The MLB Pundits are back. Will they be less of a disaster in 2014?

April 8, 2014  |  Sports

In what is becoming an annual tradition, we ask the question: will this year finally be the one where the baseball pundits turn it around? After a string of terrible prediction seasons from 2009-2012 (see details), the ‘experts’ followed it up with a truly pitiful 2013, in which no one picked either the Red Sox or the Cardinals to make the World Series (or even the Red Sox to win the AL East — details). A whopping 25 of the 29 pundits on our website — all of whom made at least three years worth of picks — have a letter grade of F.

So while an understandable question would be ‘why bother?, let’s give the pundits another shot and see what they are predicting this year. We will be tracking 64 so-called experts from ESPN, Sports Illustrated, CBS, Yahoo, and Fox. Here are their aggregate picks across nine categories: six Division Winners, two Pennants, and World Series. As always, we give you the chance to make your own predictions to see if you can do better (or at least less worse) than the paid experts.

TB: 39DET: 50OAK: 28WAS: 60STL: 60LAD: 56TB: 25WAS: 25LAD: 17
BOS: 19KC: 11TEX: 24ATL: 4PIT: 3SF: 5DET: 22LAD: 23WAS: 17
BAL: 3CLE: 3LAA: 12MIA: 0CIN: 1ARI: 2BOS: 5STL: 16STL: 12
NYY: 3CHW: 0HOU: 0NYY: 0CHC: 0SD: 1OAK: 4TB: 9
TOR: 0MIN: 0SEA: 0PHI: 0MIL: 0COL: 0KC: 2DET: 6
NYY: 2BOS: 2
TEX: 2CLE: 1
BAL: 1
CLE: 1

As with last year, the Rays and Tigers are the two favorites in the American League, while the Nationals are the slight favorite in the National League. Interestingly, the pundits are predominantly picking the National League winner to take the Fall Classic, with 46 of the 64 picking either the Dodgers, Nationals, or Cardinals. The Tigers and Dodgers are consensus favorites in their divisions, while there is more debate on the other divisions, most notably the AL West. The most notable descrepancies with Vegas odds are the pundits’ optimism on the Nationals (Vegas gives the Braves a good shot in the NL East) and the pessimism, once again, on the Red Sox relative to the Rays.

Now, here is a gigantic table with all the individual World Series picks for this season, along with each pundit’s track record from 2009-2013 (sorted from best to worst, cumulative). The dollar amounts are what we call the ‘$1 Yield’, which is the average payout had you placed on $1 bets on each of the pundit’s nine picks each season, based on Vegas odds at the time. A yield of $1.05, for instance, means the pundit’s average return on investment was +5%. As you can see, only three of the 49 pundits with a track record have a yield higher than $1.00.

