Posts Tagged ‘ Sports ’

Talking shop about probability

April 11, 2014
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It strikes me that the media loves to talk about probability, a subject about which journalists are ill-trained to write. The latest example of this is Forbes' attempt to draw a lesson out of the Warren Buffett's gimmicky $1 billion NCAA pool. As we all learned, by the time the 25th match drew to a close, all 8.7 million entrants have gotten at least one winner wrong, thus there would…

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Law of small numbers, in action

April 10, 2014
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Law of small numbers, in action

Loyal reader John M. expressed dismay over Twitter about 538's excessive use of bubble charts. Here's the picture that pushed John over the edge: The associated article is here. The question on the table is motivated by the extraordinary performance...

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Numbersense Pros: Cathy O’Neil talks about trust in data analysis

April 7, 2014
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Numbersense Pros: Cathy O’Neil talks about trust in data analysis

Cathy O'Neil may need no introduction to blog readers. She's the author of the hard-hitting MathBabe blog, and she shares my passion for explaining how data analysis really works. She is co-author of the recent book Doing Data Science (link), with Rachel Schutt. Cathy has a varied career spanning academia and industry, as she explains below. *** KF: How did you pick up your impressive statistical reasoning skills? CO: Thanks…

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Is a steal really worth 9 points?

March 26, 2014
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Is a steal really worth 9 points?

Theodore Vasiloudis writes: I’d like to bring your attention to this article by Benjamin Morris discussing the value of steals for the NBA. The author argues that a steal should be a highly sought after statistic as it equates to higher chances of victory and is very hard to replace when a player is injured. […]The post Is a steal really worth 9 points? appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal…

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Win probabilities during a sporting event

March 23, 2014
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Win probabilities during a sporting event

Todd Schneider writes: Apropos of your recent blog post about modeling score differential of basketball games, I thought you might enjoy a site I built,gambletron2000.com, that gathers real-time win probabilities from betting markets for most major sports (including NBA and college basketball). My original goal was to use the variance of changes in win probabilities […]The post Win probabilities during a sporting event appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference,…

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The myth of the myth of the myth of the hot hand

March 11, 2014
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Phil pointed me to this paper so I thought I probably better repeat what I wrote a couple years ago: 1. The effects are certainly not zero. We are not machines, and anything that can affect our expectations (for example, our success in previous tries) should affect our performance. 2. The effects I’ve seen are […]The post The myth of the myth of the myth of the hot hand appeared…

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What is it with Americans in Olympic ski teams from tropical countries?

March 2, 2014
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Every time I hear this sort of story: Morrone—listed at 48 years old, which would have made her the oldest Olympic cross-country skier of all time by seven years—didn’t even show up for the 10K women’s classic on Feb. 13, claiming injury. (She was the only one of the race’s 76 entrants who didn’t start.) […]The post What is it with Americans in Olympic ski teams from tropical countries? appeared…

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Econometrics, political science, epidemiology, etc.: Don’t model the probability of a discrete outcome, model the underlying continuous variable

February 26, 2014
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This is an echo of yesterday’s post, Basketball Stats: Don’t model the probability of win, model the expected score differential. As with basketball, so with baseball: as the great Bill James wrote, if you want to predict a pitcher’s win-loss record, it’s better to use last year’s ERA than last year’s W-L. As with basketball […]The post Econometrics, political science, epidemiology, etc.: Don’t model the probability of a discrete outcome,…

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Good guys in sports need a dose of reality

February 26, 2014
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I will be speaking at the Agilone Data Driven Marketing Summit (link) in San Francisco on Thursday. I will be talking about hiring for numbersense. Drop by if you are in the area. Future events are listed on the right column of the blog >>> *** I feel bad piling on the "good guys" in the sports doping spectacle but sometimes, you need someone to point you to the mirror.…

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Basketball Stats: Don’t model the probability of win, model the expected score differential.

February 25, 2014
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Someone who wants to remain anonymous writes: I am working to create a more accurate in-game win probability model for basketball games. My idea is for each timestep in a game (a second, 5 seconds, etc), use the Vegas line, the current score differential, who has the ball, and the number of possessions played already […]The post Basketball Stats: Don’t model the probability of win, model the expected score differential.…

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