Sunday, February 5, 2012

2012-02-05: Superbowl 46

Superbowl 46 is today and whether you love football or if you just watch for the commercials you are in for some entertainment tonight. Tonight's game is one of the closest games in recent history.
There is no doubt that New England has a great offense led by Tom Brady. New England has an Offensive Passing Efficiency of 7.65 yards per play compared to a league average of 5.97. The Giants led by Eli Manning are not far behind with a Passing efficiency of 7.32 yards per play. Both teams are in the top five for offensive passing. However the differences are more dramatic on the defensive side of the house. The Giants have given up 5.97 yards per play which is the league average. The patriots have the 29th worst pass defense and have have given up an average of 6.68 yards per play.
Running the algorithms the same way we have all year has the Patriots winning the Superbowl. The predicted margin of victory matches the Vegas Line exactly so this will be a close game. Because this is Science here are the outputs of the algorithms run in the exact same manner as they have all year.
Favorite Spread Underdog Discrete Pagerank

Now with that out of the way and adding a bit of logic. The Superbowl is not played at either of the teams home fields. New England is considered the home team but they are not playing at their home stadium. They are playing at the home stadium of the Indianapolis Colts and quarterback for the Colts is Peyton Manning, the brother of Eli Manning who is the quarterback for the Giants. Additionally the patriots are rivals of the Colts and the home crowd is not likely to be favorably disposed to the Patriots. Following that train of thought I swapped the home team to the Giants and ran the algorithms again. The Eigen Vector algorithm did not change as it does not take home team into account. The SVM algorithm switched its vote to the Giants, and the output of the Neural network model dropped below the Vegas Line.
Taking this into account we think that the Giants will either cover the spread or win the Superbowl outright.

-- Greg Szalkowski


  1. Your final prediction turned out to be quite prescient...

  2. I was browsing quickly through your NFL posts but didn't see a description of Pagerank. Can you briefly describe that? It's not related to Google Pagerank is it?

    Very interesting. Would you risk your money on these techniques?

  3. Hi Brooks: yes, it is the same Pagerank. Here is one of Greg's posts from two years ago that covers how he applied Pagerank to games:

    As for $, we can't do worse than gambling in the stock market, right? ;-)

    1. Hey Mike, very true! I think I prefer sports gambling, seems more honest. Thanks, I'll check out the link.