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Football Pick’em Picks
Football Pick’em Pool Picks 2019

Past Performance

We’re the only site that collects comprehensive subscriber results data that proves our edge

Since we started asking in 2018, our subscribers have reported

Pick’em pool prize winnings of more than $456,059

That’s just the 21% of subscribers that answered our email surveys; total projected customer winnings are significantly higher.

Data we started collecting in 2014 shows that our subscribers

Won pick’em pools 54% more often than expected

That’s the difference between winning a 25-person pool once every 16 years, instead of the baseline expectation of once every 25 years.

Based on our customer surveys, every year, an average of

74% of our subscribers win at least one pick’em pool prize

This number includes both full-season prizes and weekly prizes. Breaking that down, 51% of our subscribers participating in full-season pools report winning at least one season prize, and 65% of our subscribers participating in pools with weekly prizes report winning at least one weekly prize.

Winning a pool is tough and our picks certainly don’t win every year. But if you’re willing to trust the process, the longer term rewards have been impressive.

The performance data tables below reflect customer reported results from 3,680 real-world pools.

Subscriber Win Rates By Season

Year to year, how often have our subscribers won at least one pick’em pool prize across all pools they entered, compared to expectations?

Season Prize Win Rate Weekly Prize Win Rate Combined
Season Expected Win % Actual Win % Win % vs. Expectation Expected Win % Actual Win % Win % vs. Expectation Won At Least 1 Prize
2014 15% 52% 3.6x 54% 65% 1.2x 76%
2015 15% 34% 2.2x 49% 55% 1.1x 64%
2016 16% 22% 1.4x 54% 58% 1.1x 61%
2017 14% 56% 3.9x 52% 74% 1.4x 80%
2018 14% 66% 4.6x 50% 68% 1.4x 80%
Total 15% 51% 3.5x 51% 65% 1.3x 74%

On average, 74% of our subscribers have won at least one pick’em pool prize each year. That win rate is 42% higher than the expectation of 53%.

Pool Win Rates By Season

Year to year, how often have our subscribers won a prize in each individual pick’em pool they entered, compared to expectations?

Season Prize Win Rate Weekly Prize Win Rate Combined
Season Expected Win % Actual Win % Win % vs. Expectation Expected Win % Actual Win % Win % vs. Expectation Won At Least 1 Prize
2014 10% 40% 3.9x 42% 56% 1.3x 62%
2015 11% 26% 2.4x 41% 46% 1.1x 52%
2016 11% 16% 1.5x 41% 45% 1.1x 46%
2017 10% 45% 4.4x 41% 62% 1.5x 67%
2018 10% 54% 5.2x 40% 56% 1.4x 66%
Total 10% 40% 3.8x 41% 54% 1.3x 60%

On average, our subscribers have won a prize in 60% of pools they have entered. That win rate is 54% higher than the expectation of 39%.

Breaking that down by the pool prize format, our subscribers have won a prize in 40% of full-season pools they've entered, and in 54% of the pools with weekly prizes that they've entered. Those win rates are 282% and 33% higher than expectation, respectively.

Pool Win Rates By Type Of Pool

Since 2014, how often have our subscribers won a prize in pick’em pools they entered, compared to expectations and broken down by the specific rules of each pool?

Season Prize Win Rate Weekly Prize Win Rate Combined
Pick Type Expected Win % Actual Win % Win % vs. Expectation Expected Win % Actual Win % Win % vs. Expectation Won At Least 1 Prize
Game Winner Picks 11% 47% 4.3x 43% 54% 1.2x 64%
Spread Picks 10% 28% 2.9x 36% 55% 1.5x 54%

Our subscribers have won prizes at a better-than-expected rate regardless of whether they had to make picks stright up or against the spread.

Season Prize Win Rate Weekly Prize Win Rate Combined
Scoring Type Expected Win % Actual Win % Win % vs. Expectation Expected Win % Actual Win % Win % vs. Expectation Won At Least 1 Prize
Fixed Points 9% 33% 3.5x 35% 53% 1.5x 54%
Confidence Points 12% 48% 4.1x 48% 56% 1.2x 68%

Our subscribers have been successful both in pools that use confidence points and in those with fixed point values.

