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Beside The Points For Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2017

Things That Caught My Eye

Luck runs out

Most teams that get good breaks in close games in the first half of an NFL season will regress, and likewise many teams that lose a lot of their close games will do better in them in the back half. Lots of teams have won or lost lots of games decided by one score or less: the Giants are 0-3, Browns are 0-4, and 49ers are 0-5 in those contests, and on the other hand Washington and the Cardinals are 3-0, the Panthers and Dolphins are 4-1 and the Eagles, Pats, Steelers and Titans are 3-1. If fortune’s favored your team so far in that kind of contest, don’t get cocky is all we’re saying. [ESPN]

The Jags are sneaky

The Jacksonville Jaguars have a really, really good defense this year, but don’t fret if you didn’t expect that going in. Through the first nine games they’re number one in the league on points, passing yards, and expected points added. Last year they were 25th, 5th and 13th by those same metrics, respectively, and in 2015 they were 31st, 29th and 24th by them. To say their ascent has been rapid is an understatement. [FiveThirtyEight]

Notre Dame in prime time

College football sees two marquee matchups this weekend, with Georgia a 55 percent favorite over Auburn and Notre Dame a 61 percent favorite over Miami. The Notre Dame-Miami matchup has bigger playoff implications for each team. A win for the Irish would raise their chances of making the playoff from 30 percent to 47 percent. A win for Miami would crank up their playoff chance from 26 percent to 47 percent, and would effectively eliminate independent Notre Dame from the postseason. [FiveThirtyEight]

The greatest pitcher of the millennium

Roy Halladay was killed in a plane crash Tuesday. His time pitching for Toronto and Philadelphia for 16 seasons saw him pitch over 2,700 innings and winning 203 games. Based on wins above replacement since 2000, Halladay is the greatest pitcher of the millennium despite not pitching for four years. [FiveThirtyEight]

Four nations this weekend

The Olympics are right around the corner, and the Four Nations Cup — a tournament for the Finnish, Swedish, Canadian and American women’s national hockey teams — is an excellent preview for some of the top talent in that group. Sunday will be the championship games in Tampa. [The Ice Garden]

LeBron needs four other people to make shots

Cleveland’s win on Tuesday pushed its offensive efficiency in the NBA from seventh place to second place, but there’s a lot of reason for concern. Essentially everyone alongside LeBron who’s name is not Kyle Korver needs to step it up. Looking at how his teammates are shooting off passes from LeBron, Channing Frye, J.R. Smith and Jae Crowder are underperforming on observed effective field goal percentage compared to the expectation. [FiveThirtyEight]

Make sure to try your hand at our fun NFL can you beat the FiveThirtyEight predictions? game!

Big Number

50 in 50

Only five NHL players have scored fifty goals in their team’s first fifty games. As it stands, there’s been a drought of people scoring 50 in 50: The last time someone pulled it off was Brett Hull in the 1991-92 season. As it stands, Nikita Kucherov of Tampa Bay is nearly on pace for the achievement, with 15 goals in Tampa’s first 16 games. Still, it’s the next 30 games where this milestone is truly won, and this year may look different defensively than previous years thanks to some rule changes that favor offense. [FiveThirtyEight]

Leaks from Slack: Trust The Process



Sixers have finally almost dug out of the Hinkie era

neil [4:38 PM]





that aggressive shrugging off of the offseason reversion
is delightful

“actually, model, we didn’t get any better. in fact we’re even worse now”


Oh, and don’t forget
The men’s bobsled winner of “Scouting Camp – The Next Olympic Hopeful” — just a walk-on, essentially — won 4 medals with the team for Team USA at the North American cup.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.