Who would have thought that the performance of NFL players from years ago in certain weather conditions could impact the probability of outcomes in the weekend ahead?
It began one rainy day in Florida
The idea of SportsWeather began one wet and unseasonably cold day in Florida. Founder and CEO Mark Maxwell stood in his Tallahassee garage, decked out in garnet and gold, ready to depart for his alma mater's Doak Campbell Stadium at Florida State University. Looking out at the deluge and thinking of grabbing a heavy raincoat, he thought, "this weather can't be good for my fair-weather Seminoles." He reasoned that their opponent, Boston College, was undoubtedly much better conditioned for that sort of weather.
It turned out Maxwell was right. Florida State lost 24-19. But through a bitter loss in the cold rain, a spark still emerged: SportsWeather.
Today, the company manages massive volumes of variable inbound weather data while comparing it against years of historical performance by players and teams in all weather conditions.
"Most people tend to use the commonsense method – if it is snowing and the Miami Dolphins are in the contest, the outlook is probably not great for them. But once we started crunching numbers, we found that things were not as you would expect. Some teams and players consistently overperformed in imperfect weather, putting up better numbers versus their performance on sunny, windless, 70-degree days, or even in dome games," said Maxwell. "Once we had that, we realized we had something nobody else did. We've evolved dramatically in processing and weighing the data, and I know that evolution will continue. We'll get even better."
Making predictions for FOX Weather
In 2021, predictions SportsWeather has provided for FOX Weather boast a 24-12-1 record so far.
"Our team was incredibly excited when asked to provide predictions for all non-dome NFL games broadcast by FOX," said Maxwell. "Not every game shows significant weather impact, which put SportsWeather to the test in live time. Yet we’ve been hovering in the 70% range on winning percentage all season, even with some lower-confidence projections in the mix. That's pretty cool."
How does SportsWeather work?
"We already have historical performance data going back years for players and teams in all the core weather conditions," said Maxwell. "Of course, players change every year, but team data is one weighted element. Then there is player weather performance data, and we’ve got it for players even going back to their college days. Consider projected fantasy points. One guy might be at 20 points, but our data shows that he will overperform in the weather forecast for the time of his game."
SportsWeather takes all the key players from a single team, applies a weather factor, then projects whether that team will overperform or underperform. It does the same for the opponent as well.
"There are a ton of other weighted data points in the mix, but that's the basics. In the end, a team might be projected to overperform in weather, but it may still not be enough to overcome their opponent, who might be a 10-point Vegas favorite. While the weather might not change the projected winner, when you read between the lines, you also find that their opponent should be less than a 10-point favorite. That's incredible betting intelligence," Maxwell offered. "Plus, we’re hitting winter now, so the weather is having an even greater influence on the numbers."
What's next for SportsWeather?
Who could have predicted that what started in a Tallahassee garage is now a tool with the potential to disrupt Vegas? Maxwell says he can't wait to show what SportsWeather has planned for the future.
"We're open for business. Our interface continues to evolve, but the benefits to people like handicappers, fantasy players and especially sports bettors are obvious," said Maxwell. "There is always a side of a contest or bet you must choose. Straight-up, covering the spread, over or under. Vegas usually gets it just about right, leaving you with a 50/50 guess on which side you should pick. With SportsWeather, the side you should stand on becomes more apparent. We actually applied our artificial intelligence to past games and seasons and found that we would have been right over 70% of the time. Knowing what we still have planned for football, I'm excited to see if we can take it even higher. We're also planning to go live with MLB this spring."
Our prediction: The forecast looks bright for SportsWeather. Visit them at www.sportsweather.com.