Enrique Rojas, ESPN$1.83$1.73$1.78DETLADLAD
Jim Caple, ESPN$0.56$4.43$0.15$1.26$0.53$1.38DETLADDET
Adam Rubin, ESPN$1.84$0.54$1.19TBWASWAS
Peter Pascarelli, ESPN$1.89$0.55$0.61$1.34$0.53$0.99BOSSTLBOS
Jayson Stark, ESPN$2.01$0.45$0.76$1.06$0.36$0.93TBWASTB
Pedro Gomez, ESPN$1.35$1.34$0.15$0.61$1.18$0.93OAKWASWAS
Ken Rosenthal, Fox$0.81$0.81TBWASWAS
Cliff Corcoran, SI$1.35$1.61$0.27$0.33$0.36$0.78DETSTLSTL
Tim Kurkjian, ESPN$1.74$0.45$0.16$0.78DETSTLSTL
Rob Neyer, Fox$0.78$0.78$0.78TBWASTB
Ben Reiter, SI$0.82$0.78$0.51$0.62$1.01$0.75DETSTLSTL
Buster Olney, ESPN$2.01$0.45$0.27$0.14$0.81$0.73TBSTLSTL
Tom Verducci, SI$1.04$0.45$0.15$1.73$0.16$0.71OAKWASWAS
Albert Chen, SI$0.00$1.39$0.58$1.26$0.16$0.68DETWASWAS
Aaron Boone, ESPN$1.61$0.27$0.61$0.16$0.66TBLADLAD
Karl Ravech, ESPN$0.78$0.15$0.33$1.38$0.66DETWASWAS
Mark Saxon, ESPN$0.51$0.51$0.33$1.19$0.63DETLADLAD
Jon Heyman, CBS$0.85$0.17$0.27$1.19$0.62KCLADLAD
David Schoenfield, ESPN$0.27$0.62$0.81$0.57TBLADTB
Eric Karabell, ESPN$1.51$0.17$0.15$0.43$0.54$0.56TBWASWAS
Tristan Cockcroft, ESPN$0.51$0.42$0.71$0.54TBWASTB
David Kull, ESPN$0.00$0.42$1.19$0.54DETWASWAS
Andrew Marchand, ESPN$0.63$0.61$0.36$0.53DETWASWAS
Mark Simon, ESPN$0.78$0.42$0.62$0.16$0.49BOSWASWAS
A.J. Mass, ESPN$0.33$0.78$0.36$0.49TBWASTB
Gordon Edes, ESPN$0.45$0.51$0.48TBLADTB
Richard Durrett, ESPN$0.45$0.61$0.36$0.47DETLADDET
Matt Szefc, ESPN$0.42$0.33$0.54$0.43DETLADLAD
Brendan Roberts, ESPN$0.66$0.17$0.41DETSTLDET
Joe McDonald, ESPN$0.61$0.42$0.16$0.39BOSWASBOS
Dan Szymborski, ESPN$0.61$0.16$0.38DETSTLDET
Marty Bernoski, ESPN$0.61$0.16$0.38BOSWASWAS
Jon Morosi, Fox$0.38$0.38TBSTLSTL
Jonah Keri, ESPN$0.63$0.33$0.16$0.37DETLADLAD
Jerry Crasnick, ESPN$0.82$0.17$0.15$0.33$0.36$0.37TBSTLSTL
Dayn Perry, CBS$0.36$0.36TBSTLTB
Jay Jaffe, SI$0.36$0.36TBSTLSTL
Jeff Passan, Yahoo$0.36$0.36TBWASWAS
Michael Knisley, ESPN$0.36$0.36BALSTLSTL
Mike Axisa, CBS$0.36$0.36OAKLADLAD
Christina Kahrl, ESPN$0.33$0.36$0.34DETWASDET
Jon Sciambi, ESPN$0.17$0.15$0.33$0.54$0.30TBWASWAS
Dan Shulman, ESPN$0.45$0.15$0.33$0.16$0.27TBSTLSTL
Jim Bowden, ESPN$0.33$0.16$0.24TBLADLAD
Matt Snyder, CBS$0.16$0.16DETLADLAD
Mike Oz, Yahoo$0.16$0.16OAKLADLAD
Tim Brown, Yahoo$0.16$0.16TBLADTB
Joe Sheehan, SI$0.15$0.16$0.15TBSTLSTL
Matt Meyers, ESPN$0.15$0.14$0.16$0.15TEXWASWAS
C.J. Nitkowski, FoxDETSTLSTL
David Brown, YahooTBWASWAS
Gabe Kapler, FoxTBLADLAD
Jeremy Lundblad, ESPNDETWASDET
Mark Townsend, YahooDETLADLAD

To see all the division picks for each pundit as well, see this link.

We will check back on these predictions as the season progresses.


March Madness 2014: Bracket Rankings Heading Into Final Four

April 2, 2014  |  Sports

As we count down to the Final Four this week, let’s see which pundit’s bracket is in the best shape. As a reminder, we are tracking 26 ‘experts’ this year (from ESPN, Yahoo, SI, CBS Sports) as well as the President. To revisit our rankings after the first weekend, see our prior post.

First, let’s look at how many pundits collectively pegged each of the Elite Eight and Final Four teams.

Elite 8# of PunditsFinal Four# of Pundits
Michigan St.24Wisconsin3

Not one of the experts we tracked picked Kentucky or UConn to make the Elite Eight, let alone the Final Four. Only three had Wisconsin in the Final Four: Jay Bilas, Seth Davis, and Mateen Cleaves.

Now, here are the updated pundit rankings based on a few metrics.

