Home > MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL > August 17 – Intro, and NFL Re-Preview (Part 1 of 8)

August 17 – Intro, and NFL Re-Preview (Part 1 of 8)

Hello Readers —

So, like most of the modern world – I’m starting a blog. I’m going to blog about two of the things that I enjoy in life – and how I’ve meshed them together – sports and math.

 I’ve been doing this since I was about 9 years old, when I really started getting into baseball. First, my parents would reward me with baseball stickers that would fill a Topps album (and the doubles would usually grace the cover, the playroom walls, and other household items). That turned into baseball cards, which turned into the BACK of the baseball card, and all those numbers. I would start avidly watching the Mets on Channel 9, listening to Ralph and Tim (and Steve Zabriske too – no Sportschannel for me, so a game on TV was a treat). As the Mets started to get better, and into pennant races (84,85), I thought, this is SO exciting, why cant I simulate the excitement myself? I would take out a yellow pad, a die from some board game that was never played – well, it wasn’t after I took out the die – and simulate games and standings throughout the year. After my hand fell off, I discovered what probably was for me the impetus for all my stats craziness – MicroLeague Baseball for our computer.

MicroLeague was a baseball sim with pretty bad graphics, where you could match up 20 or so all time teams against each other, and you were the manager. I guess others fell in love with the game too, because before long you could buy individual season stat disks, a general manager’s owners disk (these are floppys by the way, the floppys that really flop) where you could trade players, and the crucial one for me – a Stat Compiler’s disk, where you could compile stats for a team or a season. Needless to say, my family got very little computer time. A couple of the disks were read so much they started getting data errors. But I had found my purpose. All this led to the 86 Mets, and well, I was in love.

Teenage years brought football pools, fantasy baseball, and all the other fun stuff teenage years bring. I graduated college with a degree in Math, started work in the Pharma industry crunching numbers for new drug trials, and still following sports on the side. It was then I started thinking about how I could create models and programs using statistical software to try and figure out how I could best predict outcomes. And I am still working on that to this day. About 15 years, a happy marriage and 4 great kids later  – I’m still working at it.

I’ve created mathematical models for the NFL, NBA, and NHL. I’ve created a sim for MLB, but an actual outcome evaluator is in the works. I hope to use this blog to discuss my outcomes, the games themselves, and probably a million other tangents. I thought I would start by going through how I did on the NFL last year (not great, but hey, trial and error, right?) division by division, and a small line or two on expectation for this year. So, I bring you the AFC East :

Buffalo Bills :

Last year I was even with the Bills (7-7-1 – I don’t predict week 17, I’ll get to that another time). The Bills were kind of weird – they rushed for a ton – 2nd in the league – couldnt pass for a lick, and couldn’t score much either. They pulled off some good road wins (Jets, Panthers), but also got stunned at home (Browns). Eventually, the model picked up on the meager scoring (10-5 on over/unders). 2010 Outlook : Not much has changed here. They brought in a new coach with a focus on offense, but without a real QB option, and with only one real WR (Evans) , its hard to see much change. In a tough division, I’d expect about 6 wins, and another cellar finish.

Miami Dolphins :

The Dolphins were interesting in 2009 – it seemed my outcomes were always very close to the actual line for them. I went 9-6 in Miami games, but on only 3 of the games did my score differ more than 5 from Vegas. Their offensive output seemed to sputter toward the end of the year – at one point early in the season they scored 30 points 4 straight weeks, after that they didn’t score more than 25 the rest of the way. I went 7-8 in over/unders. 2010 Outlook : Henne should get more help with more experience and a very good receiver in Brandon Marshall. I like the coach a lot, too. I can see 9 wins, and just missing the post-season.

New England Patriots:

The problem with the Patriots was that they always put up good yardage and turnover numbers, which the model likes. However, they ran hot and cold with the points. They won big (59-0 over TEN, 35-7 over TAM and JAX), but also had some clunkers (losses to the Jets, Miami). Their offense also tailed off at the end of the season – one game over 21 in the last 5 weeks. I went 6-8-1 with them, and 8-7 in over/unders. 2010 Outlook : The Pats have a fairly nice schedule this year. They host the Colts this time, and have a couple of rough trips into San Diego and Pittsburgh, but that’s about it. I see 12-4 and a division crown. Oh yeah, and I like McCourty a lot – he’ll make an impact.

New York Jets:

Hopefully Jets fans are still reading after I just crowned the hated Pats. The model went 7-8 with the Jets last year. Problem with reading the Jets was – first they were all D, shutting down NE, HOU, holding NOR to 24 points – then they just lost it, giving up 31 and 30 to Miami, and another 31 to those Pats, before finding the D again and making it to the Championship game. Made them a little hard to predict. I went 8-7 on over/unders.  2010 Outlook : I like them for a potential Wild-Card again, but I think the Super Bowl talk is misplaced. I have them with 10 wins. They need to beat Miami once this year though. On the positive side, I like Hard Knocks.

That’s all for today…Comments are welcome – especially from angry Jet fans. Let me know what you think.

Categories: MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL
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