NFL Live (1/31/12)

By Paul Bessire

Tuesday, January 31 at 4:00 PM ET

This quick blog will introduce our NFL Live, In-running product, which we will unveil on Sunday for Super Bowl XLVI (and that I think is the coolest thing we have done).

NFL Live
Check the Predictalator Picks once the game starts to see live expected winning percentages and projected scores based on 50,000 simulations after the end of each play through the completion of the game. A money-line calculator is included to evaluate a team's likelihood of winning relative to odds. Calculating the projected score is also helpful with in-running, quarter-by-quarter and halftime ATS and O/U plays.

Below, you will see a screenshot taken of the NFC (top) and AFC Championship games from this season. The charts illustrate each team's chances of winning and end of game projected scores as simulated 50,000 times through the rest of the game after every play. Though these examples are taken when the game was complete, this chart will be updated and available with new projected final score and win probabilities for the Giants and Patriots after every play during Super Bowl XLVI.

When the win percentage line is green, the team listed on top (which will be the "home" team) has a greater chance to win. When the line is red, the team listed on bottom (which will be the "road" team) is more likely than not to win the game. Projected score graphs (the gold and blue lines) correspond to the individual team final point totals listed along the right of the graph. For instance, after an 11 yard run by Joe Flacco gave the Baltimore Ravens a first and ten from the New England 11 yardline with three minutes left in the third quarter and leading 17-16, Baltimore was 71.0% likely to win and by a projected score of 28.9-23.8. When Baltimore settled for a field goal on that drive and New England returned the ensuing kickoff to the Baltimore 37 yardline, the Ravens were just 51.2% likely to win.

There are numerous other interesting examples from these two games. With such close scores, it is not too surprising to see the volatility in both charts in the fourth quarter. The Ravens were actually favored to win outright when they had a second and one from the New England 14 yardline in the last minute. Not securing a potential touchdown and not picking up a first down on third down to take more shots at the endzone was almost as harmful as missing the final field goal. Similarly, San Francisco had myriad opportunities to win throughout the fourth quarter and early in OT. However, Kyle Williams' fumble may not have been as dooming as most may expect. New York was 60.3% likely to win before the fumble and 88.6% likely to win after it.

I understand that the concept of tracking and charting win probabilities and projected scores for any sport is not entirely unique. However, whereas most win probability systems assume all teams are equal before and for the rest of the game (with the potential addition homefield advantage), our simulation allows us to actually account for how we expect these specific two teams to play. In other words, instead of looking at all situations where a team has historically been winning X points to Y points with Z time left (and/or team A on yardline R) to make assumptions about which team is likely to win, we simulate the game being played to come to those conclusions. We have been working on this for all sports since we launched the Predictalator itself and are very excited to unveil it (at 6:29 pm ET on Sunday, February 5).

As usual, if you have any of your own comments about this article or suggestions about how to improve the site, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time. We respond to every support contact as quickly as we can (usually within a few hours) and are very amenable to suggestions. I firmly believe that open communication with our customers and user feedback is the best way for us to grow and provide the types of products that will maximize the experience for all. Thank you in advance for your suggestions, comments and questions.