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Archive of posts filed under the Sports category.

Should this paper in Psychological Science be retracted? The data do not conclusively demonstrate the claim, nor do they provide strong evidence in favor. The data are, however, consistent with the claim (as well as being consistent with no effect)

Retractions or corrections of published papers are rare. We routinely encounter articles with fatal flaws, but it is so rare that such articles are retracted that it’s news when it happens. Retractions sometimes happen at the request of the author (as in the link above, or in my own two retracted/corrected articles) and other times […]

Euro 2016 update

Big news out of Europe, everyone’s talking about soccer. Leo Egidi updated his model and now has predictions for the Round of 16: Here’s Leo’s report, and here’s his zipfile with data and Stan code. The report contains some ugly histograms showing the predictive distributions of goals to be scored in each game. The R […]

Stan makes Euro predictions! (now with data and code so you can fit your own, better model)

Leonardo Egidi writes: Inspired by your world cup model I fitted in Stan a model for the Euro Cup which start today, with two Poisson distributions for the goals scored at every match by the two teams (perfect prediction for the first match!). Data and code are here. Here’s the model, and here are the […]

A research project for you! Using precursor data to evaluate the Leicester odds.

OK, here’s a research project for someone who’s interested in sports statistics. It’s from this comment by Paul in a recent thread: What I would like to see (has anyone done it?) is an analysis of the performance of EPL teams that had similar pre-season odds to Leicester over the last 15-20 years or so. […]

NBA is hiring; no height requirement

Jason Rosenfeld writes: I’m looking to hire a basketball analyst to join my basketball analytics team here at the NBA League Office in NYC. Looking for someone who is graduating now or graduated recently (probably better suited for an undergrad, though grad students are welcome to reach out as well). Looking for a background in […]

Freak Punts on Leicester Bet

I went over to the Freakonomics website and found this story about Leicester City’s unexpected championship. Here’s Stephen Dubner: At the start of this season, British betting houses put Leicester’s chances of winning the league at 5,000-to-1, which seemed, if anything, perhaps too generous. My [Dubner’s] son Solomon again: SOLOMON DUBNER: What would you say […]

Splitsville for Thiel and Kasparov?

The tech zillionaire and the chess champion were always a bit of an odd couple, and I’ve felt for awhile that it was just as well that they never finished that book they were talking about. But given that each of them has taken a second career in political activism, I can’t imagine that they’re […]

Nick and Nate and Mark on Leicester and Trump

Just following up on our post the other day on retrospective evaluations of probabilistic predictions: For more on Leicester City, see Nick Goff on Why did bookmakers lose on Leicester? and What price SHOULD Leicester have been? (forwarded to me by commenter Iggy). For more on Trump, see Nate Silver on How I Acted Like […]

Beautiful Graphs for Baseball Strike-Count Performance

This post is by Bob. I have no idea what Andrew will make of these graphs; I’ve been hoping to gather enough comments from him to code up a ggplot theme. Shravan, you can move along, there’s nothing here but baseball. Jim Albert created some great graphs for strike-count performance in a series of two […]

Leicester City and Donald Trump: How to think about predictions and longshot victories?

Leicester City was a 5000-to-1 shot to win the championship—and they did it. Donald Trump wasn’t supposed to win the Republican nomination—last summer Nate gave him a 2% chance—and it looks like he will win. For that matter, Nate only gave Bernie Sanders a 7% chance, and he came pretty close. Soccer There’s been a […]

MAPKIA 2: Josh and Drew shred the CCP/APPC “Political Polarization Literacy” test!

Just like the original Jaws 2, this story features neither Richard Dreyfus nor Steven Spielberg. It all started when Dan Kahan sent me the following puzzle: Match the resonses of large nationally representative sample to supporting these policy items. I let this languish in my inbox for awhile until Kahan taunted me by letting me […]

Bill James does model checking

Regular readers will know that Bill James was one of my inspirations for becoming a statistician. I happened to be browsing through the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract the other day and came across this passage on Glenn Hubbard, who he ranks as the 88th best second baseman of all time: Total Baseball has Glenn […]

“Kasparov To Face Caruana, Nakamura, So In Ultimate Blitz Challenge”

E. J. pointed me to this announcement: For the first time since his retirement in 2005 Garry Kasparov will play chess against some of the best players on the planet. The 13th world champion agreed to meet the top three finishers of the 2016 U.S. Championship in a blitz tournament. That turned out to be […]

64 Shades of Gray: The subtle effect of chessboard images on foreign policy polarization

Brian Nosek pointed me to this 2013 paper by Theodora Zarkadi and Simone Schnall, “‘Black and White’ thinking: Visual contrast polarizes moral judgment,” which begins: Recent research has emphasized the role of intuitive processes in morality by documenting the link between affect and moral judgment. The present research tested whether incidental visual cues without any […]

DG XXXVII: Lumosity fined $2 million for deceiving customers about its “brain training” programs

Paul Alper writes: Because you went to MIT and are a chess enthusiast, you probably know a lot more about Claude Shannon than I do. However, did you know that as intellectually brilliant as he was, he died of “after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease”? I bring up this factoid because it sort of […]

Bayesian Umpires: The coolest sports-statistics idea since the hot hand!

Hiro Minato points us to this recent article by Guy Molyneux: Baseball fans have long known, or at least suspected, that umpires call balls and strikes differently as the count changes. At 0-2, it seems that almost any taken pitch that is not right down the middle will be called a ball, while at 3-0 […]

For Opening Day

From John Lardner: A young ex-paratrooper visited Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, one day, and addressed some language, as ball fans will, to Mr. Leo Durocher, the Brooklyn manager, himself the most polite and clean-tongued gentleman in the national pastime when his mouth is shut, which is a hypothetical situation. I should really stop here because this […]

Scientific explanation of Panther defeat!

Roy’s comment on our recent post inspires me to reveal the true explanation underlying the Carolina team’s shocking Super Bowl loss. The Panthers were primed during the previous week with elderly-themed words such as “bingo” and “Manning.” As well-established research has demonstrated, this caused Cam and the gang to move more slowly, hence all the […]

Stan’s Super Bowl prediction: Broncos 24, Panthers 13

We ran the data through our model, not just the data from the past season but from the past 17 seasons (that’s what we could easily access) with a Gaussian process model to allow team abilities to vary over time. Because we’re modeling individual game outcomes, our model automatically controls for imbalances such as Carolina’s […]

Jim Albert’s Baseball Blog

Jim Albert has a baseball blog: Baseball with R I sent a link internally to people I knew were into baseball, to which Andrew replied, “I agree that it’s cool that he doesn’t just talk, he has code.” (No kidding—the latest post as of writing this was on an R package to compute value above […]