Game probabilities for week 4 are up at the New York Times. With the demise the Fifth Down Blog, the probabilities are now on the NYT website proper. This week I explain why the randomness of turnovers makes the Giants-Chiefs game a closer match-up than their win-loss records suggest.
In retrospect, turnovers explain a great deal of a team’s fortunes. But prospectively, team turnover statistics don’t predict game outcomes as much as you might think. The reason behind this distinction is something called auto-correlation. Put simply, turnovers are very random. Only a small portion of a team’s past turnover rate carries forward to be predictive.