NFL 2021 Super Bowl Prediction – Zoltar Thinks the Rams are 3 Points Better than the Bengals

Zoltar is my NFL football prediction computer program. It uses custom reinforcement learning and a neural network. Here is Zoltar’s prediction for the 2021 season Super Bowl (week #22) to be played on February 13, 2022.

Zoltar:        rams  by    3  dog =     bengals    Vegas:        rams  by    4

Zoltar thinks the Los Angeles Rams are 3.0 points better than the Cincinnati Bengals. The Las Vegas point spread says the Rams are 4.0 points better than the Bengals. Because Zoltar agrees closely with the Vegas line, Zoltar does not strongly recommend a bet, but if forced, Zoltar would say bet on the Bengals.

A bet on the Bengals will pay off if the Bengals win by any score, or if the Rams win but by less than 4.0 points (in other words 3 points or less). If the Rams win by exactly 4.0 points, all bets are a push.

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.

In week #21, against the Vegas point spread, Zoltar went 0-0 (using the standard 3.0 points difference as the advice threshold). Zoltar agreed closely with Vegas and so did not have any theoretical advice. Overall, for the season, Zoltar is 66-53 against the spread (~55%).

Just for fun, I track how well Zoltar does when just trying to predict just which team will win a game. This isn’t useful except for parlay betting. In week #21, just predicting the winning team, Zoltar went 1-1, correctly liking the Rams over the 49ers but incorrectly liking the Chiefs over the Bengals.

In week #21, just predicting the winning team, Vegas — “the wisdom of the crowd” also went 1-1, the same as Zoltar.


My system is named after the Zoltar fortune teller machine you can find in arcades. Arcade Zoltar is named after the Zoltar machine from the 1988 movie “Big” where a boy wishes to be an adult. Movie Zoltar is named after the 1960s arcade fortune teller named Zoltan.


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