We move in the right direction with a good, almost great, week 6 in the NFL. We were a pick 6, with 24 seconds left, away from having a really great week. We won’t complain though as we put some cash back in the piggy bank. It has been a year where most of these late defensive scores have cost us. That is going to happen. Over the long haul it evens out but when you are in the midst of a stretch where they go against you it is often hard to see it that way.
Take a look at this excerpt from the book Scorecasting by Moskowitz and Wetheim.
People tend to ascribe patterns to events. We don’t like mystery. We want to be able to explain what we are seeing. Randomness and luck resist explanation. We’re uneasy concluding that “stuff happens” even when it might be the best explanation.
What’s more, many of us don’t have a firm grasp on the laws of chance. A classic example: On the first day of class, a math professor asks his students to go home, flip a coin 200 times, and record the sequence of heads and tails. He then warns, “Don’t fake the data, because I’ll know.” Invariably some students choose to fake flipping the coin and make up the results. The professor then amazes the class by identifying the fakers. How? Because those faking the data will record lots of alterations between heads and tails and include no long streaks of one or the other in the erroneous belief that this looks “more random.” Their sequence will resemble this HTHTHHTHTTHTHT.
But in a truly random sequence of 200 coin tosses, a run of six or seven straight heads or tails is extremely likely: HTTTTTHHTTTHHHHHH.
Counterintuitive? Most of us think the probability of getting six heads or tails in a row is really remote. That’s true if we flip the coin only 6 times, but it’s not true if we flip it 200 times. The chances of flipping 10 heads in a row when you flip the coin only 10 times are very low, about 1 in 1,024. Flipping the coin 5,000 times? We’d see at least one string of 10 in a row 99.3 percent of the time. At 10,000 times, it’s virtually a lock (99.99 percent) that we’ll see at least one run of 10 heads in a row.
I have had intelligent people tell me that you never see 3333 or 5555 or 1234 come out in the pick 4 lotto numbers. But that is because each of those has a 1 in 10,000 chance of coming out so of course you do not see them come out often. Neither does 3823 or 4892 or 5032 etc. They all are 1 in 10,000 but sequenced numbers are more recognizable. One of the best things casinos ever did was put a board next to the roulette wheel with the last 20 numbers called on it. Inevitably people walking by will see 6 blacks in a row and come over and put money on red because red is “due”. Over time this has been very profitable for the casinos.
We have played a lot of games since 2011. I look at our plays in the same way I look at coin flips, dice rolls, or cards dealt. We are going through a run where tails has come up multiple times in a row. It is inevitable. We have a small edge on our plays that have proven out over the course of time. We know the exact probability for a coin flip, knowing it for a football game is a bit more complex. But if correct the randomness should look much like those coin flips.
On to the games this week
Has the bandwagon ever filled up this fast before? The Dallas Cowboys went from picked to be the worst team in the NFC East to now a Super Bowl favorite by some. I saw preseason talk about how this was the worst defense in football. A laughable defense that had no chance to hold anyone under 30 points. The over reactions in the NFL are great for us. On the flip side the Giants went into last weeks game as a team that the experts figured would easily defeat the Eagles on the road. The same team that after 2 weeks was the worst offense anyone had ever seen. This was a 3.5 point line before Sunday. We are getting a ton of value so I like that the model has this as our top selection.
In our second game the Saints pop up for us. Everyone wants to know what is wrong with the Saints right now. The road losses this season are reasonable. The concerning game was against Tampa. They rallied to win but beating the Bucs in OT is not going to make everyone feel warm and fuzzy. Brees and Payton will figure out a way to turn it around off a bye. Brees is 8-2 ATS with a week off. Look for the Saints to right the ship against a banged up Lions team.
NFL Week 7
1. NY Giants +7……………………….65%
2. New Orleans +3…………………..65%
3. Tennessee +6……………………..64%
4. Jacksonville +5.5…………………59%
5. Pittsburgh -3……………………….59%
6. Denver -6.5…………………………57%
7. Minnesota +5.5……………………56%
8. Atlanta +7…………………………..55%
9. Kansas City +4.5…………………..55%
10. Indianapolis -3……………………54%
11. Oakland +3.5……………………..54%