Sunday, February 05, 2006

Superbowl XL is a T-shirt size that will fit me.

Has anyone noticed that the Roman numerals of this year's Superbowl have transformed into an extra-large shirt size. I guess America is getting fatter, but there is hope around the corner. In ten years it will just be Superbowl L, so keep up those diets and exercise.

Today's task is to beat my football knowledgeable family (especially my twin sister) by beating them at a Superbowl pool. Careful readers may be able to surmise that I have no chance of winning the Fantasy Playoff Football pool, even with the application of genetic algorithms, so all my self respect must ride on today's pool.

The idea is to get the most points by having the most answers about the events in today's game itself. Many are random, for instance:
  • Coin Toss - heads or tails
  • Coin Toss winner
  • Direction of first play on TV (not kickoff)
Many may actually be figured out with enough knowledge of football or the teams:
  • Total fumbles (or sacks, or interceptions, punts, penalties etc.)
  • Total number of points
  • First play to score
For these last predictable questions I have enlisted the aid of the knowledgeable crowd as opposed to my own ignorance. In the Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki the author notes that often the average answer to a question asked of many people is more accurate than the answer given by one expert. One example he uses is betting. The bookies that run a betting parlor have a high incentive to figure out the correct odds or the correct line because they lose their shirts (and may be susceptible to injury in tougher neighborhoods) if they get it wrong. Thus the bookies try to even out the money on either side of a bet, paying out the losing money to the winners minus their cut. Essentially evening out the bets is a great ay for a large crowd of people, the bettors, to vote on an outcome. If we believe the crowd knows better than the experts, than this where I should get my predictions.

A few searches on the internet turn up a few pages where one can bet on every single aspect of the Superbowl. While I am not interested in betting, I am interested in prediction. For instance the over/under for the total number of points for the game is either 46 or 47 depending on where you look. That means the crowd thinks that the total number of points scored in the game will be 46 points (or so). Guess what I put on my sheet? The process continues for more and more esoteric items like number of sacks or penalties.

Always remember the application of science and math to even the most mundane of activities can improve your life. I will tell you after the Superbowl if it worked out. Go Steelers!

2 comments: said...

What's the site where you can bet on every single aspect of the Superbowl? I would love to go check it out.

Richard Koehler said...

for - I would suggest searching on betting on the Superbowl. I am not interested in betting, I ws just interested in the odds to use in my predictions.