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Atlanta Falcons to Win Super Bowl, Says Pitt Researcher


The Atlanta Falcons logo.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh predict the Atlanta Falcons will win Sunday's Super Bowl.

Credit: Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons will defeat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51, according to University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) researchers, who have developed a method that analyzes in-game data from the past seven National Football League seasons to predict the winner of the Super Bowl and to study the effectiveness of coaching decisions.

The study analyzed 1,869 regular and postseason games from 2009 to 2015 and identified key in-game factors that directly correlate with winning probability.

The researchers used a probability model to create a Football Prediction Matchup (FPM) engine to compare teams. They then ran 10,000 simulations of the game and found the Falcons have a 54% probability of winning the Super Bowl.

An expanded version of the study explored on-field decision making, and found coaches are overly conservative in key situations, which reduces the team's winning probability percentage.

"Increasingly, we are seeing NFL coaches and executives embracing analytics to improve their overall knowledge of the game and give them data-driven competitive advantages over their opponents," says Pitt professor Konstantinos Pelechrinis. "I believe this study is yet another step in that direction."

From University of Pittsburgh News
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