Our pool picks are 100% algorithmic and driven by research, analytics, and technology.
Our "secret sauce" is essentially a combination of two things, with other adjustments happening on the side:
Since 2005, our team has spent over 50,000 hours studying the dynamics of sports pools. This is our full-time job, and what we're doing behind the scenes is more advanced than anything else on the market.
Originally we used our research and technology to win pools ourselves. Now, we've built products that anybody can use to identify the optimal picks for their football and March Madness pools.
Figuring out the picks that give you the best chance to win a pool is an extremely difficult challenge. Some people think all you need to do is predict the most likely winner of every game, but that's not always true.
In fact, picking all the most likely winners could be a terrible decision in many pool scenarios. For example, if it's Week 15 and you still need to make up ground on higher-ranked opponents, "playing it safe" is almost certainly not going to maximize your odds to catch them.
In most cases, it's simply impossible to identify your best possible pool picks for a given week without advanced computer analysis, because your optimal strategy may depend on many different factors:
In addition to incorporating the latest information on teams and matchups, our algorithms analyze all of these critical pool details, and our pick recommendations are backed by the results of thousands of computer simulations of pools similar to yours.
The short answer is that we have a ten year track record, starting with March Madness 2005, and real customer data that substantiates an edge of up to 10x or more by using our office pool picks. (Every week we ask our customers where they stand in their pools.)
The more explanatory answer is that no one else comes close to matching the scale and sophistication of our office pool analysis. During March Madness 2014, for example, we had dozens of computer servers over at Amazon running 24x7, crunching numbers and simulating bracket pools.
Compare that approach to what your typical opponent is going to do to come up with his or her picks, and you start to understand how we can engineer such a big advantage.
It also helps that sports pools are highly inefficient markets that offer a huge edge to sharp players. Unlike traditional sports betting, you're not competing only against a well informed, professional sports book with a built-in advantage. You're competing against other human beings, many of whom will use flawed or biased methods to make picks.
Individually, each of our four pool picks packages (Football Pick'em Pools, NFL Survivor Pools, College Bowl Pools and March Madness Pools) costs between $39 and $49. That one-time fee covers the entire length of each contest, from the day we launch the product until the last relevant game ends.
We also run a great discount deal, which is our annual Pool Picks Subscription. That subscription gives you access to all four of our office pool products for just $98 a year, which is 44% off the $176 you'd pay if you purchased each product individually. If you're going to play in at least two types of pools, it's a steal.
As a side note, we also offer the Pool Picks Subscription to encourage our users to play in as many different pools as they can. If you have an edge over your competitors, it's to your benefit to exploit that edge as often as possible. Playing in more pools also helps reduce the expected time between wins.
Our customer base is quite diverse. On one end of the spectrum are hard core pool players competing in high stakes contests, who want nothing less than the best analysis money can buy. They ask us very complicated strategy questions and we answer them objectively and intelligently.
These types of customers also tend to be playing in multiple contests at a time, and/or playing multiple entries in contests. These tactics are often very wise if your goal is to increase your chances of profiting from a specific pool, and we offer our advice in these areas.
On the other end of the spectrum are sports neophytes and soccer moms whose primary motivation may be either to embarrass the jocks at the office, or simply to beat their husband and gloat about it for a year. In five minutes, our picks transform these types of customers from the laughingstock of their pools to perennial champion contenders.
In between those two extremes are thousands of folks who determine, for lots of different reasons, that our pool picks are worth the money based on the advantage they provide.
Our customers tend to justify buying our pool picks using some combination of the following four reasons:
Almost everything is available for free on the Internet today, especially sports picks. That doesn't mean they're worth your while. Two main thoughts here:
We would be absolutely nuts to guarantee that. Playing in sports pools is less risky than playing the lottery, but you're still taking a big chance – a huge chance, if you're playing against a lot of people.
