Zoltar is my NFL prediction computer program. Here are Zoltar’s predictions for week 19 (division playoffs) of the 2016 NFL season:
Zoltar: falcons by 4 dog = seahawks Vegas: falcons by 4.5 Zoltar: patriots by 10 dog = texans Vegas: patriots by 16 Zoltar: chiefs by 6 dog = steelers Vegas: chiefs by 1 Zoltar: cowboys by 2 dog = packers Vegas: cowboys by 4
Zoltar theoretically suggests betting when the Vegas line is more than 3.0 points different from Zoltar’s prediction. For week 19 Zoltar has one suggestion.
1. Zoltar likes the Vegas favorite Chiefs against the Steelers. Zoltar thinks the Chiefs are 6.0 points better than the Steelers, but Vegas says the Chiefs will win by only 1.0 point. So a bet on the Chiefs will pay off if the Chiefs win by 2 or more points.
Note: Zoltar theoretically likes the Vegas underdog Texans against the Patriots, however my advanced Zoltar says the Patriots will crush the Texans. Also, advanced Zoltar says that the Falcons will beat the Seahawks by 9.0 points, mostly due to the injury to the Seahawks strong safety combined with the Falcon’s passing statistics.
In week 18, Zoltar went 0-0 against the Vegas point spread, because he didn’t recommend any bets.
For the 2016 regular season plus playoff games, Zoltar is 43-28 against the Vegas spread, for 61% accuracy. Historically, Zoltar is usually between 62% and 72% accuracy against the Vegas spread over the course of an entire season, so Zoltar is doing only OK.
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 18, just predicting winners, Zoltar was 4-0 (but so was almost everyone else). Cortana/Bing was 3-1 just predicting winners (Cortana incorrectly predicted the Raiders would beat the Texans).
For the 2016 season, just predicting winners, Zoltar is 178-80 (69% accuracy). Cortana/Bing is 165-93 (64% accuracy). There were two tie games in the season, which I didn’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).