Bing Predicts Is Back: NFL Week 1 Preview
A new NFL season is about to kick off, and Bing is ready for its third year of predicting the winners of every game.
Bing Predicts, which launched in 2014, analyzes hundreds of pieces of data for every NFL game in order to determine how likely it is for each team to win. Each week, Bing posts its predictions right at the top of the search results. Over the past two seasons, Bing has proven a worthy prediction machine by correctly picking the winner in 65% of NFL games. In its first season, Bing Predicts finished with a combined regular season and playoff record of 178-89. Last year, the search engine slipped a little with a 168-99 record. Still, Microsoft's prediction algorithm is about as good as it gets when it comes to picking the winners of football games.
Bing Predicts Week 1 Preview
The 2016 NFL season kicks off in style with a rematch of last year's Super Bowl. If Bing is right, Cam Newton and the Panthers will redeem themselves with a victory over the Broncos. This is one of the few games this week where Bing is predicting the visiting team to win. Historically, Bing heavily favors the home team, a strategy that has played out well for the search engine. Here's a complete look at Bing's Week 1 predictions:
Bing has the home team winning 11 of 16 games this week. Last year, the search engine was right 67% of the time when picking the home team to win.
One of the most interesting picks this week is Bing's 60% chance of a Minnesota Vikings win. This is one of only 5 games this week where Bing is giving the winner a chance of 60% or better. While the Titans certainly aren't the most impressive team in the league, the Vikings have a major question mark at the quarterback position. Add in the fact that they're playing on the road, and you have to wonder why Bing is so confident here. When Bing predicts a team to win with a 60% chance or better, the search engine is correct almost 74% of the time, which is potentially good news for the Vikings.
Here's a full breakdown of Bing's picks by predicted chance:
- 11 games with predicted chance under 60%
- 3 games with predicted chance between 60 and 69.9%
- 2 games with predicted chance between 70 and 79.9%
- 0 games with predicted chance over 80%
Week 1 looks like a pretty uncertain week for Bing, which shouldn't be a big surprise. It's been a long off-season with lots of changes, so it's hard to predict just how well some of these teams will do. But one game where Bing has no doubt is the Seahawks winning their home opener over the Dolphins (78% chance).
Evaluating Bing's Week 1 Picks
Bing made a strong statement during opening week last year, correctly picking the winner in 13 of 16 games. It's hard to imagine the search engine having a better first week this year, especially with the low confidence level in most of these games. Some of Bing's biggest predictions this week are:
- The Panthers recovering from last year's Super Bowl debacle and beating the Broncos in Denver
- The Patriots losing to the Cardinals in their first of four games without Tom Brady
- The Rams losing their first game as an LA team (again) to the controversy-ridden 49ers
- The Jets beating the Bengals, a team that had one of the best starts during 2015
- The Bills winning on the road over the Ravens
Okay, so there aren't a lot of huge surprises this week. Still, there are enough lingering questions to make just about anything possible during week 1. I predict Bing will go 10-6 this week, a decent start to what will end up being Bing's best season yet.
It's also worth mentioning that Bing has yet to reveal its playoff picks for this season. Last year, Bing released initial playoff predictions prior to the first game of the season. Only 5 of Bing's playoff teams ended up making it past the regular season.