Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Scoring Strategies for the Underdog: A General, Quantitative Method for Determining Optimal Sports Strategies

Contents:

Author Info

  • Skinner Brian

    (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)

Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    When facing a heavily-favored opponent, an underdog must be willing to assume greater-than-average risk. In statistical language, one would say that an underdog must be willing to adopt a strategy whose outcome has a larger-than-average variance. The difficult question is how much risk a team should be willing to accept. This is equivalent to asking how much the team should be willing to sacrifice from its mean score in order to increase the score’s variance. In this paper a general analytical method is developed for addressing this question quantitatively. Under the assumption that every play in a game is statistically independent, both the mean and the variance of a team’s offensive output can be described using the binomial distribution. This allows for direct calculations of the winning probability when a particular strategy is employed, and therefore allows one to calculate optimal offensive strategies. This paper develops this method for calculating optimal strategies exactly and then presents a simple heuristic for determining whether a given strategy should be adopted. A number of interesting and counterintuitive examples are then explored, including the merits of stalling for time, the run/pass/Hail Mary choice in football, and the correct use of Hack-a-Shaq.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/jqas.2011.7.issue-4/1559-0410.1364/1559-0410.1364.xml?format=INT
    Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports.

    Volume (Year): 7 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 4 (October)
    Pages: 1-18

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:bpj:jqsprt:v:7:y:2011:i:4:n:11

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://www.degruyter.com

    Order Information:
    Web: http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/jqas

    Related research

    Keywords:

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:jqsprt:v:7:y:2011:i:4:n:11. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.