  • Hit Rate: % of picks that were correct (out of 60 games so far)
  • Yield: average payout had you placed $1 Futures bets on each bracket slot at ‘moneyline’ odds (giving more credit for underdog picks)
  • Points: traditional bracket scoring system (1 point for first round winners, 2 points for second round, 4 for Sweet 16, etc)

PunditHit RateYieldPointsBest PossibleFinal 2Winner
Seth Davis, SI69%$1.0877125Florida v. Wich StFlorida
Pat Forde, Yahoo75%$1.227575Mich St v. ArizonaMich St
Brad Evans, Yahoo77%$1.1774122Florida v. LouisvilleFlorida
Luke Winn, SI83%$1.3972120Florida v. Wich StFlorida
Dick Vitale, ESPN69%$0.987272Mich St v. LouisvilleMich St
Mateen Cleaves, ESPN67%$0.966969Mich St v. LouisvilleMich St
Brian Hamilton, SI71%$1.066985Arizona v. FloridaArizona
Andy Katz, ESPN75%$1.0668116Florida v. LouisvilleFlorida
Barack Obama73%$1.006868Mich St v. LouisvilleMich St
Joe Lunardi, ESPN73%$1.0868116Florida v. LouisvilleFlorida
Chalk71%$0.9768116Florida v. ArizonaFlorida
Jerry Palm, CBS75%$1.146767Mich St v. ArizonaMich St
Jeff Borzello, CBS75%$1.0667115Florida v. LouisvilleFlorida
Steve Lappas, CBS73%$1.166767Mich St v. LouisvilleMich St
Jeff Goodman, ESPN75%$1.1267115Florida v. LouisvilleFlorida
Pete Gillen, CBS71%$1.0066114Florida v. LouisvilleFlorida
Doug Gottlieb, ESPN73%$0.996565Mich St v. LouisvilleMich St
Dennis Dodd, CBS69%$1.166464Louisville v. Mich StLouisville
Jay Bilas, ESPN71%$1.006464Mich St v. LouisvilleMich St
Colin Cowherd, ESPN65%$0.956480Louisville v. FloridaLouisville
Seth Greenberg, ESPN69%$0.986363Mich St v. DukeMich St
Jon Rothstein, CBS79%$1.126262Louisville v. KansasLouisville
Fran Franschilla, ESPN60%$0.8660108Florida v. LouisvilleFlorida
Gary Parrish, SI60%$0.925555Wich St v. KansasWich St
Pete Thamel, SI65%$0.9455103Florida v. LouisvilleFlorida
Jeff Eisenberg, Yahoo69%$0.845454Arizona v. KansasArizona
Gregg Doyel, CBS60%$0.774949Kansas v. ArizonaKansas
Matt Norlander, CBS58%$0.774848Kansas v. CreightonKansas

Overall, brackets have been busted across the board, with the pundits hitting on only 20% of the Final Four teams on average (for a woeful $0.48 Yield). Seth Davis has a narrow lead using the traditional bracket scoring system, with the highest ‘best possible’ score as well, followed by Brad Evans and Luke Winn. Only 9 of the 26 experts outperformed ‘chalk’ (picking the higher seed in every matchup) on this metric, with only five having a higher ‘best possible’ result. Luke Winn maintains his lead based on both aggregate hit rate (83%) and Yield ($1.39), thanks largely to some strong picks in the early rounds.

We will update our rankings next week. In the meantime, head over to PunditTracker to make your picks on the Final Four games. We will grade you alongside the ‘experts’ once the outcomes are in.


March Madness 2014: Which pundit had the best opening weekend Bracket?

March 25, 2014  |  Sports

With the exciting first two rounds of March Madness 2014 in the books, let’s see how the pundits are faring with their brackets so far. We are scoring 28 experts from ESPN, Yahoo, Sports Illustrated, and CBS Sports this year, throwing in President Obama for good fun.

Our scoring system assumes you placed $1 Futures bets on each bracket slot at Vegas Moneyline odds based on the pundit’s picks. Here are the rankings for the first two rounds: the Hit Rate represents the % of picks that were correct, while the Yield is the average payout of those picks.

