Can freight market data predict college football game scores?

Can the freight markets predict the outcome of sporting events? Very unlikely. The two data sets have absolutely nothing to do with one another. After all, the freight market is a reflection of the balance of supply/demand and college football scores are reflections of the quality of the team and the play-calling ability of the coaches.

But that doesn’t mean that we can’t have fun with our fundamental freight market data and try to use it to predict outcomes of college football games.

Looking at ULSD volume data can be a drag. Plus, as freight market journalists we rarely get to talk sports, so we pitched to our bosses that this would be a fun way to blend sports and freight market data. Sorry NFL fans, college football rules down South (considering the fact that we’re based in Chattanooga, TN).

With college football opening this weekend, we wanted to see if we could use fundamental freight market data to predict a college football score outcome. 

To keep score, we will use (SONAR:OTVI). OTVI stands for Outbound Tender Volume Index. We are using OTVI because it is a great temperature gauge of the local freight market. This index tracks the load volume out of a specific market, compared to how many loads the market produced on March 1, 2018. A number that is higher than the March 1, 2018 number will indicate higher load volumes today. A lower number than the index showed on March 1, 2018 will indicate lower load volumes today. If you want to put up points in trucking, pure volume will do that for you.  

To calculate the final scores, we will chart both teams on the OTVI chart, starting on March 1, 2018 and finishing on the Wednesday before the game is played. We will take the value of change over the time period and multiply the team’s average score last year.

The team with the highest relative change on OTVI will have a better game relative to their historical performance, but it doesn’t mean they will win. They must also have good historical scoring averages on the college football field.

This week’s game:

New Mexico State Aggies vs. Wyoming Cowboys

Since college football season doesn’t officially begin for a week, we only have a few games to choose from. For this week, we are going to pick the match between Wyoming and New Mexico State.

About University of Wyoming:

 University of wyoming, laramie, WY
University of wyoming, laramie, WY

The Wyoming Cowboys represent the University of Wyoming. Based in Laramie, Wyoming, the university has just 12,397 students. The school is a land-grant school and sits at an elevation of 7,220 feet. The Wyoming Cowboys are gold and brown with Cowboy Joe as the school’s mascot.

The Cowboys are a part of the Mountain West Conference and are coached by Craig Bohl. This will be Bohl’s fifth season, having joined the team in 2014. Bohl is considered the real deal in coaching circles, having built North Dakota State into an FCS powerhouse. The most notable game played in his career was when NDSU defeated Kansas State in the opening game after Bill Snider’s team won the Big 12 Championship the year earlier. Under Bohl’s leadership, the team has become a defensive powerhouse in the Mountain West, following the model he built at North Dakota State.

 Coach craig bohl
Coach craig bohl

About New Mexico State:

 new mexico state university campus 
new mexico state university campus 

The New Mexico State Aggies represent the Las Cruces-based New Mexico State University. The University is much larger than Wyoming, sporting a student enrollment of 24,850. The school is highly regarded for its research capabilities. The NMSU Aggies are crimson and white with Pistol Pete as their mascot.


The Aggies are an independent school, playing without being tied to a conference. The football team is coached by Doug Martin. His record has been poor, having only won 28% of the games he has coached. Last year, the Aggies had a better year, culminating in a victory in the Arizona Bowl.

Game location, time, network:

The game will be played at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, NM. The stadium holds 30,343 and is artificial turf. Kick-off will be after 10PM EST on 8/25 on ESPN2.

 aggie memorial stadium
aggie memorial stadium

What the freight data says:

Wyoming SONAR Ticker Code: DEN (Laramie, Wyoming is zoned for Denver, just 131 miles north of the Mile High City).

New Mexico State SONAR Ticker Code: ELP (Las Cruces, New Mexico is zoned for El Paso, just 46 miles northwest of the border town).

Offense (Outbound Tender Volume Index):

Wyoming: OTVI.DEN


 sonar: otvi.den comparing otvi.elp
sonar: otvi.den comparing otvi.elp

Wyoming is the clear winner here. If were an actual game, it would be brutal. According to the relative chart for outbound tenders between OTVI.DEN and OTVI.ELP (they are indexed to activity on March 1, 2018), Denver is up 99% and El Paso is down 13%. This means that Denver’s truckload market volume has nearly doubled in the past five and half months, while El Paso has has deteriorated by 13%.

Looking at this from a football perspective:

Wyoming scored an average of 23.2 points per game last year. A 99% increase in points over their average would put them at 46 points scored.

NMSU scored an average of 29.3 points per game last year. A 13% decrease in points over their average would put them at 25 points.

 university of wyoming cowboy football 
university of wyoming cowboy football 

Final score: Aggies 25 Cowboys 46

Disclosure: Unlike fundamental data from the freight market, SONAR actually knows nothing about college football. Don’t make a bet based on SONAR’s recommendation of the winning team. This is for entertainment purposes only.

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