The Oakland Raiders are 4-8. They are in the woeful AFC West. And they are in the top half of teams in the league. At least so say the Gambling Rankings, my new moniker for the financial rankings. Here are the overall rankings:
So the big surprises: Oakland in the top ten, Tennessee on the bottom, and Jacksonville is almost mediocre. Wha?
First, it's important to understand how the rankings are made. These rankings measure a combination of Sharpe and alpha. After last week's Sharpe tweaks, these metrics are derived as follows:
- Sharpe measures how much a team outperforms its expected spread, and how consistently it does so. Basically, it is a measure of how much better a team is than it's statistics. This is weighted as 80% of the rankings.
- Alpha measures a team's points scored to statistical score ratio, and the consistent level of that ratio. It indicates that, while on paper a team may seem good, their week to week output may not be consistently high. This is weighted as 20% of the rankings.
It is important to remember that a team is HURT by performing outside expectations. This is why you see a drop in Baltimore's rank despite a stellar performance on Monday night. Statistically, Jacksonville was expected to not only cover against Indy (NFL-What_Would_Wall_Street_Do_NFL_Week_13_Best_Bets-291107">see Week 13's Best Bets article), but to WIN outright. Which explains the drop in their rank. When you combine consistency with expected performance, you get a very different landscape of the league.
Oakland is the perfect example. On paper, they look pretty terrible:
|PASS YDS||PASS YDS|
|RUSH YDS||RUSH YDS|
(stats courtesy of NFL.com)
But no matter what the NFL says, how does Oakland play against it's own expectations? Pretty freakin' well, actually. So freakin' well, it's in the top 10 of alpha and beta, and top half of sharpe (see below). So what do we expect from Oakland? Losses virtually every week. And the Box is 9 - 3 (yes, NINE AND THREE) picking Oakland (for or against). So are they bad? Yes. Are they predictable? Hell yes. Is that good for the money? Abso-freakin'-lutely.
In fact, they make the top 10 for Alpha and Beta (volatility)!
So while I wait to list the best bets later today, take a look at this week's rankings and let me know if you see anything worth discussing.
For more information and deeper analysis, please see Mental Handicap, the hedge fund of NFL betting.