PunditRd of 32
Hit Rate
Rd of 32
Sweet 16
Hit Rate
Sweet 16
Hit Rate
Luke Winn, SI88%$1.4375%$1.8683%$1.57
Dennis Dodd, CBS69%$1.1169%$1.6469%$1.28
Jon Rothstein, CBS81%$1.1375%$1.5779%$1.27
Pat Forde, Yahoo78%$1.2269%$1.3575%$1.26
Brad Evans, Yahoo75%$1.0081%$1.7477%$1.24
Jeff Goodman, ESPN78%$1.1269%$1.4375%$1.22
Steve Lappas, CBS72%$1.0975%$1.4873%$1.22
Jerry Palm, CBS78%$1.2369%$1.1675%$1.21
Jeff Borzello, CBS78%$1.1169%$1.2975%$1.17
Andy Katz, ESPN75%$1.0075%$1.4875%$1.16
Joe Lunardi, ESPN81%$1.2756%$0.8573%$1.13
Brian Hamilton, SI72%$0.9869%$1.3871%$1.11
Doug Gottlieb, CBS78%$1.0963%$1.0373%$1.07
Pete Gillen, CBS69%$0.8975%$1.4371%$1.07
Seth Greenberg, ESPN72%$1.0663%$1.0769%$1.07
Pete Thamel, SI72%$1.0950%$1.0365%$1.07
Barack Obama81%$1.1356%$0.8473%$1.03
Gary Parrish, CBS72%$0.9463%$1.1969%$1.02
Jay Bilas, ESPN75%$1.0363%$0.9871%$1.01
Seth Davis, SI78%$1.1150%$0.7569%$0.99
Colin Cowherd, ESPN69%$1.0256%$0.8865%$0.98
Dick Vitale, ESPN69%$0.8669%$1.1669%$0.96
Jeff Eisenberg, Yahoo75%$0.9756%$0.8569%$0.93
Mateen Cleaves, CBS72%$0.9456%$0.9067%$0.92
Fran Franschilla, ESPN69%$0.9144%$0.7660%$0.86
Gregg Doyel, CBS66%$0.8950%$0.7560%$0.84
Matt Norlander, CBS63%$0.8750%$0.7858%$0.84

Overall, the pundits have done quite well so far, with the majority returning a positive yield as well as outperforming “Chalk” (always picking the higher seeds). Luke Winn of SI leads the pack, followed by Dennis Dodd of CBS; they were the only two experts to have Dayton in the Sweet 16. Luke Winn had the best first round hit rate (28/32), while Brad Evans was 13/16 with his Sweet 16 picks, including Tennessee.

Here is how the pundits did collectively with their Sweet Sixteen predictions. No one had Stanford, while only Pete Gillen, Brad Evans, and Jeff Goodman had Tennessee.

Sweet 16 Team# of Pundits Correct (out of 28)
1. Florida27
4. Louisville27
1. Virginia26
4. Michigan St.26
1. Arizona26
2. Michigan25
3. Iowa St.24
2. Wisconsin23
4. UCLA21
4. San Diego St.19
7. Connecticut11
6. Baylor8
8. Kentucky7
11. Tennessee3
11. Dayton2
10. Stanford0

We will update the rankings as we proceed throughout the tournament.

Bracket already busted? PunditTracker allows you to compete with the experts by picking all of the Sweet 16 games. Head over to our March Madness section to make your picks using the ‘Vote Now’ buttons and see if you can crack our User Leaderboard.



Myron Medcalf’s (ESPN) March Madness Picks Are In

March 18, 2014  |  Sports

Make your own predictions on each of them here — last day to do so!

Myron Medcalf PunditTracker Profile

March Madness 2014: Whose Bracket Should You Copy?

March 17, 2014  |  Sports

With the March Madness brackets fresh off the presses, which of the so-called experts has a bracket worth using for your office pool?

Here were our final bracket rankings from last year. We scored 32 pundits from ESPN, Yahoo, Sports Illustrated, and CBS Sports.

