After several years of success blogging about picks and strategy for football office pools, including taking first place in the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference NFL pick’em contest, in 2013 we decided to take things to the next level.
We released the world’s most sophisticated picks and analysis for football pools, now part of our expanded lineup of Office Pool Picks products. We spent a big chunk of the summer working on improvements to this product, and we’re excited to announce the latest developments.
For those unfamiliar with our football pool picks, our approach uses millions of computer simulations to identify the picking strategy that gives you the best chance to win your football office pool or handicapping contest. We also customize picks based on key factors like your pool’s size, format, and scoring system.
Here’s a quick rundown on upgrades we made to our NFL Survivor Pool picks product this summer.
Before we dive in, it’s worth noting what happened to us in survivor last season. After ripping off a 29-week survivor win streak across the two previous two seasons, we hit a bit of rough patch during the first few weeks of 2013. This was especially frustrating for two reasons:
- Our analysis was sound, but our luck was bad. The teams our survivor algorithms categorized as “Top Options” and “Worth A Look” during Week 1 and Week 2 of 2013 won even more often than we expected. Combined, those teams went 13-3 compared to an expected 11-5 based on our pre-game win odds. Unfortunately, we just happened to settle on two of the losers as our Week 1 and Week 2 picks for people playing one entry in a pool.
- The rest of the season went fine. Toward the end of last season we began hearing from customers who, despite our rocky start, were still cashing in their survivor pools. These were people who played three, four, or more entries in their pools, which is often a good idea for survivor, especially in larger contests. They had lost entries early on, but stuck with our analysis and still ended up profiting.
In our ongoing effort to simplify our business, we’ve made several changes to our premium subscription packages in advance of the 2014-15 football season. In short, we’ve:
- Eliminated pricing tiers (e.g. “Lite” and “Pro”) from our office pool picks packages
- Combined our NFL Pick’em and College Football Pick’em products
- Lowered prices on longer-term premium subscriptions (Quarterly and Yearly)
- Moved to consistent $49 pricing for all office pool picks packages
Below is the reasoning behind each decision in case you are curious.
No More “Lite” And “Pro” Packages
We now have a single premium package associated with each type of office pool we cover. In addition, we still offer an awesome bundle deal on our yearly Pool Picks Subscription, which includes access to all four of our pool picks products. You can see all our current office pool packages on our sales page.
In just a couple days the march to Super Bowl XVLIII kicks off. Although we had our nose to the grindstone this summer developing our new and improved NFL survivor pool picks and NFL office pool picks (both completely free for Week 1, so please check ‘em out), we haven’t forgotten our old staples: our successful NFL projections and NFL preseason rankings.
Our preseason NFL ratings are unique because they are entirely based off custom-built mathematical algorithms. We’ve tested hundreds of statistics and data points to find which aspects of a team best predict its future performance.
Conventional wisdom, media hype and “expert” opinion matters nothing to us.
We spent the summer figuring out how to dominate football pick’ems and NFL survivor pools.
This post is going to explain what we did and why we did it.
And why you’re missing out if you don’t pay attention.
If you hate to read and just want to cut to the chase, here are the links to sign up for our groundbreaking new picks and analysis packages for football pools:
After 256 regular season games and 10 playoff games, we’re down to just the 49ers and Ravens left fighting for the Lombardi trophy. With the Super Bowl almost here, we wanted to present a breakdown of all the Super Bowl predictions and prop bet advice we have available on the site. Some of this information is free and open to the public, but most is only available as part of our new premium packages.
Super Bowl Betting Picks
Including playoff games, both playable (2-star or better) NFL spread picks and playable NFL over/under picks are profitable for the season. Our playable totals picks have particularly excelled, going 56-33-4 (62.9%, +17.9 units) for the year so far. For the Super Bowl, as of Wednesday evening, our models see a spread of San Francisco -3.5 as relatively efficient, but the over/under is playable at 47. All of our 2013 Super Bowl betting picks are available to our All Star level subscribers.
Over in our premium NFL forum, which is available to TeamRankings subscribers (sign up now), we’ve been posting daily, data-driven analysis of Super Bowl prop bets. We take care to do a deep, thorough analysis of each of the props we look into, and wanted to post one of our analyses on the blog to give all of our readers an example.
If you like what you see here, there are seven other props broken down in the NFL forum so far, with more coming. And if you’re a subscriber and you want us to look at a specific prop, just ask us in the forum! We love fielding questions.
Super Bowl Prop Analysis: Which Team Will Score First?
TR’s David Hess has rolled up his sleeves and jumped headlong into the data to explore this prop. The lines mean that San Francisco is the favorite to score first, but where is the value?
- San Francisco: -135 (5Dimes), -132 (Pinnacle), -130 (Bovada)
- Baltimore: +115 (5Dimes), +117 (Pinnacle), +100 (Bovada)
The NFL regular season has come to an end, 20 teams have been sent home and seven coaches have been fired. It’s now playoff time in the NFL, and as the Wild Card round kicks off, we wanted to break down all of the playoff related predictions and contest advice we have available on the site. Some of this information is free and open to all, but most is available as part of our new premium packages.
Algorithmic NFL Playoffs Betting Picks
Playable NFL spread picks (2-star or better) from our computer models are 68-56-4 (54.8%, +5.8 units) so far this season, and playable NFL totals picks are 54-31-4 (63.5%, +18.1 units). For the Wild Card round, as of Saturday morning, our models see three of the eight available spread and totals bets as playable. All of our 2012 NFL playoff betting picks including the Super Bowl are available to our All Star level subscribers.
- NFL Playoffs Point Spread Picks
- NFL Playoffs Over/Under Totals Picks
- NFL Playoffs Money Line Value Picks
This is a guest post by Greg Matthews (Twitter: @StatsInTheWild), founder of Stats In The Wild, a blog focused on sports analytics and data visualization. If you’re interested in guest posting on TeamRankings, email us your post and we’ll consider it.
Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers both turned in 140+ passer rating performances to lead all quarterbacks in the final week of the NFL regular season. While Manning’s and Rivers’ passer ratings were similar in Week 17 (144.8 and 142.0, respectively), that’s about where the similarities stop between the two.
In Week 17 Manning led his team to a 38-3 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs by throwing for 304 yards on 23 of 29 passing, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. The win was the thirteenth of the season and eleventh in a row for the Broncos, who claimed the number one seed in the AFC for the playoffs.
Alternatively, the San Diego Chargers finished the season 7-9 after their Week 17 victory over the lowly Oakland Raiders. In that game, Rivers only threw the ball 17 times completing 13 of his attempts for 151 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. This kind of stat line leads to a good passer rating, but it doesn’t really stand out on the graph like Russell Wilson.
(Just click the graph below to enlarge it…)
Welcome to the Week 17 installment of our NFL Survivor contest advice column. We apply a data-driven strategy to get an edge in Survivor pools, using analysis based on NFL predictions from our algorithmic Team Rankings models, public picking trends, future team schedules, and other data.
As the season progresses, Survivor pool elimination rates usually increase. People use up all the good teams at the beginning of the year, and their choices over the last few weeks become more difficult.
Week 16 bucked that trend, as over 98% of Yahoo! contestants survived. It was the second safest week of the season, behind Week 11. Our pick, the Denver Broncos, breezed past the Cleveland Browns by a 34-12 score.
We’re now entering the final week of the season. The decision-making process becomes much simpler this week, as there is no future value to consider. If you’ve got a big favorite available, it’s now or never.