Phil Steele, college football expert and long time publisher of his college football preview magazine, joins the show for a wide ranging conversation. He describes the role that analytics plays in his previewing of teams and gives examples based on turnovers and yards per point. Then Phil gives 3 teams that could join the college football playoff regulars like Alabama and Clemson. He ends by giving an overrated team, an intriguing team and the team he thinks will win the national championship.
Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders and ESPN+ joins the show for a wide ranging conversation on analytics and the NFL. He tells the story of the Football Outsiders Almanac and how words and analytics mesh in this excellent resource. He reveals the two teams that should expect regression at QB. He also gives an overrated team that didn't help themselves on defense. Teams discussed include Minnesota, Cleveland and Buffalo among others.
Bill Connelly, college football analytics expert and writer at ESPN, joins the show for a wide ranging conversation on college football. He describes his preseason model and the data that goes into it. Then he breaks down teams such as Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Georgia and North Carolina among others. Finally, Bill gives his thoughts on college football conference realignment, a potential super league and US soccer.
Mike Craig, a long time professional sports bettor, joins the show to talk about his craft. He describes how he got into the industry thanks to the generosity of his wife. Mike uses analytics but also subjective analysis in his betting, and this depends on the sport. Finally, Mike talks about the importance of closing line value and the toughest market to beat.
Adam Levitan, founder of Establish the Run, joins the show for a wide ranging conversation on the NFL. As a daily fantasy sports (DFS) expert, Adam gives his top advice for game selection and lineup construction. Then he describes his process for making season-long player prop bets. Finally, we talk about the analytics developed at Establish the Run, his ebook Skin to Fur and Sam Hinkie.
Brendan Kent, Senior Business Data Analyst at DraftKings and host of the Measurables podcast, joins the show for a wide ranging discussion on sports analytics. He describes how he got a job with the Portland Timbers as an undergrad. He tells us about the educational work he has done, both as an adjunct professor at Linfield University and on his website. Brendan has also created Office Hours, an opportunity for underrepresented minorities to talk with someone who works in sports analytics.
Mike Goodman, Senior Soccer Editor at CBS, joins the show to talk analytics and Euro 2020 played in 2021. He explains expected goals (xG) as a tool to analyze players and teams before discussing new frontiers in soccer analytics. Then he breaks down the top 4 contenders to win Euro at the quarterfinal stage: Belgium, Italy, Spain and England. Finally, we talk about a sleeper Euro team and the long term prospects for the US men's national team.
Bud Elliott, national recruiting analyst and betting expert at 247Sports, joins the show to talk college football win totals and futures. He describes the objective and subjective process he uses in evaluating college football win totals. He also talks about his indispensable tool in looking at national championship futures. Among other teams, we discuss Florida State, Penn State, Oregon and Michigan as well as impact freshmen for the 2021 season.
Dan Szymborski, baseball analytics expert and writer for FanGraphs, joins the show to talk about his work in data analytics. As a baseball fan, he started doing calculations at the age of 10 and was active on Usenet groups in the 1990s. This later led to his ZiPS projection system for baseball players, and Dan describes how this works. He also talks about more recent work with StatCast data and which team will win the 2021 World Series.
Sarah Bailey of the Los Angeles Rams joins the show to discuss her work in football analytics. She describes her transition from a Masters of Statistics at Simon Fraser University to working for an NFL team. Then she talks about the three different areas she has worked on for the Rams. Other topics include baseball analytics, the NFL lifestyle and running.
Matt Waldman, creator of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio (RSP) and senior writer at Footballguys, joins the show to talk about the 2021 NFL Draft. In creating the RSP, he watches hours of tape, which gives him a strong take on the QB that should be the 3rd overall pick. In addition, he describes why a surprise QB is rated better than Zach Wilson, the presumed 2nd pick in the draft. Finally, he tells some great stories about the reach of his RSP.
Julian Packer, a professional sports bettor and founder of BetStamp, joins the show to discuss how to bet props in basketball and football. He describes how he uses his software background to model props. Then he talks about how he avoids getting his bets limited by sports books, a common problem for winning bettors. Finally, he tells us about BetStamp, his app for tracking bets.
Colin Davy, data scientist at Facebook and two time winner of the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference Hackathon, joins me to talk about his custom golf model for the Masters. He describes how he uses Markov Chains to predict the outcome of golf and how this differs from the Strokes Gained approach. He predicts which golfers have the highest probability to win the 2021 Masters. Finally, Colin talks about how he used data to become a Jeopardy champion.
Jordan Sperber, analytics expert and founder of Hoop Vision, joins me to discuss college basketball and the Final Four. He describes how a study on match ups in college basketball led him to early success in analytics. Then he shows how he combines analytics and strategy in breaking down Houston, Baylor and Gonzaga.
Ed Feng breaks down the 2021 NCAA tournament bracket by a surprising metric: the preseason AP poll. He explains why this poll from months ago still matters. Then he looks at Gonzaga's potential toughest opponent, the region that might be wide open, and the toughest Round of 32 games for 1 seeds.
Edward Egros takes a unique look at the bracket by asking these questions:
He ends with a team that could win the tournament despite a lack of history.
The Power Rank provides data driven predictions for you to fill out your bracket. Are you going to use these predictions in every game? Ed Feng looks at how humans make predictions amidst randomness, and how this impacts your 2021 March Madness bracket.
While Baylor has been the best team in the Big 12, the conference does feature other strong teams that can make a run in the 2021 NCAA tournament. Edward Egros breaks down Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Kansas and other teams from the Big 12.
In previous episode of Bracket Wisdom, Edward Egros talked about not getting into a large pool. In this episode, Ed Feng discusses how a favorites strategy works best for a small pool. However, you can do better by thinking contrarian for an intermediate size pool.
Gonzaga started the year #1 in the preseason AP poll, and they have gone undefeated despite a difficult out of conference schedule. Edward Egros looks at the history of Mark Few's program, profiles the players on the current team and tries to find any argument against Gonzaga.
Top teams in the strong Big Ten conference inevitably rack up some losses. Ed Feng explains how his strength of schedule adjustments work to accurately rate these teams. Then he previews Illinois, Ohio State and Iowa, three teams that can win the NCAA tournament.
Michigan has made a surprising surge in Juwan Howard's second year. Ed Feng looks at the traits of a Howard team after two seasons of data. Then he talks about the reason Michigan has played so well this season.
Can Baylor bounce back from a COVID stoppage? How has coach Scott Drew built this team that has won the Big 12 regular season and looks like a 1 seed? Edward Egros breaks down Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell and Baylor.
Two years ago, the NCAA tournament selection committee adopted the NET rankings to select and seed teams. No one liked the old RPI system, but is NET any better? Stanford PhD Ed Feng explains the ideas of machine learning and Team Value Index that go into NET and how it has impacted seeding.