Well, this is weird — it seems that the Bears’ chances of winning are about the same no matter what they do. I lean very slightly toward going for it, but I don’t have strong feelings here — just go with your gut, coach.
Here's the full breakdown of my calculations:
|Option||Chance of converting||
Chance of winningBefore play
|Go for it4th and 8, opp. 40||34%||5%||6%||+1%|
|Field goal try57 yard kick (est.)||36%||5%||5%||-|
Along with some circuitry to come up with a win probability for every game situation, all you need to figure out what you should do next is an estimate of how likely you are to make a field goal or convert a first down.
My estimates for these are based on the results of thousands of similar plays, but you may think you're smarter than I am. This chart shows you how changing those estimates would change my recommendation.
|Field goal try||59% of the time|
|Punt||21% of the time|
|Go for it||19% of the time|
Patrick O'Donnell punts for 28 yards to Dal12. Patrick O'Donnell punts for 28 yards to Dal12.
To estimate a team’s chances of winning, I use a mathematical model that accounts for a whole lot of variables — including the difference in score, the time remaining in the game, and the number of timeouts each team has left. On top of that, I have models for the likelihood that a team makes a field goal and the likelihood that it will convert a first down.
By combining all of this information, I can come up with the best decision a team can make, according to math.
If you want even more details about the numbers behind my decisions, my full model is available on GitHub. Help make me better!