- The computer models are back making their picks for the 2018 NFL season.
- In 2017, Microsoft’s Cortana correctly picked 68% of the games overall and 75% of the games over the final ten weeks.
- FiveThirtyEight’s Elo also had a strong showing during the regular season, correctly picking 64% of the games.
Week 3 of the NFL season is here, and Microsoft’s Cortana is back to make picks in a head-to-head showdown with Elo.
We took a look at two popular systems used to pick NFL games:Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant, and Elo, the modelling system used by Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight. In both cases, the computers are picking outright winners and not against the spread. However, each gives a likelihood of a team’s winning, which, in theory, could help measure the strength of certain lines.
Cortana won the regular season matchup last season, going 162-78 (68%) overall, and 111-38 (75%) over the last ten weeks (we did not track Week 17 because of the wonky nature of the final week). Elo was not far behind, going 154-86 (64%) overall.
Cortana is off to a strong start in 2018, going 10-5-1 in Week 2. Elo struggled, going 7-8-1.
Here are the picks for Week 3, with each model’s per cent chance of winning in parentheses. Point spreads are just for reference, via Vegas Insider as of Thursday morning.
- New York Jets at Cleveland (-3) – JETS(Elo 62%), BROWNS (Cortana 51%)
- New Orleans at Atlanta (-3) – FALCONS(Elo 66%, Cortana 63%)
- San Francisco at Kansas City (-6.5) –CHIEFS (Elo 77%, Cortana 60%)
- Oakland at Miami (-3) – DOLPHINS (Elo 68%, Cortana 63%)
- Buffalo at Minnesota (-16.5) – VIKINGS(Elo 78%, Cortana 79%)
- Indianapolis at Philadelphia (-6.5) –EAGLES (Elo 83%, Cortana 66%)
- Green Bay (-3) at Washington – REDSKINS(Elo 57%), PACKERS (Cortana 53%)
- Cincinnati at Carolina (-3) – PANTHERS(Elo 63%), BENGALS (Cortana 51%)
- Tennessee at Jacksonville (no line) –JAGUARS (Elo 71%, Cortana 67%)
- Denver at Baltimore (-5.5) – RAVENS (Elo 68%, Cortana 63%)
- New York Giants at Houston (-6) – TEXANS(Elo 59%, Cortana 61%)
- Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams (-7) –RAMS (Elo 64%, Cortana 72%)
- Chicago (-5.5) at Arizona – CARDINALS(Elo 55%), BEARS (Cortana 66%)
- Dallas at Seattle (-1.5) – SEAHAWKS (Elo 55%, Cortana 53%)
- New England (-6.5) at Detroit – PATRIOTS(Elo 64%, Cortana 75%)
- Pittsburgh (-1.5) at Tampa Bay – BUCS(Elo 54%), STEELERS (Cortana 57%)
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