NFL 2018 Week 9 Predictions – Zoltar Likes Vegas Favorites Panthers, Chiefs, Patriots

Zoltar is my NFL prediction computer program. It uses a deep neural network and reinforcement learning. Here are Zoltar’s predictions for week #9 of the 2018 NFL season:

Zoltar: fortyniners  by    4  dog =     raiders    Vegas: fortyniners  by  3.5
Zoltar:       bills  by    2  dog =       bears    Vegas:       bears  by    1
Zoltar:    panthers  by   10  dog =  buccaneers    Vegas:    panthers  by  6.5
Zoltar:      chiefs  by   12  dog =      browns    Vegas:      chiefs  by    8
Zoltar:    dolphins  by    6  dog =        jets    Vegas:    dolphins  by    3
Zoltar:     vikings  by    6  dog =       lions    Vegas:     vikings  by  5.5
Zoltar:    steelers  by    0  dog =      ravens    Vegas:      ravens  by    3
Zoltar:    redskins  by    4  dog =     falcons    Vegas:    redskins  by  1.5
Zoltar:      texans  by    0  dog =     broncos    Vegas:     broncos  by  2.5
Zoltar:    seahawks  by    2  dog =    chargers    Vegas:    seahawks  by  1.5
Zoltar:        rams  by    0  dog =      saints    Vegas:      saints  by    1
Zoltar:    patriots  by   10  dog =     packers    Vegas:    patriots  by  6.5
Zoltar:     cowboys  by    3  dog =      titans    Vegas:     cowboys  by  6.5

Zoltar theoretically suggests betting when the Vegas line is more than 3.0 points different from Zoltar’s prediction. For week #9 Zoltar has four hypothetical suggestions.

1. Zoltar likes the Vegas favorite Panthers against the Buccaneers. Zoltar thinks the Panthers are 10 points better than the Buccs but Vegas has the Panthers as favorites by only 6.5 points. Therefore, Zoltar believes the Panthers will cover the spread in betting terminology.

2. Zoltar likes the Vegas favorite Chiefs against the Browns. Zoltar thinks the Chiefs are 12 points better than the Browns but Vegas has the Chiefs favored only by 8.0 points. I suspect that humans are over-reacting to the Brown firings their head coach yesterday, somehow thinking the Browns will play above their ability for their new coach. We’ll see.

3. Zoltar likes the Vegas favorite Patriots against the Packers. Zoltar thinks the Patriots are 10 points better than the Packers, but Vegas has the Patriots favored by only 6.5 points.

4. Zoltar likes the Vegas underdog Titans against the Cowboys. Zoltar thinks the Cowboys are 3 points better than the Titans but Vegas thinks the Cowboys are 6.5 points better than the Titans. A bet on the Titans will pay off if the Titans win (by any score) or if the Cowboys win by less than 6.5 points (in other words, 6 points or less).

Theoretically, if you must bet $110 to win $100 (typical in Vegas) 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 does when just trying to predict just which team will win a game (not by how many points). This isn’t useful except for parlay betting.

Zoltar sometimes predicts a 0-point margin of victory. There are three such games in week #9: Steelers-Ravens, Texans-Broncos, Rams-Saints. 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, but not always, ends up in a prediction that the home team will win).


Zoltar did fairly well in week #8. Against the Vegas point spread, Zoltar was 3-2. For the season so far, against the Vegas spread Zoltar is 26-15 which is about 63% accuracy.

Just predicting winners, Zoltar was a pretty good 11-3. Vegas also went 11-3 just predicting which team would win. For the season, just predicting which team will win, Zoltar is 86-33 (just above 72% accuracy) and Vegas is 84-33 (just below 72% accuracy).

My system is named after the Zoltar fortune teller machine (left). Some guy created an amazing motorized Zoltar machine he drives for parades (two center photos). Everyone loves Zoltar, even fake Zoltars (right).

This entry was posted in Machine Learning, Zoltar. Bookmark the permalink.