For this month’s Better Collective Spotlight, we take a look at the weather. Yes, you read that right.
The weather is one of the ‘nerdy’ aspects of the sports analysis on RotoGrinders.com, which helps its community to identify the right fantasy sports picks and place winning sports bets.
RotoGrinders.com is known for presenting a wealth of information to both die-hard and more casual sports fans, but it has now taken it a step further by employing a meteorologist.
To highlight the impact of its own community, RotoGrinders has tracked more than four million daily fantasy sports (DFS) entries between September 2017 and August 2018.
It found that its members won over 35% of prize pools on DraftKings and FanDuel, equating to over $150m in payouts. For RotoGrinders’ users, the weather is playing an increasingly prominent part in their daily fantasy sports (DFS) selections and affiliated sports wagers.
Step forward, Kevin Roth.
His work goes far beyond just making a forecast, however, as he is armed with databases on how weather has impacted games in the past, which he uses to predict impacts on games in the future.
If the data shows that in the NFL an 18mph wind has led to a 20% decrease in passing yards and a 15% decrease in total scoring, Roth will project that impact on to a future game well in advance, giving RotoGrinders users an edge that hasn’t yet been reflected in betting lines.
The first part of his job is getting the correct forecast out to the people. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people relying on a dated or downright wrong weather forecast,” said Roth.
“All it takes is one tweet from someone glancing at their weather app, and all of a sudden the wrong forecast is going viral on social media.”
This exact scenario played out in the NFL playoffs earlier this year when a prominent NFL insider tweeted a weather forecast to his 2.1 million followers highlighting “15-25mph winds and a 90% chance of rain” for a Ravens game.
However, Roth was quick to jump in and relay his own forecast of much milder weather, which ended up correct. “It ended up with winds under 15mph and no rain, the weather was legitimately nice,” he recalled. “I have no idea where that 90% came from. People are making decisions and placing bets based on this weather, so you have to get it right.”
Another clear example of Roth’s helping hand came in the Patriots’ first and only post season game this year, where they were favoured to win against the Titans.
Roth explained: “Temperatures were in the 30s and it was a little breezy, so conditions weren’t ideal for the passing game that the Patriots rely on, as cold hands and gusty winds can cause drops and miscues on passes. By contrast, that’s not as big of an issue for a team like the Titans whose offense is committed to running the football.”
Having looked at similar weather games in the past, Roth found that total scoring and passing yards had dropped 10%, while rushing yards remained unaffected. Therefore, he was able to advise RotoGrinders users to expect a lower scoring game, in which the weather advantage lay with the Titans.
In the end, he was vindicated as the Patriots were beaten and the Titans mustered just 13 points, while the combined 33-point total was well under the betting total of 45.5.
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Last year, Better Collective acquired 60% of the shares in Rical LLC – the operator of news and information portals rotogrinders.com, pocketfives.com, sportshandle.com, usbets.com and pennbets.com – for $21m.
Better Collective also confirmed that it will acquire the remaining 40% of the shares between 2022 and 2024 at a valuation based upon an EBITDA multiple between 5x and 10x. The valuation will be determined by the future profitability of RotoGrinders and certain aspects of Better Collective’s business in the US.