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After Correctly Predicting World Cup Winners, Microsoft's Cortana is Predicting NFL Games (Week 1)

( [email protected] ) Sep 05, 2014 02:48 PM EDT
As the Bing platform powers Cortana, Windows Phone users can expect to get tips on the week’s match-up odds on their phones.
Windows Phone assistant is picking winners in NFL games. The Verge

Microsoft's Cortana, the Windows phone virtual assistant that blew some peoples minds when it correctly predicted 15 of 16 World Cup knockout stage games, is ready to take on the NFL.

The predictions come from Bing Predicts that, for pro football, comes up with 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, according to Microsoft. In addition to this prior model, Microsoft identifies fans across the web and social media sites and tracks their sentiment to understand the aggregate wisdom of this expressive crowd. According to the group behind the prediction algorithm, this introduces data which statistics alone cannot capture, providing real-time adjustments which surprisingly can capture injury news and other hard to glean, but important factors in figuring win probability.

Since the model just picks a winner and doesn't predict a score against the spread, the hit rate should be well over 50%.

Cortana did well at the World Cup, and even chose Germany over Brazil in the semifinal when other statistical models had Brazil as the heavy favorite. So if you want to impress your friends with your abundant football knowledge, it may be wise to consult your phone first.

Here are the Bing Predicts picks for Week 1, along with the odds figured as a percentage:

  • Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks - Seahawks (74.2%)

  • New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons - Falcons win (61.4%)

  • Minnesota Vikings at St. Louis Rams - Rams win (67.4%)

  • Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers - Steelers win (70.2%)

  • Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Philadelphia Eagles - Eagles win (75.4%)

  • Oakland Raiders at New York Jets - Jets win (62.9%)

  • Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens - Ravens win (59.8%)

  • Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears - Bears win (64.4%)

  • Washington Redskins at Houston Texans - Texans win (51%)

  • Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs - Chiefs win (64.4%)

  • New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins - Patriots win (61.4%)

  • Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Buccaneers win (56.6%)

  • San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys - 49ers win (68.8%)

  • Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos - Broncos win (77.8%)

  • New York Giants at Detroit Lions - Lions win (61.4%)

  • San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals - Cardinals win (58.2%)

Many experts around the web (and in Las Vegas) see the games the same way Cortana does, except for the Atlanta vs New Orleans match up.