The following table ranks the pundits based on their average “Yield” of their 63 total picks. The Yield measures the average payout, using Vegas futures odds, had you placed $1 bets on each of the pundit’s selections. This approach fits well with March Madness, since it mimics bracket scoring systems that award extra points for predicting upsets. Hit Rate is simply the % of predictions that were correct. Given the large number of upsets last year, the rankings by Hit Rate and Yield turned out very different (each column is sortable):

PunditHit RateYield
Gregg Doyel, CBS56%$1.26
Jerry Palm, CBS60%$1.12
Seth Greenberg, ESPN63%$1.09
Dick Vitale, ESPN60%$1.07
Jeff Goodman, CBS62%$1.06
Andy Glockner, SI63%$1.06
John Gasaway, ESPN65%$1.04
Joe Lunardi, ESPN60%$1.04
Brad Evans, Yahoo60%$1.03
Pete Gillen, SI60%$1.03
Jeff Eisenberg, Yahoo62%$1.02
Peter Tiernan, CBS63%$1.01
Alaa Abdelnaby, CBS59%$1.00
Wally Szczerbiak, CBS62%$1.00
"Chalk" (higher seed)62%$1.00
Mateen Cleaves, CBS60%$0.99
Pete Thamel, CBS60%$0.98
Gary Parrish, CBS60%$0.97
Matt Norlander, CBS54%$0.97
Jay Bilas, ESPN60%$0.97
Barack Obama60%$0.97
Dennis Dodd, CBS48%$0.96
Vegas Favorites60%$0.95
Greg Anthony, Yahoo56%$0.92
Luke Winn, SI56%$0.91
Dan Wetzel, Yahoo60%$0.91
Stewart Mandel, SI56%$0.90
Seth Davis, SI52%$0.87
Pat Forde, Yahoo54%$0.86
Jeff Borzello, CBS52%$0.86
Kelli Anderson, SI54%$0.85
Andy Katz, ESPN51%$0.77
Michael Wilbon, ESPN44%$0.75
Doug Gottlieb, CBS51%$0.74
Colin Cowherd, ESPN49%$0.68

Gregg Doyel of CBS had the highest yielding bracket, despite not picking Louisville to win it all, mostly because he was the only one of the 32 pundits to have Michigan in the Finals (a strong out-of-consensus pick). When ranked by Hit Rate, John Gasaway of ESPN turned in the best performance, hitting on 41 of his 63 picks.

The worst brackets belonged to Colin Cowherd, Michael Wilbon, Andy Katz, and Doug Gottlieb. Cowherd and Wilbon both got less than half their picks right, while all four of these pundits would have lost you more than 20% of your money had you bet on their picks.

Finally, here are the cumulative rankings for the pundits for whom we tracked brackets in both 2012 and 2013.

PunditHit Rate
(2012 & 13)
(2012 & 13)
Jeff Goodman, CBS65%$1.13
Peter Tiernan, CBS66%$1.12
Jay Bilas, ESPN67%$1.10
Barack Obama66%$1.10
Gregg Doyel, CBS55%$1.09
Jerry Palm, CBS61%$1.08
Joe Lunardi, ESPN60%$1.00
Matt Norlander, CBS56%$0.99
Dick Vitale, ESPN59%$0.97
Jeff Borzello, CBS57%$0.97
Andy Glockner, SI60%$0.96
Gary Parrish, CBS60%$0.95
Luke Winn, SI58%$0.95
Brad Evans, Yahoo57%$0.95
Dennis Dodd, CBS51%$0.92
Dan Wetzel, Yahoo61%$0.91
Stewart Mandel, SI56%$0.88
Pat Forde, Yahoo54%$0.88
Seth Davis, SI53%$0.86
Colin Cowherd, ESPN57%$0.85
Andy Katz, ESPN54%$0.82

We’ll be back next week to recap bracket rankings for the opening weekend.

For those new to our site, PunditTracker levels the playing field by allowing users to compete with the ‘experts’. Head over to our March Madness section now and use the ‘Vote Now’ button to make your own Final Four picks.

And the Oscar for Best Pundit of 2014 goes to. . . .

March 3, 2014  |  Entertainment

We tracked 18 pundits who made predictions for all 24 categories of the 86th Annual Academy Awards. Here are the results:

[The second column is the # of predictions that turned out correct. The third column is the Yield, which measures the average payout, based on Vegas odds, had you bet $1 on each of the predictions. This gives pundits more credit for out-of-consensus calls, and a Yield above $1.00 means the pundit did better than the consensus view]

