Microsoft Cortana — the virtual assistant that picks NFL games on Bing — had an up-and-down Week 4, going 8-7 overall in straight-up picks of all 15 NFL games.
Through the first month of the NFL season, Cortana went 38-25 overall (60%). This isn’t an especially great score for the algorithm, and its percentage is now two games worse than Nate Silver’s Elo model, which went 10-5 this past weekend and improved its record to 40-23. (The fewer number of losses comes from the fact that it sometimes pegs a game a 50/50 split.)
Cortana continues to live and die by the home team, which hurt its overall score last week as the Steelers, Bills, and Cardinals all fell at home. Interestingly, last week saw Cortana increase the number of road picks it made, only those teams (Eagles, Raiders, Cowboys) all lost on the road. The seventh incorrect pick it made came when it took the Dolphins over the Jets, though it only favoured the Fins by 51% in what basically amounted to a straight up pick-em in London.
This week we see Cortana with relatively unsurprising picks, though you’ll note that the team at Bing has stopped giving us their percentage predictions to the tenth decimal point.
The road teams Cortana favours all look and feel like clear favourites: the Colts in Houston, the Cardinals in Detroit, and the Broncos in Oakland. Note that Cortana is — as of Wednesday morning — giving the Titans a slight edge (51%) over the Buffalo Bills at home, which seems surprising considering the Bills have looked much more solid than the Titans. Similarly, Cortana likes the Chargers at home against the Steelers, who are without Ben Roethlisberger but will have Martavis Bryant for the first time this season. (The Chargers, for what it’s worth, will have Antonio Gates.)
As always, Cortana’s predictions can be found by searching “NFL Predictions” on Bing. All lines courtesy of Vegas Insider (as of Wednesday morning, and to be updated on Friday).
- Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans — Colts 53% chance to win. (no line yet because of Andrew Luck’s uncertainty.)
- Jacksonville Jaguars at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Bucs 57% chance to win. (Bucs -3)
- Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans — Titans 51% chance to win. (Bills -2.5)
- Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens — Ravens 75% chance to win. (Ravens -6.5)
- Washington Redskins at Atlanta Falcons — Falcons 78% chance to win. (Falcons -7.5)
- Chicago Bears at Kansas City Chiefs — Chiefs 79% chance to win. (Chiefs -9.5)
- New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles — Eagles 64% chance to win. (Eagles -4.5)
- St. Louis Rams at Green Bay Packers — Packers 72% chance to win. (Green Bay -9.5)
- Seattle Seahawks at Cincinnati Bengals — Bengals 64% chance to win. (Bengals -3)
- Arizona Cardinals at Detroit Lions — Cardinals 58% chance to win. (Cardinals -2.5)
- New England Patriots at Dallas Cowboys — Patriots 66% chance to win. (Patriots -9)
- Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders — Broncos 64% chance to win. (Broncos -5)
- San Francisco 49ers at New York Giants — Giants 72% chance to win. (Giants -7)
- Pittsburgh Steelers at San Diego Chargers — Chargers 52% chance to win. (Chargers -3)
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