Most pools involve paying some amount of money as an entry fee, for the chance to win a prize that is many times that amount, all within a timeframe of days or weeks. If those types of contests were easy to win, we'd all be freakin' billionaires.
Unless you're playing in a ridiculously small contest, you'll never be expected to win an office pool, even if you do use our picks. The math here is pretty simple. For example, If you're an average competitor in a 25-person winner-take-all pool, you're be expected to win that pool once every 25 years.
Now let's say you're using our picks, and are much more skilled than the typical competitor in that pool. You might win that pool once every five years. That's five times as often as expected, which is pretty amazing, but on average you're still going four years at a time winning nothing.
Despite those multi-year droughts, you would still earn an amazing 400% profit on your pool entry fees in the long run if you only won every five years. That level of expected ROI is much, much higher than investing in stocks or real estate. But if you want to achieve it, you've got to think like Warren Buffett and have a long term perspective.
This is a certainty: Our picks are not going to do incredibly well in every contest, every year. Contests such as NFL survivor pools or some NCAA bracket pools have an enormous amount of leverage riding on just one or a few key picks. We'll never be immune to suffering some bad luck in those key games, no matter how much analysis we do in advance. Randomness is an unavoidable part of sports.
However, the evidence is quite strong that in the long term, using our office pool picks should be a profitable investment. You should win much more often than expected, even if that still means years in between wins.
Besides benchmarking our pick performance on big contest sites like ESPN and Yahoo!, we get that feedback directly from our long time users. You can read their testimonials on each specific office pool product page.
Despite how it may sometimes seem, that's a foolish brand of logic. Of course, there will always be an element of luck required to win an office pool. As we often note, you'll never be expected to come in first place in a 50-, 100-, or 500-person sports picking pool, even if you're highly skilled.
In addition, the bigger a pool is, the higher the chance that one or two "clueless" players happen to get incredibly lucky with their picks. Clark from accounting, who's never watched a basketball game in his life, will always have a chance to win your company bracket pool, even if it's miniscule.
Especially in a bigger pool with hundreds or thousands of Clueless Clarks, though, the collective odds that one of them does really well are actually quite good.
Does that mean that skill doesn't matter in office pools? Of course not.
To illustrate this point, let's use an analogy that, like winning a pool, involves an outcome affected by both luck and skill: Hitting a half court shot in basketball.
I'm a pretty terrible basketball player (6.2 ppg, 34% free throw shooting percentage in high school JV). However, I can hit a half court shot now and then, mostly by sheer luck. My half court shooting percentage tends to vary somewhere between 1% if I'm cold and 10% if I'm absolutely on fire.
Lebron James, on the other hand, is a highly skilled basketball player. He can hit half court shots too, with an accuracy rate and consistency both a heck of a lot better than mine. Still, his chance of hitting any one particular half court shot isn't fantastic. Uncontested, maybe he drains three or four out of every 10. Let's say his half court shooting percentage is a fairly consistent 35%.
What if Lebron were to enter a half court shooting contest against 99 people like me? Let's say we all took five shots, and the person who hit the most number of shots won the contest.
Would Lebron win that contest every single time, given that he is far more skilled than the rest of his opponents? No way.
Randomness and luck would impact the outcomes. Most of the non-Lebrons would miss all their shots, or maybe hit one shot. Sometimes, though, one of the 99 non-Lebrons will get lucky and hit two of five shots, while Lebron simultaneously goes cold and only hits one of five.
Just for kicks, here are some more specific calculations:
If you got offered 99:1 odds to bet on any competitor, and this contest was going to be run once a year, you'd be insane not to bet on Lebron every single year. And as the years pass, you would earn an amazing return by doing so.
Still, there will be a decent number of years where Lebron James loses a basketball shooting contest to people like Clark from accounting, Bill from the sports bar, and weird cousin Fred. It could easily happen multiple years in row, just on account of randomness and luck.
That doesn't change the fact that betting on Lebron every year is still clearly the smartest move.
We can help you become the Lebron James of your office pools!
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