Microsoft’s Cortana has a nifty little feature; it predicts the winner of sports contests. The Cortana nailed 15 of 16 World Cup victors and now it’s going to play football. Can this tool be the Holy Grail of our NFL picks?!
So How Does it Work?
Well, you’re asking the wrong guy because I don’t know the difference between an algorithm and an angiogram. But what I do know is that this funky little device, originally developed as a virtual phone assistant to Microsoft’s Windows phone (think Siri for Apple’s IPhone), takes into account the previous season’s results, offensive and defensive statistics, weather, location, margin of victory and even public opinion which is used to signal significant injuries to one side or the other.
If you’re still on the fence, note that Cortana correctly identified the winners of 15 of 16 World Cup knockout stage matches and even went rogue by predicting an upset of Brazil at the hands of the Germans in the semifinal match while other prediction models pointed to Brazil as the winner. But alas, the fly in the ointment is that it does not account for the dreaded point spread. Let’s peer into Cortana’s crystal binary ball for Week 1 in the NFL.
Cortana’s Week 1 NFL Picks
- Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks — Seahawks (-5, -235) win - 74.2% chance
- New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons — Falcons (+3, +140) win - 61.4% chance
- Minnesota Vikings vs. St. Louis Rams — Rams (-3 ½ , -175) win - 67.4% chance
- Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers — Steelers (-6 ½ , -300) win - 70.2% chance
- Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Philadelphia Eagles — Eagles (10 ½, -525) win - 75.4% chance
- Oakland Raiders vs. New York Jets — Jets (-5 ½, -255) win - 62.9% chance
- Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens — Ravens (-1, -120) win - 59.8% chance
- Buffalo Bills vs. Chicago Bears — Bears (6 ½, -290) win - 64.4% chance
- Washington Redskins vs. Houston Texans — Texans (-3, -180) win - 51% chance
- Tennessee Titans vs. Kansas City Chiefs — Chiefs (-3, -165) win - 64.4% chance
- New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins — Patriots (-4, -200) win - 61.4% chance
- Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Buccaneers — Buccaneers (-2 ½, -145) win - 56.6% chance)
- San Francisco 49ers vs. Dallas Cowboys — 49ers (-4, -195) win 68.8% chance
- Indianapolis Colts vs. Denver Broncos — Broncos (-7 ½, -350) win 77.8% chance
- New York Giants vs. Detroit Lions — Lions (-6, -265) win - 61.4%% chance
- San Diego Chargers vs. Arizona Cardinals — Cardinals (-3, -170) win - 58.2% chance
Upon Further Review
After perusing the NFL odds for this upcoming week I’m not sure Cortana has impressed me all that much. As a matter of fact I dare say Cortana is a chalk eater, a square, a lumber layer or any other term that defines someone or something that overwhelmingly chooses the favorite. Microsoft’s newest whiz bang invention has selected 15 of 16 NFL odds favorites in Week 1. So how do we use this model without just blindly betting the chalk because remember, Cortana might prove to be right but not by enough - if you’re laying points.
Put it to Work
For all you suicide pool strategists who merely need to pick one team to win outright with no NFL point spread involved then there are four obvious choices. The Seattle Seahawks as 5 ½ point favorites over Green Bay not only defeated the Packers but easily covered to the tune of 36-16. Win one for Cortana.
If you missed that opportunity then might I suggest the Steelers currently awash in public and/or sharp money as the line opened at -5 and has now risen to as high as -7 at offshores like 5Dimes.com.
The Philadelphia Eagles are the second biggest favorite on the board and Cortana believes they are likely to walk away with a win after Week 1. The Iggles are -10 ½ currently and are a prohibitive money line betting favorite at -525.
Finally, the Denver Broncos are Cortana’s top pick and have been tabbed as having a 77.8% chance of defeating the Colts at home. The NFL point spread here opened at Denver -6 ½ and has climbed to as high as -9 (+110) at 5Dimes.com.
Those are the four teams predicted to have a greater than 70% chance to win this week. But would you bet them all on the money line for your NFL picks? Cortana says you should!