What an unusual bowl season it was. Huge upsets were the story of the season, and they played out in historic fashion. How about this for a stat, courtesy of @StatsByLopez: Three of the five biggest bowl upsets in the last 20+ years all happened this year. Check out his graph to see it visualized.
With college football now over, it’s time to evaluate how our bowl season pick’em and betting picks did this year. As usual, we’ll start with our bowl pick’em advice and then move on to bowl betting picks.
Betting on bowl games will always be a bit of a crapshoot. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying through their teeth or just doesn’t understand randomness and probability.
Let’s examine why.
(FYI, if you want to see who our computer models are picking to cover the spread in every bowl game, you can check out our 2013 bowl spread picks page — subscription required though.)
Good Bowl Picks Are An SSS (Small Sample Size)
In a 35-game bowl season, especially given that the Vegas sports books have plenty of time to research bowl betting odds and react to early bowl betting action, it stands to reason that there will only be an edge available to bettors on some games.
You may be familiar with this phrase, often used to describe poker tables or business negotiations: “Look around the room and try to find the sucker. If you can’t find the sucker, then you’re the sucker.”
Well, if you look at the point spreads for 35 bowl games and think that Vegas got it wrong on 30 of them, chances are you are the sucker.
With the 2013 college football bowl season just days away, college bowl picks are on a lot of people’s minds right now.
This year’s bowl slate features no less than 70 teams, so if you’re planning on knowing your stuff — and perhaps trying to dominate some coworkers in a bowl office pool, or outsmart a Vegas sports book or two — you’ve got your work cut out for you.
We’re here to help. In this first post, we’ll start out with one of our two premium offerings for bowl season: bowl picks for office pools.
Monday afternoon we published our initial 2013-2014 college basketball preseason ratings, which we finalized this morning after a few crowd-sourced adjustments (thanks, everyone!). We’ve now got 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.
NCAA hoops starts in 4 days, which means we’re in the final stages of setting up our college basketball section for the upcoming season. Rosters have been loaded on our test server, and we’re making some final checks and tweaks before releasing everything to the wild. So, we won’t have official record projections and conference standings predictions posted until tonight or tomorrow, but we’ve got our preseason ratings prepped and ready to share.
These ratings are completely data-driven, with no manual fudges (except for the four new Division I teams, for whom we estimated ratings based on research into past results and current rosters). As with last year, the main inputs to our system are past team ratings, current rosters, player stats from the past few seasons, and recruiting info.
The 2013-14 NBA season is just around the corner and one topic will dominate the season: a possible ring number three for the Big Three. LeBron and The Heat pulled in their second straight title last year and are primed for another run. Teams around the league are gearing up to take them down, however, including big moves by the Rockets, the Clippers, the Warriors, and the Nets.
While only time will really tell this season’s story, we at TeamRankings.com have crunched the numbers to create our preseason ratings, giving us a bit of data-driven insight. These preseason ratings are based on a variety of factors, including:
- Previous season success
- Player value statistics like Win Shares
- Coaching change metrics
All of the factors we use in our system have been evaluated for their predictiveness in earlier years. These ratings will be used in updating our NBA New Ratings (note: that page will update to show our 2013-14 season ratings beginning on Wednesday morning, the preseason ratings are listed in this post). As a result, they will also drive our NBA season projections, which also will be updated every single day throughout the season.
Today on their new “Regressing” blog, Deadspin republished a blog post by Michael Lopez that looked at NFL point spread pick performance so far this season by some of the higher profile data-driven prediction sites, TeamRankings included. What originally was meant to be a few sentences turned into a blog post of its own, so I’ve put it here for everyone to read, and am interested to hear any comments.
I had seen Michael’s original post yesterday on his blog, and was pondering a response, but got distracted by other work. Once the piece hit the front page of Deadspin, though, I felt compelled to reply. I actually thought the premise of the article was quite interesting: Are number crunching sites really doing poorly this year on NFL betting picks? If so, how widespread is this phenomenon and what could be some possible reasons for it?
However, the more into it I got, the more problems I had with the actual content of the piece. So if you’re curious to hear “the other side of the story,” read the link above, and here’s my response below.
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:
College football is back again! Tomorrow the 2013 college football season will kick off — the last season in the highly controversial BCS era. One point in the BCS’s favor though: college football is more popular than ever. To add to the excitement, we’ve updated all our college football content for the 2013-14 season.
Our preseason rankings are somewhat unique in the universe of CFB rankings because they are entirely mathematically driven. Our formulas take in many forms of quantitative data, from previous years’ team ratings to the numbers of returning starters to last year’s turnover margin, and compute projected preseason ratings for all of the 125 FBS teams.