The Seahawks have yet to take the first snap in defense of their Super Bowl championship, but they’ve already lost in a Super Bowl rematch with the Denver Broncos thousands of times.
Veteran statistician and sports journalist Paul Bessire has fired up what he calls “The Predictalator” for his popular annual predictions of the NFL season.
Bessire uses an advanced software program to simulate the entire regular season and playoffs 50,000 times to come up with his picks.
“In the most likely Super Bowl, in a reversal of fortunes from last season, the vastly improved Broncos defeat the Seattle Seahawks 52.9 percent of the time and by an average score of 24-23,” Bessire writes.
But before the 12’s break out their pitchforks, the Predictalator does pick the Seahawks to win the Super Bowl 22.6 percent of the time.
“Denver’s the slightly better team,” Bassire tells KIRO Radio. “Denver might be the most improved team in the NFL, which is scary to think, considering they were the best offense in history. Add to that Chris Harris cornerback, Von Miller, linebacker who didn’t play in the post season last year, as well as upgrades they made in the secondary and adding DeMarcus Ware to the pass rush.”
Before he runs the simulations, Bessire feeds the Predictalator as much data as possible, including players’ statistics, progression over time and age, roles, health and playing time, as well as teams’ coaching styles and even weather.
“If you think about, we are taking into account all 22 players interacting on every single play in terms of our expectations and playing every game 50,000 times,” he says.
The math is complicated, but Bessire says technology has made it a lot easier than a decade ago when he first started.
“It used to take 30 minutes to run one game 50 times. Now it takes just over a second to simulate 50,000 games.”
How accurate is it? It depends on how you define accurate.
“Last season, picking every NFL game, the Predictalator hit 57.4 percent against the spread (ATS), then went 9-1-1 (90 percent ATS) in the postseason. And finally, the Predictalator is now 35-9 against-the-spread in NFL playoff games,” Bessire writes.
Bessire re-runs the simulations every week based on the latest information, so the predictions can change. For now, the computer favors the Seahawks in all 16 regular season games, including the Week 13 showdown with the rival 49ers in San Francisco. The Predictalator has the Seahawks edging the Niners 23-21 56 percent of the time in the 50,000 simulations.
Last year, the Predictalator picked the 49ers to win the Super Bowl 20.1 percent of the time in the simulations, with the Seahawks winning the championship just 7.2 percent of the time.
Bessire offers no guarantees, but points out the Predictalator did favor the Seahawks going to the Super Bowl through most of the 2013 season, and winning it all while nearly all of the bookmakers in Vegas picked the Broncos.