Monday, January 03, 2011

Who will win the Superbowl this year? Simulations suggest...

I am currently crunching the numbers for this year's Playoff Fantasy Football Pool. Using the Sagarin ratings and the formula discussed earlier, I have randomly simulated this year's playoffs many times to determine who will win the Superbowl. This year New England seems to be the favorite to win if we just assume wins based on the ratings. Even if we use 13.92 as the standard deviation and the spread and a normal distribution to calculated the probability of a team winning, New England wins about 33% of the time with no home advantage and 39% of the time with a home advantage of 2.11 points as given by the Sagarin ratings. The plot below shows how the winner varies with the standard deviation used in the model for either 2.11 points home advantage on the left or 0 points on the right.

Click on the chart for larger. The X-axis varies from a standard deviation from 0.001 which essentially assumes that the team with the higher spread wins through more reasonable scenarios with higher standard deviations which are more like what has occurred in previous NFL seasons.

Using the home advantage of 2.11 and a standard deviation of 13.92 simulations also show the likely teams to make it to the AFC and NFC championships. The plot below shows those results for 1000 simulations.

The likely matchup is either New England or Pittsburgh as AFC champion vs. either Chicago, Atlanta, or Green Bay as the NFC champion. Other teams have slim chances of appearing as seen down near the x-axis. Notably, New Orleans or Philadelphia have slim but noticeable chances to be the NFC champion, as well as Baltimore, New York Jets or Indianapolis having slim chances to appear as AFC champions.

Next step, collecting player data and simulations to make the perfect roster picks.

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