When it comes to individual standings and team win probabilities in NFL football, FiveThirtyEight's formula is quite simple-but pure genius.
Have You Heard of FiveThirtyEight?
The stat analysis website ‘FiveThirtyEight’ focuses mainly on opinion poll analysis. This involves a public survey or a human research survey, which is conducted in the form of a few questions in the right sample population.
With the help of their poll analysis, FiveThirtyEight publishes blog posts on economics (like the forecasted support of the healthcare reform), politics (like polling aggregation forecasts), and sports (like NFL football forecasts.)
Interesting Facts This website and its owner Nate Silver are best known for their expertise in election forecasts. In the presidential election of 2012, FiveThirtyEight was able to predict the winner from all 50 states. This is why this website has been able to bag several prestigious awards, like Best Political Blog in 2012 and 2013.
ESPN acquired Nate Silver’s creation in 2013, and the owner was made editor-in-chief. In 2018, however, all its operations were transferred to ABC News, which is ESPN’s sister property.
So What’s Their Secret?
If you were to check out FiveThirtyEight’s 2019 Super Bowl predictions here, you would find the individual standings of teams, the win probabilities of each scheduled game, and even the forecasted ratings of quarterbacks!
When it comes to the individual standings and team win probabilities, FiveThirtyEight’s formula is quite simple but pure genius. Their NFL football forecasts are based on about 100,000 simulations in the season, which also takes into account the updates after each game.
The traditional FiveThirtyEight model uses something known as Elo ratings. This, according to their experts, is a measure of strength that signifies head-to-head forecasts in terms of the updated quality of each opponent. This rating then calculates every individual teams’ probability of winning their scheduled season games. Similarly, their simulations keep advancing teams with higher prospects to determine the Super Bowl results!
The quarterback ratings, on the other hand, use the Elo model but also incorporate an extra factor: recent news about starters for all upcoming games. These ratings, in turn, also help adjust the winning or losing probabilities of each team and their chances against opponents.
You Can Pick Your Own NFL Football Winners!
When you pick the results for any upcoming game, you will have triggered a whole new set of simulations. This starts a snowball effect, which changes all the forecast numbers accordingly. Since we’re dealing with statistics and probability here, the ‘check marked’ wins don’t mean that the team is destined to win or eligible for the division title. This only means that this particular outcome has a 100% chance for a specific round of simulations.
Interesting stuff, isn’t it?