Sunday, December 23, 2007

Why You Can't Always Trust CoolStandings

Check out their current NFL odds.

There's nothing fundamentally wrong with their algorithm; it just isn't considering motivation. The Redskins and Titans each play a superior team in Week 17, but their opponents, the Cowboys and Colts, will be resting their starters for the playoffs while Washington and Tennessee play their hearts out to get their respective 6 seeds.

Tennessee opened as a 4-point favorite against Indy, and would probably be about a 7-point dog if Indy was trying. That's a huge swing, enough to make them substantial favorites instead of severe underdogs. Washington would ordinarily be an underdog to Dallas, but facing an unmotivated Cowboys team at home, the Redskins will probably open as solid faves.

Here are my updated odds estimates:

Team Conf SB

NE 67.8 54.6
Ind 21.2 15.1
Pit 4.1 2.6
SD 4.3 2.6
Jax 2.3 1.4
Ten 0.4 0.1

Dal 56.6 15.0
GB 25.2 5.4
Sea 6.6 1.2
TB 4.5 0.7
NYG 3.7 0.7
Was 2.4 0.4

Edit: If you're wondering how the Giants' chances managed to get worse despite their clinching a playoff spot, bear in mind that they were almost certain to get in the playoffs anyway, plus I tweaked the numbers some.

That Titans number is not a typo. To win the AFC, they have to win at Indy, at San Diego (or Pittsburgh), at New England, and probably at Indy again. That's one brutal path.


CardSharpCook said...

Have the browns already decided to forfeit this season? Or perhaps you have some insider information on some cheating scandal and know that they will be barred from participating....

j holz said...

The Browns check in at .2% to win AFC and less than .1% to win the Super Bowl. I suppose I should have kept them on for the sake of posterity. Still, even if they manage to make a run at it, I'm convinced Dwayne Rudd will take off his helmet, or Earnest Byner will fumble, or something else will happen to kill their chances at the last minute.