Week 4 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 19-12-1 the last two weeks. Elo has struggled, going 15-16-1.
Here are the picks for Week 4, with each model’s per cent chance of winning in parentheses. Point spreads are just for reference, via Vegas Insider as of Thursday morning.
Thursday Night Football
- Minnesota at Los Angeles Rams (-7) –RAMS (Elo 65%; Cortana 73%)
Sunday afternoon games — early window
- Cincinnati at Atlanta (-5) – FALCONS(Elo 68%; Cortana 60%)
- Tampa Bay at Chicago (-3) – BEARS (Elo 53%; Cortana 55%)
- Detroit at Dallas (-3) – COWBOYS (Elo 62%; Cortana 64%)
- Buffalo at Green Bay (-10) – PACKERS(Elo 53%; Cortana 67%)
- Philadelphia (-3) at Tennessee – EAGLES(Elo 60%; Cortana 58%)
- Houston at Indianapolis (-1.5) – COLTS(Elo 67%; Cortana 53%)
- Miami at New England (-6.5) – PATRIOTS(Elo 70%; Cortana 67%)
- New York Jets at Jacksonville (-7.5) –JAGUARS (Elo 74%; Cortana 70%)
Sunday afternoon games — late window
- Cleveland at Oakland (-3) – RAIDERS (Elo 71%; Cortana 57%)
- Seattle (-3) at Arizona – SEAHAWKS (Elo 57%; Cortana 67%)
- New Orleans (-3.5) at New York Giants –SAINTS (Elo 65%; Cortana 57%)
- San Francisco at Los Angeles Chargers (-10.5) –CHARGERS (Elo 68%; Cortana 67%)
Sunday Night Football
- Baltimore at Pittsburgh (-3) – STEELERS(Elo 63%; Cortana 60%)
Monday Night Football
- Kansas City (-4.5) at Denver – CHIEFS(Elo 65%; Cortana 67%)
Now check out who we are picking to win the games.
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