Behind the Prediction--WAS at GB

The Packers are a 3 point favorite at home against the Redskins, but the efficiency model has Washington as the favorites with a 0.62 probability of winning. In this post I'll breakdown why my system favors the Skins.

Although Washington is 3-2 and Green Bay is 4-1, the Redskins are performing significantly better per play. Below is a table that lists each team's generic win probability (GWP) and their opponents' average GWP, each adjusted for to-date oppenent stregnth. Also listed is each team's offensive and defensive GWP.

TeamGWPOpp GWPOff GWPDef GWPOpp DefOpp Off

Washington has been playing at a higher level in terms of opponent-adjusted efficiency. The two teams have faced roughly equal opponents through week 5, with Washington having faced stronger offenses and Green Bay facing stiffer defenses.

The next table breaks down each team's (unadjusted) efficiency stats.

TEAMO PassO RunO Int RateO FumD PassD RunD Int RatePen Rate

The Redskins' offense is both running and throwing the ball slightly better than Green Bay. Their turnovers are higher, however. The biggest difference is on defense, where the Skins' pass defense is particularly strong, giving up only 4.5 yds per pass attempt.

A lot of attention has been given to Favre and his resurgent offense this year. But, by far, the bigger turnaround story in 2007 is the Redskins pass defense. In 2006 they had the worst pass defense by far, giving up over 6.9 yds per pass (including sack yds). So far in 2007, they have been the league's best.

Green Bay's advantage lies in turnover rates. Favre and the Packers have been measurably better at preventing interceptions than the Redskins. The Packers also have home field advantage.

Running the efficiency stats through the game prediction model, Washington's pass defense trumps Green Bay's Lambeau Feild, giving them a 0.62 probability to win.

The current consensus has Green Bay as a 3 point favorite, which essentially says the teams are equal because home field is generally worth 3 points. As we can see however, the teams are not equal and Washington's pass defense should carry the day given the Packers' tendency to rely on their passing game.

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13 Responses to “Behind the Prediction--WAS at GB”

  1. Jimmy Nguyen says:

    Excellent analysis Brian. Keep up the great job, I visit your site pretty much daily now.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It seems jimmy n visited the site twice today.

    Brian do you track your win/loss percentage for those games when you differ from the designated "favorites"?

    If so it would be of interest to see how you fare when you and the oddsmakers disagree.

    High five! Yes?

  3. Anonymous says:

    The 'Skins blowout of Detroit sent them waaaay over their trend...regression to the mean = loss to Green Bay.

  4. Unknown says:

    How does your model factor in the power of cheese?

  5. Brian Burke says:

    Jimmy-Glad you like the site.

    Brian-Cheese is squared.

    Doug-fair point about the Detroit game possibly being an outlier. But even so, that doesn't mean the Packers will definitely win. It probably just puts them at close to even odds. Also keep in mind opponent strength is accounted for.

  6. Anonymous says:

    brian burke - No response to Borat's question?

    Very Nice!.......NOT!

  7. Unknown says:

    Should have cubed the cheese.

    Behold the power of cheese!

  8. Brian Burke says:

    Yeah, I should have.

    What I also should have cubed were the fumble recoveries--one returned 50 yds for a TD and the other on the Redskins' 9 yard line which led to an easy TD.

    To boot, WAS had 3 possessions with a chance to win or tie the game with 8 min to go in the 4th. They couldn't convert, even for a FG.

  9. Unknown says:

    The Packers got nothing on that fumble they took at the skins 9. They lost ten yards and gonged the upright.

    The turnovers were 3 to 2 in favor of the pack.

    FYI: I was told by a bookmaker in vegas that the Packers always draw big $$. That is one of the reasons why their game will usually be positioned high on the board. Because much of this money is bet on the pack regardless of line or opponent, they have to compensate the line to draw equal money on the opposite side. This is likely the reason why there was a differential between your prediction and the line.

    I think it's clear evidence that there are a lot of dumb bettors from Wisconsin.

    I know you're aware, but the betting line is a tool used equalize action, not to predict outcomes.

    -The other Brian

  10. Brian Burke says:

    Brian-good point. I've always wondered if it's a good system to simply bet against large irrational fan bases such as the Packers', Bears', and Cowboys'. But what's irrational to me is 'loyal' to most.

    Maybe finding key games of big (football) market teams vs. small market teams and going with the Jacksonvilles, San Diegos, and Seattles of the league would make sense.

  11. Derek says:

    I didn't watch the game, but from the stats, it looked like the Skins outplayed the Packers. Favre threw 2 picks and had a lower yards per attempt than Campbell. The Packers also fumbled four times, and if you believe that fumble recovery is random, then the Packers got pretty lucky recovering all 4 of their fumbles.

  12. Brian Burke says:

    Derek-Thanks for covering my 6! I was considering linking to your post about who should have won but didn't. But then I thought it would be too self serving. I'll let the computer model take its lumps.

    Same with the CLE-MIA game. I had your Dolphins at 52/48 favorites, but that didn't account for Lemon starting at QB. I'd love to see the Dolphins upset the Patriots next week though.

  13. Derek says:

    I don't think it's self serving to say that the game could have easily gone the other way as long as you don't tool around with your accuracy numbers. I think it's fair to say that your system saw that the game would be really close and was correct about that. It also accurately predicted that Washington outplayed the Packers.

    The offense wasn't terribly different under Cleo Lemon, though, I think I'd rather have him than Green at this point. Same problems in the first half.

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