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Thursday, October 9, 2008

NY Giants Math

Want to know what expected value is? It is the probability times the value of the outcome. So if we want to figure out what the record of the Giants is going to look like this season, we can (a) estimate the point spread in each game (b) convert that to a percent probability from the corresponding moneyline odds (c) add up the individual games ... for the final record of the Giants this season.

0 pt favorite = 50%
-3 = 60%
-4 = 66%
-7 = 75%
-10 = 81%
-14 = 88%

at CLE, -7, so 75% moneyline odds
SF -13 = 87%
at Pitt = -3 = 60%
Dallas -4 = 66%
at PHL pick'em = 50%
BAL -7 = 75%
at AZ -6 = 72%
at WSH pickem 50%
PHL -6 = 72%
at DAL +2 = 43%
CAR -7 = 75%
at MINN -6 = 70%

You can dispute these lines, but they are generous guesses based on a growing sentiment that the Giants are regarded as the #1 team in the league RIGHT NOW.

The manager at a prominent Las Vegas Strip Hotel Sportsbook: "I think your numbers (lines) are too strong on the Giants. Though they crushed Seattle, lines generally don't move much game to game without key injuries. The biggest mistake bettors make is placing too much emphasis on the last game. Before last week the Giants would not be favored on the road as big as you have them in most cases, hence 11-5 or 12-4. I feel 13-3 will be enough to get home field this year and yes, the Giants are capable if they remain healthy. 14-2 is not realistic."

Even if there is one line or a few which are slightly off, it will not impact the net result significantly. Adding up the individual numbers yields 7.95, rounding to 8. The gmen are 4-0 currently, so the implied final record would be 12-4. That is a probabilistic best guess. You can easily make up your own math, saying there is no way the Giants are losing a particular game, so it is not 75%, it is 100%. But just remember the Bengals game for why there is no such thing as a lock on anything. "That's why they play the games." Does anyone here think 12-4 wins the division? I think it probably does not. This is a statistical guide to what things look like at this exact moment. For example, AFTER the games were tabulated, news came out that Newman has a sports hernia and may very well be out for 6 weeks, thus missing the first game coming up. By that point the Dallas defense can be vulnerable to the air attack and bump the odds a few points.

Summary: 12-4 looks like a realistic statistical mean based on expected value and 'slightly' aggressive from the sportsbook's perspective.

3 comments:

Mitch said...

More stats to ponder according to Paul Schwartz...


Heading into Monday night's game in Cleveland against the 1-3 Browns, the Giants at the quarter pole of their season are tearing up the league. They have outscored their opponents by 78 points. The Titans, the other unbeaten team, are next at plus-59.

Once considered a defensive team with a susceptible offense, the Giants under Eli Manning's orchestration are flying high. They are first in the NFL in five significant categories, including points per game (31.8), yards per game (431) and first downs per game (24.2).

"We're doing more things with this offense," said Manning, who is off to the best start of his career with a rating of 99.7, fifth highest in the league. "Last year it was hard to really expand with the offense, with Plaxico [Burress] not practicing, Steve Smith was hurt, we were kind of short on numbers a little bit. This year we feel the receiver spot is one of our strongest positions. We feel we have five guys who can get in the game and play. That's helped our offense expand and be more versatile."

The defense has stepped forward, not backward, despite the losses of Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora. The Giants are second in the league in points allowed (12.2 per game) and passing yards allowed (154 per game) and third in yards allowed (236 per game). They also are first in pass attempts per sack (one every 9.3 attempts).

Please don't wake me up!

Frank said...

IMO last season, for those who remember, parallels the 1985 season where the Giants were a playoff team but not good enough to beat the powerful Bears. The Giants were a powerhouse in the making. The following year the 1986 team was dominating. The only difference is the 1985 team lost in the playoffs and last year's team fortunately didn't!

This year is the 1986 year, the Giants in 2007 were a team on the rise. The 2008 Giants are a DOMINATE team. Right now is there a better team in the NFL?

I don't think they will go 14-2 but I wouldn't be shocked if they did.

Pastime Princess said...

Frank,
Very good point. I hope your right. I rmemeber in 86 it was not, will the win, it was, how much will they win by.

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