Thursday, 28 August 2014

Method or Madness?

When I was about 6 years old I used to spend Saturday afternoon's watching horse racing with my nan.  Whilst no gambling took place, I did used to try and pick a winner in every race.  My method consisted of the following...Which horse had the best name.  It wasn't a particularly scientific approach, but it sometimes worked.  Indeed, I've often wondered if this technique and similar methods would have resulted in better gambling results as an adult.  The time I spend poring over statistics and reading previews is often fruitless, maybe a completely random method of picking a winner would be better?

As I discussed in my previous article, my NFL predicting skills are intermediate at best, so this season I'll be finding out if my "expert" predictions are any better than real experts, bookies, my NFL hating wife and a series of alternative methods.  But which methods to use...

Well, I want to have a at least a few methods that are based on the NFL - as opposed to just being completely random - so I'm going to start with the simple issue of who won last time? In other words, which team won the last time they met.  Along the same lines, who had the best record in 2013.  The NFL is a rapidly changing league, but just how rapidly? Could picking winners be a simple case of just picking the best team form previous years, or do teams change so quickly that that all goes out of the window.

We're continually told that the NFL is becoming more and more of a passing league, so what about just picking the team whose quarterback has the highest rating?  While we're dealing in cliches, we're also told that offense wins games and defense wins championships...well, I'm trying to pick the winners of games so lets go with the team with the highest ranked offense.  But hey, you have to win games to win championships (which kind of makes the cliche a bit crap) so I guess it makes sense to also pick the team with the highest ranked defense for one week

Now let's go for a couple of more left-field NFL stats.  Punters are people too remember so for one week, let's pick the team with the best punter (based on avg net) and why stick to just players, what about the team with the longer serving head coach.  Does experience really matter in the NFL?

It's looking bad for San Diego this week!
Now let's move away form the actually participants and be a bit more random...if you've been reading my blog since it started you'll that I became an Eagles fan for a number of reasons, one of which was based on the outcome of a Madden game.  So let's use that system again and pick the winners for one week based upon cpu v cpu games from Madden 07.  And seeing as I'm being self indulgent let's use another couple of methods from my quest to be an Eagles fan...my favourite blog post was my quest to find the NFL's worst mascot - so let's have a mascot head to head one week - Ill decide winners based upon who's got the best mascot.  Less interesting, but equally as effective, was my coin tossing experiment, so lets have one week of picking winners based on the toss of a coin.  The final method from my quest to find a team involves another opinion based idea - simply, where would I rather go on holiday?

Now for some completely random ideas - I was initially going to get my good lady wife to pick winners every week...then I told her...which put an end to that plan.  However she has agreed to pick the winners for one week of the season. I'm already dreading the thought of her beating me!

NFL isn't the only sport I'm into, so now for a couple of sporting challenges: I play a bit of darts and whilst I won't be making my way to Ally Pally in December I do have a modicum of ability - so one week I'll be attempting the classic Bullseye finish of 101 in 6 darts or less.  If I do it the home team wins, if not it's a road win.  Along the same lines, I'll also be attempting to chip a golf ball across my garden at a small target, miss to the left and it's a home win, to the right and it's an away win.

Seeing as a mentioned it in passing during my last blog, I'll be using the team whose quarterback has the longest name for one week. And seeing as we're dealing with letters, I'll also be making picks based on alphabetical order for one week.

And finally, my 17th method for picking NFL games is.......up to you! For week 17 of the regular season I'll be picking games based on the best method suggested by a reader of this blog.  You can suggest anything - although it needs to be within reason and easily carried out.  I'll just pick my favourite idea.

so there you go, 17 ways to pick NFL games.  I'll be using one each week and seeing if they can beat the experts, the bookies and/or my own predictions.  First up, I'll be picking Week One games based upon the team whose quarterback has the highest career QB rating, which doesn't bode well for the New York Jets!