A New Way to Pick Bowl Winners

Shad Powers is a sports reporter for the Desert Sun.  Prior to the bowl season we stumbled on his betting methodology while reading through Yahoo and were intrigued.  We reached out to Mr. Powers for more information on his methodology.  He graciously provided guidance on how to use his methodology.  The Power’s methodology is based on “Quality Games”.  A team earns points based on their performance against the better teams on their schedule.  The season-ending AP Top 25 serves as the basis for “ranked” opponents.  Points are earned in the following manner:

Wins:

  • +3  Road win over a ranked team
  • +2  Home or neutral win over a ranked team
  • +1  Lopsided win (21 points or more) over an unranked team
  •   0  Regular win (9-20 points) win over an unranked team
  • -1  Narrow win (8 points or less) over an unranked team

Losses:

  • +1  Narrow loss (8 points or less) to a ranked team
  •   0  Regular loss (9-20 points) to a ranked team
  • -1  Lopsided loss (21 points or more) loss to a ranked team
  • -2  Regular loss (Less than 20 points) to an unranked team
  • -3  Lopsided loss (21 points or more) to an unranked team

The Powers Quality Games methodology doesn’t provide a measure of covers or over/under, just winners.  We applied the Powers Quality Game methodology to our G5 Bowl Games and measured it against Las Vegas (favorites).  The table below shows the performance of Shad’s methodology against Vegas. In cases where the Powers methodology yielded the same points for each team, we classified the game as a “draw”.

Vegas (Initial)Powers Method
Bowl GameMatchupPickPick
Bahamas BowlToledo vs Middle Tennessee StateToledoToledo
Cure BowlCoastal Carolina vs Northern IllinoisCoastal CarolinaCoastal Carolina
Boca Raton BowlAppalachian State vs Western KentuckyAppalachian StateWestern Kentucky
New Mexico BowlTexas-El Paso vs Fresno StateFresno StateFresno State
Indepdendence BowlBrigham Young vs Alabama-BirminghamBYUBYU
Lending Tree BowlLiberty vs Eastern MichiganLibertyLiberty
Kimmel LA BowlUtah State vs Oregon StateOregon StateDRAW
New Orleans BowlLouisiana vs MarshallLouisianaLouisiana
Myrtle Beach BowlTulsa vs Old DominionTulsaTulsa 
Famous Idaho Potato BowlKent State vs WyomingWyomingWyoming
Frisco BowlSan Diego State vs Texas-San AntonioUTSADRAW
Armed Forces BowlArmy vs MissouriArmyDRAW
Gasparilla BowlFlorida vs Central FloridaFloridaFlorida
Frisco Football ClassicMiami(OH) vs North TexasMiami (OH)Miami (OH)
Camellia BowlGeorgia State vs Ball StateGeorgia StateGeorgia State
Quick Lane BowlNevada vs Western MichiganNevadaWestern Michigan
Birmingham BowlHouston vs AuburnAuburnHouston
First Responder BowlLouisville vs Air ForceLouisvilleLouisville
Sun BowlWashington State vs Central MichiganWashington StateWashington State
Cotton Bowl ClassicAlabama vs CincinnatiAlabamaAlabama
TOTALS  10 12
RECORD 10-10 12-5-3 

As you can see, the Powers methodology beat Vegas handily, finishing 12-5-3 versus Vegas at 10-10.  The Powers methodology picked the correct upset winner in Western Kentucky vs App State, Western Michigan vs Nevada, and Houston vs Auburn.   In the three cases where the Powers method computed a “draw”, the underdog won two of the games. 

We were very impressed with the success rate of the Power’s model and we plan to apply it next year for our bowl picks (it would have definitely helped our panel with their picks this year).  Again, thanks to Shad Powers for his help in understanding and applying his formula.

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