Zoltar is my NFL prediction computer program. Here are Zoltar’s predictions for week 16 of the 2016 NFL season:
Zoltar: giants by 3 dog = eagles Vegas: giants by 2.5 Zoltar: bills by 1 dog = dolphins Vegas: bills by 3.5 Zoltar: packers by 5 dog = vikings Vegas: packers by 7 Zoltar: patriots by 15 dog = jets Vegas: patriots by 16.5 Zoltar: titans by 4 dog = jaguars Vegas: titans by 4.5 Zoltar: redskins by 4 dog = bears Vegas: redskins by 3.5 Zoltar: chargers by 4 dog = browns Vegas: chargers by 6.5 Zoltar: panthers by 5 dog = falcons Vegas: falcons by 3.5 Zoltar: raiders by 6 dog = colts Vegas: raiders by 4 Zoltar: buccaneers by 0 dog = saints Vegas: saints by 3 Zoltar: rams by 7 dog = fortyniners Vegas: rams by 3.5 Zoltar: seahawks by 6 dog = cardinals Vegas: seahawks by 8.5 Zoltar: texans by 5 dog = bengals Vegas: texans by 2 Zoltar: steelers by 6 dog = ravens Vegas: steelers by 5 Zoltar: chiefs by 6 dog = broncos Vegas: chiefs by 4.5 Zoltar: cowboys by 6 dog = lions Vegas: cowboys by 7
Zoltar theoretically suggests betting when the Vegas line is more than 3.0 points different from Zoltar’s prediction. For week 16 Zoltar has just one suggestion, meaning that Zoltar and Las Vegas agree very closely this week.
1. Zoltar likes the Vegas favorite Rams against the 49ers. Zoltar thinks the Rams are 7.0 points better than the 49ers but Vegas says the Rams will win only by 3.5 points.
In week 15, Zoltar went a bad 3-5 against the Vegas point spread. It could have been worse except for a late change in the Vegas line for the Steelers-Bengals game.
For the season so far, Zoltar is 37-25 against the Vegas spread, for 60% 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 15, just predicting winners, Zoltar was a good 12-4. Cortana/Bing had the exact same predicted winners as Zoltar and so Cortana/Bing was also 12-4 just predicting winners.
For the season, just predicting winners, Zoltar is 152-70 (68% accuracy). Cortana/Bing is 140-82 (63% accuracy). There have been two ties this season, which I don’t include.
Note: Zoltar sometimes predicts a 0-point margin of victory. In those situations, to pick a winner so I can compare against Cortana/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 (which usually ends up in a prediction that the home team will win).
A small part of the sports betting area at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas