Notes From The Sports Nerds

2015 College Football Preseason Projection Highlights

Here are some interesting highlights based on our college football preseason rankings and projections from September 1, 2015 (before the season started):

If you’d like to read it, though, here is some important contextual information on what these numbers mean exactly.

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College Football 2015 Preseason Projections Review

The time of year college football fans have been waiting for has finally arrived. It’s Week 1 of college football season, and there’s a full slate of games beginning with North Carolina vs. South Carolina on Thursday night.

On Sunday night, we rolled out our college football preseason rankings for 2015. We also launched our college football projected standings page, which will update every day between now and the end of the season.

The projected standings bring some very interesting observations. We’ve included some information on our performance and methodology below, or you can jump straight the projections:

ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC | All other conferences

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Site Design Update & New Premium Packages Are Live

This morning we released a major update to the site, probably our biggest single release ever in terms of the amount of code that was changed and added. We’ve been working on it since April.

As a result, two significant changes went into effect. Here’s a quick summary.

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New Mobile-Friendly Site Launches Tomorrow (Tue 9/1)

Update Tuesday 9/1 10:42 am ET: Our mobile-friendly site is now live! Enjoy. It’s sure to have at least a few issues we’ll need to fix, so if you see anything that looks off, please email us at


Before football season starts each year, we typically recap what we did over the summer, kind of like what you used to do for your fourth grade teacher on the first day of school.

Here’s our later-than-usual 2015 version, with some very important news for all of our users.

Sadly, we didn’t spend our entire summer eating hot dogs and riding the Turkish Twist at Canobie Lake Park. Instead, we’ve been working on a big project we’re finally ready to launch.

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College Football Preseason Rankings For 2015

Here are the official 2015 TeamRankings preseason college football rankings (and corresponding quantitative ratings for each team), including the TR Preseason Top 25.

A Quick Primer On Our College Football Preseason Rankings

For the unfamiliar, our preseason rankings are almost entirely data-driven. We’ve done extensive back testing to identify objective data points about teams that appear to have predictive value, and pass a rational “sniff test.”

Some examples if you’re curious:

  • “Percentage of prior season performance returning” stats
  • Prior season final turnover margin
  • End of season team power rating from last few years

Each input factor is assigned an importance weight, based on its demonstrated level of predictive power, by a model that outputs a numerical power rating for every FBS team.

The power rating represents how many points above or below average (on a neutral field) we think a team is, with a value of 0 representing a “perfectly average” team.

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TeamRankings Renews Partnership With FanDuel

I’m happy to announce that TeamRankings has renewed its partnership with FanDuel, the industry leader in daily and weekly fantasy sports contests for real money prizes.

As we head into the 2015 NFL season, we’re excited to continue to participate in the rapid growth of the daily fantasy sports market. After working with FanDuel for a year so far, we can say that they are a partner whose integrity, transparency and strategy we respect.

Here’s a recap of what we’ve done so far with FanDuel, and a quick overview of where things are heading in the upcoming weeks and months.

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TeamRankings Football Launch Schedule for 2015

Hopefully you’re as pumped up for the 2015-16 NFL and college football seasons as we are.

If you’re curious when we plan to release our preseason predictions and rankings, Football Pick’em Picks and NFL Survivor Picks products, NFL betting picks, or other information such as football schedules and odds, here’s a quick breakdown of when you can expect them.


NFL Launch Schedule 2015

Note: The dates below are estimates, and depend on the availability of data from third parties. As always, we’ll do our best to beat these targets, but we can’t commit to any firm launch dates.

Sunday, August 30

  • NFL free info (schedules, matchup pages, team and player pages, Week 1 odds*, etc.)

Thursday, September 3

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Football Packages for 2015-16 Available Now

Are you ready for some football? After a busy summer, we’re excited to announce the release of our football packages for 2015.

If you’re a returning customer ready to sign up, here’s a page with all our 2015 football packages and prices.

If you’re new to the site or just curious to learn more about the premium content we offer for football season, here are the football related products covered by our premium packages:

Here’s a more detailed breakdown:

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The Results Are In: How Our 2015 Bracket Picks Did

This post contains a detailed review of how our bracket picks performed in 2015. In case you’re not familiar with it, we sell a premium product for NCAA bracket pool picks.

Our goal here is to quantify how effective our NCAA Bracket Picks product was in delivering value to its customers. This is actually a somewhat complex process, for a number of reasons, but we do our best given the constraints.

(If you want to learn more about the details, you can read the appendix at the end of this post entitled “How We Measure Bracket Pick Performance.”)

The Bottom Line

  • 31% of our customers won a prize in at least one bracket pool this year, compared to an expectation of 19%
  • So compared to expectations, our customers were about 60% more likely to win at least one bracket pool prize this year
  • Our customers finished “in the money” in 14% of pools they entered, compared to an expectation of 10%
  • So compared to expectations, our customers were about 40% more likely to win a prize in any bracket pool they entered

Note: These numbers assume that all competitors in our customers’ bracket pools were equally skilled. In addition, we have adjusted prize winning expectations to account for any cases where customers played multiple brackets in the same pool, and where customers played in multiple pools. If the baseline expectations for winning a prize seem high, that’s why.

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Introducing Our 2015 NBA Playoff Predictions, Odds and Tools

Last night we posted our 2015 NBA playoffs projections on the site.

As we did for the NCAA tournament, we’ve combined our raw models and ratings with data from other sources (e.g. NBA futures odds from the betting markets, which better reflect the impact of dynamics like teams resting players toward the end of the season), in order to craft a more accurate set of projections.

Along with those projections, we also released a suite of data, charts, and tools. Here’s what you’ll find in our newly updated NBA playoffs section:

NBA Playoffs Matchup Predictor

This is our most powerful playoff tool. Pick any two playoff teams, and see all of the following for a hypothetical matchup:

  • Projected series win odds
  • A series length projection chart
  • Player vs. team matchup stats
  • Team head-to-head performance
  • Records from past NBA Playoffs series between similar seeds
  • Full season stats and ratings for both teams

Here’s a sample Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors NBA Playoff matchup preview:

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