Detroit Pistons Counting on Dwane Casey to Engineer Quick Success

Dwane-Casey-Piston1The Detroit Pistons moved on from Stan Van Gundy after four seasons — only one of which resulted in a playoff appearance (first-round sweep). They quickly hired Dwane Casey to replace him and are hoping that the former Toronto Raptors coach can produce quick results.

Casey and the Raptors achieved both a franchise and Eastern Conference best record of 59-23. But they were swept in the second round of the playoffs by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

According to the Detroit News’ Bob Wojnowski, the organization worked hard to land Casey, who helped transform Toronto into a strong defensive team.

Casey was the top coaching candidate on the free agent market this offseason. He has the most experience and best recent records. This earned him a five-year deal with the Pistons, who are looking for any hint of playoff success after disappointing seasons under Van Gundy. Owner Tom Gores said that they “got their guy” after the signing.

Pistons Have a Lot of Work to Do with Front Office

Van Gundy led a dual role as both coach and general manager. In the aftermath of his firing, many wondered if he was only suited for one role.

Casey won’t be the general manager. And this leaves Detroit scrambling to put together a solid front office. Here’s more from Wojnowski on the matter:

“Once again, we’ll see if the Pistons are forward thinking, or grasping from the past. To turn the team around, it’s about more than just the coach. There’s still uncertainty in the organization, and it’s unclear who will assume which roles, from president to general manager.”

Dwane-Casey-PistonsDetroit has had eight coaches in the past 11 years. And Van Gundy is the only one to make the playoffs (2016) in this span. Before that, the late Flip Saunders was the last to have a winning record (2008).

Some of the failed coaches in this span include Michael Curry, Lawrence Frank, Maurice Cheeks, and John Loyer (interim).

Gores resisted the temptation to make a splashy hire with a young coach. The team is conceivably built to win now with Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin, and Reggie Jackson on the roster. Plus, Detroit doesn’t have much flexibility anyways when considering their contracts.

The Pistons finished 39-43 last season, missing out on the playoffs. If Casey can make small improvements, then the team can at least compete for a lower playoff seed.

Detroit Pistons Outlook for 2019

Given that the Finals just ended, we don’t yet have our futures up for the 2018-19 NBA season. But when we do, the Pistons are likely to be a middle-of-the-pack Eastern Conference team.

They probably won’t make a significant splash in free agency after trading for Griffin last season. However, Detroit will be an interesting team to watch if they can stay healthy.

Jackson has been hurt each of the past two seasons. But if he can make it through the entire 2019 campaign, then the Pistons have a much better chance. They could also exceed expectations if the Griffin-Drummond front-court pairing gels throughout the year.

Goldman Sachs AI Predicts Brazil will Win World Cup – Uses 1 Million Simulations

brazil-world-cup-2018Several countries enter the 2018 FIFA World Cup with a good chance to win. And this makes it tough to predict a winner when looking at World Cup futures. But if you’re looking for help when betting on the future champ, then consider the results from Goldman Sachs’ artificial intelligence program.

The investment firm’s AI used machine learning to create 200,000 models, which come from mining data on players and teams to predict match scores. After going through 1 million variations of the World Cup, Goldman Sachs has determined that Brazil will win the tournament.

AI Shows Match Scores in 2018 World Cup Bracket

The picture shown below features the match results predicted by Goldman Sachs. The numbers listed next to each country dictate whether each team beats its opponent. These numbers also predict the unrounded number of goals scored in each potential iteration of the event.

goldman-sachs-brazil-champ-world-cup

An unnamed member of Goldman Sachs’ research team wrote about the interesting model that they used to predict the World Cup matches and final results.

“We are drawn to machine learning models because they can sift through a large number of possible explanatory variables to produce more accurate forecasts than conventional alternatives,” wrote the employee.

More World Cup Findings from Goldman Sachs

You can see some of the other interesting findings from Goldman Sachs below:

  • Brazil is expected to win its sixth World Cup. The AI predicts that they’ll beat Germany in the championship by an unrounded score of 1.70 to 1.41.
  • France actually maintains the second-highest odds of winning. But their semi-final meeting with Brazil gives them less of a chance to win than Germany, which wouldn’t face the Brazilians until the final.
  • Argentina and Spain — two of the world’s best teams — are expected to fall short of expectations and lose in the quarterfinals.
  • England — one of the most-publicized teams — should have a strong World Cup run. But they’re predicted to lose to Germany in the quarterfinals.
  • Saudi Arabia could be the Cup’s biggest Cinderella, advancing out of their group stage in spite of their lowish world ranking.
  • Russia, the host country, isn’t predicted to make it past the group stage. They’re expected to be upset by Saudi Arabia.

Anything can Happen

Using data from Goldman Sachs’ AI is definitely an interesting way to look at the 2018 World Cup. But you can’t guarantee anything from a betting standpoint just by using results from the program. An author from the study cautions this with the following statement:

“We capture the stochastic nature of the tournament carefully using state-of-the-art statistical methods and we consider a lot of information in doing so. But the forecasts remain highly uncertain, even with the fanciest statistical techniques, simply because football is quite an unpredictable game. This is, of course, precisely why the World Cup will be so exciting to watch.”

2018 World Cup Futures

As covered above, Brazil is expected to take home the World Cup crown this year. And if you’re confident in the Goldman Sachs AI, then you can bet on Brazil through our GTBets World Cup futures.

Also note that you can wager on any of the other favorites too, including Germany, France, Argentina, Spain, Portugal, and England.