Two Computer Models Predict Who Will Win Super Bowl LIII

We’re just a few days away from Super Bowl LIII and many of us plan to spend money we shouldn’t on the outcome. We’ll be taking into account many different things, some reasonable, some just wishful thinking. But before you drain your 401K on either the Pats or the Rams, consider what Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant, and Elo, the modeling system used by Nate Silver’s data-journalism site, FiveThirtyEight, have to say.

Cortana is a digital assistant created by Microsoft in April of 2014. Cortana correctly predicted the winners of the first 14 matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup knockout stage before incorrectly picking Brazil over the Netherlands in the third place playoff match. It can also solve math equations, convert units of measurement, and instantly determine exchange rates between currencies. This season, the digital assistant correctly picked 65% of the NFL games.

Nate Silver, editor-in-chief of the statistical commentary website FiveThirtyEight, adapted the Elo rating system, first invented by a Hungarian-American physics professor, Arpad Elo. The system was initially created to improve the chess rating system by calculating the relative skill levels of players in zero-sum games such as chess. It has since been modified to include multi-player games including video games, Scrabble, MLB, NBA, and American football. This season, Elo correctly picked 62% of NFL games.

As Business Insider points out, both models had difficulties in the Wild Card round, went 4-0 in the divisional round, but muffed both conference championship games.

In both situations, the computes are picking outright winners, rather than winners against the spread (which is Patriots -2.5, FYI).

Here are the computers’ predictions:

Cortana: PATRIOTS (55%)

Elo: PATRIOTS (53%)

Guess I gotta throw my savings on the Patriots moneyline now. Honey, we’re going to Disneyland!