PunditHit Rate$1 Yield
Tom Shone, The Guardian22/24$1.28
Kyle Buchanan, Vulture21/24$1.23
Gregory Ellwood, HitFix21/24$1.23
Glenn Whipp, LA Times21/24$1.21
Thelma Adams, Yahoo22/24$1.16
Kristopher Tapley, HitFix20/24$1.16
Anne Thompson, Indiewire21/24$1.11
Scott Feinberg, Hollywood Reporter19/24$1.09
Clayton Davis, The Awards Circuit19/24$1.09
Steve Pond, TheWrap19/24$1.08
Vegas Favorites21/24$1.06
Mark Harris, Grantland20/24$1.03
Anthony Breznican, Entertainment Weekly19/24$0.99
Joel D Amos, Movie Fanatic19/24$0.99
Kevin Polowy, Yahoo20/24$0.99
Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times20/24$0.99
Pete Hammond, Deadline17/24$0.99
Peter Knegt, Indiewire19/24$0.96
Guy Lodge, HitFix17/24$0.82

The Best Oscar Pundit for 2014 was Tom Shone of The Guardian, who got 22 of 24 picks correct for a Yield of $1.28, helped by non-consensus picks such as ‘Helium’ for Live Action Short and ’20 Feet from Stardom’ for Documentary. Overall, the pundits did quite well this year, generating an average Yield of $1.08. It was a strong year for the favorites, with Vegas going 21/24 for a $1.06 Yield.

Here is how the pundits did by category. Not one picked Mr. Hublot for Animated Short (Get a Horse! was the consensus favorite).

CategoryHit Rate
Best Picture11/18
Best Actor18/18
Best Actress18/18
Best Supporting Actor18/18
Best Supporting Actress15/18
Best Director18/18
Best Adapted Screenplay18/18
Best Original Screenplay10/18
Best Animated Feature18/18
Best Foreign Language Film15/18
Best Documentary Feature14/18
Best Cinematography18/18
Best Film Editing7/18
Best Production Design13/18
Best Costume Design12/18
Best Original Song18/18
Best Original Score17/18
Best Sound Editing18/18
Best Sound Mixing18/18
Best Visual Effects18/18
Best Makeup & Hairstyling17/18
Best Live Action Short9/18
Best Animated Short0/18
Best Documentary Short18/18

Finally, here is our scorecard of the pundits who have full predictions for at least two of the past three Oscars:

Melena Ryzik, New York Times$1.36$1.31$1.34
Anthony Breznican, Entertainment Weekly$1.61$0.99$1.30
Anne Thompson, Indiewire$1.07$1.45$1.11$1.21
Kris Tapley, HitFix$1.39$1.08$1.16$1.21
Clayton Davis, The Awards Circuit$1.35$1.12$1.09$1.19
Scott Feinberg, Hollywood Reporter$0.96$1.48$1.09$1.18
Tom Shone, The Guardian$1.05$1.28$1.17
Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Times$1.16$0.96$1.21$1.11
Peter Knegt, Indiewire$1.37$0.94$0.96$1.09
Vegas Favorites$1.10$1.03$1.06$1.06
Pete Hammond,$1.22$0.86$0.99$1.02
Kyle Buchanan, Vulture$1.01$0.82$1.23$1.02
Steve Pond, TheWrap$1.14$0.83$1.08$1.02
Joel D Amos, Movie Fanatic$1.02$0.99$1.01
Kevin Polowy, Yahoo$0.95$0.84$0.99$0.93
Guy Lodge, HitFix$1.01$0.93$0.82$0.92
Rotten Tomatoes$0.83$1.01$0.92
Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times$0.73$0.89$0.99$0.87

Perhaps it’s too early to make predictions for the 2015 Oscars , but why not give it a shot? For those new to our site, PunditTracker levels the playing field by allowing users to compete with the ‘experts’. Head over to our Entertainment section and use the ‘Vote Now’ button to make your picks on next year’s Oscars as well as box office predictions for ‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman’, ‘Divergent’, and ‘Avengers 2′. You can also see a full breakdown of all the pundits’ picks here.

If we missed any Oscar pundits that you think we should have tracked, please let us know and we will add them to the list.

Which Super Bowl picks should you listen (and not listen) to?

January 29, 2014  |  Sports

Here is how the 24 NFL game pickers we are tracking fared with their weekly picks this year, sorted best-to-worst by season Yield, along with their Super Bowl picks. As a reminder, Yield is the average payout had you bet $1 on each of the pundit’s picks at Moneyline odds. As a group, the ‘experts’ added no value this year, with a collective yield of $1.00.

