Each week this fall, Eliot Crist, the sports product manager, and his colleagues at The
Quant Edge (TQE) help sports fans everywhere by giving them an advantage over their friends
and bookies in fantasy football and betting. The Quant Edge is a fantasy football and betting tool
that is revolutionizing the rapidly changing sports gambling world.
Founded only a few months ago, TQE already has over 1,000 subscribers and that
number is consistently growing. On Friday, Nov. 9, CEO and founder Todd Gross and Crist
came to speak to students about their product and its value. Gross (W ‘88) worked in
commodities and options trading before deciding to start TQE, and Crist joined TQE’s team after
working for Pro Football Focus.
Gross and Crist described the three-part TQE advantage which separates them from the
competition. First, their product offers customization and unique tools. Their model and website
allows users to bet on the games they want to and manipulate the algorithm and lines based on
what users think will happen in a game. For example, their model and lines can shift, based on
how well a user thinks Tom Brady will perform on Sunday.
Secondly, their website offers a clean look. Crist noted that for amateur or less
experienced bettors, betting website tools can often be overwhelming and hard to read or
comprehend. He described some websites as being in the “stone-age” in terms of design, and
part of TQE’s mission is to give their website a clean and accessible look.
The third part of the TQE advantage is accuracy. TQE hopes to be above the
competition in giving the customers accurate and reliable predictions as a way to create value
for customers. According to Crist, 60% accuracy is considered elite for a sports bettor. As of
Nov. 9, the TQE model was 29-13 (69%) against the spread.
TQE looks at analytics and they go beyond the basic stats to give their customers an
advantage. A large part of what they do is looking at how injuries or players not being on the
field will affect others players. For example, Mike Evans gets more volume of passes with Ryan
Fitzpatrick on the field as opposed to Jameis Winston.
They will also look at how wide receivers perform against different cornerbacks and
types of coverages. For example, Josh Gordon thrives on routes to the deep left side of the
field, and the Titans defense struggles to cover routes to the deep left of their defense, so Crist
predicted a big game for Gordon this past Sunday against the Titans. Gordon finished the game
with four receptions for 81 yards, as the Patriots were surprising blown out by the Titans, losing
34-10. Furthermore, some wide receivers like Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster thrive against man
coverage while others like Sammy Watkins are only good against zone. As such, TQE will
recommend starting these wide receivers in fantasy leagues or daily fantasy when they are
playing against man defense and zone defense respectively.
TQE also has a head-to-head tool that compares players and allows for a more accurate
representation of who users should start in fantasy football in comparison to typical rankings
from ESPN. The head-to-head tool will look at stats like weighted opportunity, a more nuanced
way to predict usage, as it counts targets and receptions as being more valuable that carries
because targets and receptions have the chance to lead to bigger plays and more points than a
typical running back carry. It also ranks position groups into tiers, which allows users to get
understanding of the value drop-off between one ranking and the next.
TQE also has a lineup optimizing tool that assigns probabilities to different fantasy
football outcomes. This tool can create up to 150 lineups in seconds that allows users to choose
the most effective daily fantasy football lineup.
Crist said the biggest challenge TQE faces is trying to turn fantasy football players into
bettors. He said that often once people get started in betting, they get hooked. In today’s day,
the betting world is changing constantly as betting is becoming legalized in more states
everyday. The betting itself is also changing, as in-game betting and prop bets are becoming
increasingly popular in addition to the traditional spreads and money lines.
Going forward, TQE is working on an NBA betting tool, that might look at things such as
teams’ performances on the second night of a back-to-back. They are always trying to look at
other factors and add them to their models such as the way referees and player’s personal lives
affect their own and their team’s performance. It seems like going forward TQE will become a
leader in the sports betting world, an industry that is rapidly changing and becoming more
popular in America and around the world.
USBC Journal Writer
Class of 2022