Super Bowl XLIX Computer Simulation Predicts Patriots Over Seahawks … Barely!
Back in the winter of 2006, leading up to Super Bowl XL, I stumbled across a free website that allowed its users to play computer-generated contests.
As the Seahawks prepare to take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX (49), I checked to see if the site, or something similar to it, was still around. Sure enough, it is.
The site is called "What If Sports" and describes itself as "your sports simulation destination." I puched in the rosters for both teams, set the field for University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., made the appropriate tweaks for weather conditions (there aren't any, as it is a covered stadium) and hit the "Play Game" button.
The first result was less than desirous with New England winning 24-14. I decided to play again. And again. Eventually I played 20 simulated games to give a larger sample size to determine what the average outcome might be and I was shocked at the results!
The oddsmakers in Las Vegas currently have the point spread listed as "Pick 'Em" - meaning, there is no point spread. The casinos think the two teams are that evenly matched. The computer, to an extent, agrees.
In the 20 games I played, New England won 12, Seattle eight. The stunning part, though, came when I calculated the final scores from all the games. When it was said and done, the Patriots averaged 17.25 points per game against Seattle's vaunted defense, while the Hawks averaged 17.15! A difference of ONE-TENTH of a point!
How could this be? One team winning 12 games but averaging less than a one-point difference? As it turned out, the games the Seahawks "won" were blowouts. I define blowout by one team beating the other by 20 or more. When Seattle won, they did it in large fashion (34-6, 33-9, 30-6, and 27-3). The sole New England blowout was 30-7. The Pats also pitched the only shutout in my 20-game simulation by a score of 12-0 behind four Stephen Gostkowski field goals (BORING!)
Of all the games, this was the 20th and final in my series. If the game a week from Sunday follows suit, we are in for an EPIC treat, with the Seahwks winning by a point on a 42-yard touchdown run with a minute and 34 seconds left to play!