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Superbowl Predictions – Amateurs Beat Pros

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5 comments to Superbowl Predictions – Amateurs Beat Pros

  • KeithJM

    You have a pretty good sampling of predictions from the two groups, but you only have one event to compare to the predictions. To make it worse, that event has a binary result (A or B) and is at least partly random.

    An equivalent test:

    We will toss one coin, and ask 37 experts and 37 non-experts to predict the outcome. The experts have read this story: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1697475

    They ask some questions about how we’re going to flip the coin and predict heads. The non-experts predict tails. I could make up a coin toss result but it doesn’t really matter. There is a decent chance (though perhaps less than 50%) that the experts will be wrong on this one coin toss.

  • petrucio

    I do agree, a sample size of ONE event couldn’t be more subject to confirmation bias.

    I wonder what article we would be reading if the SB results were different.

    The important sample size here is the number of events being watched, not the number of guessers.

  • stargazer9915

    Give Evan a break. He never claimed that this was a double blind clinical trial. This was the first and only game I watched all year and I picked the Saints with very little info to go on. This was just a casual study, but we can still extract a little information from it. Confirmation bias? I think not. Do not read to much into it.

    I do, however, agree that even the experts do not perform 100% and can even do worse than random guessing at times. Sports and economic predictions are not science and should not be looked at as such. For all we know, Sylvia Brown could have picked New Orleans for the big game, but does that mean psychics exist?

    Take it for what it is, a fun experiment by a football fan, and be happy with it.

  • rsm

    There is a lot of randomness in sports.

    The probably outcome by skill was that the Colts would win, and the need for the ‘pros’ to come up with a narrative to justify it is what makes them sound so certain. The likelihood of the Colts actually winning was probably the equivalent of a weighted coin toss 53-47 or something else ridiculously close. The problem is separating the narrative from the actual underlying skill and luck.

    If any one actually is interested in the different luck/skill components of the various major sports there are a number of journal articles around, but my current go-to for it is the following blog post by Tom Awad (mostly hockey focus, but this was specifically on identifying the actual skill component of wins across the major sports). His math is above my head, but from the ongoing discussions around his work the ‘peer review’ seems to validate his work.

    A couple of relevant links:
    Tom Awad
    On separating out the narrative

  • halincoh

    Thanks rsm – good reference for a sports geek

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