What fun would draft week be without looking at some data? In that spirit we decided to look how draft position affects the willingness of a team to play a given player. In other words, does the sunk cost of the draft pick encourage a team to give a player more playing time than the player’s skill might otherwise call for? We looked at data for running backs and quarterbacks. Also, for quarterbacks we looked at when the playing time was occurring: was it during mop up time in a blowout or was it when the outcome was still in question.
Are running backs drafted higher more likely to “get a shot” than players drafted lower?
The running backs selected in the first half of the first round definitely get a better chance at playing time. There is an oscillation when comparing the first half of a round to the second half of a round. This is probably a result of the fact that teams picking in the second half of the draft probably need to give a rookie running back playing time.
The distributions of rushes demonstrate this even better. Running backs selected in the first half … Read the rest
Recently, while reading Vanity Fair’s account of the wisdom of crowds and how that wisdom can be mined to predict the Oscars, I found myself nodding along with the piece. Yes, I am a firm believer that crowdsourcing can be a great approach to solve thorny problems. Like Vanity Fair, I am often skeptical of the “expert”. Relying on expert judgment, though sometimes necessary, often leads one to rely on ill-formed opinion—witness the forecasts of the Etruscan Haruspex if you’d like a particularly gut-wrenching image of pre-classical expert opinion. Of late, crowd-sourced wisdom is piling up front page stories of success. The famous Netflix Prize found a suggestion algorithm better than Netflix’s own solution, and the 2008 and 2012 election forecasting case studies again illustrate the power of crowdsourcing. We’ve at least sampled the Kool-Aid too: in our own Oscar Forecasting model, we use data obtained from crowdsourcing (notably Intrade futures) for a part of our forecast. Just having a crowd, however, is not a silver bullet for a great solution.
Essential to analyzing the success and value of crowd-sourcing is a firm grasp of one thing – the crowd. The question is – who comprises the crowd. … Read the rest
I bet you have placed a bet at one point. Gambling is one of our favorite vices – as an innocent past time of course, and only in jurisdictions where betting is allowed. Online, the largest betting marketplace is Intrade. Intrade is an online trading exchange website. The website’s members bet on the outcomes of non-sports-related future events – including the Academy Awards. It turns out that Intrade has a great record over the history of the Oscar betting market for correctly predicting the best picture winner. In the final day of trading before the awards, these market-based predictions have been correct since the market’s inception. We will dig into the past few years below, but we should mention one caveat – about a month ago, Intrade stopped accepting bets from American members. This could be a crucial change in the betting market’s predictive ability for the upcoming Oscars.
We wanted to go back and look if there we’re any trends in the trading that can help us give insight this far out from the night the statuettes are handed out. The earliest year we have data available is the 2007 Academy Awards, when No Country for Old Men… Read the rest