Season Prize Win Rate Weekly Prize Win Rate Combined
Game Slate Type Expected Win % Actual Win % Win % vs. Expectation Expected Win % Actual Win % Win % vs. Expectation Won At Least 1 Prize
Fixed Game Slate 11% 41% 3.9x 42% 55% 1.3x 62%
User Selects Games 10% 30% 3.0x 33% 48% 1.5x 47%

Some pools allow entrants to select which games they'll make picks on. Our subscribers have performed well in these pools, as well as in pools where you pick every game from a defined slate.

Season Prize Win Rate Weekly Prize Win Rate Combined
League Expected Win % Actual Win % Win % vs. Expectation Expected Win % Actual Win % Win % vs. Expectation Won At Least 1 Prize
NFL 11% 41% 3.9x 42% 55% 1.3x 62%
College Football 10% 33% 3.3x 30% 46% 1.6x 48%
NFL + College 10% 34% 3.5x 37% 49% 1.3x 54%

Our pick’em advice covers the NFL and college football, including pools where games from both leagues are used. Subscribers have fared well in pools focused on either league, or in combo pools that combine the two.

As you can see, our football pick’em picks have delivered an edge in all types of supported pools. Note that we support combinations of these types, but if we break it down any further, the sample size gets too small to be meaningful.

Pool Win Rates By Pool Size

Since 2014, how often have our subscribers won a prize in pick’em pools they entered, compared to expectations and broken down the size of each pool?

Season Prize Win Rate Weekly Prize Win Rate Combined
Pool Size Expected Win % Actual Win % Win % vs. Expectation Expected Win % Actual Win % Win % vs. Expectation Won At Least 1 Prize
25 or fewer 15% 51% 3.3x 61% 73% 1.2x 71%
26 to 50 11% 42% 3.9x 43% 58% 1.3x 66%
51 to 100 7% 34% 4.7x 30% 45% 1.5x 56%
101 to 250 5% 29% 5.5x 18% 32% 1.7x 43%
251 to 1,000 2% 12% 5.3x 10% 25% 2.7x 27%
1,001 to 9,999 1% 11% 18.3x 2% 12% 7.5x 14%

As expected, the bigger the pool, the harder it is to win. Still, our picks have outperformed expectations by a wide margin in larger pools.

Pool Win Rates By Number Of Sheets Entered

Since 2014, how often have our subscribers won a prize in pick’em pools they entered, compared to expectations and broken down by the number of sheets entered in each pool?

Season Prize Win Rate Weekly Prize Win Rate Combined
Number Of User Entries Expected Win % Actual Win % Win % vs. Expectation Expected Win % Actual Win % Win % vs. Expectation Won At Least 1 Prize
1 10% 40% 4.1x 40% 55% 1.4x 61%
2 15% 39% 2.6x 48% 48% 1.0x 58%
3 or more 18% 33% 1.8x 52% 45% 0.9x 52%

So far, our biggest edge vs. expectations has been a single-entry strategy. That makes sense, since the first set of picks we recommend is the one with the best chance to win. Second and third entries make some different picks than the first entry, sacrificing some edge in order to hedge against the first set of picks.

You might notice that in the table above, entering 2 or 3 pick sets seems to win at a lower rate than entering just 1. That's actually just a quirk of the data, because subscribers playing more than one entry in a pool tended to be playing in larger pools. You can see this by looking at the Expected Win % column. Subscribers entering 3 pick sets don't have expected win rates 3 times higher than subscribers entering only 1 pick set, because their pools are larger.

How We Calculate Prize Win Expectations

To calculate how often one should expect to win a prize in a pick’em pool, we make the assumption that all players in the pick’em pool are equally skilled.

In real life that's not exactly true; usually pools are filled with a mix of more skilled and less skilled pickers. But as long as it's a fairly even mix, this approach serves as a simple and "close enough" benchmark.

We also adjust prize win expectations for the payout structure of each subscriber pool, and for the number of entries a subscriber played in a specific pool.

For example, in a 100-person winner-take-all pick’em pool, baseline expectations would give each player a 1-in-100 (or 1%) chance to win a prize, assuming they each entered once.

However, if the pool awarded prizes to the top three finishers, or if a player played two entries in the pool, then their chance to win a prize would be higher than 1%. We account for all of these factors in the "Expected Win %" numbers in the tables above.

We also break the data down separately for season prizes and weekly prizes. The "Season Prize" data above uses data only from pools that award prizes for the best full-season performance. Likewise, the "Weekly Prize" data only from pools that award prizes to the best finishers in each week. Pools that award both types of prizes are included in both types of data above.

The "Weekly Prize" data above represents the rate that subscribers win at least one weekly prize (or their expectation to do so).

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