The Vegas flu looks real — but somehow the Chicago Blackhawks also got sick

In yesterday’s post, I walked through the use of a state-space model to evaluate NHL team strength over the course of an NHL season. But analyzing team strength is just the start of how we can use this type of framework to analyze betting market data in sports. In today’s post, I’ll ask a different question – What team had the best home advantage? And did perceptions of any teams (cough cough, Vegas) change over the course of the season?

A state-space model to evaluate sports teams

A few years ago at a statistics conference, Greg, Ben and I sat down to air a few greviences about our favorite sports. They were upset about baseball, and I was irked about hockey. Why the irritation? Relative to other popular sports like basketball and football, it seemed to us at the time that the best team was winning less often in baseball and hockey. And as fans wanting skilled teams to be rewarded, it was frustrating to so often have well-constructed teams fall short of titles.