Imagine last September you placed a $500 wager on the Saints to win the Super Bowl this Sunday. Further imagine your heartbreak as a human error resulted in perhaps the worst no-call in the history of sports, thereby thwarting your chance to cash a $6500 ticket. The joy and agony we all experience from our sports obsessions often hinge on the mistakes, biases, and mis-cues of the all-too-human participants. Ironically, our passion is directly linked to these human errors. Who steps up under pressure, who folds? The unpredictable successes and failings of a game’s participants (including officials) is at the root of our pleasure. Great plays, dropped passes, and bad calls create the emotional high points we remember most. Human error in sports is a feature, not a bug.
Unless you live in the Bayou state, there are still many compelling storylines that will keep most of us tuned into the big game on Sunday. The Rams field general, Sean McVay, is the hottest coach in the league and at 33, could become the youngest coach ever to win a Super Bowl. Sixty-six-year-old Bill Belichick, considered by many to be the greatest to ever carry a clipboard, would be the oldest coach to hoist the Lombardi trophy. Age is also a major theme for the players under center. Tom Brady at 41, is 17 years older than Jared Goff. The age differences between both the quarterbacks and the head coaches are the largest in Super Bowl history. The Rams and the Patriots last met in the Super Bowl 17 years ago when Brady and Belichick bested the heavily favored St. Louis team. (Jared Goff was working his way through 1st grade.) The Patriot’s win marked the beginning of one of the greatest sports dynasties in history, although, many Rams fans still believe ‘Spygate’ cost their team the win.
While these storylines are intriguing, we are always looking for the numbers beneath the stories that may indicate inefficient and biased human decision making. Our partners at Analytic Investors (the sub-advisor to our long/short equity strategies) have once again produced a Super Bowl forecast based on their NFL Alpha and Volatility models. Analytic’s predictions are an interesting play on ‘reversion to the mean’ and so far during the 2019 playoffs have resulted in an impressive 80% success ratio against the spread. Note that on the table below, lower Alpha teams during the regular season are expected to outperform during the playoffs.
Postseason analysis (8-2 record)
Find out who Analytic picks to win >