Bing Predicts Recovers in NFL Week 3, Looks to Score Big in Week 4
Coming off the worst record in prediction history, Bing Predicts needed to have a good week. The prediction engine delivered in NFL Week 3 with a respectable 11-5 performance.
Bing is now 30-18 (62.5%) on the season, one game ahead of last year. But the search engine still has its work cut out for the rest of the season. Bing ended the 2014 season with 66% accuracy. If Bing hopes to exceed that number, it will need some big improvements in the coming weeks.
Week 3 Hits and Misses
In our Week 3 preview, I called out two of Bing's picks as questionable:
- Rams over Steelers (53.3% chance)
- Ravens over Bengals (55% chance)
Both of these games went against Bing's predictions, dropping the search engine's preseason AFC #3 Ravens to 0-3 on the season.
Bing didn't predict any major upsets, but it did go against the prediction grain by favoring the Falcons over the Cowboys in a battle of NFC playoff contenders. The Falcons soared in Dallas, moving to 3-0 on the season.
Bing's other playoff contenders fared well this week, with the exception of their AFC #6 Dolphins. The Dolphins (1-2) were blown out by the Bills in Miami, making them a likely drop from Bing's playoff picture.
Bing kept pace with other prediction models this week. FiveThirtyEight also went 11-5 (30-17 on the season), and Vegas picks were 12-4 (29-19 on the season), leaving these three NFL predictors at almost even for the season.
Bing Looks Good on the Road
As we've come to expect, Bing sided with the home team in 13 of 16 games during Week 3. The search engine was only 8-5 in these games, but it was 100% when picking the away team. The Falcons, Colts, and Broncos all came up big for Bing, grabbing wins on the road.
Bing is now 23-14 (62%) on the season when siding with the home team and 7-4 (64%) when going with the visitors. During the 2014 season, Bing was 67% accurate at home and 64.3% accurate on the road.
Week 3 Quick Stats
As usual, Bing struggled in games with low predicted chances. The search engine was just 3-4 in games where the predicted chance was under 60%, dropping its record to 12-11 (52%) on the season. When Bing was confident, things went well for the prediction machine; Bing was 8-1 when the predicted chances were over 60%.
Here's a quick look at how Bing did this week:
- 8-5 when predicting the home team (23-14 on the season)
- 3-0 when predicting the visiting team (7-4 on the season)
- 3-4 when chances were under 60% (12-11 on the season)
- 3-1 when chances were 60-69.9% (11-6 on the season)
- 4-0 when chances were 70-79.9% (6-1 on the season)
- 1-0 when chances were over 80% (1-0 on the season)
So far, Bing's results are following the exact same pattern as in the past. As the confidence goes up, Bing gets more games right. Since Bing is predicting the chances a team has to win rather than simply outright saying who is going to win, this makes sense. It also means Bing is never technically wrong. Who's to say the Steelers victory over the Rams wasn't an outcome based on their 46.7% chance to win? On the other hand, it looked like the Jaguars had a 0% chance to win against the Patriots, so maybe the search engine was actually being a little conservative there.
Bing Predicts Week 4 Preview
Week 4 marks the start of the bye season for the NFL, so Bing will only have 15 games to work with this week. Here's what Bing says will happen:
Once again, it's a lovefest for home field advantage, with Bing favoring the home team in 10 of 15 games. The exceptions to Bing's home team rule aren't much of a surprise:
- The Raiders over the 0-3 Bears in Chicago (the Bears are currently the worst team in the power rankings)
- The 3-0 Panthers over the Buccaneers in Tampa
- The Bing playoff favorite Eagles over the Redskins in Washington
- The 3-0 Packers over the struggling 49ers in San Francisco
- The Cowboys over the 0-3 Saints in New Orleans
Bing expects the seven remaining unbeaten teams will still be undefeated after this week (Bengals, Falcons, Cardinals, Broncos, Packers, Panthers, and Patriots), and the four winless teams will still have a goose egg in the wins column (Ravens, Lions, Saints, and Bears). I wouldn't be surprised to see at least one of those undefeated teams go down this week, but their opponents are all pretty soft.
Bing looks confident heading into Week 4. Here is the breakdown by predicted chances:
- 2 games at under 60%
- 9 games at 60-69.9%
- 3 games at 70-79.9%
- 1 game at 80%+
With 13 of 15 games having a predicted chance over 60%, it looks like a promising week for the search engine. Bing is 72% on the season when the chances are over 60%.
So how will Bing do in Week 4? I give the search engine an 80% chance of going 10-5 or better. Bing performed well last week under similar expectations, but you never know what will happen on Sunday.