Zoltar is my NFL prediction program. Here are Zoltar’s predictions for week 4 of the 2016 NFL season:
Zoltar: bengals by 8 dog = dolphins Vegas: bengals by 7 Zoltar: colts by 0 dog = jaguars Vegas: colts by 2.5 Zoltar: patriots by 10 dog = bills Vegas: patriots by 4.5 Zoltar: texans by 10 dog = titans Vegas: texans by 6.5 Zoltar: lions by 0 dog = bears Vegas: lions by 3 Zoltar: jets by 2 dog = seahawks Vegas: seahawks by 1.5 Zoltar: ravens by 2 dog = raiders Vegas: ravens by 3.5 Zoltar: panthers by 1 dog = falcons Vegas: panthers by 3.5 Zoltar: redskins by 10 dog = browns Vegas: redskins by 9.5 Zoltar: broncos by 5 dog = buccaneers Vegas: broncos by 3 Zoltar: cardinals by 6 dog = rams Vegas: cardinals by 9 Zoltar: saints by 0 dog = chargers Vegas: chargers by 4 Zoltar: fortyniners by 2 dog = cowboys Vegas: cowboys by 3 Zoltar: steelers by 2 dog = chiefs Vegas: steelers by 6 Zoltar: vikings by 10 dog = giants Vegas: vikings by 4
Zoltar theoretically suggests betting when the Vegas line is more than 3.0 points different from Zoltar’s prediction. So for week 4:
1. Zoltar recommends betting on the Vegas favorite Patriots over the Bills because Zoltar predicts the Patriots will win by 10 points, and easily cover the 4.5 point spread.
2. Zoltar recommends betting on the Vegas favorite Texans over the Titans because Zoltar predicts the Texans will win by 10 points, and cover the 6.5 point spread.
3. Zoltar recommends betting on the Vegas underdog Saints over the Chargers because Zoltar predicts a virtual tie and so the Chargers will not cover the 4.o point spread.
4. Zoltar recommends betting on the Vegas underdog Chiefs over the Steelers because Zoltar predicts the Steelers will win by only 2 points, and not cover the 6.0 point spread.
5. Zoltar recommends betting on the Vegas favorite Vikings over the Giants because Zoltar predicts the Vikings will win by 10 points, and easily cover the 4.0 point spread.
In week 3, Zoltar went a so-so 3-2 against the Vegas point spread. For the year, Zoltar is 9-5 against the Vegas spread, for 64% accuracy. Historically, Zoltar is usually between 62% and 72% accuracy against the Vegas spread over the course of an entire season. Theoretically, if you must bet $110 to win $100 (typical) then you’ll make money if you predict at 53% accuracy or better.
Just for fun, I track how well Zoltar and Bing Predictions do when just trying to predict just which team will win a game. This isn’t useful except for parlay betting.
In week 3, just predicting winners, Zoltar was a poor 8-8. Bing was 8-8 also, and so was the Vegas point spread.
For the season, just predicting winners, Zoltar is 27-21 (56% accuracy). Bing is 25-23 (52% accuracy).
Note: Zoltar sometimes predicts a 0-point margin of victory. In those situations, to pick a winner so I can compare against Bing, in the first four weeks of the season, Zoltar picks the home team to win. After week 4, Zoltar uses historical data for the current season. This strategy hurt Zoltar in week #3 because 4 of 5 home teams in such situations lost.