Regular season performance is used as a basis for picking winners during the postseason, but in a more contrarian twist, the firm's system looks to bet on underperformers in the postseason. According to Chris Lardieri, one of the study's authors, the thinking is that there will be a tendency to overvalue regular season outperformers, and undervalue underperformers. In financial terms, the relatively less expensive assets will outperform. Think of this as picking the "value" play.
The methodology led to a 4-4-2 record in picking teams during the NFL playoffs this year. While that's nothing to write home about, in year's past, the system has averaged an approximately 63 percent success rate in picking winners against the point spread. During the last 12 Super Bowls, picking the lower alpha team has been a winning strategy in nine games, or a 75 percent success rate. The system also correctly picked the first eight winners, starting with Super Bowl XXXVIII in February 2004. However, it's worth noting that the system has not worked last two Super Bowls, and has failed in three of the last four.
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This year, the relative value pick happens to be the Denver Broncos. The Carolina Panthers are currently favored in Super Bowl 50 by 6 points. In order for the Analytic Investors system to log a successful observation, the Broncos will have to lose by less than that spread, or win outright. The last time the Broncos were the firm's pick to win? Super Bowl XLVIII, when they lost to the Seattle Seahawks 43-8. You can bet Broncos fans will be expecting a different outcome this time around.