Think The Patriots Are Struggling? Microsoft's Cortana Sucks At Picking NFL Games
You know about Microsoft's Cortana -- the Windows phone version of Siri that's predicting the winners of every NFL game this season. Cortana got famous when it went 15-1 in choosing World Cup games this year. But it seems that Windows phones may be a little confused when it comes to a second variety of football.
In last week's NFL action, Cortana went 5-8 in its predictions -- pretty horrid, especially when you consider that it's picking these games straight up, not against the spread. The dismal showing gave the virtual assistant a 34-27 (.557) record over the first four weeks of the season. By contrast:
Nate Silver's ELO model was 10-3 last week, 41-20 (.672) overall.
Just going with the Vegas favorites would give you a 35-26 (.573) record so far -- better than Cortana.
Our own Matt Rudnitsky is 21-14 (.600) against the spread on selected games.
I blame you for this. Yes, you.
Here's Cortana's major flaw as it pertains to NFL picks: it factors in public sentiment.
Yes indeed. The Cortana model is powered by Bing, which uses a public sentiment metric to help with its predictions. How do they do this? Bing has partnerships with Facebook and Twitter, and aggregates data from those users to help with its predictions. Which is another way of saying that the herds of idiots on those two social media platforms have a large hand in choosing these games. Ay Carumba, count me out.
Where have you gone, Paul the Octopus, a nation turns it's lonely eyes to you.
To be fair, this is Cortana's first losing week: it's gone 10-6, 9-7, 10-6 previously. That's still pretty sucky for straight-up picks, but not disastrous. Maybe it was drunk last week, or distracted over a messy breakup with its girlfriend. It might bounce back.
So anyway, here are Cortana's Week 5 picks (with winners in bold, Vegas spreads in parentheses):
Vikings at Packers — 70.2% chance (Packers -9)
Bears at Panthers — 55% chance (Panthers -2.5)
Browns at Titans — 53.3% chance (Titans -1.5)
Rams at Eagles — 77.8% chance (Eagles -7)
Falcons at Giants — 59.8% chance (Giants -4)
Buccaneers at Saints — 77.8% chance (Saints -10.5)
Texans at Cowboys — 72.9% chance (Cowboys-4)
Bills at Lions — 59.8% chance (Lions -7)
Ravens at Colts — 62.9% chance (Colts -3.5)
Steelers at Jaguars — 78.9% chance (Steelers -6.5)
Cardinals at Broncos — 64.4% chance (Broncos -7)
Chiefs at 49ers — 53.3% chance (49ers -6.5)
Jets at Chargers — 74.2% chance (Chargers -6.5)
Bengals at Patriots — 55% chance (Bengals -1)
Seahawks at Washington Football Persons — 67.4% chance (Seahawks -7.5)
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