Quick announcement – It is with sadness that we bid farewell to the work of Edward Egros. He got a full time job with NFL Next Gen Stats.
I’ll be taking over these nuggets, which will still appear every Saturday at 10am Eastern.
College football predictions – These member predictions are mostly based on The Power Rank’s preseason prior, although updates were made in some cases as discussed below.
- Michigan will beat Colorado State by 26.1 points at home – QB Cade McNamara, the incumbent from last season, gets the start in this game. QB J.J. McCarthy, who may have a higher upside, will start the next game against Hawaii.
- Tulsa will beat Wyoming by 6.0 points on the road – This prediction got adjusted after Wyoming’s loss to Illinois last week, as Wyoming managed a 23.5% success rate on offense (41.1% college football average last season). The market has moved from Tulsa -3 to -6.5 as of Saturday morning.
- Clemson will beat Georgia Tech by 24.0 points a neutral site – The market has shifted from Clemson -21.5 to -23.5 at some sports books by Saturday morning. Bill Connelly described the attempt of Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins to save his job as a Hail Mary.
Joe Burrow and sacks – Despite a Super Bowl run, the Cincinnati QB got sacked 70 times during the regular and post season. The next closest QB was Ryan Tannehill at 58 sacks.
While you might question the pocket presence of Burrow, the data suggest that sack rate isn’t the most predictive statistic to measure pocket presence. Instead of looking at sacks, it’s better to look a pressures, or the sum of sacks, hits and hurries on a QB.
Pressure rate is predictive (R-squared value of 0.26 from season to season for NFL QBs), and Burrow has had an NFL average pressure rate during his two seasons. He won’t lead the NFL in sacks in 2022.
In the last episode of the 2022 Preview Series of The Football Analytics Show, I dug into the research on NFL QBs and also asked whether this helps predict fumbles.
Predictive nature of the NFL preseason – It might seem stupid to think preseason games have any ability to predict actual NFL games. However, the numbers beg to differ.
Kostya Medvedovsky built a simple model that uses preseason data (points scored and allowed) and market win totals to predict the regular season. He found that four preseason games made up one sixth of the optimal prediction.
Even though the NFL has moved to three preseason games, it’s worth looking at 2022 preseason point differential. The top three teams in point differential are Las Vegas, Miami and… (don’t laugh) Houston.
Edward Egros also noted other insights from the NFL preseason in an episode of the 2022 Preview Series on The Football Analytics Show. You can catch all five episodes of the Preview Series here.
Injuries – The college football data was obtained from USA Today.
- Notre Dame QB Tyler Buchner won the job but is now dealing with an ankle injury. He will probably be active against Ohio State.
- Auburn QB T.J. Finley won the job but was arrested in early August, which suggested that he might face a suspension. This preview of the game against Mercer suggests he will play. If not, redshirt freshman Robby Ashford would get the start, as he beat out Texas A&M transfer Zach Calzada for the back up job.
- Kansas State QB Adrian Martinez is expected to dress against South Dakota despite a shoulder injury. He is probably eager to prove himself after his transfer from Nebraska.
- Syracuse QB Garret Schrader has a hamstring injury but will play against Louisville.
Famous bettor buys European soccer club – Haralabos Voulgaris made millions betting on the NBA with analytics and subjective analysis. Now, he’s taking these skill to soccer.
This summer, Voulgaris purchased CD Castellon, a Spanish soccer club playing in the third division. He has a player model that led the team to buy defender Oscar Gil and has identified scoring on set pieces as an inefficiency (article on ESPN+, subscription required).
Voulgaris has a six year plan for Castellon. The financial windfall of promotion in European soccer is an opportunity not available in American sports.
Football betting with a PhD edge
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