Scoring is lower in division games
Posted Oct. 13 at 10:58 PM
The Bengals play the Browns today. The first rematch division game of the season (these teams met back in Week 2).
So I have spent considerable time looking a divisional matchups the last two games, getting various charts and ideas ready for use later in the season.
What, for example, tends to happen when you have two teams with top-5 defenses squaring off? We’ll probably have one of those next week (Seattle at San Francisco), so I looked at all of those games from the last 10 years, calculating just how low we might expect the scoring to get.
And if a team really blows out a division opponent (like New England did to Buffalo a few weeks back), what tends to happen when those same teams meet again later in the season? Is it usually just a blowout again? Or does the losing team tend to do a much better job of taking away what worked in the first game? I have some surprising info on those kind of games.
And what about division games in general? Are they higher or lower scoring? Or are they pretty much the same as games outside the division?
I have long suspected that it’s harder to score against teams inside your own division. They tend to be more familiar with your scheme and personnel, and how you must be defended. And that (see the numbers below) is how it tends to play out (just slightly, anyway).
Below are the numbers for the last 10 years. So here, we’re looking at 2,560 regular season games – the 2002 thru 2011 seasons. This is a big sample, and there is some statistical difference.
Over the last 10 years, teams have scored 2.5 percent more points when playing against opponents outside their division. It’s a trend that’s been stronger recently. In each of the last four years, teams have scored more points against opponents outside the division – a 3.7 percent difference in those games.
SCORING IN GAMES INSIDE DIVISION VS. OUTSIDE DIVISION
Year Div non-Div Pct
2002 21.8 21.6 100.7%
2003 20.1 21.3 94.4%
2004 21.7 21.4 101.3%
2005 20.9 20.5 102.1%
2006 19.3 21.5 89.4%
2007 22.0 21.5 102.4%
2008 21.9 22.1 98.8%
2009 21.0 21.7 96.9%
2010 21.0 22.6 92.8%
2011 21.7 22.4 96.8%
All 21.1 21.7 97.5%
Posted by DAVID DIGREGORIO | Oct. 14 at 08:22 AM
I suspect that those differences are statistically significant. There are simple statistical tests that can be done on a programed calculator that will tell you the odds of finding the findings that you do by chance. For example, I would bet that the odds of obtaining your above findings by chance are less than 10%. By using statistics, you can precisely say how significant your findings are.
Posted by DAVID DIGREGORIO | Oct. 14 at 08:25 AM
Probably statistics could be the next big thing in fantasy football.
Posted by IAN ALLAN | Oct. 14 at 09:59 AM
Yes. There is some difference there. We're talking about a study of 2,560 games. Trouble is, however, that we're talking about only a 3 percent difference. If you're torn between starting two running backs and one of them happened to have a division game, then you might assume he would score about 3 percent fewer fantasy points. That would still leave the two players as pretty similar. If you're guessing on a coin flip, it's 50-50 heads and tails. This makes it more like 51.4% to to 48.6% -- close enough that a lot of the people who are simply guessing heads or tails would still beat you.
Posted by DAVID DIGREGORIO | Oct. 15 at 07:44 AM
A three percent difference with that number of observations is significant, so it's something to consider. My point is, that with statistics, you'll be able to weigh how much to consider each variable. Good ranking for Ponder. I picked him up and played him over Eli. I sweat less tonight.
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