Microsoft Cortana — the virtual assistant that picks NFL games on Bing — bounced back after a sloppy Week 2 to go 11-5 in straight-up picks of all 16 NFL games in Week 3. It wasn’t as good as Business Insider’s almost-algorithmic in-his-success betting wiz, but it was nevertheless a solid performance for the search engine.
Once again, Cortana’s misses came by overvaluing home field advantage. It liked the Rams, Jets, Ravens, Browns, and Dolphins — five home teams, all of whom lost. This is a recurring pattern for Cortana, and it will be interesting to see if the team at Bing Predicts will make adjustments as the season progresses and teams begin to show their true colours.
Through three weeks, Cortana is 30-18 (62.6% correct). This is exactly one game better than its record after three weeks last season (29-19), and overall it’s a decidedly average record. Nate Silver’s Elo model also went 11-5 during Week 3, meaning its record is still just slightly better than Cortana’s thus far this season. The two models have the same number of correct predictions, but because Elo doesn’t always pick an outright winner (sometimes it will peg a game a 50/50 split), it has fewer losses.
This week, Cortana is still riding with home teams but looks to have fewer puzzling picks. That said, there are still a few noticeable games in which Cortana disagrees with the Vegas point-spread: Baltimore at Pittsburgh, Dallas at New Orleans, and the Jets at Miami. Note that the Jets and Miami are playing Sunday morning in London — rendering home field advantage completely useless.
As always, you can find Cortana’s picks by searching “NFL Predictions” on Bing, and all Vegas lines courtesy of Vegas Insider (as of Wednesday morning).
- Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers — Steelers win, 62.9% chance. (Ravens -2.5)
- New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (in London) — Dolphins win, 51% chance. (Jets -1.5)
- Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts — Colts win, 68.8% chance. (Colts -9)
- Houston Texans at Atlanta Falcons — Falcons win, 68.8% chance. (Falcons -6.5)
- Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Panthers win, 65.9% chance. (Panthers -3)
- New York Giants at Buffalo Bills — Bills win, 65.9% chance. (Bills -5.5)
- Oakland Raiders at Chicago Bears — Raiders win, 62.9% chance. (Raiders -3)
- Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins — Eagles win, 64.4% chance. (Eagles -3)
- Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals — Bengals win, 65.9% chance. (Bengals -4)
- Cleveland Browns at San Diego Chargers — Chargers win, 67.4% chance. (Chargers -7.5)
- Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers — Packers win, 74.2% chance. (Packers -9)
- Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos — Broncos win, 72.9% chance. (Denver -6.5)
- St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals — Cardinals win, 80% chance. (Cardinals -7)
- Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints — Cowboys win, 52% chance. (Saints -4)
- Detroit Lions at Seattle Seahawks — Seahawks win, 76.7% chance. (Seahawks -9.5)
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