538 is six months old…where does it stand?

Originally posted on StatsbyLopez:

Wednesday marks the six-month anniversary of Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight launch with ESPN.

As the site mixes statistics, sports, data visualization, and academic research, it’s been a must-read on nearly a daily basis for me.

Here’s my unsolicited and slightly ambiguous view of where things stand:

It’s really, really hard to do what FiveThirtyEight is trying to do and to do it well.

Here’s why:

FiveThirtyEight’s business model is primarily based on advertising, and advertisers generally don’t flock to sites that only spit out content once a week. As a result, Silver and colleagues are forced to put out articles at a frenetic pace. As one example, I estimated that FiveThirtyEight wrote 2.5 articles per day covering the 2014 World Cup, posts which were generally written by only one or two full time writers. That’s an incredible pace.

But here’s the catch; while the judging of a data journalism website should be based on content alone, and…

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A friend’s thoughts on the NFL

Really at the tipping point with the NFL you guys. It’s a complete blood sport played by barbarians with fake rules that protect no one and make the game less interesting. Never mind the media coverage which treats every story like a reading of The War of the Worlds.- Mike Christman

Well when you put it like that, I guess I’ll have to stop watching the NFL.  On the other hand, SPORTS!


Using colorized PNG pictograms in R base plots



Originally posted on "R" you ready?:

Today I stumbled across a figure in an explanation on multiple factor analysis which contained pictograms.


Figure 1 from Abdi & Valentin (2007), p. 8.

I wanted to reproduce a similar figure in R using pictograms and additionally color them e.g. by group membership . I have almost no knowledge about image processing, so I tried out several methods of how to achieve what I want. The first thing I did was read in an PNG file and look at the data structure. The package png allows to read in PNG files. Note that all of the below may not work on Windows machines, as it does not support semi-transparency (see ?readPNG).

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NFL Picks – Week 2

Total –  SU: 20-12-0 ATS: 18-14-0 O/U: 23-9-0

Week 1 – SU: 10-6-0 ATS: 8-8-0 O/U: 13-3-0

Week 2 – SU: 10-6-0 ATS: 10-6-0 O/U: 10-6-0

Pittsburgh at Baltimore

Prediction: Ravens 23-21 (56.3%)

Pick: Steelers +2.5 (50.8%)

Total: Under 44.5

Miami at Buffalo

Prediction: Bills 22-20 (55.0%)

Pick: Bills +1 (57.8%)

Total: Under 43

Detroit at Carolina

Prediction: Panthers 24-22 (55.1%)

Pick: Lions +2.5 (52.0%)

Total: Over 44

Atlanta at Cincinnati

Prediction: Bengals 25-22 (56.4%)

Pick: Falcons +5.5 (57.8%)

Total: Under 48.5

New Orleans at Cleveland

Prediction: Saints 26-23 (59.3%)

Pick: Browns +6.5 (59.1%)

Total: Over 48

New England at Minnesota

Prediction: Patriots 26-23 (58.8%)

Pick: Vikings +3.5 (51.1%)

Total: Over 49

Arizona at NY Giants

Prediction: Giants 22-19 (57.6%)

Pick: Giants +2 (63.1%)

Total: Under 43.5

Dallas at Tennessee

Prediction: Titans 23-22 (51.7%)

Pick: Cowboys +3.5 (58.3%)

Total: Under 49

Jacksonville at Washington

Prediction: Washington Football Team 25-18 (71.1%)

Pick: Washington Football Team -5.5 (56.5%)

Total: Under 43.5

Seattle at San Diego 

Prediction: Seahawks 23-21 (55.4%)

Pick: Chargers +6 (61.5%)

Total: Under 45

St. Louis at Tampa Bay

Prediction: Buccaneers 22-19 (58.3%)

Pick: Rams +5.5 (57.2%)

Total: Over 37

Kansas City at Denver

Prediction: Broncos 27-19 (70.9%)

Pick: Chiefs +13.5 ( 66.1%)

