Dave Bartoo, who goes by CFB Matrix, joins me to talk college football predictions. We start by discussing his metrics for coaches and coordinators, and which teams made good or bad hires this off season. Then he gives us two bowl games with value in the markets. Finally, we discuss whether any team can catch Alabama and Clemson at the top of college football.
Host Ed Feng digs into his research on how to win your bowl pool and offers his 3 best tips. To explain the first tip, he uses Steph Curry as an example. The second tip relates to whether you want to enter a pool with confidence points or not. The third tip asks you to think contrarian and uses Virginia Tech vs Cincinnati as an example.
Data is a powerful tool for making sports predictions. However, it can also get you in trouble. In this special story telling episode, you'll see how small sample size affects Redskins fans, a Nebraska fan down on his team and a sports bettor. We'll also discuss the factor that makes the curse so much worse.
Bud Elliott, college football writer at SB Nation, joins me for a wide ranging conversation. We discuss how context can make football analytics even better. Then he talks about his process for picking college football games for his weekly betting column. Finally, we discuss the college football playoff, and how we could have narrowed the field of contenders 3 months ago.
Host Ed Feng talks about the great Michigan vs Alabama debate, and why it's not much of a debate. He previews Michigan at Ohio State, and then finds humor in the numbers for Oklahoma at West Virginia.
Jake Williams, Head of Legal at Sportradar and host of the Business of Betting podcast, joins me to talk sports data and betting. He highlights new opportunities that the legalization of betting in the United States will bring. With his work at Sportradar, Jake gives his perspective on sports data for both media and sports books. Finally, he ends with lesson from hosting his Business of Betting podcast.
Michael Lombardi joins the show to discuss his new book Gridiron Genius. He starts with lessons learned from working with Bill Walsh and Bill Belichick on building a culture. This leads into a discussion of the NFL teams with the best culture and Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. Then we talk about how information and analytics inform decision making across an NFL franchise. As a part of this discussion, Michael reveals the overlooked traits of successful offensive linemen and cornerbacks. We end with his NFL insider perspective for bettors.
With the release of the first playoff committee rankings, host Ed Feng looks at the probability that a team makes the playoff. In particular, he focuses on Michigan and Oklahoma, two teams outside the top 4 that have a solid chance to qualify. In addition, he highlights the top 10 team with almost no chance.
Josh ADHD, a data scientist who visualizes NFL data for Fantasy Insiders, joins the show to talk football data. His visualizations show how offenses attack the Cleveland defense and the drastic changes in Baltimore's offense this season. He also gives a wide receiver to pick up for your DFS lineup this weekend. We end by discussing an NFL team to fade the remainder of the season.
Host Ed Feng scours the numbers to bring you 3 midseason football predictions. This includes the struggling college football juggernaut, the NFL team whose pass offense might not suck, and the undefeated college football team that won't make the playoff.
Ben Baldwin, an Economics Ph.D. who covers the Seattle Seahawks for The Athletic, joins the show to talk NFL analytics. He discusses his research into the relationship between rushing and play action passing. The results might surprise you. He has also used success rate to evaluate the impact of Earl Thomas and running backs. We end by discussing the Seahawks and another surprise NFL team.
Host Ed Feng discusses how to use yards per play adjusted for strength of schedule to evaluate college football teams for 2018. He talks about the 0-4 team better than its record suggests, and the 5-0 team poised for disappointment. Then he digs into the team with playoff hopes that has seen a drastic decline on defense. He ends with some quick insights on 4 teams, including Michigan and Ohio State.
Rob Pizzola, a numbers based sports bettor, joins the show to discuss football and hockey analytics. He shares his experience starting out as a bettor and running the Prediction Machine site. Rob also discusses his NFL modeling and which team he's looking to back the next few weeks. With the start of the NHL season on October 4th, he educates us on the latest in hockey analytics and gives a bold prediction for the upcoming season.
David Hale, writer for ESPN, joins me to discuss his recent article on turnovers in college football. He talks about how game situation affects turnovers, and how these big plays can have interesting psychological consequences on the other team (e.g. Miami's turnover chain in 2017). We also discuss the catastrophe of Florida State, and whether to back or fade them. David also provides his thoughts on Clemson and Dabo Swinney's early season approach to coaching.
Josh Hermsmeyer, a data scientist and writer for FiveThirtyEight, joins me talk about his work on NFL passing analytics. He explains the concept of air yards and how the distance the ball travels in the air can lead to predictive stats. Josh also discusses his recent FiveThirtyEight article on how NFL offenses do not pass nearly enough. Finally, he gives us a value player for DFS and an NFL team prediction.
Kevin Cole, Director of Data and Analytics at RotoGrinders, joins the show to talk the 2018 NFL season. He tells us about his Bayesian model for projecting young quarterbacks and how it sees Jimmy Garappolo, Dak Prescott, Carson Wentz and Jared Goff. Kevin also gives predictions for DFS (a receiver to target) and the NFL (team that won't make the playoffs).
Sometimes, a college football team doesn't live up to the hype. Host Ed Feng uses the preseason AP poll as a benchmark for expectations, then employs a regression model to find 3 overrated teams for 2018.
Bill Connelly, college football analytics expert and writer at SB Nation, joins me to discuss the upcoming season. We talk about his study on explosive plays, which has implications for Michigan's defense and Stanford's offense. Bill then tells us how his preseason model works, and what it says about Miami and USC. We end with Bill's overrated and underrated team for 2018.
Aaron Schatz, founder of Football Outsiders and pioneer in football analytics, joins the show to discuss his predictions for the 2018 NFL season. He tells us why the defense in Cleveland and Indianapolis will be much better than anyone expects. We also get into projecting San Francisco QB Jimmy Garoppolo based on a small sample size. Finally, Aaron reveals the secret to why Baltimore and New England might succeed this season.
Gill Alexander, host of A Numbers Game on VSIN, joins me for a wide ranging discussion on football analytics. He tells us story behind his Beating the Book podcast and how he weaves numbers into the show. Then we discuss the upcoming NFL season, including Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Cleveland among other teams. We end with Gill's movie recommendation that the analytics seem to like.
Will the Los Angeles Rams dominate after their free agent signings this off season? Will San Francisco burst into the playoffs with new QB Jimmy Garappolo? Will Cincinnati struggle again? Host Ed Feng harnesses the wisdom of crowds to get NFL preseason rankings and answer these questions.
Mike Goodman, soccer analytics writer at FiveThirtyEight and other major media outlets, joins me to talk about the World Cup. We begin by discussing the evolution of soccer analytics from goals to expected goals. Then he breaks down the top contenders to win the 2018 World Cup. Finally, he explains how expected goals casts doubt on the roster construction of Spain and Belgium.
David Purdum, writer for ESPN, joins me to discuss the Supreme Court decision that opens the door for states to allow sports betting. We talk about how this impacts the NFL, the NCAA and online book makers. David also offers his bold prediction that will result from legalizing sports betting. To finish, we get into creativity lessons from musician Jack White.
To predict the 2018 NFL Draft, I take a wisdom of crowds approach and aggregate data from 25 mock drafts. Last year, this predictor was more accurate than all but one of the constituent mock drafts. In this episode, I discuss where the top quarterbacks go in the first round, who will take Saquon Barkley and possible improvements to the model.
NFL Network analytics expert Cynthia Frelund joins me in a wide ranging conversation. She talks about her video study on NFL linemen, the most difficult players to research. We discuss the Cleveland Browns, their problems and what they will do in the 2018 draft. She also tells us about Next Gen data and her new project for the 2018 season.