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:
As long time TR users know, our “New Ratings” have been around a for a while, and aren’t exactly “new” at this point. In fact, they were announced three years ago today.
To celebrate their birthday, and because we’re now confident that they’re ready for prime time, we’re making a few changes.
1. We’re removing “(Beta)” from the end of their name.
It’s like moving from a learner’s permit to real driver’s license.
2. We’re now using them on team and matchup pages.
Our new default power rating for team pages and matchup pages is the Predictive Rating from our New Ratings suite, so you’ll now see “Predictive Rank” where you used to see our old “Overall Rank”.
Unlike our previous Overall rankings, the new Predictive Rating is designed to be the best predictor of future games, so it relies heavily on margin of victory, and virtually ignores a team’s win-loss record.
This post provides data on how our picks for season-long football pick’em pools, as provided by our Football Pick’em Pools product, did during the 2013 season.
For those unfamiliar, here’s a quick background:
- We’ve built proprietary analytics to figure out your best picking strategy for winning various types of NFL and college football “pick’em” style office pools (season prize pools, weekly prize pools, or both)
- Our data-driven approach is based on thousands of computer simulations of pools similar to yours, factoring in details like the size of your pool, its prize structure, and your current position in the standings
- We use publicly available national picking trends data to forecast how your opponents are likely to pick each game, and then we identify the picks that give you the best chance to beat them
If you haven’t done it yet, we invite you to go set up your pool to see how the product works.
97 competitors entered our Week 2 NFL contest on FanDuel last week, up from 73 in Week 1. It’s great to see the competition picking up steam. If this trend continues, we’ll be announcing new additional bonus prizes soon!
As usual, this week we’ll be giving away a free Football Season Pass to TeamRankings (a $249 value) to the winner of our contest, to accompany the $1,000 in cash prizes.
Props to monst4r for outscoring almost 100 other TR users in Week 2, including us. You can see all Week 2 results and season-to-date stats for our fantasy tourneys here.
How To Get An Invite
If you’re reading this post, you’re welcome to play in our weekly fantasy football tournaments. All you need to do is use the link below to sign up for FanDuel.
Just make sure the “Promo code” field says TEAMRANKINGS when you sign up:
As a complete newbie to one-day fantasy football contests, I spent most of my time last week just getting used to the FanDuel interface, and getting ready to dive into this new world.
It was a super busy work week here at TR, so I had my hands full just learning what the various game types are, figuring out how to enter contests, how to pick my team, what tracking features FanDuel has, etc. I also did some Internet research to try to find some resources to help me learn about daily fantasy strategy.
Week 1 Recap
As I mentioned in my first post yesterday, I’m starting the year with a $250 bankroll, and am going to be tracking my results and the growth (or shrinkage) of my bankroll all season. My username on FanDuel is tr_david, if you want to track me down on the site.
Remember, I am not an expert at this; I have no prior experience playing daily fantasy football. So I’ll be pleasantly surprised if I am able to increase this initial bankroll by the end of the season. And I fully anticipate losing some money along the way, especially in the beginning.
In Week 1, I entered two very low stakes leagues just to get my feet wet.
Our inaugural one-day fantasy football tournament on FanDuel was a lot of fun last week. See the results below, and props to adamhasu for outscoring 72 other TR users, including us!
To amp up the prize pool this week, we’re going to give away a free Football Season Pass to TeamRankings (a $249 value) to the winner of our Week 2 tournament, along with $1,000 in cash prizes from the contest.
Hi, I’m David. I’m going to be playing one-day fantasy football for the first time this NFL season, and writing about it here on the TeamRankings blog.
A Bit About Me
For those of you that aren’t familiar with me, I write the weekly write up for our NFL survivor pool picks section, and give also give football pick’em and survivor strategy advice in our Q&A forums. Though really those things are only one small part of what I do at TR. My day-to-day job is mostly a combination of web development, data management and analysis, predictive modeling, and product development. And I blog sometimes. Oh yeah, and answer customer support emails. That’s life at a small company for you…
I also like to gamble (if I think I have an edge, of course) and play in contests and pools, mainly using the data and analysis here on TeamRankings to enter NFL and college football pick’em pools, Survivor pools, and March Madness pools.
My Interest in Daily Fantasy Sports
I used to play traditional fantasy football and baseball, but I quit years ago because it was taking up too much of my time, and the stakes I played for just couldn’t justify the huge amount of time spent on research.
However, I’ve heard a couple stories recently of gamblers who claim to be making great money playing daily fantasy sports. They say they have an easier time making a profit with daily fantasy than with sports betting, and that has me intrigued.
This fall, we’ll be hosting private one-day fantasy football tournaments for TeamRankings users on FanDuel, with large cash prize pools. (Learn how to get an invite.)
To show everyone just how easy it is to play on FanDuel, we put together this quick tutorial.
First, once we put together our private tournament for a given week, we’ll email a link to the tournament to everyone who signs up for FanDuel using our Promo code, TEAMRANKINGS.
Once we send you the link to the tournament, entering the contest is all done on one screen, which makes things quite easy to understand.
(Click the image below to enlarge it.)
We’re excited to introduce a new initiative this football season. The TeamRankings Nerds are going to be playing in weekly football contests on FanDuel. These contests are reserved exclusively for TeamRankings users, and we want YOU to play along with us.
To get invited to our private tournaments, the first step is to sign up for FanDuel at the link below, using Promo code TEAMRANKINGS.
(If you already have a FanDuel account, please just email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to get on the tournament invite list.)
Here’s the full story:
What is FanDuel?
FanDuel is a site that runs one day long football contests for real money prizes. Like traditional fantasy football, you first draft a team of NFL players. The twist is that this the “season” only lasts one day, and you can draft your team whenever you want to.
You then enter your team in a tournament, and within hours you’ve got a chance to win cash — deposited in your account right after the contest ends. Then the fun starts all over again the next Sunday.
We are total newbies at this daily fantasy sports thing, but here’s what we do know:
- It’s easy to play
- You win real money
- It’s legal in the USA
- It’s getting huge (you may have seen or heard ads lately)
That all sounds pretty awesome to us. So this year we decided to partner with FanDuel to bring the action to TeamRankings.
We’ve refined our college football preseason ratings algorithm with the benefit of an extra year’s worth of results, and fed all of the requisite 2014 input data into the model. After a few turns of the hand crank, the results are in.
Here are the official 2014 TeamRankings preseason college football team rankings and ratings, including the TR Preseason Top 25.
(Quick announcement though: Our picks for college football office pools and confidence pools, which gave our users up to a 10x edge over their opponents last year, are now available.)
2014 College Football Rankings Highlights
- A Trifecta At The Top. There’s a clear triumvirate at the top of our ratings this year, with Florida State (#1), Oregon (#2), and Alabama (#3) all projecting at least six points better than the rest of the FBS.