Zoltar is my NFL prediction computer program. Here are Zoltar’s predictions for week 11 of the 2016 NFL season:
Zoltar: panthers by 6 dog = saints Vegas: panthers by 3.5 Zoltar: bengals by 6 dog = bills Vegas: bengals by 4 Zoltar: cowboys by 6 dog = ravens Vegas: cowboys by 7 Zoltar: steelers by 7 dog = browns Vegas: steelers by 9 Zoltar: colts by 6 dog = titans Vegas: colts by 3 Zoltar: chiefs by 10 dog = buccaneers Vegas: chiefs by 7.5 Zoltar: cardinals by 0 dog = vikings Vegas: cardinals by 0 Zoltar: lions by 9 dog = jaguars Vegas: lions by 6.5 Zoltar: giants by 8 dog = bears Vegas: giants by 6 Zoltar: rams by 1 dog = dolphins Vegas: rams by 1 Zoltar: seahawks by 6 dog = eagles Vegas: seahawks by 6 Zoltar: patriots by 12 dog = fortyniners Vegas: patriots by 13.5 Zoltar: redskins by 6 dog = packers Vegas: redskins by 2.5 Zoltar: raiders by 0 dog = texans Vegas: raiders by 5.5
Zoltar theoretically suggests betting when the Vegas line is more than 3.0 points different from Zoltar’s prediction. So for week 10 Zoltar has just two suggestions:
1. Zoltar likes the Vegas favorite Redskins against the Packers. Zoltar thinks the Redskins will win by 6 points but Vegas says the ‘Skins will win only by 2.5 points. A bet on the Redskins will pay off if the Redskins win by 3 points or more.
2. Zoltar likes the Vegas underdog Texans against the Raiders. Zoltar thinks the two teams are evenly matched by Vegas says the Raiders will win by 5.5 points. A bet on the Texans will pay off if the Texans win outright or if the Raiders win but by 5 points or fewer. This game will be played in Mexico City so Zoltar’s home field advantage factor will be off.
In week 10, Zoltar went a so-so 2-1 against the Vegas point spread. Zoltar correctly suggested bets on the Buccaneers and the Dolphins, but gave an incorrect suggestion to bet on the Jets.
For the season so far, Zoltar is 20-13 against the Vegas spread, for about 61% 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 against the spread.
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 10, just predicting winners, Zoltar was a weak 8-6. Cortana/Bing was also not so good with a 7-7 record. For the season, just predicting winners, Zoltar is 93-52 (64% accuracy) and Cortana/Bing is 80-65 (55% accuracy). Note: neither record includes two tie games this season.