An analytic look at the 2013-2014 NBA season

The 2013-2014 NBA season is here. Is your team ready to outperform its expectation?

In this post, I aggregated several statistical or simulation-based predictions of each team’s regular season wins. The prediction sites or methods used included Team Rankings, Schoene (ESPN), Prediction Machine, and Box Score Geeks, and I compared these predictions against posted totals for team wins using (which I’ll call the ‘Las Vegas line’).

First, here’s a look at the correlation between each site’s projected win totals. Team Rankings and Prediction Machine seem very similar to the Las Vegas posted win totals, with slightly higher deviations in the Schoene projection. The Box Score Geek projection system seems well off that of the other sites.

Las Vegas Line Schoene Team Rankings Prediction Machine Box Score Geeks
Las Vegas Line 1.00 0.91 0.99 0.99 0.72
Schoene 0.91 1.00 0.89 0.90 0.75
Team Rankings 0.99 0.89 1.00 0.98 0.75
Prediction Machine 0.99 0.90 0.98 1.00 0.75
Box Score Geeks 0.72 0.75 0.75 0.75 1.00

Next, I plotted each team’s projected win totals, sorted by the projected totals of the Las Vegas line. Teams labeled on the x-axis in green are among those projected by the statheads to have more wins (Philadelphia, Utah, Milwaukee, Atlanta), while teams in red are projected for fewer wins (New York, Golden State, Brooklyn, Indiana, LA Clippers, Miami).

NBA projected win totals, by team
NBA projected win totals, by team (click to enlarge)

Also, one final curious postscript: the Las Vegas line totals for all teams summed to 1235.5, which of course is impossible. Because NBA teams play 82 games each, totals for all teams should add to 1230 wins.

At mid-season and at the end of the season, I’ll post updates to identify which system(s) were able to outperform the Vegas line.



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