Michigan opens their season at Minnesota in a prime time game. Host Ed Feng looks at Jim Harbaugh's tenure at Michigan and how that impacts his prediction for this game. Then he projects Michigan for the 2020 season.
Offense has surged in the 2020 NFL, as teams have averaged 50.8 points per game the first 6 weeks of the season. This is a significant increase from the 45.7 points per game in 2019. Host Ed Feng looks at how the markets have responded and whether the increased scoring will continue.
Spencer Hall of Moon Crew and the Shutdown Fullcast joins me to talk college football. He tells us about starting the blog Every Day Should Be Saturday, and how he approaches writing about college football. Spencer talks about whether Florida can make the leap onto the national stage in 2020 or whether the defense will continue to struggle. He then breaks down the titantic Georgia vs Alabama game. We end by talking westerns and backyard flames.
Bill Connelly of ESPN joins me to discuss college football analytics and the 2020 season. He describes his predictive model, which leads into a discussion of why these models are doing so well this season. He enlightens us on college football playoff, and the team that should get a look (but won't) in 2020. We touch on Oklahoma, Mississippi State, and Ohio State among other teams before ending with some enthusiasm for the US men's national team.
Josh Allen got the headlines after the Bills beat the Rams in week 3. But the underlying numbers suggest we should be paying more attention to Jared Goff. Host Ed Feng looks at Goff's success and how the Rams project for 2020.
Josh Hermsmeyer of FiveThirtyEight joins me to discuss the NFL. He describes his study receiver separation from defenders and what this means for receiver skill. Josh also breaks down the early season performance of Josh Allen and Drew Brees and what aspects are predictive of the future. We discuss Green Bay, Seattle and New England before Josh surprises everyone with his bold prediction for the 2020 season.
Atlanta may not have the best defense, but they have two assets that make them competitive in any NFL game. Host Ed Feng breaks down this team and their prospects for 2020.
Dr. Eric Eager, the Executive Director of Research and Development at Pro Football Focus (PFF), joins me to talk about football analytics and the NFL. He tells us how PFF assigns player grades, and then he gets into their newest research based on this data. Eric also gets into insights from the PFF QB Annual. Then we break down the NFL after week 1, which includes Green Bay, the Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, Philadelphia among other teams.
Is Carson Wentz skilled at not throwing interceptions? To answer this, we first acknowledge that past interception rate is a poor predictor of future interception rate. Then we ask about skill versus luck in interceptions. Finally, we consult a hidden variable that helps to predict interceptions and what this variable says about Wentz.
Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic joins the show to discuss his 32 NFL team previews. He tells us about his process for writing each of these analytics based previews. Then Sheil tells us his most overrated team and most intriguing, high variance team. Along the way, we discuss important trends in the NFL.
JJ Zachariason of FanDuel joins the show for a conversation on season long fantasy football analytics. He describes how he builds his models from the team to player level, and how his modeling uses science and art. JJ then explains whether his strategy to draft a QB in late rounds still holds or whether Lamar Jackson single handedly broke it. He ends with some basic tips to crush your fantasy football draft.
Kelly Stewart of Bleacher Report and the Kelly and Murray Show joins me for a wide ranging conversation on football betting. She starts with how she moved from Manhattan, Kansas to Las Vegas to start a sports betting career. Then Kelly describes how analytics informs her betting. Finally, we dig into the NFL and win totals.
In making sports predictions, we look for variables that are predictive. For example, we ask whether this variable has a strong correlation from season to season. Usually, this relates to an underlying skill. However, some variables, such as a player's 3 point shooting percentage, do not follow the usual rules. This episode explores predictability vs skill and provides a framework to study the latter.
Michael Caley, soccer analytics expert and co-host of the Double Pivot podcast, joins me to talk about the beautiful game. His writing has appeared in FiveThirtyEight, The Athletic and SB Nation. He explains expected goals (xG) and the arduous process the data companies go through to calculate this quantity. He compares the current and long term prospects of big clubs like Bayern Munich and Liverpool. He also tells us whether the US men's national team has any hope.
Paul Schulz of the University of Michigan joins me to take a data based approach to the likelihood of college football and the NFL in 2020. We discuss how COVID-19 has progressed in the United States, and how the heterogeneity of the disease will impact football. He tells us about the difficulties of modeling the likelihood of a second outbreak. Finally, we put some numbers behind the probability of college football and the NFL in 2020.
Host Ed Feng talks about using pictures to explain exponential growth and how it relates to COVID-19. To check out the video with this explanation, click here.
Evan Silva of Establish the Run joins me to talk about his most recent mock draft. We get into Tampa Bay's prospects with Tom Brady and who the Bucs might draft in the first round. In discussing this year's quarterback class, Evan tells us whether he likes Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert. He gives us two surprise predictions for the draft before ending with his thoughts on Astroball after the uncovering of the cheating scandal.
Jonathan Bales, co-founder of Fantasy Labs and author of multiple books on fantasy sports, joins the show. He begins by telling the story of how he did 2400 push-ups in 12 hours. Then we get into Daily Fantasy Sports and the reason you should still start playing in 2020. Finally, we discuss his counter intuitive tips for starting a business, and how a world health pandemic can create opportunities.
Benjamin Robinson uses the wisdom of crowds and mock drafts to predict the NFL draft. He describes his methods and tells us whether the "experts" are better than others at predicting the draft. Then we discuss quarterbacks and Tua Tagovailoa might go despite his injury. Finally, Benjamin gives us a surprise prediction for the 2020 NFL draft.
Cliff Sargent helps you find a great book through his YouTube channel Better Than Food. He joins host Ed Feng to talk about his story and some great books. For those that like football and data, Cliff offers some recommendations from authors such as Leonard Gardner, Tom Kristensen and Yukio Mishima.
Suppose West Virginia is elite at offense rebounding but Iowa State is awful at defensive rebounding. Can we use this to make a more accurate prediction? Host Ed Feng digs in by first explaining the four factors of basketball. Then he describes the work of Jordan Sperber on matchups in college basketball.
Ever wondered how to make a college basketball prediction based on efficiency? Host Ed Feng digs into points per possession and how to estimate this quantity from the box score. Then he gets into the least squares algorithm used to adjust for strength of schedule. This leads to the college basketball rankings on Sports Reference and kenpom.com. Finally, he talks about going from rankings to a prediction for a game.
Michigan State might not seem like championship contender given their record. They lost 6 of 10 games at one point this season. However, a surprising predictor of tournament performance likes Michigan State. Host Ed Feng breaks down the team on offense and defense and explains their poor record because of an exceptional Big Ten conference.
You got the memo on using analytics to predict the NCAA tournament, and you're ready to win. Not so fast. If you get this one thing wrong, you might as well light your entry fee on fire. Host Ed Feng explains through an analogy with Steph Curry.
The word parity has been used to describe college basketball this season. But does it actually apply? And if so, does it imply even more Madness in the tournament? In this first episode of the Bracket Wisdom series, host Ed Feng compares win probabilities for this year to the past few seasons. He gets into his latest methods for predicting college basketball, and discusses Dayton, San Diego State, Arizona and Michigan State along the way.