Man vs Machine: Pickswise expert vs the computer model NFL Week 7 best bets

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Andrew Ortenberg


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I'm an NFL handicapper here at Pickswise who was raised in a household full of sports fanatics. Since I unfortunately never had LeBron James' jumping ability I wasn't able to make it to the NBA, and chose writing about sports as the next best thing. An avid sports bettor myself, I'm excited to get to write about the industry as it gets set to take off across the country. Buckle up. For Andrew Ortenberg media enquiries, please email
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Man vs Machine

Welcome to the 2021 edition of Man vs Machine. This NFL season, I’ll be making my five best NFL bets each week. Our Pickswise supercomputer will make its best five bets, and then we’ll compare. May the best man (or machine) win.

Our computer model gives probabilities and projections for the main NFL betting markets (spread, total & money line), best bets for spread, total, money line, and same game parlays. It also features prop bet probabilities for first and anytime touchdown scorer, plus individual player projections for passing, rushing, receiving yards, and touchdowns for betting and fantasy use.

For more information on how the supercomputer works and how it generates picks, scroll down to the bottom of this page. Now let’s look at the picks:

My 5 best bets

Chiefs -4.5 over Titans

I had the Chiefs last week in this column, and they came through with a big win over Washington. After a few losses piled up, Kansas City all of a sudden became undervalued in the market. The Titans already had one of the league’s worst secondaries, and now they’re down multiple starters in that unit. On the other side, the Chiefs are getting Chris Jones here.

Giants +3 over Panthers

I also picked against the Panthers last week and it worked out. I’m expecting it to work out once again here. Carolina’s 3-0 start was clearly very fraudulent. They got to play the Jets, Texans, and Saints during a week where New Orleans was decimated by COVID. Sam Darnold is regressing more with each passing week, and there’s no reason for the Panthers to be this large of a road favorite.

Bears +12.5 over Buccaneers

All the talk surrounding the Bears this season has been about the quarterback situation and Justin Fields. As such, it’s been flying a bit under the radar, but Chicago’s defense is back. They’ve been much improved, and already held Tom Brady in check last year. Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski are both out for the Bucs and they’ve got plenty of injuries on defense as well, so the Bears should be able to keep this one relatively close.

Eagles +2.5 over Raiders

I’m really not giving the Raiders too much credit for beating the Broncos last week. As we all just saw on Thursday Night Football, Denver just stinks right now. One of Philly’s main strengths is their interior defensive line, while interior offensive line is a weakness of the Raiders.

Colts +4.0 over 49ers

The Colts have won two of their past three games, and their one loss in that span was in overtime to an elite Ravens team in a game they led almost the entire way. There’s a lot of rain in the forecast for this one, which may play to Indy’s advantage. The Colts’ defense is susceptible to the pass but they’re elite against the run, and both teams project to be running a ton here in the heavy wind and rain.

Computer picks

Titans +4.5 over Chiefs, Jets +7 over Patriots, Ravens -6.5 over Bengals, Eagles +2.5 over Raiders, Colts +4 over 49ers

The computer and I are involved in three of the same games for Week 7. We agree on the Eagles and Colts, but we’re on opposite sides of that Chiefs/Titans game. Our model is also going with the Jets and Ravens to round out their selections. Bold of them to back Zach Wilson on the road. After going 2-3 last week, I’ve now fallen to 16-14 on the year. The computer had an impressive 4-1 showing last week, and they’re now at 19-10-1. It’s a tight race, now let’s see if I can catch up in Week 7….

2021 Season Results

Pickswise Expert (16-14)
Pickswise Computer (19-10-1)

Don’t forget to check out our free picks on the side and total for every NFL game. You can also view all of our computer picks here.

How are the pre-game win probabilities calculated?
The Pickswise supercomputer creates pre-game probabilities using machine learning techniques as inputs to a Monte Carlo approach. This means we simulate a sporting event 10,000 times, catering for the deep range of outcomes and probabilities within a given event. We first predict the performance of each individual player based on hundreds of algorithmic variabilities, which we use to run our event simulations.

Why do the win probabilities and predictions change over time?
The probabilities are dynamic in nature and get updated as new information becomes available. This includes but is not limited to team news, weather conditions, and moves in the betting market.

What does a ‘value bet’ mean?
A value bet is where we’ve identified that the probability of the event occurring is more likely than the listed sportsbook odds. Taking these bets gives you an increased chance of being a successful gambler.

How is the change in win probability calculated during a live game?
Live win probability is a statistical metric that projects the team’s likelihood of winning at any given point by simulating the remainder of the game. Based on the performance of historical teams in the same situation and the current state of the game, the model updates in real-time following every major event during the game.

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