## Game Probabilities - Conference Round

Game probabilities for the conference round are available at the New York Times. This week I explain why the Patriots' recent success running the ball is not so recent at all.

But to followers of advanced metrics, that is far from a surprise, as the Patriots have been mercilessly efficient on the ground for the past several years. Using success rate to measure running effectiveness provides a much more accurate picture of how the Patriots win with the run than traditional measures like total yards or even yards per carry...

...What the Patriots have figured out is how to use the running game effectively. They do not use it as a bludgeon on most first and second downs, as other teams do...

...Running backs like Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson who are known for their occasional 80-yard breakaway touchdowns might be first-round draft picks in your fantasy league, but in the real world, I’ll take the Patriots’ running game any day.

### 9 Responses to “Game Probabilities - Conference Round”

1. Jacob Gervasi says:

Even though the odds on the game probabilities article say that the Patriots have a 29% chance of winning and 49'ers having a 31% chance of winning, it says on the live super bowl probabilities that the Patriots and the 49'ers both have a 28% chance of winning. You think you can explain this, Brian?

2. Anonymous says:

I believe he said previously that those fluctuate slightly because of the Monte Carlo Simulation method he uses for them. But I'm not certain and I would not want to claim to be able to explain in a detailed way why that's true, just I think that it has to do with taking a large sample size of hypothetical games played out in the simulation. Perhaps someone with more hard stats background can do better for you.

3. Anonymous says:

Betting odds give the Patriots a 33% chance and the 49ers a 37% chance. I think those chances are more accurate.

4. Mitch says:

The betting odds, especially this week are based more on public perception than reality.

The model would be more accurate but not as accurate as it could be.

The model does not give Seattle enough credit, truer odds would be San Fran 15% odds of winning this game.

5. Anonymous says:

Mitch, it is not a given that the model is more accurate than public perception.

Anon, yes, those SB predictions do seem to be in error. It implies a near 100% chance of winning the SB if the pats can win this weekend.

6. Anonymous says:

updating previous comment, the SB numbers appear correct (they were updated recently)

7. Anonymous says:

We've never seen Adrian Peterson play without a loaded box opposing him. The last time a team decided to not do so for an extended period, the San Diego Chargers led by noted defensive mind Ted Cottrell, Peterson rushed for just shy of 300 yards. The boom and bust aspect to Adrian Peterson may well be driven largely by the fact that he has played with a competent passing attack one season in his career.

8. Anonymous says:

One obvious flaw of this model compared to the betting market is that it does not account for injuries. The model gives the same probabilities, no matter whether e.g. Percy Harvin would have played on Sunday or not.

9. Brian Burke says:

Jacob--The "live" SB probabilities don't include the most recent week of data yet. I'll have them included before the games start Sunday. They're "live" only in the sense they run during the games. What you see now is as of the end of the game last Sunday. I don't keep tweaking it during the week.

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