Football analytics so accurate it feels like looking into the future

It’s February of 2016, and you stroll into your friend’s house for Super Bowl 50 between Carolina and Denver. While reaching for a Zombie Dust in the fridge, you ask “Do you think Denver has a chance?”

It seems like a silly question in your mind. Carolina rampaged to a 15-1 regular season record before destroying two worthy playoff opponents to reach the Super Bowl.

“I do think Denver has a chance,” he replies. “Carolina is overrated because they’ve played an incredibly weak schedule. This guy I follow says they’ve faced only 3 better than average NFL teams all season.”

“But look how dominant Carolina has been the past two games. Can Von Miller even tackle Cam Newton?” you reply.

He looks at you as if a unicorn horn just sprouted out of your forehead. “Of course, Miller can tackle Newton. Besides, Denver has a lights out pass defense, best in the NFL.”

You’re unconvinced, thinking Carolina will easily cover the 5.5 points.

In the first quarter, Von Miller strips Cam Newton of the ball. Denver recovers for a touchdown that gives them a 10-0 lead.

Carolina’s offense never leaves the gate to take off for flight. Despite an anemic offense, Denver wins 24-10 with the help of a few critical turnovers.

“How did you know Denver had a chance?” you ask your friend.

“I told you, there’s this analytics guy…” he replies.

From Academia to Football Analytics

Ed_Feng_headshotHi, my name is Ed Feng. I’m the founder of The Power Rank, a company devoted better sports predictions through analytics.

While I’ve been a crazy fan my entire life, I never expected to work in the sports world. After getting my Ph.D. from Stanford in chemical engineering, I was one of many in search of an academic job.

That changed in 2008. I was reading the paper on Google’s PageRank algorithm and realized all of its similarities with my research. This inspired me to develop a new method for ranking teams.

I worked out some NFL rankings and sent an email to my friends. Enough of them were intrigued for me to explore other sports. It became an obsession, and I found a way to quit my day job to devote all my time to The Power Rank.

In March of 2012, SB Nation made a video of my March Madness analytics. In January of 2013, I predicted Alabama would beat Notre Dame on the cover of Sports Illustrated. They called me their analytics expert.

Since then, my numbers and content have appeared in a wide range of media outlets.

Much better than the average sports analytics – maybe even 2 standard deviations better.

— Dr. Daniel Heller, Marin, CA.

To become a member of The Power Rank and get all my best analytics, click here.

How to rank sports teams

I want to tell you about the membership product that gives you access to my best football predictions and team pages.

But first, let’s take a look under the hood at the engine that drives these analytics.

The foundation of my football analytics is the ranking algorithm. I developed this method from my Ph.D. research at Stanford on the physics of molecules and the math of randomness.

Let’s look at how it ranks college football teams on offense and defense based on yards per play, a powerful efficiency metric.

  • It gets the box score of every football game. For college football, this includes over 1400 games on the FBS and FCS level.
  • The algorithm creates a network in which the offense and defense of each team are nodes and games are edges that connect the nodes. This was inspired by Google’s PageRank method, which brought order and insight to the complex world of web search.
  • From this network, the method develops a set of equations to be solved. For college football in 2017, there are 508 equations (two for each of 254 teams) with 508 unknown variables.

The algorithm solves for the 508 variables simultaneously in college football. This is the key to accurately accounting for strength of schedule. Many other ranking systems do not do this.

  • Finally, the variable for each team is transformed into a rating that gives an expected yards per play against an average team.

On every morning after a college or NFL game, my MacBook Air crunches the numbers. The resulting rankings allow me to make predictions for point spreads and totals.

Accuracy of the football predictions

Members of The Power Rank have access to my computer predictions for college football and the NFL. These calculations are based on points and yards based metrics, with schedule adjustments made by my algorithm.

For the past two seasons, this is how the college football predictions performed against the median closing market values on Don Best.

  • College football spread: 50.7% (756-735 with 29 pushes)
  • College football totals starting week 7: 51.1% (477-455 with 11 pushes)

There is likely the most value in the college football totals predictions, as these have gone 54.2% (513-434-5) against the opening market value.

In addition, when the predicted total differed from the opening total by more than 4 points, the market moved in the direction of the prediction 93.0% of the time. On average, the final total moved 3.62 points in the direction of the model prediction. Some refer to this as closing line value.

For the NFL in 2016, this is the performance against the median closing market value.

  • NFL spread: 52.3% (134-122 with 11 pushes)

I do not recommend making wagers based only on these numbers. The computer predictions should serve as an objective baseline for you to start analyzing a game. Success in the sports markets requires not only analytics for predictions but also judgment that considers situations such as injuries.

I spent a long time searching the web for analytics rather than picks. I finally found it with The Power Rank.

