To make the prediction Professor Konstantinos Pelechrinis, from Pitt's School of Information Sciences, has analyzed seven years of National Football League (NFL) data and statistics. His prediction is that the Atlanta Falcons will defeat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51.
For his research, Pelechrinis selected key in-game factors. These included turnover differential and penalty yardage. These key parameters appear to directly correlate with winning probability. His computer-drive number crunching revealed that committing one fewer turnover than the opposition presented a 20 percent gain in winning probability. In addition, a 10-yard advantage in penalty yardage correlated to a five percent difference.
Taking the data
, He then used a probability model to create a Football Prediction Matchup (FPM) engine to compare teams. Pelechrinis compared the Patriots' and the Falcons' performances against the key in-game factors from across the 2016 season. Once this was complete Professor Pelechrinis ran some 10,000 simulations of the game to reach his conclusion: The Atlanta Falcons have a 54 percent probability of winning at Super Bowl 51.
The research has been published in
the journal PLOS One
and it is headed "The Anatomy of American Football: Evidence from 7 Years of NFL Game Data." As to whether Pelechrinis is correct, the outcome of the sporting contest will tell. Super Bowl 51
is scheduled for February 5, 2017, following on from the 2016 regular season.