Your weekly dose of sports betting tips and news, every Saturday morning at 10am Eastern.
College basketball predictions – These predictions come from The Power Rank’s member numbers that combine a number of powerful predictors into an ensemble. These conference tournament games are all on neutral sites.
- Duke will beat Virginia Tech by 7.0 points – The markets have favored Duke more aggressively than my numbers. However, as of Saturday morning, they have Duke -5.5. Either the markets move strongly in Duke’s favor or they have lost some faith in this team after not looking sharp in their two ACC tournament games.
- Iowa will beat Indiana by 3.7 points – The Hoosiers have won both of their Big Ten tournament games by five or fewer points. They had a regular season Big Ten record of 2-5 in these type of close games. The markets have Iowa -6.
- Arizona will beat UCLA by 1.5 points – UCLA thumped Arizona by 16 at home, and then Arizona won by 10 over UCLA at home.
NFL futures after QB trades – One of the more foolhardy segments in sports talk is arguing which side of a major transaction won the trade. Often times, it is a stalemate in which no team will end up in a better place. Even if a team did win a trade, we will not know for years.
However, in the short term, Denver became drastically better by acquiring Seattle QB Russell Wilson. Per Next Gen Stats, Wilson finished 15th among qualifying quarterbacks in Completion Percentage Over Expected last season.
By adding Wilson, Denver now has the 6th lowest odds to win the Super Bowl (+1300 per FanDuel Sportsbook). It is worth noting they are in the same division as Kansas City at +850, and only one team in the AFC gets homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.
In addition, Green Bay kept Aaron Rodgers, and they have the second best Super Bowl odds (+750) behind Buffalo.
Model vs subjective analysis – On the Circles Off podcast, The Power Rank founder Ed Feng talked with Rob and Johnny about the balance between predictive analytics and subjective adjustments.
Ed talked about how his NFL model has very little contribution from rushing statistics. As a consequence, he made some bets against the Colts and Eagles this past season that didn’t get closing line value.
In addition to football betting, Ed also discussed content creation and March Madness bracket strategies. Circles Off has a ton of great episodes worth checking out.
Three point shooting in college basketball – As an analytics fella, I want to look at three point shooting offense and defense when projecting the NCAA Tournament. However, in an episode of Bracket Wisdom, Ed Feng explained the randomness in these statistics.
Among projected tournament teams, you might consider fading South Dakota State, Purdue and Michigan State because of a high three point field goal percentage. In contrast, LSU, San Francisco and Iowa State have unsustainable rates of three point shooting defense.
These projected teams were obtained from Bracketmatrix, a wisdom of crowds estimator of the teams that will make the tournament.
Baylor – Scott Drew’s team got bumped from the Big 12 tournament in the quarterfinals against Oklahoma. However, don’t make too much of one game. Oklahoma shot a blistering 52.4% from 3 while Baylor went cold at 13.6%.
As discussed on a Bracket Wisdom episode, Baylor thrives on shots at the rim and offensive rebounding. On defense, they rank a very respectable 12th in The Power Rank’s adjusted points per possession.
In addition, athletic freshman Kendall Brown and Jeremy Sochan are potential 1st round picks in the next NBA draft. This gives Baylor an upside that few other tournament contenders can match.
Baseball is Back – If fireworks can be legally popped when a home team wins World Series games, why can’t we do the same across the country knowing we are getting a full 162-game season? Fangraphs went over what the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will look like and how it will affect our enjoyment of the game.
This weekend could mark a free agent frenzy, given how soon Spring Training will begin. The Dodgers are clear favorites to win the World Series, but for value plays, it may be worth forecasting which free agents will go where, or pouncing the moment news is released on a new signing. Spotrac.com may be worth hitting the refresh button to keep track of free agency.
Contrarian strategies – In 2019, Duke came into the NCAA tournament as a big favorite. Zion Williamson came back from an injury, and RJ Barrett was one of college basketball’s most dominant players on the drive in the last decade.
The Power Rank gave Duke a 34% chance to win this tournament, and picking Duke as champion gave you the best chance to win a small pool. However, 36% of the public brackets on ESPN had Duke as champion. This suggests a better strategy for intermediate sized pool.
In The Power Rank 2022 Bracket Advice and Course, there is a 22 minute audio course that explains this strategy.
Data driven betting information
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