Saturday, December 3, 2016

Guess the Lines Week 14

Here are the week 13 results and week 14 predictions for this installment of "Guess the Lines". This is a weekly feature in which I put my Vegas NFL rankings to the test by predicting the point spread of upcoming NFL games. I compare the accuracy of my prediction against those of Bill Simmons and Cousin Sal, as featured on their weekly NFL podcast. In addition, I also calculate an implied point spread from ESPN Chalk's weekly Vegas NFL rankings.

Here are the week 13 results. Bill Simmons wins this week, with an impressive mean absolute error of 0.87 points. ESPN Chalk rankings continue to bring up the rear.

Week 13 Resultspredicted point spread:
gameaGPFhGPFmeespnbillsalactual
DAL @ MIN 4.7 0.5 +1.5 -1.5 +4.0 +4.0 +4.0
SF @ CHI -7.2 -6.0 -3.5 -6.5 -3.0 -3.5 -3.0
PHI @ CIN 1.5 -0.1 -1.0 -2.0 +1.0 +3.0 +2.0
WAS @ ARZ 0.7 1.8 -3.5 -4.5 -1.0 -1.5 -2.0
TB @ SD -2.5 0.6 -5.5 -4.5 -3.5 -4.0 -4.0
KC @ ATL 2.4 3.1 -3.0 -4.5 -3.5 -3.0 -4.0
DEN @ JAC 3.4 -4.1 +5.0 +6.0 +6.0 +7.0 +4.5
HOU @ GB -2.0 0.0 -4.5 -3.0 -3.5 -4.5 -4.5
LA @ NE -3.1 7.4 -13.0 -13.0 -13.0 -13.0 -13.5
BUF @ OAK 1.2 3.0 -4.5 -4.5 -4.0 -4.0 -4.0
MIA @ BAL -1.4 0.6 -4.5 -2.0 -3.0 -4.0 -3.5
DET @ NO -0.4 1.3 -4.0 -3.5 -4.5 -1.5 -5.0
CAR @ SEA 1.9 5.2 -6.0 -7.0 -6.0 -7.0 -6.5
NYG @ PIT 0.0 3.2 -5.5 -5.0 -4.0 -4.0 -6.0
IND @ NYJ -2.0 -3.2 -1.5 +0.5 -2.5 -3.0 +1.0
Mean Absolute Error 1.13 1.70 0.87 1.10

The closest prediction for each game is shown in bold. As a reminder, my predictions and the ESPN predictions were made a week ago Tuesday, so as not to be influenced by the week 13 opening lines.

Here is a summary of the weekly results. A lower score is better (we are measuring average prediction error). I still hold the overall lead, but Cousin Sal continues to gain on me.

Mean Absolute Prediction Error:
week me espn bill sal
10 1.29 1.86 1.89 1.68
11 1.11 1.46 1.29 1.07
12 1.38 1.75 1.28 1.22
13 1.13 1.70 0.87 1.10
average 1.23 1.69 1.33 1.27

Inspired by a suggestion in the comments in the week 12 post, I have also summarized how well each participant predicted the actual margin of the game:

Mean Absolute Prediction Error (actual margin):
week me espn bill sal vegas
10 9.32 9.61 8.79 8.64 9.54
11 5.25 5.25 5.25 5.25 5.25
12 8.44 8.69 8.16 7.59 7.50
average 7.67 7.85 7.40 7.16 7.43

Over three weeks, both Bill and Cousin Sal have done a better job than Vegas at predicting actual results. For reference, over the long term the average miss in the Vegas line is about 10 points.

Week 14 Predictions

Here are the week 14 predictions for both my model (based on the Tuesday version of my Vegas rankings), as well as the November 29 rankings from ESPN Chalk (to ensure things are on the up and up, I tweeted these predictions on Tuesday).

Week 14 Predictionspoint spread
gameaGPFhGPFmeespnbillsalactual
OAK @ KC 2.6 3.1 -3.0 -1.5
PIT @ BUF 4.4 1.3 +0.5 0.0
CIN @ CLE -0.9 -9.1 +5.5 +6.5
NO @ TB 2.2 -0.7 +0.5 -1.5
HOU @ IND -2.6 -2.7 -2.5 -1.5
ARZ @ MIA 1.2 -1.3 0.0 -1.0
WAS @ PHI 1.2 2.6 -4.0 -2.0
NYJ @ SF -4.9 -7.1 -0.5 +2.5
DAL @ NYG 5.0 0.7 +2.0 +2.0
MIN @ JAC 0.2 -4.4 +2.0 +4.5
CHI @ DET -6.6 -0.7 -8.5 -6.5
SEA @ GB 5.1 0.1 +2.5 -0.5
SD @ CAR 1.0 1.7 -3.0 -1.5
ATL @ LA 4.2 -4.1 +6.0 +6.5
DEN @ TEN 3.2 -1.2 +2.0 +1.5
BAL @ NE -0.2 6.8 -9.5 -8.5

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