I signed up for the power rating and point spread analysis for football and am quite pleased with the offerings.

I need to have consistent line anticipation/prediction through objective reasoning to begin my weekly evaluation. Your site offers such reasoning on an excellent basis.

You provide an excellent foundation for determining the correct line. This assists me greatly with establishing my betting line for the week, and I’m able to adjust my line for non-objective factors knowing that objective factors have been taken into account.

I would recommend a membership to anyone in search of strong analytical reasoning and objective line determination.

— Jeff, Las Vegas, NV.

To become a member of The Power Rank for $79 per year and get instant access to the premium content, click on the orange “Add To Cart” button.
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You can also pay with PayPal, JCB and Diner’s Club.

How to instantly evaluate a game

A membership to The Power Rank offers more than just predictions. You also get insight into matchups.

This insight starts with rankings that break an offense or defense down into passing and rushing. Again, yards per play serves as the primary statistic.

It’s most useful to view these statistics for an offense next to an opposing defense. To explain how this works, this visual shows the rushing matchup between Ohio State and Oregon in the 2014 national title game.

The quantities in the visual are yards per carry adjusted for strength of schedule by my algorithm.

matchup_sales_2015_cropped

For the defense rankings, the better units appear further to the right. This makes it easy to compare with the opposing offense.

The unit with the dot farthest to the right is predicted to have an advantage in the matchup, showing Ohio State’s advantage in the run game.

The team pages use this basic idea to look at matchups for offense against defense. For example, consider the matchup of Ohio State’s offense versus Oregon’s defense.

Ohio State's offense versus Oregon's defense in the 2014 championship game.

By looking at this visual, I was able to pick out Ohio State’s advantage in running the football. During the game, Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott gashed the Oregon defense for 246 yards on 6.8 yards per carry and 4 touchdowns.

My analysis of this mismatch appeared on Deadspin prior to the game. Here’s what a commenter said about the analysis.

It is the start of the fourth, and it is creepy how on point your predictions are.

— commenter on Deadspin

It doesn’t always work out this way. Football has too much much randomness to be right all the time. But analytics provides a firm baseline for your judgments about football.

Moreover, the team pages are interactive. Click on an opponent in the schedule to see the matchup visuals for a different game. To play with a sample team page, click here. It’s like having a cheat sheet that makes evaluating other teams easy.

Become a member of The Power Rank

Here’s what you get with a membership:

  • In August, college football win totals with value in the markets.
  • Predictions for the spread in every college game, totals after week 6.
  • 130 college football team pages that let you instantly evaluate a game.
  • Predictions for the spread in every NFL game.
  • 32 NFL team pages let you instantly evaluate a game.
  • My pamphlet The surprising truth about passing and rushing in the NFL, which will help you make the most of your NFL handicapping.
  • Data files for upload into a spreadsheet with all the numbers.
  • A copy of my book How to win your NCAA tournament pool
  • My full bracket advice for the NCAA tournament.

Over the years, I had tried all of the different tricks like finding the trendy 12 over 5 pick, going with Kenpom’s ratings or the lines set by Vegas. Once in a while, I’d get close to winning a pool, but I needed something to push me over the top, and your book was fantastic for that.

In 2015, I won two pools, one of them had 100 entries, and the other had 20 entries. In 2017, I won two pools and finished second in another.

— Ryan Peters, Omaha, Nebraska.

All predictions are posted by Tuesday at noon Eastern during the football season.

It starts with an algorithm I’ve developed that does for sports analytics what Google’s PageRank did for web search: brings order and insight into a messy system.

To get a deeper insight, the algorithm is used to rank offenses and defenses based on yards per play. I also break this down into passing and rushing.

The team pages visualize these numbers so you can instantly evaluate a game.

  • The statistics make you smarter about football because they account for strength of schedule.
  • The team pages let you instantly evaluate a game.

For less than $5 a week during the football season, you get access to all the football analytics at The Power Rank.

This is not a handicapping service that provides picks. A membership to The Power Rank provides computer predictions for every game and team pages that let you instantly evaluate match ups in a game.

To become a member of The Power Rank for $79 per year and get instant access to the premium content, click on the orange “Add To Cart” button.
Add To Cart - Button Orange

You can also pay with PayPal, JCB and Diner’s Club.

The data visualizations work on almost all modern browsers. The lone exception is Internet Explorer 8 and earlier versions. If you can view this sample team page, you’re all set. Otherwise, I recommend a free download of Google’s Chrome browser.

30 day, no hassle, money back guarantee

Money Back Guarantee 100% - Burst Badge OrangePlease take up to 30 days to evaluate the predictions and visualizations. If you’re not satisfied for any reason, I will refund your money.

No questions asked, no hard feelings.

Simply reply to the email you’ll get when you purchase. I will personally take care of the rest.