Making better football bets with PhD level analytics
You want to win at sports betting. It’s 2022, and legalization in the United States has opened up massive opportunities. In many states, betting is as simple as opening a smart phone app.
However, it’s hard to win at football. NFL spreads are widely considered the hardest market to beat because of massive liquidity. College football is not that much easier.
You’re fighting an uphill battle against sports books. Since they require $110 to win $100, you can’t just win more than half of your bets. Instead, you need a win rate of at least 52.4% in the sharpest of markets.
In this uphill battle, you can’t just wait for lukewarm water to separate into hot and cold. Predictive analytics is a crucial component of winning football betting, and The Power Rank provides top flight numbers.
As someone who studies football for a living, it’s extremely valuable to have other people in the industry who you can trust and bounce ideas off of. Ed’s analysis is one of the first I go to on a week-to-week basis, and should be one of yours as well.— Dr. Eric Eager, Head of Research and Development at PFF
I first heard about the The Power Rank on one of Gill Alexander’s podcasts. Gill said Ed was one of the few people he trusted that made money in the analytics business besides Rufus Peabody.
Ed releases great member numbers for college football and the NFL. For under $100 annually this is the best bargain in the industry in my opinion.— Member of The Power Rank from Georgia.
To become a member of The Power Rank, click here.
From academia to football analytics
Hi, my name is Ed Feng. I’m the founder of The Power Rank, a company that believes predictive analytics is a crucial component of winning sports betting.
While I’ve been a crazy fan my entire life, I never expected to work in the sports world. After getting my PhD 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 make The Power Rank my job.
In March of 2012, SB Nation made a video of my March Madness analytics. In January of 2013, I accurately 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.
In addition, the ideas in my Amazon best selling book How to Win Your NCAA Tournament Pool have helped many people win their March Madness pool.
To become a member of The Power Rank and get all my best analytics, click here.
How to make football predictions
I want to tell you about the membership product that gives you access to my best football predictions. But first, let’s take a look under the hood at the engine that drives these analytics.
The foundation of my football analytics is accurate adjustments for strength of schedule. This started when I developed a ranking algorithm based on my PhD research at Stanford.
Let’s look at how my algorithm ranks NFL teams on offense and defense based on success rate, a powerful efficiency metric. In my methods, a play is a success if it obtains 50% of the necessary yards on 1st down, 70% on 2nd down, and 100% on 3rd and 4th down.
- The algorithm gets the play by play data from every NFL game. While this includes up to 272 games for an NFL regular season, it can be thousands in college football.
- It 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 the NFL, there are 64 equations (two for each team) with 64 unknown variables.
- The algorithm solves for the 64 variables simultaneously. This is the key to accurately accounting for strength of schedule. Many other ranking systems do not do this.
- Finally, the variable for each unit (offense or defense) is transformed into a rating that gives an expected success rate against an average team.
Every morning after an NFL or college game, my MacBook Air crunches the numbers. The resulting rankings allow me to make predictions for point spreads and totals.
Analytics experts such as Bill Connelly of ESPN trust my work.
Accuracy of the predictions
Members of The Power Rank have access to my best computer predictions for the NFL, college football and college basketball.
The NFL predictions start using my ranking algorithm on week 4. The algorithm requires three weeks of data for teams to get connected into a network.
From 2020 through the 2022 Divisional playoffs, the NFL predictions have gone 54.0% against the closing market (273-233 with 8 pushes on games in which the prediction differs from the market by more than a point). This covers games on week 4 and after.
For this set of games, the root mean squared (rms) error of the predictions from the actual game results has been 12.87 points. The rms error for the closing market has been 12.75 points. The Power Rank member predictions have been within 0.9% of the market.
In 2022, the predictions did get off to a poor start (12-24 with 2 pushes during the first three weeks in which I use a different model that doesn’t involve my ranking algorithm). This was a surprise, as this early season model went 40-36 the previous two seasons.
Since week 4 during the 2022 season, the predictions are 51.9% against the closing markets (83-77 with 4 pushes).
College basketball spreads
For the 2022 season through January 26, 2023, this is how the college basketball predictions have performed against the closing spread for Caesars sports book as tracked by the Action Network:
- 50.4% (1302-1280 with 60 pushes on games in which the prediction differs from the market by more than a half point).
- An rms error within 0.8% of the closing market at Caesars sports book, which is incredible.
College football spreads
In college football bowl pools, picking the winners of games straight up is the most important metric. During the 2022 season through the Army vs Navy game, the member prediction have gone 73.4% (533-193) in predicting the winners of games straight up. The closing market as tracked by KO STATS has gone 72.5% (526-200).
