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Weekly game probabilities for week 9 are now up at Sports on Earth. Probabilities are purely based on current-season stats including core efficiency rates, turnover rates, penalty rates, and are adjusted for opponent strength to-date.
Please remember that the projected scores are not to be taken terribly seriously. Do not bet the mortgage on them as they are not intended to graded against the spread. They are simply a "maximum-plausibility" estimate given respective team scoring tendencies.
Alok Pattani of ESPN Stats and Info rejoins the podcast to break down the new college football playoffs process. Alok explains the statistics he and his colleagues at ESPN developed to frame the on-air debate over which teams are the “best” vs. which teams “deserve” to be selected by the playoff committee. Dave and Alok analyze the first set of rankings released this week while Alok shares takeaways from his conversations with committee representatives and makes his probabilistic predictions for which teams will make the “Football Final Four”.Subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher
In the 94-year history of the National Football League over 14,000 games have been played. And in every game but two a punt has occurred (the recent Packers-Bears game in Week 4 was one of these rare occurrences). It seems as if these events that occur so often in the NFL have been left unstudied. How much is a punt actually worth in the NFL and who are the best at doing it?
To do this, I looked at over 3,000 punts from the last five seasons (Advanced Football Analytics has data through Week 12 for the 2013 season) using the AFA play-by-play database. After controlling for all punts that were blocked or fumbled by the punt team, I was able to create a new stat that I called “effective punting distance” which was simply the difference between the starting field position (yrdline1) and the resulting field position after the punt and return attempt (yrdline2). While this stat doesn’t perfectly measure a punter’s ability—there are confounding factors such as the quality of the punting team’s return coverage and the skill of the returner—it should be a more telling metric than simple punting distance. Effective punting distance accounts for punts that are not returnable, such as touchbacks, out of bounds, fair catches, and punts downed by the coverage team while penalizing punts that give the receiving team a return attempt.
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