Boo hoo!  Week One started with a 2-3.  The worst part was I was 3-2 at the Crowne Club on late picks.  My Contest Points +2.

Here are the results of my picks:

Detroit Lions +6.5                                         Won

Indianapolis Colts -2 ½                                 Lost

San Francisco 49ers -3                                Lost

San Diego Chargers -4 ½                            Lost

Washington Redskins +3 ½                         Won

 

Adding the Washington pick didn't change the results that would have occurred anyway.  The play that was forgotten was Arizona, which was also a winner. 

To support my theory that winning the Hilton Contest is governed by luck, I will be tracking the only 8 Contestants from last year who finished above 60% and are Contestants again this year.

None of them hit all 5 selections in Week 1.  The results varied from a low of 1-4 for last year's 10th place finisher, Eddie Money, to a high of 4-0-1 for Continental Sports, last year's 9th place winner.  None of last year's top selectors was within or tied for any of the top 10 places for Week 1. 

Last year's top player results for Week 1 are:

 

Rk

09 Rk

Name

W-L

Points

1

    9  

Continental Sprts

4-0-1

4.5

2

    4

Killer 1

4-1

4.0

3T

    1

Fezzik

3-1-1

3.5

3T

    5

SptsMemo Tim

3-1-1

3.5

5T

   11

Put Money in Bag

3-2

3.0

5T

   11

Take Out Trash

3-2

3.0

7

     7

Mike Boyd 1 & 2

2-3

2.0

8

   10

Eddie Money

1-4

1.0

Note:  Mike Boyd had two entries last year.  Mike Boyd 1 finished 2009 with a record of 51-32-2 (61.4%).  As if to prove single handedly that the whole thing is a matter of luck, Mike Boyd 2 finished with a record of just 44-38-3, a barely profitable 53.7%.  The combined total is meaningless since many picks are repeated in both entries.  This year he has two entries again.  For Week 1, the Mike Boyd 2 entry had just one different selection and the same record as Mike Boyd 1. 

There was little consensus among last year's top selectors.  There was agreement on only two teams.  Pittsburgh was picked by 5 of the 8 contestants, and none picked against Pittsburgh.  Cleveland was the pick of 3 out the 8, with none against.  Pittsburgh won and Cleveland pushed.  All the other selections were either picked by only one selector, or there were picks on both sides of the game.  The games picked by only one selector with no one against - Chicago, Houston, Oakland, and Kansas City - ended with a record of 3-1. 

Pittsburgh was not within the top 5 consensus picks of all contestants.  Cleveland was the #4 Consensus pick in the contest as a whole.  Green Bay was the top Consensus pick with 125 contestants on Green Bay and only 38 contestants picking against Green Bay.  Rounding out the top 5 were Carolina, San Francisco, and Baltimore.  Only Green Bay and Baltimore covered the contest spread.  The final consensus record for all contestants was 2-2-1, the statistically expected 50%.     

Ten contestants out of 342 finished Week 1 with a perfect 5-0.  That's slightly less than the expected 10 in every 320 result for a coin flip.  Only one person was 0-5, however, which is significantly better than the result of a coin flip, which should also be 10 in 320.  The uneven distribution at the extremes suggests that skill is some factor in the result  

There were 55 contestants at exactly 50% with 2.5 points.  We'd expect to see an equal number of contestants above 50% as below, but 183 of the remaining 287 contestants are above 50%, and just 104 are below 50%.  That again indicates that skill played some role in the Week 1 results, although the fact that the percentage of contestants at 5-0 is merely as would be expected from a coin flip suggests that skill is not necessarily the determinant of the contest winners. 

So far, the results are consistent with the theory that a skilled handicapper's performance will normally not exceed 59% against the spread, but since it takes more than 59% to win the contest, those extra winners necessary to win are the product of luck, even among skilled handicappers.  More skilled handicappers should finish above 50% than below it, but only a very lucky few will finish at the high percentages necessary to win money in the contest. 

Based on Week 1 results, the cumulative skill of the handicappers in the Hilton Contest appears to be better than random selection.  How much better remains to be seen.   

My Week 1 Pick Post can be found HERE.  http://pregame.com/forums/forums/t/130970.aspx

An explanation of my Hilton contest theories is HERE.

http://pregame.com/blogstore/rob_crowne/archive/2010/09/11/hilton-nfl-contest-and-rob-crowne.aspx