EppsNet Archive: Predictions

Experts and Empty Suits

Our inability to predict in environments subjected to the Black Swan, coupled with a general lack of awareness of this state of affairs, means that certain professionals, while believing they are experts, are in fact not. Based on their empirical record, they do not know more about their subject than the general population, but they are much better at narrating — or, worse, at smoking you with complicated mathematical models. They are also more likely to wear a tie. — Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan Read more →

See You in Hell

[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE] I hate to say I told you so. See you in Hell . . . Read more →

Even Stephen A. Smith is Right Occasionally

From the Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut files: Stephen A. Smith calls Kevin Durant’s decision to join the Warriors “the weakest move I’ve ever seen from a superstar.” Stephen A. Smith is never right about anything. In case you missed it, Stephen A. Smith has picked the last six NBA Finals winners incorrectly. It’s hard to be that wrong. How hard? The odds are 63-1 against. That means if you chose 64 random drunks at a sports bar, 64 dart-throwing monkeys, whatever — 63 of them would do a better job picking NBA Finals winners than Stephen A. Smith. (FYI, the “dart-throwing monkey” is a go-to metric in assessing investment portfolios. Follow the above link if you don’t know what I mean. It’s not a racial reference.) But Stephen A. Smith is exactly right about Kevin Durant. The Thunder blew a 3-1 lead to the Warriors and lost a series that… Read more →

‘Expert’ Predictions for the NBA Finals

26 experts give their predictions for the championship series rematch between the Warriors and Cavaliers. — ESPN.com “Experts.” Provide some insight or context if you have any. How does a prediction add to anyone’s understanding or enjoyment of the game? What is the difference between a prediction from an “expert” and a prediction from a random loudmouth drunk at a sports bar? I notice that a large majority of the “experts” are predicting a victory by the favorite (the Warriors), which is the same result you’d get from a bunch of drunks at a sports bar, or a group of dart-throwing monkeys (of course adjusting the monkeys’ targets to provide a proportionally larger area for the favorite). So what have we learned? Read more →

More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of: Joe Lunardi

Does anyone have a more useless job than “bracketologist” Joe Lunardi? He spends the entire college basketball season forecasting tournament seedings: this team’s in, this team’s out, this team’s on the bubble, this team is going to be seeded number whatever . . . Then the season ends and the actual tournament seedings are announced, making all of Joe Lunardi’s work meaningless. Either the actual seedings line up closely with Joe Lunardi’s predictions or they don’t, but other than Joe Lunardi, who cares? On that note, here’s an article by Joe Lunardi explaining “how the selection committee got so much wrong” with this year’s brackets: The committee’s performance is slipping, year over year, and it’s my job to point that out when necessary. . . . what you have is a selection and bracketing process that appears to have gone off the rails. Actually Joe, your job, if I understand… Read more →

No One Seems to Understand Point Spreads

I lost track of the number of headlines I saw this week regarding how USC (3-3) could possibly be a 3.5-point favorite over undefeated and third-ranked Utah (6-0). It’s weird that no one in sports journalism seems to understand what a point spread really is. It’s not a prediction. It’s not a scientific analysis. It’s a gambling mechanism. The only purpose of a point spread is to distribute the betting equally on both teams so the bookmaker can pay the winners with the losers’ money. USC is a 3.5-point favorite for one reason and one reason only and that is because there are more people willing to bet on USC than there are people willing to bet on Utah, so a carrot is offered in the form of 3.5 points to induce more bettors to put their money on the Utes. Substitute any other team . . . Team X… Read more →

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

The notion that we have limited access to the workings of our minds is difficult to accept because, naturally, it is alien to our experience but it is true: You know far less about yourself than you feel you do.   A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth.   It is the consistency of information that matters for a good story, not its completeness. Indeed, you will often find that knowing little makes it easier to fit everything you know into a coherent pattern.   The exaggerated faith in small samples is only one example of a more general illusion — we pay more attention to the content of messages than to information about their reliability, and as a result end up with a view of the world around us that is simpler and more coherent than… Read more →

Which Experts Predicted a Red Sox-Cardinals World Series?

With two storied franchises making the 2013 Fall Classic, let’s take a look at which of the 63 experts we tracked this year (from ESPN, Sports Illustrated, CBS, Yahoo, and Fox) pegged the series correctly. (… Calculating …) (… Calculating …) Well, how’s this for embarassing: 0 of the 63 so-called experts had both the Red Sox and Cardinals in the World Series. Perhaps this is not a huge surprise, as Vegas gave each team less than a 10% probability of making the Series. So let’s lower the bar considerably and look at the pundits who picked either the Red Sox OR the Cardinals to make it. (… Calculating …) You guessed it — zero. Not one. — PunditTracker Read more →

Predictions

When did it become so imperative for sports pundits to make predictions on every goddamn game? Predictions are like assholes — everybody’s got one and they’re all full of shit. Give me some insight if you have some, but spare me the fucking picks! We may as well listen to people guess how many jellybeans are in the 10-gallon jar. Read more →