Fabian Sommer, a football analyst who uses analytics and data in his handicapping, joins the show to discuss the NFL Divisional Playoffs. First, he describes the variety of metrics he uses in evaluating match ups in NFL games. He also discusses closing line value and the curious case of Philadelphia. Then he breaks down the NFL Divisional Playoffs, which includes:
We end with a great discussion of books.
John Sheeran, the Director of Trading at FanDuel Sportsbook, joins the show to discuss the NFL. First, John discusses the Chargers vs Raiders game that could have ended in a tie and how FanDuel uses an analytics based model to help set the market. Then, John breaks down these Wild Card games:
Josh Hermsmeyer of FiveThirtyEight joins the show to discuss the NFL before the 2022 playoffs. He talks about his prime Super Bowl contenders and the metrics that he uses to evaluate them. The discussion also touches on NFL quarterbacks such as Josh Allen, Carson Wentz, and Justin Herbert (one is getting lucky, one needs to throw deep more). Josh also talks about a new metric for pass rushers and whether he would re-sign Baker Mayfield. The conversation ends with a great discussion of meat.
Josh Hancher of Dawg Sports Live joins the show to discuss the college football playoff semi-final game between Georgia vs Michigan. He provides a look at the Georgia program under Kirby Smart, and host Ed Feng chimes in with the similarities and differences with Michigan. Josh breaks down the quarterbacks in this game and in particular what to expect from Georgia. There is one QB statistic that seems to favor Michigan but actually favors Georgia. This episode also includes The Power Rank's prediction for this game and a potential final between Georgia and Alabama.
Collin Wilson, senior writer at The Action Network, joins the show for a wide ranging conversation. After describing how he left software consulting for college football media, Collin talks about how his college football ratings work. Then he discusses a number of college football bowl games, including Alabama vs Cincinnati, Georgia vs Michigan and Arkansas vs Penn State. Finally, Collin gives three bets with value.
Parker Fleming, a football analyst that goes by @statsowar on Twitter, joins the show for a wide ranging discussion. He describes how his predictive college football model works, and what his predictions say about the college football playoff semi-final games: Michigan vs Georgia and Alabama vs Cincinnati. Then Parker talks about two other bowl games with value. Finally, he provides details about Gary Patterson's departure from TCU.
Kevin Cole, Senior Data Scientist at PFF, joins the show for a wide ranging conversation. We start with a discussion of New England's strategy against Buffalo to end week 13. Then Kevin describes his new NFL model for predicting spreads and the metrics that go into this model. This leads him into a bet he likes for week 14. Kevin also describes his NFL QB rankings based on Bayesian updating. During the conversation, Kevin also provides his insights on Baker Mayfield, home field advantage, the Cardinals, the Rams and Jalen Hurts.
Mike Craig, a professional sports bettor, joins the show to talk about his trade. He describes how he makes college football predictions based on data, and he gives predictions for Alabama vs Georgia, Michigan vs Iowa and other games. Then he talks about how he bets the NFL without coming up with his own math model. Finally, Mike talks about college basketball betting and how he manages the immense number of games.
Neil Greenberg, sports writer for the Washington Post, joins the show to talk about NFL analytics and betting. After describing the unique way in which his job at the Post was created, Neil describes the statistics he uses to understand the NFL. Then he gives two week 11 games he has bet and discusses Buffalo, San Francisco, Indianapolis and Philadelphia among other teams.
Tony Miller, Director of the Sportsbook at the Golden Nugget, joins the show to talk about bookmaking. He starts with some great stories of meeting Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra when he started working in the industry in the 1980's. Tony then describes setting the line at the Golden Nugget, and how this involves pencil and paper power ratings across all sports. He talks about two NFL games in which his spread differs from market consensus. Finally, Tony gives two other NFL games with value.
Edward Egros, a professor at SMU and Pepperdine, joins the show to talk about predictive football analytics. He describes how his model works for college football and the NFL but why betting the two levels of football is much different. Edward reacts to the first college football playoff rankings before giving a bet he likes. For the NFL, he discusses Packers at Chiefs and the impact of the absence of Aaron Rodgers. Edward also talks about Titans at Rams and an NFL bet he likes.
