Some of this is remedial, but I want to be sure that any reader can get the full picture, no matter how much they understand at the start.
At it's core, my magic formula is meant to pick winners of NFL games. And not only winners, but also to determine if the winners will cover the spread. I hope that is obvious to everyone!
The key fact that must be predicted is the final score for each team. After that, it is simple math to compare those predicted final scores against the spread assigned for that game.
For example, in this week's matchup between Tennessee and Houston, I have predicted a final score of Tennessee 17 and Houston 10. That is a 7 point margin of victory. The pool I am playing in has assigned a spread of 6.5 with the Titans as the favorite.
Since my prediction is for the Titans to win by 7 (which is greater than 6.5), I will pick the Titans. They can win the game by 30 points and I will still win the pick. However, if in the real game, the Titans only beat the Texans by 3 point, then I will lose my pick - even though the correct team won the game. That is because they did not "cover the spread".
Enough remedial school for now.
I want to show you (and collect comments and feedback from you about) how I came up with a prediction of 17-10 for my sample game.
The lowest level of my formula predicts that a team's score in any game will be the average of the points scored in all their previous games. This is an oversimplification, but it does hold some truth and I believe it is a reasonable starting point.
Since we are only in week 2, we can easily look at the prior games to see how this works:
Tennessee scored 10 pts last week - their average is 10.
Houston scored 7 pts - their average is 7.
So why did I not predict the game to be 10-7?
The answer is that my formula does not just look at points scored. The fact that the Titans scored 10 is only 1/2 of the prediction for their score this week. The other half is the points allowed by Houston. Last week Houston allowed 24 points to be scored.
The predictions for this week are that a team will score somewhere between their average score from the previous weeks and the average points allowed from their opponents previous weeks. Again, since this is week 2, we can look at the data quite easily:
Avg Pts Scored: 10
Opp Avg Pts Allowed: 24
Predicted Pts: Avg (10, 24) = 17
Avg Pts Scored: 7
Opp Avg Pts Allowed: 13
Predicted Pts: Avg (7, 13) = 10
This is just the tip of the iceberg. In the coming weeks, I will explain other facets of my formula. These upcoming topics include:
- Strength of Schedule
- Scoring Efficiency (Yds/Pt)
- Standard Deviations
- Rushing & Passing Yds Gained vs. Allowed
- ...and many others