How many games should your NFL team have won this season? Everyone knows a lucky bounce here and a bad call there can have a significant impact on the win-loss bottom line. Hard core fans of Sports Analytics would recognize this factor as the driver behind Pythagorean Win Totals, a statistic derived to measure true performance. Today, we are going to look to see if we can beat Pythagorean Win Totals as a predictor for how many games a team won in a certain season. IE, how many games should your team have won.
Spoiler: we can make a better predictor, but in a way that makes us re-evaluate our understanding of Pythagorean Win Totals.
If you simply want to know how many games your team should have won, you can go straight to our Spotfire Template. But, for Football Outsiders fans or those more interested in what makes up wins and losses, read on.
Jason is a Junior Data Scientist at Ruths.ai with a Master’s degree in Predictive Analytics and Data Science from Northwestern University. He has experience with a multitude of machine learning techniques such as Random Forest, Neural Nets, and Hidden Markov Models. With a previous Master’s in Creative Writing, Jason is a fervent believer in the Oxford comma.