The 2023 NFL season kicks off soon, and as is tradition, I’m here to guide you through the new features and games that you can play on Pickwatch this year.
Every year, once the Super Bowl is done in February, we immediately set to work improving Pickwatch. Sometimes that involves lots of new developments, but in 2023 we’ve had a different focus: Improving existing elements, and adding complimentary new features that improve the basic benefits of Pickwatch.
As a result, we think this year’s Pickwatch is the best it has ever been. We think it looks better, performs better, and most importantly, gives you a better read of who to follow when making picks.
Here are our top developments in 2023, I will elaborate on each below in more detail, but if you just want the headlines, here they are: (every sport unless specified)
Achievement badges for users and experts
Streak tracking for users and experts
Player Prop picks and best props analysis (excl: College sports)
Futures for players and teams (excl. College sports)
Non-intrusive web notification system
New game hubs (NFL only, coming soon for all sports)
New Upset Watch section
Upset Watch weighted stat pages
New expert and user profiles (web and app)
Support for Paypal as a payment method
In addition, we’ve also improved the following User Interface (UI) elements:
Showing more experts on each page
Improved sidebar menu with more relevant sections and links
More table customization options
Colour coding for selected expert performance
New explainer/promo video
Better mobile web table controls and interface
New ways to share Pickwatch pages
That’s a lot to get through, but here’s what each of these things mean for you.
This is a feature we have been excited about for some time. Achievement badges are exactly what they sound like, badges that you are rewarded with when you reach certain milestones, or things that you can accomplish around Pickwatch. You can find them in your profile, and those of experts, under the 'achievements' section.
They’re split into a few categories:
Milestones - for example, when you reach 100 wins, you’ll get a badge!
Achievements - Example - getting 90%+ in a week will unlock that achievement badge
Beat the experts - Every week we select a number of ‘active’ experts to beat. Beat them in the selected week and earn that achievement!
On boarding - We have badges for making your first picks in each sport, adding your favorite team, and other basic things you can do around our pages.
These badges have been created with the future in mind, and while we already have dozens of badges to unlock in 2023, we’ll be adding many more as the season rolls on.
While Achievement badges are fun, streaks are useful. Want to know which expert has the most consecutive winning weeks? Or which user or expert has the most weeks over say, 70%? We can tell you that.
Streaks are part of the achievements section, but they’ll soon also get their own home on the main page with leaderboards, tracking both the best historical streaks, and the best current active streaks, so you can judge the hottest experts and fans in a whole new way.
In February we launched Player props, but this is the first time you’ll be able to pick them and track performance throughout the season on Pickwatch. There is a normal leaderboard, and we’ll be offering monthly prizes for the most profit won on prop picks on our site.
Perhaps most usefully, we also have a prop analysis tool for Pro members, that takes machine learning projections from our friends at Sportsdata.io, and compares them with real lines that you can access via BetMGM and Fanduel. Using this tool, you can find which players have the biggest edge over their over/under line in every game.
Team and Player Futures
Future picks are BACK! And much, much improved, with the ability to select all of the normal real life markets you would expect. Long-term users will recall that we did allow picking of division winners many years ago, but this is a major update.
Future markets represent a unique challenge for us, as there are sometimes hundreds of potential picks for you in each category. Our previous pick form only catered to you selecting one of two outcomes - for example, which team will win a game, or whether the over or under will hit.
Because it would be impossible to house Futures in that format, we have incorporated a more traditional method that you’ll see on sportsbooks. You select a pick via the table and it’s added to a slip for you to save when you have browsed the options, so if you think Patrick Mahomes will win MVP in the NFL, you click ‘add pick’ next to his name, and it’ll be added to your pick slip, where you can set your $0-$100 mock wager.
This was an important development for us. Your future picks will be tracked alongside those of the experts at the start of the season, and you can win prizes for generating the most profit from your picks, so be careful to not go overboard making too many selections!
As we now allow you to follow experts on web and mobile, one thing missing was a notification system on our site. We have modelled this on non-intrusive, passive notifications you get on social media sites, ie: you’ll see a red badge denoting how many unread notifications you have, and you can either read them or dismiss them.
You also have full granular control via your account settings to enable or disable notifications for each sport, or each expert that you follow across web, app, and email.
This function allows you to quickly see when an expert makes their picks, instead of trawling the table and refreshing!
Game Hub updates
Our game hub sections needed a refresh after 4 years with much the same information and layout. We’ve added more relevant information to this section, with more to come. For now, our NFL game hubs have added the following:
Expert and fan consensus picks
Most accurate experts/fans for each game (ie: who have the best combined record picking both teams - Pro feature)
Expanded head to head stats with more metrics, and a better bar chart layout to quickly see who is best in each area
Lineups (skill positions) and depth charts (all positions) and matchup rankings
Player Prop picks
Improved standings and schedules section
As mentioned, we have some other good ways to visualize some of this data, particularly as it relates to your control over the timeframes involved, and how you compare offensive and defensive units, but we’ll expand on those as the season progresses. For now, our focus is simply on adding the same data we hold for the NFL to all other sports, which we’ll be doing once we have completed the last touches to NFL and NCAAF specific features.
