NFL Picks – Conference Round 2016

Overall Against the Spread: 103-132
Week 2: 8-8
Week 3: 10-6
Week 4: 6-9
Week 5: 5-8 (1 push)
Week 6: 7-6 (2 pushes)
Week 7: 3-11 (1 game not bet)
Week 8: 6-7
Week 9: 5-6 (1 game not bet, 1 push)
Week 10: 8-6
Week 11: 7-4 (1 game not bet, 2 pushes)
Week 12: 5-10 (1 push)
Week 13: 4-11
Week 14: 8-8
Week 15: 5-9 (1 game not bet, 1 push)
Week 16: 7-9
Week 17: 7-8 (1 push)
Wild Card: 0-4
Division: 2-2

Book Review – Ahead of the Curve

Ahead of the Curve: Inside the Baseball Revolution
by Brian Kenny, 2016

We (Maria and I) met Brian Kenny at the 2013 SABR Analytics conference. He was the keynote speaker, and advocated such things at knuckleball academies (to train knuckleball pitchers), bullpenning (using your bullpen more effectively and moving away from the dominance of the starting pitcher), and a information-saavy managerial staff to replace intuitive managers. He’s incredibly well-spoken and brings that to his work on ESPN and MLB Network, and now to his book.

Kill the win. Kill the save. Don’t sign big-money free agents. All are topics in this book, but I think the overwhelming theme is that we need to halt the tyranny of backward-thinking sports media that constantly attacks and belittles analytical thinking. Great book.

Pairs well with Moneyball, obviously (my reading of that one pre-dates when I was writing book reviews for my website). Also pairs well with Big Data Baseball, Mathletics, How to Measure Anything, and Thinking, Fast and Slow.

NFL Picks – Division Round 2016

Ha, I doubt it, but there’s a chance switching from Python 2 to Python 3 mid-season introduced a bug into my code. The results have been awful since then. 0-4 wild card. Ha. Just keep chugging.

Overall Against the Spread: 101-130
Week 2: 8-8
Week 3: 10-6
Week 4: 6-9
Week 5: 5-8 (1 push)
Week 6: 7-6 (2 pushes)
Week 7: 3-11 (1 game not bet)
Week 8: 6-7
Week 9: 5-6 (1 game not bet, 1 push)
Week 10: 8-6
Week 11: 7-4 (1 game not bet, 2 pushes)
Week 12: 5-10 (1 push)
Week 13: 4-11
Week 14: 8-8
Week 15: 5-9 (1 game not bet, 1 push)
Week 16: 7-9
Week 17: 7-8 (1 push)
Wild Card: 0-4

NFL Picks – Wild Card 2016

Overall Against the Spread: 101-126
Week 2: 8-8
Week 3: 10-6
Week 4: 6-9
Week 5: 5-8 (1 push)
Week 6: 7-6 (2 pushes)
Week 7: 3-11 (1 game not bet)
Week 8: 6-7
Week 9: 5-6 (1 game not bet, 1 push)
Week 10: 8-6
Week 11: 7-4 (1 game not bet, 2 pushes)
Week 12: 5-10 (1 push)
Week 13: 4-11
Week 14: 8-8
Week 15: 5-9 (1 game not bet, 1 push)
Week 16: 7-9
Week 17: 7-8 (1 push)

Book Review – Scorecasting

Scorecasting: The Hidden Influence Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won
by Tobias J. Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim, 2011

I read this book a few years ago, but I recently re-“read” it on tape on a holiday drive. The content is interesting and the conclusions are cool and worth knowing, but I was struck with how much filler content is included in reading it a second time. You want to yell at the writers, “Just get to the point” sometimes. Also, don’t listen to this on CD, as the reader reads the entirety of the book’s tables, which is frustrating and silly. You’ll skim the tables in the actual book. Overall, a good book to read quickly, especially if you don’t know why there is a home-field advantage in sports.

Book Review – The Power Brokers

The Power Brokers: The Struggle to Shape and Control the Electric Power Industry
by Jeremiah D. Lambert, 2015

“The history of the electric power industry in the United States, created by entrepreneurs, is also the history of the exercise of political power.” (Conclusion, pg 259)

I recommend this book for those that are getting started in the energy field and need a bit of a deep dive into the context and history of political influence in electricity generation. Granted, that’s a small subset of the population. But I’m in that subset! So I thought the book was good. It is very specialized, though. It covers 7 “power brokers” in the history of electricity: Sam Insull, David Lilienthal, Donal Hodel and others at Bonneville Power, Paul Joskow, Ken Lay, Amory Lovins, and Jim Rogers. The writing takes some getting used to, but I found myself reading the later chapters at a faster pace.

NFL Picks – Week 16 of 2016

Overall Against the Spread: 87-109
Week 2: 8-8
Week 3: 10-6
Week 4: 6-9
Week 5: 5-8 (1 push)
Week 6: 7-6 (2 pushes)
Week 7: 3-11 (1 game not bet)
Week 8: 6-7
Week 9: 5-6 (1 game not bet, 1 push)
Week 10: 8-6
Week 11: 7-4 (1 game not bet, 2 pushes)
Week 12: 5-10 (1 push)
Week 13: 4-11
Week 14: 8-8
Week 15: 5-9 (1 game not bet, 1 push)

Book Review – End the Fed

End the Fed
by Ron Paul, 2009

Ron Paul spent a large portion of his time in Congress fighting for sound money principles. Our current system of “fiat money” encourages excessive government spending and then inflation to wash away debt. Those who are fiscally responsible in the current era tend to have to bail out the irresponsible. This book was written right after the bailouts of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (it’s a TARP!) and carries some of the fervor of the Occupy Wall Street protests. I do wish we had a more fiscally conservative government, something neither the liberals nor conservatives seem to be offering. This book is a good overview of the economic, moral, and libertarian impacts of our current monetary policy and describes a reasonable alternative to the status quo.

I listened to the CD recording of this book, which was good.