PunditRecordHit Rate$1 YieldSuper Bowl Pick
Ron Jaworski, ESPN181-8468%$1.08Broncos
Prediction Machine, CBS182-8369%$1.05Seahawks
Mike Ditka, ESPN169-9664%$1.05Broncos
Vegas Favorites185-8070%$1.05Broncos
Dave Richard, CBS177-8867%$1.05Seahawks
Seth Wickersham, ESPN171-9465%$1.04Seahawks
Ryan Wilson, CBS173-9265%$1.04Seahawks
Jamey Eisenberg, CBS176-8966%$1.03Broncos
K.C. Joyner, ESPN175-9066%$1.03Broncos
Keyshawn Johnson, ESPN166-9963%$1.02Seahawks
Tom Jackson, ESPN170-9564%$1.01Broncos
Chris Mortensen, ESPN171-9465%$1.01Broncos
John Breech, CBS172-9365%$1.00Seahawks
Mark Schlereth, ESPN170-9564%$1.00Broncos
Will Brinson, CBS165-10062%$1.00Broncos
Merril Hoge, ESPN165-10062%$0.99Broncos
Adam Schefter, ESPN170-9564%$0.98Broncos
Cris Carter, ESPN170-9564%$0.97Seahawks
Pete Prisco, CBS167-9863%$0.97Broncos
Josh Katzowitz, CBS164-10162%$0.96Broncos
Eric Allen, ESPN165-10062%$0.96Broncos
Mike Golic, ESPN164-10162%$0.96Seahawks
Frank Schwab, Yahoo161-9862%$0.95
Jason La Canfora, CBS154-11158%$0.93Seahawks

We will update the full weekly rankings (2011-13) after the Super Bowl. For those new to our site, PunditTracker levels the playing field by allowing users to compete with the ‘experts’. If you’d like to make your own Super Bowl pick — as well as several prop bets —  head over to our Sports section and use the ‘Vote Now’ button to make your picks. As with the NFL ‘experts’, we will hold you accountable after the game!


Apple analysts whiff on iPhone estimates (…again)

January 27, 2014  |  Finance

The headlines for Apple’s earnings are focusing on the 51 million iPhones shipped, which fell shy of Wall Street’s consensus estimate of 55 million. For us at PunditTracker, the more interesting question is why — yet again — were the analyst’s estimates were so tightly clustered? As Fortune’s terrific spreadsheet shows, 19 of the 30 analysts predicted between 54 and 56 million iPhones. This range seems shockingly narrow for a consumer technology product, particularly given all the ‘proprietary channel checks’ being done. 29 of the 30 pundits were in a range between 52.0 and 58.5 million, which of course failed to capture the actual result. Only Andy Hargreaves of Pacific Crest came in below 52 million (his prediction was 50.93).

We discussed potential reasons for this errant clustering in a post last year.


NFL: Which Pundits Predicted A Broncos-Seahawks Super Bowl?

January 27, 2014  |  Sports

We have recently recapped the awful performances of baseball and college football pundits — both groups whiffed entirely on either of the championship game participants. Did the NFL pundits do any better with their preseason predictions? We tracked 63 ‘experts’ from CBS, ESPN,, and Sports Illustrated.

First, here were the aggregate picks for Conference and Super Bowl winners.

AFCNFCSuper Bowl
Broncos: 31Seahawks: 24Seahawks: 16
Patriots: 1149ers: 1849ers: 14
Texans: 10Falcons: 13Broncos: 13
Bengals: 10Packers: 7Falcons: 7
Colts: 1Saints: 1Packers: 7
Patriots: 4
Bengals: 1
Texans: 1

The group did quite well this season, with 49% of the pundits picking the Broncos to win the AFC (Vegas pegged their odds at 33%) and 38% selecting the Seahawks in the NFC (Vegas = 17%).

Now here are the individual selections. 13 of the 63 pundits picked both the Broncos and Seahawks to make the Super Bowl, including Jim Trotter of, who has been the best preseason prognosticator of the group since we started tracking them (he was one of two to predict the Harbaugh Bowl last year). Another 16 picked either the Broncos or Seahawks to win it all.

