Computer Picks: 19/03/2010–A Much Sleeker Model

Updated: March 19, 2010 at 3:39 pm by Jeff Tay

To be fair, I was actually in a real hurry yesterday when I published what appeared to the cryptic instructions to unlocking an alien spacecraft, and tried to pass them off as hockey predictions (see yesterday’s edition if you didn’t catch a glimpse of the eyesore).  However, after having worked with the software for such a long time, I also had no idea that the charts as a whole were all that confusing, until it was finally brought to my attention. My initial intention was to create something that could be used as a ‘breakdown in a glance’–a very quick way to gain a basic grasp on any hockey game before deciding to look into that game any further–and so, back to the drawing board I went.

While at the drawing board though, I also thought a bit about the ‘evolution’ of this section itself. It started off as a means of publishing some picks and also my own personal opinions, and then, it grew rather rapidly into a place where a regular community of hockey-betting enthusiasts would gather on a daily basis to exchange opinions and information. Now, I actually believe that this was the single best and most important thing to ever come out of the inception of Computer Picks, and it is actually the main reason why I continue to keep this section going, because to be completely honest, I haven’t found writing (especially lots and lots of writing) to be all that rewarding on any level–I’m just being honest.

The discussions in the comments section is really what keeps this thing alive right now, and even though it had gotten noticeably quieter since the Olympic break, I will remain a die-hard member until it actually goes silent. With that being said, I would also like to offer my apologies to those who come here more for the “in-depth” analysis and well-written picks (some of them were well-written at least). I probably was the flakiest and least reliable Internet sports handicapper in all of history, but keep in mind that I may have also been the lowest paid as well (trust me). I can only hope now that my latest solution can be of some value, in the place of lengthy and time-consuming write-ups, and that the comments section will continue to produce informative and productive discussions. Otherwise, this ship will go down in a hurry!

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So, here’s what I’ve come up with: I mentioned before that I wanted to incorporate both special teams and shots on goal into the mix, and so that’s what I’ve done. Similar to the way the scores are predicted, there is now a prediction for how each team will do on the PP, as well as how many SOGs they will get. These predictions are based on both recent form, and how the corresponding teams have performed in similar travel and scheduling spots. Meanwhile, the PP% and PK% percentages are approximations of how those units are operating going into the game. As for CBJ-145–it would probably be a better bet if Columbus wasn’t coming off 3+ days of rest. You never what you’re gonna get on the PP or PK under these circumnstances. Moving on.

“Disgruntled?” Yes, it’s just a sidenote for now (next to “Team Status”), but essentially I am trying not to allow anything to get overlooked. San Jose should be “disgruntled”, after losing 4 straight, and it should be especially frustrating for them having averaged 38 shots per game over that stretch while only scoring 2 goals a game. Calgary, meanwhile, is “desperate”, knowing that they can’t really afford to lose too many more games. Calgary actually has shown a pretty decent ‘desperation gear’ lately, and their focus for this game should be right up there as well. I don’t know whether it’s better to be “desperate” or “disgruntled” yet, but I do think that this game is a really tough call.

The Oilers have actually shown lately that they’ve been able to compete in spurts, but just not over the course of an entire game. Detroit, meanwhile, might be thinking about moving up to 7th in the West, and are certainly playing with that goal in mind. The Red Wings have won 7 of their last 9 games, and actually look a lot like the team that they were last season. Three green checkmarks, a projected 2/7 on the PP and 49 shots on goal–the computer is definitely flashing back to 2009. The Oilers are also coming off a 4-game road trip as well.

“NYI is playing at 132% of expectations”. What does that mean? Well, generally, not much is expected of the Islanders to begin with, so when they pull of a couple of upsets, this number  can go up real fast. Essentially though, they aren’t playing as bad as the public perceives them to be, and as Vegas is pricing them. The Islanders have actually been a plus-money team this season, and have certainly been a plus money team over this past week. This could actually be a letdown spot for the Ducks as well, who just beat the Blackhawks and the Sharks in succession. It’s no surprise if Anaheim wins, but the better bet will probably be on NYI. They appear to be “Relaxed” right now.

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All right. Looks like I didn’t really endorse any play too strongly tonight. I think that’s OK for this specific card though.