Are We Smarter Than ESPN?

by Benedict Undersnatch

December 18, 2016

It’s an age-old tradition in the NPL to poke fun at the ‘experts’ at ESPN and their echochamber of opinions when it comes to predicting success in football. Here, we have 28 people that make predicitions based on feelings, statistics, coin flips, whether or not one team would win in an all out brawl over the other team, etc. And consistently, the NPL has held their own.

We took a simple ‘majority rules’ approach to the picks: If more people chose Team A than Team B, then the NPL (or ESPN) pick would be Team A. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how we did in 2016.

ESPN started out strong – slightly stronger than the NPL – in the first week. Eight of ten games were guessed correctly by the majority, with a total accuracy of 63.3%. The NPL did well, at seven of ten games and 59.3% accuracy, but the first week goes to ESPN.

Weeks Two and Three both went to the NPL, who combined for a 10-10 record over the two weeks, while ESPN struggled mightily, going 7-13 with 45.6% and 40.0% accuracy in those two weeks.

The two hiveminds then traded blows, with ESPN taking weeks four and six, while the NPL took weeks five and seven. ESPN gained momentum starting in Week 8, winning both Weeks 8 and 9 (Week 9 by accuracy tiebreaker), taking a 5-4 advantage heading into Week 10. Then, the NPL showed the experts how it’s done.

The NPL claimed Week 10, Week 11, Week 12, and Week 13 – averaging 7 of 10 games guessed correctly – on the strength of a 58.6% accuracy.

ESPN claimed the final week of the season (on an accuracy tiebreaker) to end the regular season series at 8-6, advantage: The NPL!

Overall, ESPN had the higher pick accuracy (53.9% vs 52.8%) but guessed fewer games correctly as a group (75 for ESPN, 82 for the NPL).

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