Predicting the Giants Season Record in 2014

In striving for objectivity, we need to use a tool that can assess the Giants chances for wins and losses in each game without interjecting an opinion.  For this, we went to an online sports betting site to see what the money says about the Giants and each team they play against in the schedule.

I am doing this analysis as I type out this NY Giants blog post.  So I really do not know what it will look like.  I have my bias that the Giants will not win 8 games this season, but that is purely subjective.  By looking at the micro breakdown of each game we can get a better OBJECTIVE sense of how this season will unfold.  As we noted previously, last year no one could have predicted that the Giants would have faced the Packers’ 3rd string QB instead of Aaron Rodgers.  So this exercise is being performed under the assumption that such elements of unpredictability will even out in the wash.  Lets look at the methodology and how we arrive at conclusions.

First, we get a # for each team by seeing which way the line is fading and either adding or subtracting 0.25 games.  I.e. if the Giants are O/U 8 wins with +132/-155, this means that you have to lay money ($155) to make $100 by going under.  So we take 8 wins, deduct 0.25 and give that team a 7.75.

By looking at each team’s divisional wins expectation, we get a sense for how good the team is expected to be. So let’s examine the 5 divisions from which the Giants face 1 or more teams.

DIVISION        TOTAL WINS      ADJUSTMENT

NFC EAST             32.5 wins                       0.0

NFC SOUTH         34 wins                         -0.25

NFC NORTH        33.5 wins                      -0.25

NFC WEST            36.75 wins                   -0.50

AFC SOUTH         29 wins                          +0.50

Immediately we get a sense that the Giants should win games vs the AFC South but lose them vs the NFC West, all else equal.

Next, we look at each contest and give the home team a 0.25 win advantage.  If you are playing vs a division that has a higher score than your division, you lose 0.25.  Because the NFC West is set a great deal apart from every other division, they get a 0.5 edge.  And because the AFC South is that much weaker, they get a 0.5 deduct.

As an example of one contest, the first one on the schedule, the Giants play at DET.  The NYG are a 7.75 and DET is 8.25.  So with home field (+0.25) for DET and the NFC North having a slight edge (+0.25), DET is +1.00 above the Giants.

In order to assign  a win probability, each 0.25% is given a 4% edge. This is consistent with the fact that the Giants were 4-4 at home and 3-5 on the road last season.. 8 games in each situation netted one more win in total, and the objectivity of this analysis generates a 64% (8*2*4%) total, pretty close to 1 game.

                 NET           IN PROB%         WONDER
TEAM     VS NYG     OBJECTIVE%   SUBJECTIVE%

DET        +1.00                   34%                           10%
AZ            +0.25                  46%                           40%
HOU        -0.75                   62%                           70%
WAS        +0.25                  46%                          30%
ATL         +0.50                  42%                          60%
PHL         +1.75                   22%                          10%
DAL         +0.25                  46%                          40%
IND          +0.75                  38%                          20%
SEA          +4.25                    0%                             0%
SF             +2.75                     6%                           20%
DAL          -0.25                   54%                          80%
JAX          -3.25                 100%                        60%
TEN          -0.75                   62%                         40%
WAS         -0.25                   54%                         70%
STL         +0.75                   38%                          30%
PHI          +1.25                  30%                          50%

TOTAL                              680%                       630%
6.8 Wins                  6.3 wins

Another way of looking at this is that the #s build a quick takeaway: the Giants will lose 4 games vs SF, SEA, PHI and PHI.  They will win vs JAX. They will split the rest (5.5) vs fairly equal competition in the remaining games and go 6.5-9.5.

There is obviously a volatility assumption.. a variance or standard error.  If we assume that 4 wins is too pessimistic and 11 wins is too optimistic (7.5 mean via Over/Under line), we take the stdev of teams that won between 5 and 10 games this past season and we get 1.3 games variance.  So summing this up, we objectively see 6.8 wins +/- 1.3 wins, or the Giants falling into a result between 5.5 and 8.1 wins.

An objective analysis yields a season getting between 5.5 and 8.1 wins.  This makes a great deal of sense, because subjectively we believed that at best the Giants would get to ~8 wins and more likely a result below 8 wins.

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