Bing Remains Predictable in NFL Week 10; Here’s What Will Happen in Week 11

Note: This post is for the 2014 season. Click here to see the Week 10 results and Week 11 preview for 2015.

We're 10 weeks into the NFL season, and Bing Predicts is still going strong.

In my Bing Predicts post last week, I made two predictions of my own:

  1. NFL Week 10 would be filled with blowouts
  2. Bing would go 9-4 for the week

The average margin of victory during Week 10 was almost 16 points. Prediction 1, check. Bing’s record for the week was 9-4. Prediction 2, check. Maybe I should create my own prediction engine…

You might think that blowouts would make it easy on Bing. However, the last time we saw a blowout week of this magnitude, Bing went only 5-8. Since then, Microsoft’s prediction engine has been on a tear, correctly predicting the outcome in 63 of 86 games (73.3%). On the season, Bing is now 97-50 (66%).

Bing Predicts Week 10 Recap

Things didn’t start off well for the search engine. When the Bengals collapsed at home to the Browns, it looked like Bing might be in for a rough week. Of course, picking the Bengals was a no-brainer. They hadn’t lost at home in 14 consecutive games (although there was a tie somewhere in there). In what world would we justify picking the Browns to win this game?

This game just goes to show that picking the outcomes of NFL games isn’t as easy as it looks. While Bing rarely takes chances (its biggest risk this week was going with the Bucs over the Falcons), the search engine has found a formula for success.

Other than the Browns win, there weren’t any big surprises this week. The 49ers-Saints game could have gone either way, and the Jets beating the Steelers in New York was hardly a major upset. Bing’s biggest mistake this week was switching its Falcons-Bucs pick. As we’ve seen before, the search engine struggles when it changes its mind. Bing is now 6-9 on the season when making midweek changes.

The highlight for Bing, as usual, was its 7-1 record in games with predicted chances of 70% or above. As we’ve seen most of the season, when Bing is confident, it almost always gets it right.

Bing Predicts Week 11 Analysis

There are two interesting things about Bing’s Week 11 predictions:

  1. For the first time all season, the search engine is picking against the Seahawks.
  2. There is a lot of repetition in Bing’s predicted chances

Let’s look at the Seahawks-Chiefs prediction for a moment. The Vegas odds slightly favor the Chiefs, mostly because the game is in Kansas City. As we’ve seen throughout the season, Bing tends to side with Vegas. Bing also tends to pick the home team. Bing has picked against the Chiefs 5 times so far this season. The search engine is only 2-3 in those games. Is Bing predicting one move ahead of itself and going with the Chiefs here? The Chiefs are only a 1.5-point favorite, but Bing is giving them a 65.9% chance to win. Where is it getting all this confidence? Maybe those Chiefs fans are sending a lot of positive social signals.

All season, we’ve been wondering how exactly Bing calculates these chances. It supposedly uses a combination of historical data (including records, weather conditions, scores, and more) as well as the social signals of fans. What’s unusual here is the number of games with identical chances. This week, 6 of the winners are listed with either a 62.9% or 65.9% chance. Are the odds of the Chiefs beating the Seahawks really the exact same as the odds of the Browns beating the Texans? This repetition of numbers could be a sign that there are a pretty limited number of factors considered by the search engine. Or maybe it uses some very creative rounding.

Here’s a breakdown of Bing’s Week 11 predictions:

  • Home team will win 11 of 14 games
  • 3 games with a 50-59.9% chance
  • 8 games with a 60-69.9% chance
  • 3 games with a 70-79.9% chance

My Bing Predicts Forecast

Will Bing change its mind on any games? That Bears-Vikings matchup could probably go either way, especially after the clobbering the Bears received on Sunday night. But the game is in Chicago, so Bing probably won’t change this pick. With the news of Carson Palmer’s injury, Bing could favor the Lions over the Cardinals. Again, I don’t see this happening since the game is in Arizona. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the chances of a Cardinals win drop a bit. Same with the Colts-Patriots game. I don’t see Bing sticking with a 67.4% chance for the Colts.

How will Bing do this week? My Bing forecast gives the search engine a 56% chance of going 10-4 or better in Week 11.

First Scribe is now Perrill Why the change?