Zoltar is my NFL prediction computer program. Here are Zoltar’s predictions for week 6 of the 2016 NFL season:
Zoltar: broncos by 8 dog = chargers Vegas: broncos by 3 Zoltar: rams by 0 dog = lions Vegas: lions by 3.5 Zoltar: panthers by 3 dog = saints Vegas: panthers by 3 Zoltar: bears by 2 dog = jaguars Vegas: bears by 2 Zoltar: steelers by 5 dog = dolphins Vegas: steelers by 7.5 Zoltar: giants by 2 dog = ravens Vegas: giants by 3 Zoltar: bills by 9 dog = fortyniners Vegas: bills by 8 Zoltar: titans by 6 dog = browns Vegas: titans by 7 Zoltar: patriots by 6 dog = bengals Vegas: patriots by 9 Zoltar: redskins by 4 dog = eagles Vegas: eagles by 2 Zoltar: chiefs by 0 dog = raiders Vegas: raiders by 1 Zoltar: packers by 6 dog = cowboys Vegas: packers by 4.5 Zoltar: seahawks by 4 dog = falcons Vegas: seahawks by 6 Zoltar: texans by 6 dog = colts Vegas: texans by 3 Zoltar: cardinals by 6 dog = jets Vegas: cardinals by 8
Zoltar theoretically suggests betting when the Vegas line is more than 3.0 points different from Zoltar’s prediction. So for week 6 Zoltar has three suggestions:
1. Zoltar likes the Vegas favorite Broncos against the Chargers. Zoltar thinks the Broncos are eight points better than the Chargers and so the Broncos will win and cover the 2.0 Vegas point spread.
2. Zoltar likes the Vegas underdog Rams against the Lions. Zoltar thinks the two teams are evenly matched and so the Lions will not cover the 3.5 Vegas point spread (so a bet on the Rams will pay off if the Rams win outright, or if the Lions win but by 3 points or less).
3. Zoltar likes the Vegas underdog Redskins against the Eagles. Zoltar thinks the Redskins are 4 points better than the Vegas favorite Eagles and so predicts the Eagles will not be able to cover the 2.0 Vegas point spread.
In week 5, Zoltar went only 1-1 against the Vegas point spread (those darn Carolina Panthers played horribly on Monday night). For the year, Zoltar is 13-8 against the Vegas spread, for 62% 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 5, just predicting winners, Zoltar was a so-so 9-5. Bing was only 8-6.
For the season, just predicting winners, Zoltar is 45-32 (58% accuracy). Bing is 40-37 (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 (home field records) for the current season.