Zoltar is my NFL prediction computer program. Here are Zoltar’s predictions for week 5 of the 2016 NFL season:
Zoltar: cardinals by 4 dog = fortyniners Vegas: cardinals by 3 Zoltar: colts by 6 dog = bears Vegas: colts by 4.5 Zoltar: dolphins by 6 dog = titans Vegas: dolphins by 3.5 Zoltar: eagles by 0 dog = lions Vegas: eagles by 3 Zoltar: steelers by 6 dog = jets Vegas: steelers by 7.5 Zoltar: patriots by 12 dog = browns Vegas: patriots by 10 Zoltar: redskins by 0 dog = ravens Vegas: ravens by 3.5 Zoltar: vikings by 6 dog = texans Vegas: vikings by 6 Zoltar: broncos by 7 dog = falcons Vegas: broncos by 6 Zoltar: rams by 4 dog = bills Vegas: rams by 3 Zoltar: raiders by 7 dog = chargers Vegas: raiders by 4.5 Zoltar: bengals by 2 dog = cowboys Vegas: bengals by 1 Zoltar: packers by 6 dog = giants Vegas: packers by 7.5 Zoltar: panthers by 10 dog = buccaneers Vegas: panthers by 6
Zoltar theoretically suggests betting when the Vegas line is more than 3.0 points different from Zoltar’s prediction. For week 5 Zoltar has only two suggestions:
1. Zoltar likes the Vegas underdog Redskins against the Ravens. Zoltar thinks the two teams are evenly matched and predicts the Ravens will not cover the 3.5 Vegas point spread.
2. Zoltar likes the Vegas favorite Panthers against the Buccaneers. Zoltar thinks the Panthers are 10 pojnts better than the Buccs and so the Panthers will cover the 6.0 Vegas point spread.
In week 4, Zoltar went a mediocre 3-2 against the Vegas point spread. For the year, Zoltar is 12-7 against the Vegas spread, for 63% 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. But realistically, you need to predict at 60% accuracy or better.
Just for fun, I track how well Zoltar and Cortana/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 4, just predicting winners, Zoltar was just 8-7. Bing was only 7-8.
For the season, just predicting winners, Zoltar is 36-27 (57% accuracy). Bing is 32-31 (51% 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.