The computers picking NFL games are on fire -- here are their picks for Week 9

  • After a slow start to the season, Elo and Cortana have caught fire in recent weeks.
  • The two models have correctly picked 63% of the games this season, but went a combined 23-3 in Week 8.

The NFL season is now in Week 9, and after a slow start to the season the computers picking the winners for every game have suddenly caught fire.

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.

The two models had strong performances in Week 8. Cortana went 12-1 and is now 24-4 over the last two weeks. It is now tied with Elo, who also had a strong week, going 11-2. The two models are now both 75-44 overall (63%).

Here are the picks for Week 9, with each model’s per cent chance of winning in parentheses. Games in bold are where the two models disagree on who has the best chance to win. Point spreads are just for reference, via Vegas Insider as of Thursday morning.


  • Buffalo Bills (-3) at New York Jets — BILLS (Elo 59%, Cortana 64%)


  • Denver Broncos at Philadelphia Eagles (-7.5) — EAGLES (Elo 75%, Cortana 74%)
  • Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) at New York Giants — GIANTS (Elo 51%), RAMS (Cortana 64%)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-7) — SAINTS (Elo 79%, Cortana 67%)
  • Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars (-5.5) — JAGUARS (Elo 62%, Cortana 61%)
  • Atlanta Falcons (-1) at Carolina Panthers — FALCONS (Elo 51%), PANTHERS (Cortana 55%)
  • Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (-12.5) — TEXANS (Elo 72%, Cortana 68%)
  • Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans (-3.5) — TITANS (Elo 56%, Cortana 63%)
  • Arizona Cardinals (-2) at San Francisco 49ers — CARDINALS (Elo 66%, Cortana 63%)
  • Washington Redskins at Seattle Seahawks (-7) — SEAHAWKS (Elo 76%, Cortana 70%)
  • Kansas City Chiefs at Dallas Cowboys (-1) — CHIEFS (Elo 52%), COWBOYS (Cortana 53%)
  • Oakland Raiders (-3) at Miami Dolphins — DOLPHINS (Elo 60%), RAIDERS (Cortana 66%)


  • Detroit Lions (-2.5) at Green Bay Packers — PACKERS (Elo 66%), LIONS (Cortana 60%)

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