NFL teams are set to open the 2018 season with unprecedented data resources. American sports bettors could be right behind them.
This fall, all 32 NFL teams will have access to data from every game ball used in the 2018 season. Though it remains to be seen how teams will use this information, it presents an unparalleled opportunity for coaches and players to measure data that was previously unattainable. Leaders behind the technology believe this new dataset will eventually spread to the media, and by extension, the general public.
That means brand new ways to evaluate NFL betting.
Tracking device company Zebra Technologies inserted RFID chips into every football used during gameplay in the 2017 season. Through the chips, teams could track pass velocity, punt heights and thousands of other metrics previously unattainable. Few teams knew what to do with.
A year later, teams have a better idea how to utilize this data – and it’s already making big differences in their strategies.
SportTechie reports the Zebra Technologies data may have influenced the Browns’ decision to take Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Potential first-overall pick Josh Allen jumped to the top of many draft boards due to the strength in his right arm, which scouts considered the most impressive in the draft. But data from the footballs used in a scouting combine showed Mayfield was throwing the ball with nearly as much strength. The former Oklahoma QB went first and Allen fell to No. 7.
In 2017 data like this was only available to teams from their own players. Now with the information posted from every player available to all 32 teams, clubs will have more data than ever to make decisions in free agency – or even on the field. If data shows a quarterback’s velocity is below average, a bad weather report could lead defensive coordinators to stack the box. Advanced metric on a team’s kicker may lead a coach to be more aggressive on fourth down.
Zebra Technologies vice president of business development told SportTechie that examples like these could allow teams to evaluate decisions unlike ever before.
“Those things are judged appropriately by the expert eyes of professional scouts, evaluators and coaches on these teams, but this just gives them another resource—an entirely unique resource—to quantify a condition that’s objective, it’s technical information to help support their professional evaluation.”
That could also change decision making for sports bettors.
Sharp bettors could have taken media reports about Mayfield’s throws and used it for a bet on a prop bet for draft order. Even greater potential remains for actual games.
Information collected from advanced trackers like Zebra Technologies changes the ways bettors evaluate games. Stats show what happened: these data points show why it did. If a bettor sees the catalyst for a team’s success, they can better project why and what will happen next.
It shouldn’t take long for this information to become more widespread. With five states already taking bets by the time the NFL season kicks offs, media outlets like CBS are now touting new programming with a sports betting focus. Gambling industry leaders like FanDuel have branched out to programming as well.
Looking ahead, that means even more programming should follow. As more states legalize betting, and it gains a broader acceptance in America, these new information points are keys to smart evaluations for any bettor.
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