Nate Silver is a nerd’s nerd. A number-cruncher extraordinaire.

This year, on his blog fivethirtyeight.com, he began an Elo analysis of the teams, and I began to look for values in the spread difference between his projections and the Vegas odds. I started this in the first week, and though I have slightly changed my picks during this time, my method is 30-18-2 for the year as of today. Yes, you will have to take my word for it – I did not anticipate that I would publicly post this info until recently, but if you go back, you can roughly verify my numbers.

I base the picks favoring Elo. In other words, I assume that Elo is correct and I look for value on the Vegas side, so if Elo indicates the Bears +3 and Vegas says +9, I pick the Bears, or if the Bears are -3 and Elo says they should be -9, I pick the Bears.

What I’ve discovered is that point differences of 2.5 – 3.5, favoring the Elo side produces the best results. Nate (can I call you Nate?) will tell you these results are within “luck”, but I’m not sure. Its working now. Interestingly, higher differences – +5 or more – seem to taper off on win percentage, but I still go with them. For the past few weeks, I have dropped anything less than 3 point differences, but I think I am going to start adding the 2.5 differences back in.

Bear (no pun intended) in mind that the ratings DO NOT take into account injured quarterbacks or other extenuating circumstances. For one or two weeks, I pulled some picks where the quarterback was out. However, it appears to depend on the team, and the value. So while Arizona can seemingly overcome key player outages, other teams cannot. Also, it is possible that the quarterback could be out on the “other” side. Statistically, it doesn’t seem to matter much, so I have decided to ignore injuries to key players to keep it simple.

FiveThirtyEight.com publishes their Elo ratings no later than Thursday evening. Here is where their Elo ratings are explained.

Sunday, December 14, 2014
Tampa Bay at Carolina -3 12pm L
Cincinnati +1.5 (Do not bet if Cincinnati goes below +1) at Cleveland 12pm W
Miami at New England – 7.5 (Do not bet if New England goes higher than -7.5) 12pm NB
New York Jets at Tennessee +2 (Do not bet if Tennessee goes less than +2) 3:05pm L

Monday, December 15, 2014
New Orleans at Chicago +3 (Do not bet if Chicago goes less than +2.5) 7:30pm L

 

Times are Central

 

UPDATED 12/17/2014:

1-3; Did not bet the New England game because it did not fit the profile.

imagesIn the echo chamber, or “Bullshit Mountain” as Jon Stewart says, a subtle shift has occurred with some of the PAC-monied representatives of Congress. Presumably in light of the fact that it is impractical to continue to deny global warming, they’ve begun to qualify their global warming denials beginning with the words “Well, I’m not a scientist, but…”

Seems like the first steps to admitting the facts. It will be fascinating to see just how quickly the constituents of these deniers change their minds when their pundits and others in the echo chamber finally publically admit the truth.

With everything that has happened to my wife and I lately, humanity and mortality have become to be a part of my life. We are no longer immortal, time is becoming precious.

Which brings me to a post from Open Culture on a documentary about an 81-year old media professor and his voyage to Burning Man.

I’ve been intrigued by Burning Man for quite some time. The expression of freedom and humanity is fascinating, especially in the echo chamber I seem to find myself in these days. We should all be so lucky. Burning Man is on my bucket list.

Watch and enjoy.