Friday, January 18, 2013

2013-01-18: NFL Conference Championship Predictions

The NFL Conference Championship games are this weekend and just one game separates the four remaining teams from Super Bowl XLVII. If you ignore the vapidity of the Te'o coverage, there is much discussion of how the loss of Rob Gronkowski will impact the performance of the Patriots this weekend. Aaron Hernandez should perform admirably and the entire team should be able to make up the difference and triumph.

For our predictions we run a number of different types of algorithms in our research and compare the outputs. The three main algorithms that have consistently had the best performance are a Support Vector Model (SVM), a Multilayer Perceptron Neural Network, and a ranking algorithm. All three algorithms sided with the favorites.

The SVM gives us a binary output, winner or loser. There is nothing in between. The SVM chose San Francisco and New England.

The Neural Network output is a continuous variable that is supposed to be the margin of victory. A positive score favors the home team and a negative score favors the visitor. The San Francisco-Atlanta game had an output of -0.98 so San Francisco is a one point favorite, this will be a close game. With the spread currently at three to four in the 49'ers favor, Atlanta may cover the spread. The New England - Ravens game had an output of 8.47, With the spread currently at about nine points the Ravens will probably cover.

The ranking algorithm is based on Google's PageRank algorithm which we have outlined in previous posts. San Francisco and New England are ranked higher than their opponents so they predicted to be the winners . The rankings for the entire 2012 season are visually represented the the figure below.


Combing the algorithms together with a majority voting scheme results in the following teams being the predicted winners straight up.

New England
San Francisco

No matter how you look at it, this weekends games should be very good.

--Greg Szalkowski

Sunday, January 13, 2013

2013-01-13: Three WS-DL Classes Offered for Spring 2013



Three WS-DL classes are offered for the Spring 2013 semester: one undergraduate elective and two upper-level graduate courses.
CS 418 counts toward the Web Programming Minor, and the upper level graduate classes will count toward the 24 hours of course work required for the PhD.  The deadline to register is January 22.

--Michael


Friday, January 11, 2013

2013-01-10: NFL Divisional Playoff Predictions


For the NFL Divisonal playoff week the predictions for all of our algorithms are in agreement. For our predictions we run a number of different types of algorithms in our research and compare the outputs. The three main algorithms that have consistently had the best performance are a Support Vector Model (SVM), a Multilayer Perceptron Neural Network, and a ranking algorithm. All three algorithms sided with the favorites except for Atlanta. All three picked Seattle for the upset.

All season long our algorithms have consistently shown that Atlanta is over-rated. Yes they have won most of their games this season but they have had the easiest strength of schedule this year out of the all of the NFL teams. ESPN's adjusted strength of schedule shows that Atlanta has had an easy season. Big Lead Sports states that not only was Atlanta's season easy but it was respectively the easiest season for any NFL team in a number of years. Most of our algorithms take the strength of schedule into account and Atlanta has been ranked accordingly. That being said we did not take Seattle's loss of Chris Clemmons into account.

The SVM gives us a binary output, winner or loser. There is nothing in between. The SVM chose Denver, San Francisco, Seattle and New England.

The Neural Network output is a continuous variable that is supposed to be the margin of victory. A positive score favors the home team and a negative score favors the visitor. The Atlanta - Seattle game had an output of -1.49 so Seattle is essentially a one point favorite albeit a very close favorite. San Francisco was not as close with an output of 3.1 making the 49ers a 3 point favorite.

The ranking algorithm is based on Google's PageRank algorithm which we have outlined in previous posts. Seattle is ranked higher than Atlanta so Seattle is the predicted winner. The rankings for the entire 2012 season are visually represented the the figure below.



San Francisco is a bit of a concern as they changed quarterbacks in week 10 after their starter suffered a concussion. We did not make any adjustments to account for this as their was no significant delta in the slope of the performance rating. Our picks for this week.

Denver
San Francisco
Seattle
New England

Superbowl: using preliminary data all of our algorithms are currently predicting San Francisco and Denver in the Superbowl. What they disagree on is who is going to win.

-- Greg Szalkowski 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2013-01-05: NFL Playoff Predictions


The wildcard week of the playoffs is upon us. The numbers were crunched and the results were rather predictable. In three of the games the home is the favorite to win for both the Support Vector Model (SVM) and the PageRank model. For the fourth game the Seahawks were chosen by both the SVM and the PageRank model. 

The SVM gives us a binary result so there is no degree or way to judge how close of a game it may be. Our numbers indicate that the Redskins Seahawks game is going to be close and probably a low scoring game. Both teams like to run the ball but the Seahawks defense has performed better that the Redskins this year. What my be interesting is that the Seahawks are a 2 to 3 point favorite and they are the visiting team. Our previous research has shown that home team underdogs are often a good bet to cover the spread.
Vergin and Sosik found that not only has the home underdog been viable in some years but that the effect was more pronounced on nationally televised games versus regionally televised games. Due to the closeness of the rankings and the effect of the playoff home team effect the Redskins will probably at least cover the spread if not take the game outright.

Picks

Green Bay
Houston
Baltimore
Seahawks*



--Greg Szalkowski