Total: Under 52

NY Jets at Green Bay 

Prediction: Packers 25-18 (66.9%)

Pick: NY Jets +8.5 (56.8%)

Total: Under 46

Houston at Oakland

Prediction: Texans 22-20 (57.0%)

Pick: Oakland +3 (51.5%)

Total: Over 39.5

Chicago at San Francisco

Prediction: 49ers 24-19 (63.0%)

Pick: Bears +7 (56.7%)

Total: Under 48.5

Philadelphia at Indianapolis

Prediction: Eagles 24-23 (51.5%)

Pick: Eagles +3 (57.0%)

Total: Under 54

The B1G had a bad Saturday. How bad was it?

Originally posted on StatsbyLopez:

The conference formally known as the Big 10 seemingly had one of the worst weekends it could imagine, with most of its football teams either losing on the national stage or struggling against in contests versus perceived lower level opponents. 

So how bad was the B1G’s day?

To start, the 13 teams playing (Indiana was off) finished 2-11 against the Las Vegas point spread, with several teams falling well short of the game’s closing number. 

Here’s a dot-chart of how each team did, relative to game point spreads. For example, Nebraska, which was favored by 35.5 points over McNeese State but only won by 7, had the conference’s worst day relative to the point spread expectation (-28.5). 


On the whole, a conference finishing 2-11 ATS is bad; due to chance, and assuming each game’s ATS result is a coin flip, a sample of 13 games would only produce 2 wins or fewer about…

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NFL Picks Week 1

Week 1 – SU: 10-6-0 ATS: 8-8-0 O/U: 13-3-0

Green Bay at Seattle

Prediction: Seahawks 24-21 (57.9%)

Pick: Packers +6 (59.1%)

Total: Over 45

New Orleans at Atlanta

Prediction: New Orleans 25-24 (51.3%)

Pick: Saints +1 (54.2%)

Total: Under 52

Buffalo at Chicago

Prediction: Chicago 24-19 (64.3%)

Pick: Bills +6.5 (53.9%)

Total: Under 48.5

Washington at Houston

Prediction: Texans 24-20 (59.6%)

Pick: Texans -2.5 (52.5%)

Total: Under 45.5

Tennessee at Kansas City

Prediction: Chiefs 23-19 (61.0%)

Pick: Titans +6 (55.9%)

Total: Under 44

New England at Miami

Prediction: Patriots 26-22 (61.7%)

Pick: Patriots -4 (50.5%)

Total: Over 47

Oakland at NY Jets

Prediction: Jets 22-18 (59.2%)

Pick: Raiders +5.5 (56.3%)

Total: Over 39.5

Jacksonville at Philadelphia

Prediction: Eagles 28-18 (76.5%)

Pick: Jaguars +11 (52.6%)

Total: Under 52

Cleveland at Pittsburgh

Prediction: Pittsburgh 24-19 (64.6%)

Pick: Browns +6 (52.2%)

Total: Over 41

Minnesota at St. Louis

Prediction: Rams 22-20 (54.1%)

Pick: Vikings +6 (62.8%)

Total: Under 45

Cincinnati at Baltimore

Prediction: Ravens 22-20 (54.7%)

Pick: Bengals +2.5 (52.4%)

Total: Under 43.5

San Francisco at Dallas

Prediction: 49ers 22-21 (54.2%)

Pick: Cowboys +5 (59.9%)

Total: Under 49

Carolina at Tampa Bay

Prediction: Panthers 21-20 (53.8%)

Pick: Buccaneers +2 (51.9%)

Total: Over 40

Indianapolis at Denver

Prediction: Broncos 29-21 (71.4%)

Pick: Broncos -7.5 (51.1%)

Total: Under 55.5

San Diego at Arizona

Prediction: Chargers 22-21 (50.2%)

Pick: Chargers +3.5 (59.6%)

Total: Under 44.5

NY Giants at Detroit

Prediction: Lions 25-21 (60.2%)

Pick: Giants +4 (51.1%)

Total: Over 45.5