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My Lions’ XV for the First Test in New Zealand

by Owen Tedford

 

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With the announcement of the British and Irish Lions’ touring squad on Wednesday, the speculation over who will be on the plane can end. Now it’s time to turn our attention to who will start the first test match against New Zealand on June 24th. Obviously, there is still a lot of rugby to be played before then, but barring any major surprises or injuries, I believe the following set of players should be the starters for the first test match.

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To Defer or Not to Defer?

By Owen Tedford

In 2008, the NFL added a rule that allowed teams that won the coin toss to defer their choice of receiving or kicking to the second half. When this rule was first introduced, it was used only 7.8% of the time. But, it has become an increasingly used option in today’s NFL with the toss getting deferred over 78% of the time now. Why are teams doing this? Well, coaches, like Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, claim that by deferring you have the chance to get an extra possession. Now, if true, this would provide teams a clear advantage by giving them an extra chance to score.

Using data from Sporting Charts [1], I’ve compiled the time of possession in minutes, the total number of drives, and time per drive for each NFL team (table at the end). The average time of possession this past year was 2.65 minutes or 2 minutes 39 seconds. But, looking at the data, there are a few outliers, and so for the rest of my analysis, I chose to use the median of 2.695 or 2 minutes 41.7 seconds.

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AL Wild Card Live Probability Tracker

By Patrick Harrel

With three days left in the MLB season, there is still a lot to settle. The Astros looked strong as they sat atop the AL West for much of the year, but are now just trying to hold onto the second wild card spot. Meanwhile, the Angels have surged in September, and the Twins have also stayed in the race. With three games left, the Astros are holding on by 1 game over the Twins and Angels, and will look to stay ahead as they play in Arizona this weekend.

But how will the season finish? We will be tracking just that here, using live probabilities from Fangraphs’ win expectancy model. Follow here and see how your team’s chances at the playoffs change as the games go on tonight and into the weekend.