Expected points in football is an estimate of how many points a team should score on an average possession given the situation.
It takes into account yard line, descent and distance, time remaining and more.
Then there are the added expected points, which measure how a team’s expected points have changed on a given game. This number, the EPA, is what you hear about most often.
On the first and 10th of their own 25-yard line, teams are averaging about 1.06 points. After a 15-yard pass, this team should now score 1.92 points – so they have added 0.86 points expected in this game.
Expected points Definition added
The theory behind Expected Added Points (EPA) is simple. The statistic is used to try to define how many points a player or a game is worth for a team.
Each game is viewed with context in mind, which means that the distance down and the position of the court are used to gauge the amount of EPA versus the actual outcome of the game. These stats can be added to create an EPA cumulative over a period or season, or they can be viewed by EPA / play.
The EPA was initially made public when The hidden game of football was published in 1988 to better understand the impact of statistics on football.
The statistic is mainly used for quarters when considered on an individual basis.
Examples of EPA
When reviewing the EPA, you should divide the assessments into individual and team / general categories. From an individual perspective, here’s a look at how they rank the best quarterbacks in terms of EPA in 2020 and how their individual stats actually compare.
While passing yards and touchdowns are obviously going to have a positive impact on a team’s success, the EPA allows us to go beyond the base numbers to see how a player contributes to his team.
At the team level, the EPA is most often seen from a game-by-game perspective. With a nod to the pass rate, coins are not evaluated just by actual outcome, but also by context of the room.
For example, if the down-and-distance is third and 9 and the offense picks up 8 yards, the game’s EPA will be lower than the EPA of picking up 8 yards on Third and-6.
There are an endless number of possibilities that go into the EPA on a game-by-game basis, but the values make sense. The success of some NFL games is not judged to this extent by the cookie-cutter outcome, but rather by the actual impact of the game.
Critics of the EPA
The expected added points have become a popular statistic for fans and gamblers alike trying to dig deeper into the context of every soccer game.
But the EPA is far from perfect, and there are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Many popular EPA models are that the score in football changes from year to year, and it relies on small sample sizes to contextualize these games.
2. EPA does not separate player performance from other players
3. It does not adjust to the opponent (although there are versions that are adjusted to the opponent).
4. It doesn’t take into account the turnovers, or a lot of other random things. The only reason we try to use stats like these is to remove “luck” from our analysis and figure out who the best teams and the best players are, if everything else is equal.
So here is where the EPA fails. Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz missed the snap on the first and the 1-yard line goal against Penn State, moving the ball to the 7-yard line.
The Penn State defense won 1.66 EPA on this game. But do they deserve it? All they did was watch Mertz grope the snap.
Can the EPA help me bet?
You’ll need to assess whether you want to implement the EPA into your betting arsenal, but if you choose to do so, there are some creative ways to apply the EPA.
For example, if you see that a team is surpassing its EPA back, you might want to do away with a quarterback in player props. Or, if you want to get really aggressive, you can try using the concept of EPA to your advantage in live betting. If you think a coin hasn’t been productive on its surface, but actually made a bigger impact than the odds believe, you can take the opportunity.
Alternatively, you can take a more simplistic route and just watch how a team performs against the EPA and judge if that can give you an advantage in a certain game. The possibilities are limitless.