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December 16, 2014

2014 NFL Prediction Accuracy

Microsoft's Cortana and Nate Silver's fivethirtyeight.com Elo are predicting the outcomes of NFL games each week during the 2014 season.

The tables below use Brier scores to determine the accuracy of the probabilistic predictions from both models.

Brier scores range from 0 to 1, with 0 meaning the probabilities in the models perfectly match the outcomes of the games and 1 meaning no matches were made (so the closer to 0.000, the better calibration of the model).

If a 50% (0.500) probability were assigned to each team for each game, the Brier score would be 0.250.

Through the fifteenth week of the season, the Elo model has a Brier score of 0.205 and the Cortana model has a Brier score of 0.210.

Brier Scores
2014 NFL Season Summary 538 Elo Cortana
Week 1 0.212 0.222
Week 2 0.256 0.258
Week 3 0.187 0.209
Week 4 0.242 0.288
Week 5 0.149 0.145
Week 6 0.194 0.194
Week 7 0.211 0.200
Week 8 0.217 0.197
Week 9 0.199 0.201
Week 10 0.189 0.192
Week 11 0.260 0.287
Week 12 0.167 0.167
Week 13 0.218 0.218
Week 14 0.218 0.237
Week 15 0.155 0.150
Season totals 0.205 0.210

For the season through week 15, the Elo model is performing about 18% better than assigning all teams a 50% win probability and the Cortana model is performing about 16% better than assigning all teams a 50% win probability.

The Brier scores for the season reflect that the average win probabilities among winning teams are 58% for the Elo model and 57% for the Cortana model.

On a weekly basis, the models have failed to perform better than assigning each team a 50% win probability thirteen out of fifteen weeks.

In week fifteen of the season, the Elo model had a Brier score of 0.155 and the Cortana model had a Brier score of 0.150.

Details for each game are here.

 


 

November 21, 2014

2014 Christmas Spending

 

Shoppers around the country say they are planning to spend an average of $861 for gifts this holiday season, up from $801 last year according to our 30th annual survey on holiday spending. Planned gift spending will slightly exceed spending in 2007, a first since the recession.

 

Year Average
Spending
Percent
Change
2014 $861 + 8%
2013 $801 - 6%
2012 $854 + 32%
2011 $646 - 2%
2010 $658 + 58%
2009 $417 - 3%
2008 $431 - 50%
2007 $859 - 5%
2006 $907 - 4%
2005 $942 - 6%
2004 $1,004 + 3%

Average planned spending peaked in 2001 at $1,052. Average planned spending has recovered from $417 in 2009, with average planned spending for 2014 slightly above average planned spending of $859 in 2007.

When average planned spending is adjusted for inflation beginning with the first survey in 1985, the average planned spending of $861 in 2014 would be worth $390 in 1985.

Details from the nationwide survey conducted November 17-20 are here.

 


 

November 21, 2014

Obama Job Approvals and the National Economy

 

Obama Job Approval Ratings
11/20/14 Approve Disapprove Undecided
Overall 44% 51% 5%
Economy 42% 54% 4%

A total of 44% of Americans say they approve of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president and 51% say they disapprove of the way Obama is handling his job. In October, 43% of Americans approved of the job Obama was doing and 52% disapproved.

When it comes to Obama's handling of the economy, 42% of Americans approve and 54% disapprove. In October, 41% approved and 55% disapproved.

Among Americans registered to vote, 46% approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president and 50% disapprove. On Obama's handling of the economy, 43% of registered voters approve and 53% disapprove.

Details from the nationwide survey conducted November 17-20 are available at The National Economy.

 


 

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