A computer model that picks NFL games is on fire — here are the picks for Week 9

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Week 9 of the NFL season is here, and Cortana is back to make picks in a head-to-head showdown with Elo.

We looked at two popular systems used to pick NFL games: Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant, and Elo, the modelling system used by Nate Silver’s data-journalism site, FiveThirtyEight.

In both cases, the computers are picking outright winners and not against the spread. However, each gives a likelihood that a team will win – which, in theory, could help measure the strength of certain lines.

Cortana is off to a strong start this season, correctly picking 74% of the games over the past five weeks – going 11-3 last week – and 70% overall.

Elo has nailed 70% over the past five weeks. It was 11-3 last week and is at 63% overall.

Here are the picks for Week 9, with each team’s per cent chance of winning in parentheses. Point spreads are for reference, via Vegas Insider as of Thursday morning.


“Thursday Night Football”

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  • Oakland Raiders at San Francisco 49ers (-2.5) –49ERS (Elo 62%, Cortana 69%)


Sunday-afternoon games — early window

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  • Chicago Bears at Buffalo Bills (-10) – BEARS(Elo 54%, Cortana 58%)
  • Kansas City Chiefs (-8.5) at Cleveland Browns –CHIEFS (Elo 84%, Cortana 78%)
  • New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (-3) –DOLPHINS (Elo 62%, Cortana 63%)
  • Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-4.5) –VIKINGS (Elo 68%, Cortana 67%)
  • Atlanta Falcons at Washington Redskins (-1.5) –REDSKINS (Elo 55%, Cortana 60%)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (-6.5) –PANTHERS (Elo 76%, Cortana 67%)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-3) –RAVENS (Elo 54%, Cortana 55%)

Sunday-afternoon games — late window

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  • Houston Texans at Denver Broncos (-1) –BRONCOS (Elo 54%, Cortana 55%)
  • Los Angeles Chargers at Seattle Seahawks (-1.5) –SEAHAWKS (Elo 61%, Cortana 61%)
  • Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints (PK) –SAINTS (Elo 59%, Cortana 57%)

“Sunday Night Football”

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  • Green Bay Packers at New England Patriots (-5.5) –PATRIOTS (Elo 81%, Cortana 69%)

“Monday Night Football”

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  • Tennessee Titans at Dallas Cowboys (-5.5) –COWBOYS (Elo 66%, Cortana 61%)

Now check out this week’s power rankings.

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NFL POWER RANKINGS: Where all 32 teams stand going into Week 9 »

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