Computer Picks: January 13th – The Experiment Lives Another Day

Updated: January 13, 2010 at 11:51 am by Jeff Tay

The results from Day 1 (January 12th) are in, and they appear to be mixed at best. Perhaps what was most disappointing though was the fact that most of the predictions on the sides and totals of last night that were projected to be close were actually not that close at all, and ended up being easy winners, whereas some of the other picks that were not projected to be close actually did not pan out quite as predicted.

Here is a quick recap of last night’s Computer Picks and results, from what was truly an exceptionally wild (much wilder than usual) night in the NHL—full of high-scoring games and blowouts.

Projected Score: OTT 3 – ATL 3 (51% – 49% to win) || Final Score: OTT 1 – ATL 6

I did note that the significant injuries to Ottawa’s lineup would not be properly taken into account by the system, and as somewhat expected, the prediction on the winner here was way off. The prediction on the total was close enough though. (1 for 2)

Projected Score: DAL 2 – PHI 4 (29% – 71% to win) || Final Score: DAL 3 – PHI 6

Check marks for both the side and the total in this one. I would have liked the prediction on the total to be a little bit closer though, because the 4-2 projected score caused me to not bet the Over with any sort of confidence. (2 for 2)

Projected Score: NJD 3 – NYR 2 (68% – 32% to win) || Final Score: NJD 1 – NYR 0 (SO)

This was probably one of the most action-packed 0-0 games in recent history; shots on goal were 46-51 when it was all said and done. If it wasn’t for stellar goaltending, the final score might have actually been 3-2. Nonetheless, the system’s picks were New Jersey and a slight lean towards the Under 5.0. (2 for 2)

Projected Score: DET 3 – NYI 2 (55% – 45% to win) || Final Score: DET 0 – NYI 6

Way off on this one. The system did suggest that there was decent value on NYI as an underdog at +130, but the prediction wasn’t even close. (0 for 2)

Projected Score: CAR 2 – TOR 2 (52% – 48% to win) || Final Score: CAR 4 – TOR 2

Carolina was outplayed horribly in this game (outshot 40 – 18), but I suppose that the score in this game was close all the way, and if not for the empty-netter at the end, the total would have gone Under 6.0 instead of pushed. All-in-all, it was a decent prediction. (1 for 1) (total pushed)

Projected Score: WSH 3 – TBL 2 (63% – 37% to win) || Final Score: WSH 4 – TBL 7

Yikes… This one got ugly in a hurry. (0 for 2)

Projected Score: CBJ 4 – STL 4 (51% – 49% to win) || Final Score: CBJ 1 – STL 4

There were some early goals in this one, but the game was never really played at a high enough pace to threaten the Over 5.5. Really bad prediction here, I think. (0 for 2)

Projected Score: SJS 2 – PHX 2 (53% – 47% to win) || Final Score: SJS 3 – PHX 1

Ilya Bryzgalov might have made a difference to the final score in this one, if he had started instead of Jason Labarbera. Nonetheless, the predictions with regards to the winning side and Over/Under were correct. (2 for 2)

Projected Score: NSH 6 – EDM 3 (71% – 29% to win) || Final Score: NSH 5 – EDM 3

I have to be pretty satisfied with this prediction—almost got that elusive exact score. (2 for 2)

Final Tallies:

Predictions on Winning Side: 5-4
Predictions on Over/Under: 5-3-1

In the spirit of better time-management (something that I am far from mastering), I won’t be doing game-by-game recaps for the remainder of the games this week. I will continue to keep a win/loss record though, and by next week, we should pretty much be able to figure out if this system is a boom or a bust. As for now, here are January 13th’s projected outcomes, courtesy of my new computer and ongoing collection of NHL team stats:

Game #1: Vancouver Canucks 5 – Minnesota Wild 4 (VAN 57% – MIN 43%)

Key Stats: Vancouver managed to earn themselves a 5-2 victory during their last visit to Minnesota, and if anything, Minnesota’s defense has actually gotten looser since then. The Wild have improved dramatically on offense though, and on their recent home stand they have scored in abundance against quality opponents. In recent games on the road, the Canucks have also done very well when bouncing back from games where they’ve been held to just two goals the game before. It could be a run-and-gun affair—the kind of game that the Wild often have no problems engaging in.

Best Bet: The system calls for the Over 5.5 to be played here. Vancouver on the moneyline is also recommended. The Canucks have won 8 of their last 10 meetings with the Wild, and the last 2 meetings have produced 7 goals in each.

Game #2: Washington Capitals 4 – Florida Panthers 2 (WSH 62% – FLA 38%)

Key Stats: The Washington Capitals won their first visit to Florida this season by a score of 4-1, and have had a tendency to score close to or exactly 4 goals a game on lower-ranked home defenses this season. The Capitals have also had a tendency to close out road trips by conceding close to or exactly 2 goals. Meanwhile, Florida has had a Jekyll and Hyde offense which at times has looked great and at other times looked anaemic. Their defense has been much-improved as of late, but can still be vulnerable to good offensive teams.

Best Bet: There’s not a lot of value in playing the Over 6.0 here. There is a bit of value in taking Washington at -150 (1.67 x 62% = 3.5% gain), as they will look to bounce back from the ugliness of their outing in Tampa Bay. They’ve also won 7 of their last 10 against Florida, but prior to yesterday, Washington had also completely dominated Tampa Bay head-to-head, so play it with caution as this could be a sign that the Caps are starting to sputter a bit.

Game #3: Pittsburgh Penguins 2 – Calgary Flames 2 (PIT 51% – CGY 49%)

Key Stat: Virtually every recent Calgary home game has been a 2-1 or 3-2 style of game, which is not a pace that the Penguins typically play at, but have also been known to play against upper and middle echelon home defenses. In their last 9 road games, Pittsburgh has only scored more than 3 goals once, and that was against Toronto. A low-scoring game could be in order here.

Best Bet: The Under 5.5 is the recommended play here. Pittsburgh at even on the moneyline would hardly be worth a look in a virtual coin-flip, but is definitely more preferable than Calgary at -120.

Game #4: Boston Bruins 3 – Anaheim Ducks 3 (BOS 51% – ANA 49%)

Key Stats: This projected score definitely reflects more of an Anaheim Ducks tempo than it does a Boston Bruins tempo. However, the Boston Bruins have played some of their best offensive games after being held to exactly 1 goal in the game before, which is the case here. Meanwhile, the Ducks have scored 4 goals in each of their last 5 home games. I honestly think that the Ducks have a better chance at winning this game than the projected score suggests, but this is apparently a good bounce-back spot for Boston after their 3-1 loss at home to the Rangers.

Best Bet: At least the posted total is a 5.0, so taking the Over here doesn’t seem to be too much of a stretch. Taking Boston at +120 could also be a good choice, but my personal bias is telling me to stay away from that.

Final Output: Road teams, road teams, and road teams, appear to be the way to go for Wednesday—at least, according to the system. I’m almost certain that there will be some surprises though, as NHL games rarely all go the way that they are expected to. I am, however, looking forward to seeing what surprises are in store—or will I be fortunate enough to be surprised by an evening of perfect predictions? We’ll have to wait and see.