Andy Molitor, co-host of the Deep Dive Podcast and Director of Content at Betsperts, joins the show for a wide ranging conversation. He talks about his NFL model and a week 8 bet he likes. During the conversation, he discusses Kansas City, Arizona and Dallas among other teams. At the end, the conversation shifts to brown liquor, Steinbeck and food.
Bob Stoll, a long time pioneer in the use of analytics for football betting, joins the show for a wide ranging conversation. He discusses the details of his college football and NFL models and how they differ due to data availability. Then Bob gives a bet he likes for both college football and the NFL. Throughout the conversation, he talks about player statistics and how to make adjustments for injuries.
George Chahrouri, CXO at Pro Football Focus (PFF), joins the show for a wide ranging conversation on NFL analytics and betting. He talks about going from teaching calculus in Compton to working on football analytics at PFF. George works on the production team for Sunday Night Football on NBC, and he describes the challenges of explaining analytics to the football public. Then he gets into Week 6 of the 2021 season: Chargers at Ravens, Cardinals at Browns and Bengals at Lions.
Rob Pizzola, professional sports bettor and partner at BetStamp, joins the show for a wide ranging conversation on NFL betting. He describes how his betting has evolved over the years and the most important model he uses in 2021. Rob breaks down Arizona, Las Vegas and the Los Angeles Chargers before providing a bet that he likes for week 5. Along the way, he talks about the QB and head coach duo that he's excited about, the defense that might be the NFL's worst, and the strange way in which running backs matter.
Dr. Eric Eager, Vice President of Research and Development at PFF, joins the show to talk about football analytics. Eric talks about early insights from the player grades that PFF creates by watching every play of every game. He also describes two of his recent studies: how offensive line continuity affects the point spread and how to better predict sacks and interceptions. Eric also discusses whether rushing actually matters in the NFL and the betting value on two week 3 NFL games.
Preston Johnson, professional sports bettor, joins the show to talk about college football and the NFL. He outlines how he uses analytics and market data in his betting process. In college football, he talks about Ohio State, Michigan, USC and UCLA. In the NFL, Preston discusses how to react to one week of games and adjustments he has made to teams like Jacksonville and the Los Angeles Rams. Preston also shares a college football and NFL bet he likes and describes his new media venture BetsTV.
Dr. Ben Baldwin, football analytics expert and writer for The Athletic, joins the show to talk about the NFL. He describes his amazing site rbsdm.com, how it came about and the passing tendencies and QB statistics that it displays. Then Ben breaks down Seattle, the team he covers for The Athletic, and their rivals in the NFC West (Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco, Arizona). Finally, he gives a surprising prediction for the 2021 season.
To predict which NFL quarterbacks will succeed in 2021, Edward Egros looks at metrics such as expected points added. In particular, he looks at the depth of throw that matters most in predicting a QB's overall performance.
Ed Feng breaks down college football's most interesting division. While Ohio State has dominated in the past, Penn State and Michigan should rebound from awful 2020 seasons. In addition, Indiana might be the most interesting team in the division.
Analytics suggests two simple ways to make an NFL offense more efficient. First, call more play action. Second, throw on early downs in neutral game situations. Ed Feng looks at how one Super Bowl contender has evolved in these two areas as well as other aspects of the team.
The transfer portal gives college football teams a way to add proven players. Edward Egros quantifies the relationship of talent obtained through the transfer portal and winning, and then looks at how certain transfers could impact USC, Texas, Georgia and SMU.
While a previous episode of this preview series looked at interceptions, this episode reveals another critical area in which NFL quarterbacks play a role. Tom Brady and Drew Lock show the skill that you might have thought depended entirely on the offensive line.
Ed Feng uses his market preseason rankings and other factors to identify 3 overrated teams in the preseason AP college football poll. He ends with thoughts on how these predictions can go awry and the differing market opinion on conferences.
How has play calling evolved in the NFL? Edward Egros looks at the numbers behind:
and talks about what play calls might offer an advantage in 2021.