Upset Watch updates
As you can imagine, this is the one I love most, and the one I am most passionate about. I’ll cover this specifically in an upcoming blog for our thousands of Pro users, but I’ll briefly explain how it will look and work.
I wanted Upset Watch to have a permanent home on our platform, and move away from simply being a ‘blog post’ that updates each Wednesday during the season. The main reason for this was that blog posts are difficult to format correctly for something as complex as Upset Watch, but the other advantage to having a permanent home was that even if you click on it on Tuesday, you can at least see the raw data that we work from, and I know that a LOT of people wanted to be able to drill down into the weighted stats.
For me the most exciting part is that those weighted stats will not only update automatically every week (Than the LORD), saving me days of manual work, but also be something you can peruse at your leisure, comparing which teams perform above their expectations against different opponents.
It’s huge, and we’ll go into more detail in the week before the NFL season. Our plan is then to analyze how that goes this season, and then press on creating Upset Watch for other sports!
New expert profiles
Our expert profiles were 3 years old and not very useful. There was too much going on in some places, and not enough in others. Fundamentally, they weren’t really that helpful.
That’s why we’re replacing them with a new profile that is clearer, and allows you to interact with their data and track them over different timescales. You can still look through historical picks, weekly records, and lifetime stats, but they’re housed more logically, and we’ve got rid of some of the more ‘wild’ colours!
Similar changes are already live on the Pickwatch app, so if you want to check up on a user or expert, it’s now much easier on a mobile device too. You can expect to see these changes elsewhere in the next few weeks.
We know it can be a very emotive thing to place your trust in us to handle your card details, and we also know from experience ourselves that having an option like PayPal is helpful when you want to make sure a transaction is safe.
That’s why we spent a lot of time this year making PayPal available as a payment method for all packages. It isn’t the sexiest feature, but it was an essential one!
Our User Interface changes are numerous. The first thing you’ll notice is the right hand menu. This area was previously home to the pick form, but read on for more on that. Now, It houses a lot of quick links that had become buried in our main menu, or in some cases, required 2-3 clicks to find within a table or account menu. It’s navy so that you can focus your attention entirely on the data. Oh, and if you want to add more columns or have a smaller screen, it can be minimized for convenience!
The most fundamental change to our design is in the pick form. This is now much improved and able to be toggled on and off at will with one click. Simply click or tap the green ‘make picks’ icon in the menu bar (which will follow you down the page so you don’t lose it) and the form will appear and cover the right-hand side of the screen. It shouldn’t cover the data in the table, but if it does because you have a smaller screen and toggle lots of columns on, it can be opened and closed at will.
Having tested it for some months, the new form is a vast improvement on the old static pick section, which sometimes had you scrolling down to the bottom of the page, far removed from the data you need, while making picks!
There are lots of other improvements. The area above the table has been improved to be clearer - things like the date selectors, and toggles for experts, fans, and your favorite experts.
We’ve color-coded some data to give you a clearer idea of who has performed the best in each category (we’ll be giving you more control over this in future) and if you tap on an expert’s name, you’ll get an option to follow them, or view their full profile.
As for those columns in the table, I mentioned that some of you may have more than others - we’ve simplified the initial view to ensure new users aren’t overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information, but you can turn all columns on or off at will, and if you’re logged in, those will be remembered next time you visit.
We’re also adding more column options soon, including some of our best data - last 5 weeks performance and team-by-team data - so some of you could well need that sidebar minimizing!
As you can tell, there are literally hundreds of small improvements across Pickwatch this year. Our overall aim was to make the core of the service as useful as possible, and we think we’ve gone some way to achieving that.
Pickwatch Essential Access
As you’ll no doubt notice, some of our best data now requires you to sign up for an Essential package.
I’ve written a lot about why we needed to do this here, but the short version is that we could not exist as a free service forever, particularly when our data is so beneficial, and the cost of doing what we do significantly increases each year.
The good news is that we are giving it away for an incredibly low price of just $10 for a whole year or $2 per month. The cost of a single unvalidated pick from a tipster service elsewhere is treble what an entire year costs of Pickwatch Essential, and the essential package will not only give you access to everything you’ve previously had for free on Pickwatch, but also adds Team by team expert metrics, and Underdog Metrics, both of which were previously for Pro users only.
Subscriptions are very simple, can be managed through your account with one click. They apply to all sports, so one payment will guarantee you a year of every sport. We think that’s a hell of a deal, and we know that no competition comes close to the level of depth and completion we have across so many sports. The exclusive data we get from people in the industry means that we have every pick from every expert you could find - and then some!
Lots of things!
Our list includes:
More customization options for the main tables - Add more data columns and have more control of what you see.
New explainer videos - we’ll walk you through some of the best ways to use Pickwatch
Streak leaderboards - compare who has the best historical and current active streaks
Game hubs for all sports (not just NFL)
Some performance upgrades and new options to share links.
New feedback forms so you can let us know what is working and how we can improve.
We hope you enjoy this new improved version of Pickwatch. We think it’s far and away the best it’s ever been, and we know many of you will agree. We’ve kept the good, ironed out the bad, and made it a really easy to use platform again.
If you have any feedback, you know where to send it to, and I’ll be back again with updates throughout the season on our biggest user competition ever, and when our new Upset Watch section launches.
For now, let’s have a GREAT 2023 season!
Shaun and the Pickwatch team