PunditNetworkAFCNFCSuper Bowl
Bill WilliamsonESPNCINSFSF
Daniel JeremiahNFLNEATLNE
Matt WilliamsonESPNNEGBGB
Tom MantzouranisSICINGBGB

We will update the full preseason rankings (2009-13) after the Super Bowl. For those new to our site, PunditTracker levels the playing field by allowing users to compete with the ‘experts’. If you’d like to make your own Super Bowl pick — as well as several prop bets —  head over to our Sports section and use the ‘Vote Now’ button to make your picks. As with the NFL ‘experts’, we will hold you accountable after the game!


Barron’s Roundtable: 2013 Performance & Updated 2002-13 Rankings

January 8, 2014  |  Finance

We have been tracking the annual investment picks of the Barron’s Roundtable since 2002. After a remarkable run from 2002-10, during which the Roundtable trounced the S&P 500 for nine consecutive years, the last two years have been marked by underperformance:

Roundtable Avg-5.7%45.7%20.9%9.1%22.2%15.7%-21.4%31.4%17.8%
S&P 500-24.5%19.7%8.0%5.2%10.3%4.2%-36.0%19.7%9.8%

201120122002-12 CAGR
Roundtable Avg-4.9%10.5%11.4%
S&P 500-1.1%11.6%0.8%


So would 2013 mark a reversion to the ‘good old days’ or would the stock-pickers struggle again? Let’s take a look at how their picks fared this past year:

Roundtable Member2013 Return
Average Roundtable21.2%
Meryl Witmer60.9%
Oscar Schafer37.7%
Mario Gabelli34.7%
Brian Rogers32.6%
S&P 50028.2%
Abby Joseph Cohen18.7%
Scott Black10.8%
Felix Zulauf0.0%
Fred Hickey-26.1%

The Roundtable underperformed again in 2013, posting a 21.2% return on average versus the 28.2% of the S&P.  The group’s performance was dragged down by a few members, in particular Fred Hickey. Due largely to his big bet on gold, Hickey’s picks returned -26.1% on average. Felix Zulauf, the second best roundtable performer since 2002 (behind Marc Faber, who did not make picks this year), also had a tough year given his bet on emerging markets. Scott Black and Abby Joseph Cohen underperformed as well.

On a positive note, several members posted stellar years, notably Meryl Witmer who made three picks, all of which posted 49%+ returns. Oscar Schafer, Mario Gabelli, and Brian Rogers also outperformed the index.

For a full breakdown of all the pundit’s individual picks in 2013, click here.

Despite the sluggish performance in recent years, the group’s long-term record remains admirable. The Roundtable members have posted a 13.3% average CAGR since 2002 versus 1.5% for the S&P.

Here is how they have fared on an individual basis, relative to the corresponding S&P performance for the years in which they made picks:

Total (2002-13, 12 years)13.3%1.5%11.8%
Marc Faber (2002-12, 11 years)22.8%3.1%19.7%
Felix Zulauf (2002-13, 12 years)20.2%1.5%18.7%
Oscar Schafer (2002-13, 12 years)16.0%1.5%14.5%
Meryl Witmer (2002-13, 12 years)14.7%1.5%13.2%
Barton Biggs (2002-03, 2 years)3.4%-4.9%8.3%
Art Samberg (2002-08, 7 years)4.2%-3.9%8.1%
John Neff (2002-07, 6 years)9.8%2.8%7.0%
Mario Gabelli (2002-13, 12 years)8.2%1.5%6.7%
Scott Black (2002-13, 12 years)5.4%1.5%3.9%
Brian Rogers (2012-13, 2 years)22.9%19.6%3.3%
Abby Joseph Cohen (2002-03, 2005-13, 11 years)4.2%2.4%1.8%
Fred Hickey (2005-13, 9 years)4.0%4.1%-0.1%
Archie MacAllaster (2002-11, 10 years)-1.9%-0.2%-1.7%

For a full breakdown of the Roundtable performance from 2012-13, click here.


For those new to our site, PunditTracker levels the playing field by allowing users to compete with the ‘experts’. If you’d like to make your own picks on year-end targets for the S&P, Gold, Bitcoin, Oil, Twitter, and more, head over to our Finance section and use the ‘Vote Now’ button to make your picks. As with the Roundtable pundits, we will hold you accountable at year end!


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