04 February 2012

An Unnecessarily Analytical Look at ESPN's Super Bowl XLVI Picks

Sixty-three ESPN experts (a term that should be taken lightly in some cases) shared their picks for Super Bowl XLVI, which kicks off tomorrow in Indianapolis. So what's a nerd to do with all this data when he needs a break from his dissertation? Why, over-analyze it of course!

The findings support my suspicion about the media at large: the consensus pick is Giants over Patriots in a close one. Contrary to Vegas (which still has the Patriots -3 at the moment), the average pick is Giants 25.4 vs. Patriots 24.5--not too far off from the Madden NFL '12 simulation. I hope both teams have been practicing their one-tenth-of-a-point conversions.

Vegas Line: NE 28.5, NYG 25.5
Madden '12 Simulation: NYG 27, NE 24

Average ESPN Pick: NYG 25.4, NE 24.5
Average ESPN Giants Pick: NYG 27.5, NE 22.4
Average ESPN Patriots Pick: NE 27.1, NYG 22.9

The chart above ignores Gregg Easterbrook's oddball pick (Giants over Patriots 2-0 following a safety in overtime) but I included it in the calculations. Giants pickers are also more confident than Pats backers, predicting a 5.1 point margin of victory versus 4.2, respectively.