Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Weekly Wow Factor (9/5/10)

Kellen Moore leading Boise State on a two minute drill to save their championship hopes- in the first week?!?
As Flavor Flav would say, Woooooooooooow!
And it spawned an idea: the Kobe, Tell Me How My Stats Taste Weekly Wow Factor, highlighting amazing sports plays and the math behind them. To debut, here's a look at BSU's final drive:
What are the chances of a team with two minutes left scoring a touchdown from their own 44? Ignoring time, starting from your own 44 has an expected value of about 1.8 points scored. With the options of either 7 points or 0, there's a 26% chance of a touchdown. Only two minutes left puts some time crunch on the offense, but also encourages risk which makes a touchdown more likely. How does that affect the odds? Fortunately, NFL Advanced Stats has done some of that for us. In the NFL, that situation has a 33% chance of winning, slightly higher than our estimate. Other points on that drive: before the punt return BSU had a 25% chance of winning. Before the pass/penalty it was 34%, but after it jumped to 76%. Without the penalty? It's still just 46%. Amazingly one little flag may have saved Boise State's season. Wow.
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