Matthew Holt, COO of CG Technologies and the guy who sets the market in Nevada, joins me for a wide ranging conversation. He tells us how far gathering injury information has come in the past 12 years, as well as how sportsbooks use analytics to set the market (or at least as much as he could). We also get into the difficulty of making predictions for football teams on a steep rise or fall. After the interview, host Ed Feng discusses The Power Rank's prediction for total points in Texas Tech at West Virginia.
Joe Fortenbaugh, host of the new podcast The Sharp 600 and San Francisco sports radio personality, joins the show for a wide ranging conversation. He tells us the amazing story of how he broke into the sports world, a must listen whether you want to follow in his footsteps or land a date after getting a number. He then discusses his new podcast as well as thoughts on the NFL season. After the interview, host Ed Feng does a segment on The Power Rank's NFL pass rankings and what we can learn after 4 weeks.
Rufus Peabody, professional sports bettor and creator of Massey Peabody football analytics, joins the show to talk football analytics and predictions. He tells us how his numbers balance preseason expectation with incoming data from the current season. Then he breaks down Oklahoma State and USC, two college football teams that numbers find overrated, as well as the surprising Los Angeles Rams of the NFL. I discuss my new college football totals in a segment after the interview.
Brian Fremeau, creator of the FEI college football rankings and writer for ESPN Insider and Football Outsiders, tells us how he started doing college football rankings way back in 2003. He uses points per possession adjusted for starting field position to evaluate teams on offense and defense. He's also a Notre Dame fan and previews the game at Michigan State. After the interview, I discuss balancing data from a small sample size of games with preseason expectations early in the season.
I welcome Drew Martin of Sports Book Review to talk about handicapping small school college football. He takes us on his journey from all county QB in high school to JP Morgan to the sports world. We discuss how he handicaps games, and how the show Man vs Machine that he does with me came about. After the interview, I discuss small sample size and how it relates to football predictions.
Bill Connelly, college football analytics expert and SB Nation writer, joins me for a wide ranging college football discussion. He describes how he writes a preview for every FBS team each off season 7 years running. Then we give predictions and analysis for Oklahoma at Ohio State, Stanford at USC, Auburn at Clemson and Georgia at Notre Dame.
Jonathan Bales, Daily Fantasy Sports player and founder of Fantasy Labs, joins me to talk analytics. We talk about the unique product that Fantasy Labs offers, and he makes an unanticipated product announcement on the show. We also talk about books, writing and counter intuitive way to break into the sports analytics world.
Aaron Schatz, founder of Football Outsiders, joins me to discuss his predictions for the upcoming 2017 NFL season. We discuss the significance of passing over rushing in the NFL, and how it's been that way for 30 years. Then Aaron gives us an underrated and overrated team for the upcoming 2017 season.
Professor Ryan Rodenberg from Florida State explains the legal status of betting on games, which culminates in the Supreme Court's recent decision to hear a case from New Jersey. I was particularly intrigued by the role of the NBA in the case, who seeks to prevent New Jersey from legalizing betting but has also publicly endorsed betting on games. Throughout the conversation, Ryan keeps the conversation jargon free and accessible for those without a law degree.
Nik Bonaddio, the founder and CEO of numberFire, joins me to talk about football analytics and venture capital. Topics include the core idea behind their fantasy football projections, the type of companies that get venture capital funding, and the sports book Nik has read at least 10 times. The show ends with a segment about the one thing that will go wrong for Alabama in 2017.
Stewart Mandel is starting a new subscription based college football site called The All-American, and he joins me to discuss how analytics will play a role in their content. We also discuss the surprising conference that ended up last in his coaching talent rankings, and the team that could shake up the ACC. Last, he gives a template for how to pitch writing for him at The All-American.
With the football season fast approaching, I discuss my preseason college football rankings that have predicted the winner in over 70% of games the past three seasons. The first story looks at 3 teams that may have been one hit wonders last year. Then I transition into the blue blood program that should bounce back from an awful 2016 campaign. Finally, I talk about a troubling team that might be ranked too high.
