Part 4 – Calculating Averages versus Ups and Downs

The use of statistical averages to calculate a final score is too many times a flawed attempt at predicting outcomes. Many calculated averages of numerical data is made up of a range of values and possible outliers. For example in football handicapping, average points scored and allowed, average yards gained and allowed and average turnovers gained and allowed can be somewhat distorted if there are games with extremely high or low values. This means that many averages are a compilation of up and down data not to be confused with an average of an average range of values. Sure there are statistical techniques that analyze the accuracy of a calculated average for the data, but this further illustrates that not all calculated averages are equal. The handicapping lesson is to avoid analyzing past statistics to quantify a calculated or exact disparity between opponents. The statistical data and calculated averages are for the purpose of rating the teams, not predicting outcomes.