After an impressive 13-3 performance in Week 1, Microsoft Cortana — the virtual assistant that picks NFL games on Bing — struggled to a 6-10 record in outright picks of all 16 NFL games in Week 2.
Cortana almost always favours the home team, even in close games in which Vegas prefers the visitor. This strategy, though it worked well in the opening week, caused some damage in Week 2.
Seven teams Cortana picked — the Colts, Bears, Saints, Bills, Chiefs, Eagles, and Giants — all lost at home. Conversely, the few away teams that Cortana did pick — the Ravens, Rams, and Dolphins — all fell on the road. In short, it was a wonky Week 2, and Cortana suffered.
So, through two weeks, Cortana is 19-13 (59.3% correct). Nate Silver’s Elo model went 7-8 on the week, (pegging Detroit v. Minnesota at 50/50). Elo has the same number of correct picks as Cortana through two weeks, but a slightly better overall percentage (61%) simply due to the fact that it doesn’t always pick an outright winner (which Cortana does) and thus has fewer losses.
Here are Cortana’s picks for Week 3. This week, Cortana and Vegas are mostly in agreement, except for the Steelers at the Rams. Cortana, as its wont to do, likes the Rams at home. As usual, to find Cortana’s picks you simply have to search “NFL Predictions” on Bing. Vegas point spreads — as of Wednesday morning — are in parentheses, courtesy of Vegas Insider, and we’ll update the percentages and lines over the course of the week.
- Washington Redskins at New York Giants — Giants win, 65.9% chance. (Giants -4)
- Pittsburgh Steelers at St. Louis Rams — Rams win, 53.3% chance. (Pittsburgh -1)
- San Diego Chargers at Minnesota Vikings — Vikings win, 52% chance. (Vikings -2.5)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Houston Texans — Texans win, 70.2% chance. (Texans -6.5)
- Philadelphia Eagles at New York Jets — Jets win, 61.4% chance. (Jets -2.5)
- New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers — Panthers win, 76.7% chance. (Panthers -3)
- Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots — Patriots win, 80% chance. (Patriots -13.5)
- Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens — Ravens win, 55% chance. (Ravens -2.5)
- Oakland Raiders at Cleveland Browns — Browns win, 53.3% chance. (Browns -3.5)
- Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans — Colts win, 53.3% chance. (Colts -3.5)
- Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys — Falcons win, 55% chance. (Falcons -1.5)
- San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals — Cardinals win, 68.8% chance. (Cardinals -6.5)
- Chicago Bears at Seattle Seahawks — Seahawks win, 75.4% chance. (Seahawks -14.5)
- Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins — Dolphins win, 59.8% chance. (Miami -3)
- Denver Broncos at Detroit Lions — Broncos win, 65.9% chance. (Denver -3)
- Kansas City Chiefs at Green Bay Packers — Packers win, 76.6% chance. (Packers -6.5)
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