Are smaller spreads predictive of more exciting games?
Last weeks wild card games were, on the whole, a very entertaining group of football games. Most of the lines from the games reflected this (1.5, 3, 3, 7) with an average underdog getting 3.625 points . But this week the lines are on the whole much larger. According sports betting online, the average underdog this week is getting 6.125 points (0, 7, 8, 9.5), which is 2.5 points more on average than last week. This got me to wondering if the larger spreads might mean that these games would be less entertaining.
Formally, I would pose this question: is the excitement level of a game at all related to the spread. My hypothesis is that games with smaller spreads should be more exciting games than those with larger spreads. Of course, in order to test this you’d need to have a formal quantification of excitement. Luckily, the people at Advanced NFL Stats have done this already. It’s basically the sum of the movements of win probability throughout the game.
In order to do this I need to get excitement index scores and spreads for games from the past few years. Getting the spreads is easy, but I’m not sure is Advanced NFL Stats has an easily accessible downloadable database of games with excitement scores available for public use. (If that is available and you know where I can get it, please let me know.)
So while I try to figure out how I can get my hands on the data that I need to investigate this, I’ll just hope my hypothesis isn’t true because I’d like to see more exciting games this weekend like the bananas Kansas City Chiefs vs Indianapolis Colts game. Though as a fan of the New England Patriots, I’m hoping that Andrew Luck is on the other end of it this week.