When it comes to winning a college football bowl pick’em pool, you need to choose your picks wisely. Winning a pool is not just a matter of getting lucky — some picks are clearly better than others from a risk/reward standpoint.
College Bowl Pool Upset & Value Pick Strategy
In the vast majority of bowl pools, if you’re playing intelligently, upset picks will only make up a minority of your picks. The goal, after all, is to score more points than your pick’em competitors. If you pick the less likely team to win in all 39 of the 2014-15 bowl games, you’re probably not going to win the pool, unless it’s a crazy, once-in-a-lifetime year for upsets.
However, making some upset picks — especially in larger pools — should increase your odds to come in first place. But you need to be savvy about maximizing the expected positive impact of the upsets you pick. In addition, in confidence pools you should be on the lookout for teams that are highly underrated, even if they are the Vegas favorites.
In short, you want to identify “sleeper picks” that share both of the following traits:
Back from a the Thanksgiving week hiatus, here’s a quick-hit list of weekly highlights from the vast array of NFL content we publish on TeamRankings. We’ll also share some predictions and picks for Week 14 and beyond.
Our NFL Week 14 contest is open! Total prize pool $2,249. Claim your spot now.
NFL Week 14 Power Rankings Update
- Pats still #1, Denver close. New England’s 5-point road loss to Green Bay only had a minor impact on the Patriots’ NFL-leading Predictive rating, and New England remains our #1 team, although now only by a hair over #2 Denver.
- Chiefs slide extends. Denver’s better than expected result against Kansas City provided some more supporting evidence for #12 KC’s only modestly above-average rating by our system, after a preceding loss to awful Oakland. The Chiefs got as high as #9 in our rankings two weeks ago (still not close to elite), but alas, it was fleeting.
Here’s a quick-hit list of weekly highlights from the vast array of NFL content we publish on TeamRankings. We’ll also share some predictions and picks for Week 12 and beyond.
Our NFL Week 12 contest is open! Total prize pool $2,249. Claim your spot now.
NFL Week 12 Power Rankings Update
- What a difference a week makes. Denver’s unexpected 15-point loss to St. Louis coupled with New England’s 22-point win over Indianapolis has altered the balance of power at the top of our Predictive ratings. New England had been gaining in recent weeks, but now it’s a virtual dead heat for the top ranking, with the #1 Broncos leading the #2 Patriots by only 0.2 points.
- Four teams separated from the pack. After another blowout win, against a good team this time, #3 Green Bay (the top gainer in our ratings in Week 11) is now only a point behind New England, and #4 Seattle is about a point behind the Packers. So we’ve got a clear cluster of four teams at the top of the NFL ratings right now, and it consists of Denver, New England, Green Bay, and Seattle.
Here’s a quick-hit list of weekly highlights from the vast array of NFL content we publish on TeamRankings. We’ll also share some predictions and picks for Week 11 and beyond.
Our NFL Week 11 contest is open! Total prize pool $2,249. Claim your spot now.
NFL Week 11 Power Rankings Update
- Denver back to form. After returning to form by crushing Oakland, Denver retains its position as the clear #1 team in the NFL, 2.5 points better than #2 New England in our Predictive Ratings.
- Humdrum week overall. There wasn’t much huge movement in the rankings based on Week 10 action. Green Bay was the biggest winner ratings-wise, climbing one spot to #4 and increasing its rating by 1.4 points after destroying Chicago. Our ratings have been relatively high on Green Bay all year, but they still tail #3 Seattle by a little more than half a point, after a strong Seahawks result too (38-17 over the Giants).
Wednesday afternoon we published our initial 2014-2015 college basketball preseason ratings, which means we now have full preseason projections for all teams, including:
- College Basketball Projected Conference Standings. Projected conference records and full regular season records, plus win odds for both the conference regular season title and the postseason tournament.
- Bracketology Projections. Odds to make the NCAA tournament, plus projected seeding, and lots more details. (One of our faves is the Bracketology By Conference page.)
- NCAA Tournament Bracket Predictions. Round by round advancement odds, including probability of a team making the Sweet 16, making the Final Four, or winning the championship
This is all data-driven, and automated, so it will update every day throughout the season.
Below you’ll find our full conference standings projections, along with projected regular season records, and each team’s odds of winning their conference regular season and conference tournament.
In the wee hours Wednesday morning, we finished crunching the numbers, and loaded our official preseason team ratings for the 2014-2015 college basketball season into our database. These are the ratings that drive our preseason projections, and serve as the Bayesian priors for our predictive ratings as the season progresses.
(Translation: our preseason ratings still impact our team ratings even months into the season, because that has shown to be more predictive than not.)
Below you’ll find a preseason top 25 comparison between TeamRankings, Ken Pomeroy, the AP poll, and more. We’ve also posted the full rankings and ratings for all 351 Division I teams.
Here’s a quick-hit list of weekly highlights from the vast array of NFL content we publish on TeamRankings. We’ll also share some predictions and picks for Week 10 and beyond.
Our NFL Week 10 contest is open! Total prize pool $2,249. Claim your spot now.
NFL Week 10 Power Rankings Update
- Denver still on top. Denver still rates as a decently better team (by 1.8 points on a neutral field) than New England in our Predictive ratings, and retains the #1 ranking. One game does not a season make.
- But the Broncos took a big hit. Still, the loss in Foxboro was a bruiser for the Broncos’ Predictive rating, which suffered the second biggest decline of any team this week (-1.3 points). However, Denver was rated far enough ahead of any other team in the rankings coming into Week 9 that the Patriots still didn’t leapfrog them.
Here’s a quick-hit list of weekly highlights from the vast array of NFL content we publish on TeamRankings. We’ll also share some predictions and picks for Week 9 and beyond.
Our NFL Week 9 contest is open! Total prize pool $2,249. Claim your spot now.
NFL Week 9 Power Rankings Update
- Denver pulls further ahead. Denver slightly increased the gap between its league-leading power rating and the rest of the NFL by beating San Diego by 14, a margin of victory about five points more than expected.
- Preseason ratings value. In general, Week 8 was another good one for demonstrating the value of preseason ratings, which still influence our system. New Orleans, a team that we still had ranked #14 despite a 2-4 record, beat Green Bay handily. Meanwhile, Dallas, who still hadn’t cracked the top 10 despite a 6-1 record, lost to Washington in OT despite being 10-point favorites.
This is the ninth installment in David’s diary about playing one-day fantasy football for the first time. All other posts are listed in this blog section.
My new big tournament strategy of simply entering stacks against the worst defenses paid off again in Week 8.
There was no third-place finish in a huge tournament, but I did snag a 25x payout with one stack, which accounted for most of my profit for the week.
Week 8 Results Recap
- Initial Bankroll: $250
- Bankroll Entering Week 8: $457.20
With the NBA season kicking off Tuesday, here is our annual post outlining our NBA preseason ratings, with season projections added for good measure, for every NBA team in 2014-15. Below the data table is more information on how we rank and project teams.
Preseason NBA Rankings Highlights
When we make comparisons to “Vegas” below, we are comparing where a team ranks in our NBA championship probabilities with where they rank in the futures odds listed at Vegas Insider. Note that we are NOT comparing our probabilities with the payout odds, in order to find value. We are comparing the rankings, in order to illuminate which teams are ranked higher or lower than expected.
- Agreement with Vegas regarding top teams. There is close agreement between us and Vegas on the five teams most likely to win the NBA title. We both project Cleveland as the most likely, followed by San Antonio, then Oklahoma City. We then have the Clippers 4th and the Bulls 5th, while Vegas has those two teams reversed.