out — this time as a player. He joined the team in 2006, and in just four years Titus went from being a lowly walk-on to a Buckeye legend. The question now, as Titus approaches graduation at the end of Spring quarter, is where does he go from here?  No longer will he have his cushy seat at the end of the Buckeye bench, and like so many other graduating seniors, he is soon to be thrust into the real world. Although he doesn’t have any specific plans, Titus, who is majoring in marketing, said life could take him just about anywhere.  read more

Mango cultivation gains momentum in Paschimanchal areas

first_imgKolkata: Shantiram Mahato, state minister for Paschimanchal Unnayan Affairs department, inaugurated the two-day Mango Mela in Purulia on Sunday.It may be mentioned that mango cultivation in Paschimanchal areas like Purulia, Bankura, Jhargram, West Midnapore, Birbhum and East and West Burdwan districts is gaining popularity for producing Amrapali, Mallika, Himsagar and Alphonso varieties.Theses varieties of mango are the most suitable for this region and the quality of these varieties is far better than the conventional mango growing regions of west Bengal like Malda and Murshidabad. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThese mango orchards have been popularised through Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), by the Horticulture & Paschimanchal Unnayan Affairs department.More than 20 lakh mango saplings have been planted in this region, including Alphonso from Dr Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapith, an agriculture university situated in Ratnagiri district in Maharashtra, known as the Alphonso hub in the country.Scientists of Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Nadia, compared the quality of the mangoes grown in this region with the same varieties grown elsewhere and it was found that the quality of these mangoes in this region is better, along with the shelf life of the fruits. Also Read – Naihati: 10 councillors return to TMC from BJPThe district administration has been organising the Mango Mela since 2014, to popularise mangoes of the region and provide a forum for export of these mangoes.SHG members attached with the orchards are getting the facility of selling their produce directly to the buyers.Mango export from this region is being done by the government to ensure more remuneration and profits to the farmers. 3 metric tonnes of Amrapali from Bankura has been exported this year to Dubai. Export to England and Australia is alsobeing tried.Mahato said: “This area was not known for mangoes, but now, the best mangoes are being produced in this region. The government is trying to set up more plantations with genuine quality mangoes and export them to ensure more profit for our farmers. If it is regularised, the economy of the area will be changed through mango cultivation.”last_img read more

Etsys New Web Service Is Its Answer to WordPress and Squarespace

first_img Etsy has stitched its way into the custom website space.The ecommerce marketplace yesterday rolled out a new way for its users to showcase and sell their products. Using Pattern, a custom website creator that links up with existing Etsy shops, sellers can select a custom domain and all the information from the seller’s existing Etsy shop — listings, product descriptions and images, inventory and current orders — will be added to a new mobile-friendly site.Related: This Teen Paid for College by Selling on Etsy. Here Are 5 Ways She Did It.The company says that over a third of Etsy users are interested in a site of their own, and with this new option, the platform is competing with other website creators such as Squarespace, Wix, WordPress and Weebly while establishing a new revenue stream and adding to its suite of services.The tools that Etsy has in place for payment processing, checkout and shipping will remain the same, and Pattern provides analytic statistics. There are no storage limits for the sites. For the launch of the service, Etsy is offering a 30-day free trial and then afterwards, sellers pay $15 a month.Related: New Feature Enables Etsy Sellers to Shoot and Edit Product Videos From Smartphones   The emphasis that the company is putting on reaching customers through mobile is in line with the January release of a video editing feature on the Sell on Etsy app. That feature allows users to edit and upload video content they film on their smartphones to their shops. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. April 6, 2016center_img Register Now » 2 min readlast_img read more