If you are going to spend a few dollars wagering on the Super Bowl tomorrow, you won’t be alone. Well over $100 million is legally wagered on the Super Bowl every year. Now the real question, who should you bet on? The quants know… they’ve been right 10 out of 13 times.
The New England Patriots have been to the big game eight times, tomorrow’s ninth appearance sets a new record for any team. The Pats have won four of those eight appearances; most recently beating the Seattle Seahawks in 2015. Atlanta has only been the the Super Bowl once, losing to Denver in 1999.
This year, Atlanta’s offense was stellar, scoring a league best 33.8 points per game. They were also 2nd in total yards, 3rd in passing yards, and 5th in rushing yards. Formidable, to say the least.
The Patriots were no slouches on offense themselves, having scored the third most points: 27.6 per game. They also ranked high in the other offensive categories: 4th in total yards, 4th in passing yards, and what might be a surprise to many — given that the Pats aren’t thought of as a rushing team — 7th in rushing the ball.
The Patriots allowed fewer points than any other team in the NFL. regular season (250). The Falcons scored more points than any other team (540). Only seven teams in NFL history have scored more than Atlanta did this season. None of them won the Super Bowl.
The quants know
It sure sounds like this should be an exciting, high scoring game. New England is favored to win by three points. So who should you bet on? According to Analytics Investors, you should bet on the Atlanta Falcons.
This is the reason that I am discussing football in such detail in a website which is focused on personal finance; because a firm that performs quantitative analysis is making the selection.
The Analytics Investors team, a part of Wells Fargo Asset Management since late last year, has developed something it calls “NFL Alpha.” In essence, it assumes a bettor puts $100 down on each game for each team during a 16-week season. A winning bet recovers the $100, plus a percentage based on the probability of a win that week. A losing bet, well, loses the $100. Thus, favorites that cover pay less than underdogs, who generate higher “alpha.” The season-ending total is the return on investment.
They have a great track record
How good are they at picking the Super Bowl winner? Pretty darn good. Over the past 13 seasons, since Super Bowl XXXVIII, they have predicted ten games correctly. That’s nearly a 77% success rate. Few investors are that good at stock picking.
Here are their historic picks:
Here’s a more detailed report for this past season.
Don’t wager more than you can afford to
Again, I am not going to suggest that suggest that you should wager on this game… or any other game, for that matter. We all work too hard for our money. My suggestion, as always, to to first invest as much money as you can in your future. Then, after all of your expenses have been paid — especially paying off your credit card debt — if you still have some money left over, and you happen to be in Las Vegas or someplace else where you can legally wager on football, and are looking for a bit of entertainment, then and only then should you be doing something so frivolous.
You don’t have to wager on the game to enjoy yourself. As I mentioned, this should be a very exciting game, especially if you like offense.
By the way, regardless of the Patriots’ record on defense this season — allowing fewer points than any other team — I’m expecting a lot of offense, but I’m not agreeing with the quants. My prediction for the game has New England winning 45 – 35. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the game has far fewer points scored. As long as the opponent isn’t the New York Giants, Brady and company seem to figure out how to win the big game. I think the Pats will win the game, but I’m not going to wager any of my hard earned money. Enjoy the game.