Need help picking teams each week for your NFL pool? Microsoft Bing’s prediction engine is here to help.
The Redmond company, which was nearly flawless at picking the winners during the World Cup knockout stage this summer, is again predicting the outcome of sporting events and has added NFL football to its repertoire.
As Business Insider notes, Bing went 10-6 with its picks for Week 1, which was one win better than what the Las Vegas odds predicted.
FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver is also trying to predict NFL games this season with his geeky Elo ratings. Like Microsoft, Silver went 10-6 last week.
For Week 2, which kicks off today with a Thursday Night game between Baltimore and Pittsburgh, here are Bing’s picks (it is 72.9 percent sure of a Seahawks win over San Diego):
Vegas and Microsoft agree on all the games this week except the Dolphins vs. Bills match-up, where Vegas is slightly favoring the Dolphins while Bing thinks the Bills have a 61.4 percent change of winning.
As far as Silver’s picks, the FiveThirtyEight founder differs from Microsoft on two games — he’s picking the Ravens to beat the Steelers and the Raiders to beat the Texans.
Here’s the methodology behind Bing’s prediction engine:
For pro football, we model the respective strengths of the teams by examining outcomes from previous seasons including wins, losses, and the very rare tie outcome (two games since 2009), factoring in margin of victories, location of contest, playing surface and roof cover (or lack thereof), weather and temperature conditions, scoring by quarters, and multiple offensive and defensive statistics. In addition to this prior model, we identify fans on Web and Social sites and track their sentiment to understand the aggregate wisdom of this expressive crowd. This introduces data which statistics alone cannot capture, providing real-time adjustments which surprisingly can capture injury news and other substantive factors in win probabilities.
While it was mediocre during the World Cup group stage, Bing correctly picked each of the 15 World Cup knockout round matches with the exception of the third-place match. How it fares during the NFL season remains to be seen.
Update, 3:50 p.m.:
As “Err Amerika” notes in the comments below, it is a bit tough to compare picks from Vegas and Bing given spreads. For example, Vegas has Green Bay favored by nine points. If you bet on Green Bay, but the Packers win by less than nine, you’d lose the bet. However, Bing would still be right with its Green Bay pick, regardless of score.
So if you’re in a pool that uses spreads, take Bing’s predictions with a grain of salt.