Here are the results against the opening market as tracked by KO STATS. This only includes games in which the prediction differs from the market by more than a half point.
- 2022: 50.5% (312-306 with 13 pushes), rms error within 0.7% of the market through Army vs Navy game.
- 2021: 51.3% (347-330 with 7 pushes), rms error within 0.7% of the market.
However, it is getting tough to beat the market later in the week, as here are the results against the closing market.
- 2022: 48.9% (305-319 with 13 pushes), rms error within 1.0% of the markets through Army vs Navy game.
- 2021: 47.4% (315-349 with 10 pushes), rms error within 1.7% of the markets.
- 2020: 53.7% (248-214 with 11 pushes), rms error within 1.4% of the markets.
It is important to use this model early in the week for college football for betting against spreads. I post college football predictions by Sunday evening at the latest.
Here are the results for my totals predictions for college football in 2022 from week 5 through the Army vs Navy game.
- Opening market: 54.4% (251-210 with 3 pushes), rms error within 0.05% of the opening market.
- Closing market: 51.6% (237-222 with 6 pushes), rms error within 2.8% of the closing market.
When I started betting football seriously, I quickly found that data and analytics is essential to being a consistent winner.
What I like so much about The Power Rank is that it not only provides excellent rankings and predictions, but also adjusted numbers for “real” football stats like Yards Per Play and Success Rate.
Having “real” football stats adjusted for strength of schedule helps me recognize and exploit inefficiencies in the betting markets.Jordan Jones, member of The Power Rank
I do not recommend making bets based only on The Power Rank’s predictions. While these numbers serve as an objective baseline, winning football betting also involves understanding other factors.
- Market movement. Looking at how a point spread moves before the market closes gives you information on the opinion of sharp sports bettors. This critical information should inform future bets.
- Context of teams. There is always some error in the predictive analytics, and understanding the ceiling and floor of a team can make for better predictions. For example, a team with a Hall of Fame QB like Tom Brady has a high ceiling for the pass offense, so less than stellar numbers might underestimate future performance.
- Injuries and situations. An injury to the quarterback almost always matters, and a team coming off a bye week has an edge over a team that played the past week.
In my weekly analysis for members during football season, I highlight these factors.
A membership to The Power Rank does not offer picks on football games. Instead, members get spread and total predictions on games and other analytics to help you make better decisions.
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, Nevada.
Become a member of The Power Rank
When you come in and bet me, believe me, I’m going to move the hell out of those numbers.Chris Andrews, director of the South Point sports book on The Football Analytics Show
As a member of The Power Rank, you get the following:
- The secret to predicting college football, NFL playoffs audio content. This 18 minute audio file is also available as a separate product.
- The Power Rank 2022 Bowl Report with my full strategies on how to win your bowl pool
- Predictions for the spread in every NFL and college football game.
- Weekly member analysis during football season that breaks down games based on The Power Rank’s analytics.
- Predictions for the spread in every college basketball game.
- Data files with rankings for college football and NFL teams based on metrics such as success rate and yards per play. You can upload these files to a spreadsheet to perform your own analysis.
- My full bracket advice for the NCAA tournament.
The March Madness bracket advice has helped many members win their pool.
Thanks to The Power Rank, I won my pool in 2019. I had Virginia winning.
Guess how many games I’ve watched this season? Literally zero. I only used the cheat sheet you provide through my membership to The Power Rank.
I had guys in my pool that have watched college basketball for decades, and I beat them all.— Mark Carvalho, member of The Power Rank
All football predictions are posted by Tuesday at noon Eastern at the very latest during the football season. In 2022, the college football predictions are posted on Sundays, and an email gets sent to members.
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. This algorithm leads to NFL predictive analytics that have gone 52.9% against the spread from 2019-2021.
A membership to The Power Rank is neither a handicapping service that provides picks or a get rich quick program. If you want either of these things, please save us both time and do not become a member.
Instead, you might be interested in the process behind making football bets. With the importance of predictive analytics, you might want to outsource these calculations to an expert for less than $5 a week.
The Power Rank’s predictive analytics help you make better decisions on bets. They might convince you to make a bet here or talk you out of a bet there.
Not every decision will work out in your favor. However, let’s suppose a few more decisions work for you than against you. Even with a $25 bet size, this makes a membership well worth it.
To become a member of The Power Rank for $99 per year and get instant access to the PhD level predictive analytics and premium content, click on the orange “Add To Cart” button.
This membership renews every year. You can cancel anytime.
30 day, no hassle, money back guarantee
Please take up to 30 days to evaluate any of the predictions and analytics of a membership to The Power Rank. 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.