Analyzing Cortana's NFL Picks for Week 3 Betting Value

Swinging Johnson

Friday, September 19, 2014 4:19 PM UTC

Friday, Sep. 19, 2014 4:19 PM UTC

Microsoft’s Cortana correctly predicted 9 of 16 outright winners in its Week 2 NFL picks.  Find out what this new gizmo does in Week 3.

Cortana Week 2 Recap
I used to frequent a barroom where the slogan was “First shot is on the house…after that you have to use your own bullets.”  So you can imagine that if I walked through that dilapidated door, among all those haggard faces, and boasted that my NFL picks record was 19-13 on the season they would be mildly impressed until they learned that the record I cited was outright winners and not against the spread.  Let the ass kicking begin.

And such is the case for the brainiacs at Microsoft who are faring a tad better than the favorites installed by Vegas.  On the young season Cortana is 19-13 versus Vegas’s installed favorites registering a 17-15 record simply winning the game but not necessarily covering the point spread.  The inherent flaw with Cortana, from a gambler’s perspective, is that it doesn’t factor in the point spread and is thus heavily biased towards the favorite.  Last week Cortana’s 9-7 record was actually 7-9 ATS (*Correction: last week’s article reported that Cortana picked the Eagles over the Colts when in fact it picked the Colts which was a loser both outright and against the spread).

And so Cortana’s 19-13 record on predicting the right side to win the game is fairly impressive yet it is a dismal 13-19 ATS on the young season.  In the misery loves company department, NFL gamblers worldwide can take solace in the fact that so far even sophisticated algorithmic programs created by uber intelligent people are just as likely to fall victim to the all-important NFL odds.


Cortana’s Week 3 NFL Picks
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons — Falcons win, 71.6% chance (Falcons -6.5) 

San Diego Chargers vs. Buffalo Bills — Chargers win, 51.5% chance (Bills -2.5)

Dallas Cowboys vs. St. Louis Rams — Cowboys win, 55% chance (Cowboys -1)

Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles — Eagles win, 72.9% chance (Eagles -6.5)

Houston Texans vs. New York Giants — Texans win, 58.2% chance (Texans -2.5)

Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints — Saints win, 74.2% chance (Saints -9.5)

Tennessee Titans vs. Cincinnati Bengals — Bengals win, 71.6% chance (Bengals -7)

Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns — Browns win, 58.2% chance (Ravens -1.5)

Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions — Lions win, 58.2% chance (Lions -1.5)

Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars — Colts win, 64.4% chance (Colts -6.5)

Oakland Raiders vs. New England Patriots — Patriots win, 82% chance (Patriots -14)

San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals — 49ers win, 58.2% chance (49ers -2.5)

Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks — Seahawks win, 58.2% chance (Seahawks -5)

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Miami Dolphins — Dolphins win, 53.3% chance (Dolphins -4.5)

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Carolina Panthers — Panthers win, 67.4% chance (Panthers -3.5)

Chicago Bears vs. New York Jets — Jets win, 58.2% chance (Jets -2.5)


So What’s It All Mean?
It means Cortana is once again all about the chalk disagreeing with Vegas on only two games, Baltimore/Cleveland and San Diego/Buffalo.  But even in those games the Ravens are only 1 ½ point road favorites over the Browns and the Bills are a 2 ½ point home favorite over the Chargers.  When will Cortana show us a 4 ½-point or higher underdog with a 76% chance of winning?!  Probably not likely to happen but we do know that one of the highest percentage rated teams on the board picked to win, the Atlanta Falcons (71.6% chance of winning) crushed the Bucs on Thursday night.  But will the other 13 favorites Cortana picked fare as well?

If you’re still alive in your suicide pool and have yet to pick the Patriots then Cortana says New England (82% chance of defeating the Raiders) is your best bet on the Week 3 board which just so happens to be the biggest favorite in NFL odds as they are currently saddled with a 14-point handicap.  Good luck to all this weekend and may your NFL picks have more success than Cortana has had thus far.

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