This past fall, some of the commentators at Canis Hoopus tried their luck at predicting which teams would beat their projected win totals. Last year, the collective hivemind of Canis Hoopus performed very well compared to the lines set by Vegas. This year? Not so much. Of the $3100 in fake money wagered, only $1078 was placed on winning bets. What happened? Why did the site suddenly lose its predictive powers? In a nutshell, Al Horford and boundless optimism untempered by past experience (and a stretch of mindbogglingly bad luck in close games).
The hivemind wagered $345 that the Hawks would beat their projected 39.5 win total. Al Horford (and several role players) got injured and they finished at 38-44. The Wolves had a staggering $570 in fake money bet that they would finish with over 41.5 wins. You know what happened. If the Hawks stay healthy and the Wolves don't lose close games at a historic rate, well, that's why we used fake money.
Adding to the drama was the fact that there were 5 teams that finished within 1/2 a game of their over/under line. The Magic, Grizzlies, Rockets, Warriors, and Jazz all were a play or two away from changing the outcome of the contest. I would like to take this opportunity to give a special shout out to the appropriately named PoundFoolish, who wagered all $100 on the Jazz. If they had won just one more game, he would have emerged from the contest victorious. However, they did not and he did not. I would also like to recognize VoodooMagic for appearing in the thread to question the Hawks and promote the Wizards, but who unfortunately did not place any fake bets to support his hunches.
So, without further ado, the winner of the 2013-14 Canis Hoopus Over Under Contest...
Rubi-OHHHH!, as I hinted at in the above video, who spent $85 on winning bets, correctly predicting that the Thunder would beat their 52.5 win projection and that those pesky Jazz and the Cavaliers would fall short of their projected marks. Rubi-OHHHH! was incorrectly optimistic on the Nets and Pistons, but spent so little money on those bets, it turned out not to matter. Congratulations to the new seer of Canis Hoopus!
In a photo finish, Waucckhewww spent $84 on winning picks, correctly calling disappointing seasons for the Jazz, Lakers, Nuggets, Warriors, and Magic, while missing on the Wolves, Nets, and Suns. It was still a fortunate finish however, as the Warriors, Jazz, and Magic all finished just 1/2 a game under their lines.
Bachballer took third place with $65 in correct bets, a far cry from the $80 required for that spot last year. Pessimism ruled the day here, as the Nuggets and Knicks both finished under, and the over bets on the Wolves, Pistons, and Hawks all came up empty.
As for yours truly, I went 50/50, correctly calling the Nuggets under and Bobcats over, missing on the Hawks, and watching the Grizzlies finish 1/2 a game underneath the line after missing Marc Gasol for a sizeable chunk of the season. Why, injury gods? Why? Anyway, here is another video to honor Rubi-OHHHH!
I also looked at the Canis Hoopus Preseason Predictions. I am not going to relay the news of how the Wolves fared against our preseason expectations because that's frankly too depressing to dwell on. Instead, I looked at our finals picks, and the first thing that jumped out to me was the lack of a consensus, especially surrounding the Western Conference, although the Heat did emerge as the favorite. I've compiled the percentages below, sorted by the teams deemed most likely by the Canisensus to win it all. There were 45 predictions for the Finals & Eastern Conference and 44 predictions for the Western Conference.
|Team||% Picked to Win Conference||% Picked to Win Finals|
You are reading that correctly; ten out of forty five people predicted the Clippers to win the Western Conference, but none expected them to actually win the NBA championship. Congrats to Wile E. Coyote, AK1984, Jerwol, and Omycillo for predicting that the Spurs would take down the Heat, and to Nate in St. Paul, OR-7, bethelxc, and myself for predicting that the Spurs would finish on top.
What's the point of looking at these? For me, it's fun to look back and see what I got right and what I got wrong, and then try to figure out why I was right or wrong. Was it simply injury luck, or was there a deeper reason these predictions were wrong? What did I miss when watching the games that I'll notice next year? Or, it can be as simple as, remember when we thought that? That was funny. Or it can be a reminder not to ridicule unorthodox takes too severely, as sometimes they are proven right. And I think there is something we can learn from those times, both in terms of humility and in optimizing the hivemind.