@Jimmy Guthriehad a good question over in the forum. Be sure to check it out and get your download of our season preview. Jimmy's question was a good one and I was happy to offer up my take on how to look at these stats and maybe how to use them.
I'll post my answer the blog, but one of my favorite features on the site that @Jon Tweets Sportshas made for you guys is the ability to upload files. Seems simple, but being able to drop in one of spreadsheets for you guys to have and use on your own is really one of the reasons that got me excited about being apart of the Dawgs Central. Community
"Well @Jimmy Guthrie, that is the question. I certainly look at everything through the stats and then the odds. I don't think there is a bettor out there that doesn't respect the bookmakers lines. Betting sides and totals is a thin margin and a losing one for the vast majority of bettors. @Graham Coffey uses not only the quantitative stats and metrics, but qualitative analysis of game tape and knowledge of the game.
At the basic level - Look for Yards Per Play and Yards Per Play allowed. We look at the net of the Offensive minus the Defensive YPP and that is a very good historical indicator of the superior team.
For starters, look at team efficiency numbers - the offensive and defensive success rates. Look to see if matchups favor a team. A team that has a high pass success rate going against a team with low defensive pass success rate allowed. If you spy an edge, then dig into the player level stats. Look at the secondary for the team that has a low success rate allowed and see if the CBs and DBs are rated highly by PFF.
EPA is a deeper stat that takes efficiency metrics beyond the binary "success/no success" measure. It adds down distance and field position. The more yards a play gains (or fails to gain) above or below it's success rate formula yields a higher EPA for that play. Look at two B1G teams up in that graph. Wisconsin had 45% offensive success rate, 5.5 offensive yards per play. OSU had a 53% Off Success Rate and 8 YPP... That is extreme, but the confirmation of that extreme can be see in the offensive EPA. Buckeyes were 7% better, but 3 times higher EPA.. that is elite offense, efficiency and explosive.
65 offensive snaps is a good estimation for a game. 45% success rate yields 29ish successful plays. a 52% success rate yields 33ish successful plays. That doesn't seem like a big advantage, but that EPA tells you that the average play is 3x more effective for OSU than Wisconsin, and that begins to shed light on how the Badgers put up 26 a game and the Buckets put up 46 game.
Explosiveness - The explosiveness is the EPA of the teams' successful plays. Think of it as "how good are your good plays." A team on the good side of 48% offensive success rate and an EPA on those successful play of 1.2+ will likely be an offense that scores 33+ a game. Again, look at Wisconsin, sub 45% offensive success rate and an abysmal 1.06 EPA on those plays shows us that this offense will not put up a ton of points. Compare that to Michigan, who had a 1% edge on offensive success rate. but their explosiveness EPA was 1.2 - roughly 20% more effective (1.0 to 1.2) on those plays led to 35 points per game for the Wolverines.
So, the converse of all this is how you would judge the defense. The lower the better simply put. @Graham Coffeyand I will refer to these metrics all season and continue to give context to them. Threw a lot at you, thanks for checking this out
Yeah, I was able to share with Jimmy and everyone else in the forum a spreadsheet. Love this and look forward to making content for you guys and sharing it with you