2013 Annual Review

Revisiting Our Pre-Season Calls

Saints and Falcons Miss the Playoffs – We split this one. We were right that the Falcons were being severely overrated, but missed on the Saints being good. However, interestingly, the Saints weren’t better than expected because Sean Peyton made the offense better, but rather, because Rob Ryan transformed the defense into a playoff caliber one.

3 Teams from the AFC North Make the Playoffs­ – This call was particularly bad given that of the 3 teams we liked to come out of AFC North, 2 missed the playoffs and the 1 that did make the playoffs was thoroughly embarrassed at home in the 1st round.

Broncos Go One and Done – We were correct that Denver would tear through the regular season, but unfortunately missed on predicting post-season failure. Though we might argue Denver had an easy road to the Super Bowl, they made it nonetheless.

The Seahawks are Better Than the 49ers – We completely nailed both of these teams and this prediction. Though Seattle had control of the division throughout the regular season, San Francisco definitely had a better all-around­ team outside of the QB position. To be exact, we said:

The only separating factor between the two will be the exceptional play of Russell Wilson, who showed more poise and better leadership in his first year as a starter than Kaepernick did. Ultimately, Wilson’s play in close games and the playoffs will elevate the Seahawks above otherwise comparable competition.

— 2013 - 2014 Post-Season Predictions, September 1, 2013

These proved to be particularly sage words as Seattle edged San Francisco in a very close NFC Championship game largely because of Wilson’s composure in big moments and Kaepernick’s inconsistency throughout the game.

Patriots Are Still the Best Team in the AFC – We will call this one a wash as the team was decimated by injuries throughout the year. At the beginning of the year, before injuries to Wilfork, Mayo, and others, New England’s defense was dominant in ways that had been absent since their Super Bowl teams. This defense, paired with an offense that was well tuned by the end of the year, would have made New England the scariest team in the AFC. We expect this prediction to be confirmed next year.

Overall, we would consider our pre-season predictions successful as we not only predicted the Seahawks to win the Super Bowl, but were correct in saying that Wilson’s development as a second year QB would be what put them over the top against their rival 49ers.




Like our 2012 picks, our 2013 picks struggled early, were extremely successful in the middle of the season, and tailed off in the final weeks. The primary difference between 2013 and 2012 was that our early season struggles lasted deeper into the season than normal and we didn’t break even until Week 8 (as compared to Week 2 in 2012). Our middle of the season run in 2013 was also not quite as successful as 2012’s, as we were positive in 9 of 10 weeks (Week 7 to Week 16) versus 13 straight weeks of positive performance in 2012. Oddly enough, Week 17 continued to be the hardest to predict as we followed last years 1-4 record by going 0-5 in the final week of the season.


Accuracy and Hypothetical Returns

Overall, we picked 56.63% (46-36-2) of our games correctly, which netted a return of 7.96% (where return is defined as Return divided by Value at Risk). If each week’s winning amounts had been reinvested in the next week’s picks, we would have finished with a return of -100% given our week 17 performance. Excluding the final week, our reinvested return bottomed in Week 6 at -86.9%, and peaked in Week 16 at +94.84%.

2013 Season Performance (Green bars represent correct picks, Red bars represent incorrect picks, Grey Line is cumulative performance)

By comparison our 2012 picks returned 17% on 58.24% accuracy. The reinvested return of our 2012 picks peaked at an astonishing 460% percent following 13 straight weeks of positive performance.

The 2013 season brought our total return to 13.25% on 57.53% accuracy.

All-Time Performance (Green bars represent correct picks, Red bars represent incorrect picks, Grey Line is cumulative performance) A Quick Note – We used different and varying unit sizes in 2012 and thus a “win” in 2012 could be worth more (or less) than a “win” in 2013.


We picked most frequently for Tampa Bay, St. Louis, Arizona, Cincinnati, and New England. Of these teams, we were very favorable on Tampa Bay, Cincinnati, and New England going into the season, while St. Louis and Arizona were more value plays as they were consistently overlooked in a division dominated by Seattle and San Francisco. These overweighted teams marginally boosted performance, contributing a collective 0.67%.

We picked most frequently against Baltimore, Denver, Atlanta, New Orleans, and New York. We were low on Atlanta and New Orleans heading into the season, but found all 5 of the aforementioned teams to be consistently overvalued through out the season largely do to their “public” nature. Our picked against, or underweighted, teams boosted performance significantly, contributing a collective 10.67%

Note that the return figure for the Top 5 or Bottom 5 totals is the product of the weight and return of each team (contribution to return), and that the there is an overlap between picked for, and picked against teams.



Compared to the hypothetical benchmark where every team is taken every week in equal weight, our picks added 12.50% to performance (Picking every team every week would result in a 50% pick accuracy and -4.55% return after accounting for the vigorish).

Our best teams were Atlanta, St. Louis, and Seattle. Though our performance on all 3 of these teams was positive, only Seattle had a positive return against the spread for the season. Our performance was boosted by not only underweighting Atlanta and St. Louis, but also performing well in the instances that we selectively did pick these teams to win.

Our worst teams were Denver, San Francisco, and Cincinnati. Our performance was negative for all three teams despite all 3 teams having positive performance versus the spread. We were also hurt by underweighting Denver and San Francisco who were particularly strong against the spread. 

Overall we were positive in our Pure Sector Allocation (Overweighting teams that had positive performance against the spread), Within Sector Allocation (Picking teams when they win and avoiding them when they lose), and in our Allocation Sector Interaction (Overweighting teams with positive Within Sector performance and Underweighting teams with negative Within Sector performance)


Though not as successful as last year, our 2013 campaign was a good one in a year marked by unpredictability and poor performances from respected game pickers. Though we would typically like to see performance reach double digits each year, we can't complain all things considered. Looking forward, our 3rd season of picks will be a make or break year. 1 successful season could be a fluke, two successful seasons could be a coincidence, but 3 successful consecutive seasons would represent a serious trend.

Like last, we will leave you with our favorite football related video of the year to hold you over until the 2014-2015 Season!