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The Super Bowl Prediction System -- Super Bowl XLIV is a toss-up

Posted by

January 28, 2010

All the betting lines favor the Colts right now by five or six points, but in my book it's a toss-up. If I were a betting man, I'd take the Saints and the points. But if you do that, don't blame me if you lose. It's that close.

In my Super Bowl prediction system there are 12 different indicators, each one taken by itself predicts the Super Bowl winner 56% to 69% of the time. Taken collectively, the indicators have an even better track record. The system favors the team that wins the most indicators and it has predicted 15 of the last 19 Super Bowl winners. This year the prediction system picks the New Orleans Saints to win a Super Bowl in their first appearance in history.


The margin is the slimmest of margins. The system has the Saints winning 7 of the 12 indicators. That goes against the grain given that the Indianapolis Colts are favored in Las Vegas. I like that. The system has a strong track record going against the line. But the prediction system has not performed well when a team wins less than eight of the indicators. Going back 19 years to 1990, the system is only 3-2 on games with less than eight indicators going to the favored team. Going back all-time, the system is 6-7 with less than eight indicators.

Plus, if we had gone to the tiebreaker (when six indicators go to each team), the tiebreaker would favor the Colts. The tiebreaker gives the nod to the team with previous Super Bowl experience. In 17 Super Bowls where one team has been there and the other hasn't, the experienced team has won 13 times.

For record keeping, if the Saints win, the system will also notch a victory. If the Colts win, the system loses. But I learned my lesson two years ago when the system favored the Patriots with 7 of the 12 indicators and the Giants won. I am calling it a toss-up.

Each indicator is shown here. Interestingly, while the system favors the Saints overall, the three best indicators (the bottom three) each favor the Colts.

Category Winning Percentage Team with Advantage
Rushing Yards .558 Saints
Opponent Net Passing Yards .558 Colts
Points Scored .558 Saints
Rushing Yards / Attempt .581 Colts
Opponent Rushing Yards / Attempt .605 Saints
Fewer Net Passing Yards .605 Saints
Turnover Differential .605 Saints
Opponent Rushing Yards .628 Saints
Point Differential .640 Saints
Regular Season Record .663 Colts
Opponent Total Yards / Game .674 Colts
Points Allowed .686 Colts

There are five defensive indicators, four offensive ones, and three based on overall stats. The strongest indicators overall are the defensive ones.

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