Gill Alexander, host of A Numbers Game on the Vegas Stats and Information Network, joins me for a wide ranging conversation on sports analytics and media. We discuss the book that inspired him to leave a successful music career to get into sports, the real, non-betting reason he loves doing his Beating the Book podcast, and the non-book work of art we both obsess over.
Chase Stuart, founder of the site Football Perspective and 2016 panelist at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, joins me to discuss the analytics of the NFL draft. We dissect how he uses Approximate Value to assign a number to each selection in the draft. We also compare this draft chart to the Jimmy Johnson chart and talk about the surprising admission of the Patriots in making the Brandin Cooks trade.
Kevin Cole, data scientist and writer for Roto Viz and Fantasy Labs, joins the show to discuss his predictions for the 2017 NFL Draft. Among other topics, we discuss his unusual path to sports analytics, how to predict running back success, and what small sample size say about Deshaun Watson versus Mitch Trubisky.
John Urschel plays offensive line for the Baltimore Ravens in the fall and works on his Ph.D. in Mathematics at MIT the rest of the year. He joins me for a conversation on football analytics and his math research. Topics include the acoustic operator in those Bose commercials with J.J. Watt, the NFL's progress in video tracking data and the hidden factor in his making the NFL.
Coach Charles Ramsey, former head coach at Eastern Michigan, joins the show to discuss the 2017 Final Four. He discusses how these are "microwavable" times, the strength of Gonzaga's backcourt and the importance of assistant coaches with experience.
JJ Zachariason, the editor-in-chief at numberFire, joins me for a multi-faceted conversation. He gives his take on the NCAA tournament, but we spend most of the conversation on NFL free agency. Topics include Cleveland's offensive line signings, Brandin Cooks, and JJ's biggest story this free agency season.
Which 8 seed could wreck your bracket? Which conference does numbers hate? What surprising resource should you consult in picking potential tournament winners? I dig into the top stories heading into the 2017 NCAA men's basketball tournament.
SB Nation writer and analytics director Bill Connelly joins the show to discuss his new book The 50 Best College Football Teams of All Time. Our conversation ranges from how he picked these teams to college football analytics to social justice issues.
I discuss my research on how to win your March Madness pool. First, I talk about whether the tournament can be predicted at all. It's called March Madness for a reason. Then I look at the kinds of pools you want to enter. Get this wrong, and the best analytics can't save you. Finally, I tell you about the contrarian strategies you need to win medium sized pools. Ryan Peters from Omaha, Nebraska joins me to discuss how he used my methods to win his pool.
In this Man vs Machine episode, Adam Stanco, producer at the Pac-12 Network and true hoops junkie, joins me to talk college basketball. He discusses the 5 factors he looks for in teams that could win the NCAA tournament. Then we discuss the prospects of the top contenders for the 2017 tournament, both by The Power Rank's numbers and Adam's detailed breakdowns.
Keith Goldner is the Chief Analyst at numberFire and Director of Analytics at FanDuel. He joins me this week to discuss numberFire's methods for predicting football games and their prediction for the Super Bowl. He does a particularly good job explaining the idea of expected points in football.
In David Halberstam's book The Education of a Coach, he tells how a young Bill Belichick encouraged his New York Giants defense to let Buffalo's Thurman Thomas rush for 100 yards in the Super Bowl. I discuss the relevance to this year's Super Bowl between Belichick's New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons. Additional topics include whether either defense can slow down the opposing offense, and the relative importance of passing versus rushing in the NFL.
Rufus Peabody, professional sports gambler and ESPN predictive sports analytics expert, joins me on this week's show. He discusses his Massey-Peabody predictions for the NFL playoff games, and we find Green Bay at Atlanta particularly interesting. Rufus also reveals some new work on home field advantage that impacts this game.