Zoltar is my NFL prediction computer program. Here are Zoltar’s predictions for week 2 of the 2017 NFL season:
Zoltar: texans by 0 dog = bengals Vegas: bengals by 4 Zoltar: steelers by 6 dog = vikings Vegas: steelers by 7 Zoltar: colts by 4 dog = cardinals Vegas: cardinals by 7.5 Zoltar: buccaneers by 10 dog = bears Vegas: buccaneers by 6.5 Zoltar: ravens by 11 dog = browns Vegas: ravens by 7.5 Zoltar: chiefs by 7 dog = eagles Vegas: chiefs by 4.5 Zoltar: panthers by 1 dog = bills Vegas: panthers by 7.5 Zoltar: patriots by 4 dog = saints Vegas: patriots by 4.5 Zoltar: titans by 0 dog = jaguars Vegas: titans by 1.5 Zoltar: dolphins by 2 dog = chargers Vegas: chargers by 4 Zoltar: raiders by 11 dog = jets Vegas: raiders by 13.5 Zoltar: cowboys by 0 dog = broncos Vegas: cowboys by 2 Zoltar: seahawks by 11 dog = fortyniners Vegas: seahawks by 13 Zoltar: redskins by 0 dog = rams Vegas: rams by 2.5 Zoltar: falcons by 4 dog = packers Vegas: falcons by 2.5 Zoltar: giants by 4 dog = lions Vegas: giants by 5
Zoltar theoretically suggests betting when the Vegas line is more than 3.0 points different from Zoltar’s prediction. For week 2 Zoltar has six hypothetical suggestions. But the first few weeks are a lot of guesswork by both Zoltar and Las Vegas.
1. Zoltar likes the Vegas underdog Texans against the Bengals. Zoltar thinks the two teams are evenly matched but Vegas says the Bengals will win by 4.0 points, so Zoltar thinks the Bengals won’t cover the spread.
2. Zoltar likes the Vegas underdog Colts against the Cardinals. Vegas has the Cardinals as a huge 7.5 point favorites, but Zoltar (inexplicably) thinks the Colts will win by 4 points. I suspect there is a key injury involved — I haven’t checked yet.
3. Zoltar likes the Vegas favorite Buccaneers against the Bears. Zoltar thinks the Buccs will crush the Bears by 10 points but Vegas says the Buccs will win, but only by 6.5 points.
4. Zoltar likes the Vegas favorite Ravens against the hapless Browns. Vegas believes that the Ravens will win by 6.5 points, but Zoltar thinks the Ravens will annihilate the Browns and win by 11 points.
5. Zoltar likes the Vegas underdog Bills against the Carolina Panthers. Zoltar believes the Panthers are 1 point better than the Bills, but Vegas has the Panthers as 7.5 point favorites. Therefore Zoltar believes the Panthers will win but they won’t cover the spread.
6. Zoltar likes the Vegas underdog Dolphins against the LA Chargers. Zoltar thinks the Dolphins will actually win by 2 points, but Vegas has the Chargers as 4.0 point favorites.
Week #1 was good news, bad news for Zoltar. The bad news was that Zoltar was a terrible 1-3 against the spread (with one game still to be decided, because the Dolphins-Buccaneers game has been postponed due to one of the hurricanes).
The good news is that, just predicting which teams will win (not against the spread), Zoltar went a very good 11-4 (again, with one game pending). Week #1 was difficult to predict for many systems. I track Bing/Cortana, and that system went a so-so 8-7 when just predicting the winner. Many other published predictions were even worse. And the Las Vegas line was an OK-but-not-great 9-6 for predicting winners.