Zoltar is my NFL prediction computer program. Here are Zoltar’s predictions for week 7 of the 2016 NFL season:
Zoltar: packers by 10 dog = bears Vegas: packers by 9 Zoltar: giants by 1 dog = rams Vegas: giants by 3 Zoltar: vikings by 4 dog = eagles Vegas: vikings by 2.5 Zoltar: jets by 6 dog = ravens Vegas: ravens by 0 Zoltar: bengals by 12 dog = browns Vegas: bengals by 10 Zoltar: chiefs by 7 dog = saints Vegas: chiefs by 7 Zoltar: colts by 0 dog = titans Vegas: titans by 4 Zoltar: bills by 1 dog = dolphins Vegas: bills by 3 Zoltar: redskins by 0 dog = lions Vegas: lions by 1 Zoltar: raiders by 0 dog = jaguars Vegas: jaguars by 1.5 Zoltar: buccaneers by 0 dog = fortyniners Vegas: buccaneers by 2 Zoltar: falcons by 9 dog = chargers Vegas: falcons by 6.5 Zoltar: patriots by 0 dog = steelers Vegas: patriots by 7.5 Zoltar: cardinals by 4 dog = seahawks Vegas: cardinals by 1.5 Zoltar: broncos by 6 dog = texans Vegas: broncos by 7
Zoltar theoretically suggests betting when the Vegas line is more than 3.0 points different from Zoltar’s prediction. So for week 7 Zoltar has only three suggestions:
1. Zoltar likes the Jets against the Ravens. The Vegas line is “pick-em” but Zoltar thinks the Jets are six points better than the Ravens.
2. Zoltar likes the Vegas underdog Steelers against the Patriots. Zoltar thinks the two teams are evenly matched (and that the injury to the Steeler’s QB is not critical) and so the Patriots will not cover the 7.5 Vegas point spread (so a bet on the Steelers will pay off if the Steelers win outright, or if the Patriots win but by 7 points or less).
3. Zoltar likes the Vegas underdog Colts against the Titans. Vegas has the Titans favored by 4.0 points by Zoltar says the teams are evenly matched.
(Note: my original post had the wrong point spread for a few games, including Colts-Titans, because the program didn’t take into account the Giants-Rams game was in London).
In week 6, Zoltar went 2-1 against the Vegas point spread. For the year, Zoltar is 15-9 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 6, just predicting winners, Zoltar was a pretty good 10-5. Bing was decent at 8-7.
For the season, just predicting winners, Zoltar is 55-37 (60% accuracy). Bing is 48-44 (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.