NFL Season Finale: Photo Finish

January 3, 2013  |  Sports

As is customary, let’s start with how the NFL pundits from ESPN, Yahoo, and CBS Sports did with their Week 17 predictions.  Of the 23 pundits we are currently tracking, five called 13 of 16 games correctly; however, one of those five emerged as this week’s winner.

Mike Golic of ESPN led the pack with 13 of 16 calls correct for a $1.31 yield, including picking the Colts over the Texans for a single game yield of $3.57, this week’s highest-yield prediction. Golic narrowly edged out Mike Ditka and Seth Wickersham who turned out yields of $1.30 and $1.29, respectively, while Merril Hoge ($1.17) and Adam Schefter ($1.16) also called the same number of games right. The toughest games for the pundits this week were the Panthers/Saints (only Will Brinson called it correctly) and the Buccaneers/Falcons (Ron Jaworski and Adam Schefter).

As a reminder, the yield measures the average payout, using Vegas odds, had you placed $1 bets on each of the pundit’s selections.

[HY-Highest Yield; ODY-$1 Yield; HR-Hit Rate; E-ESPN; Y-Yahoo; C-CBS]

Week 17

PunditWk 17
Wk 17
Wk 17
Wk 17
HY Call
HY Call
Pundit Average1.021170%1.03
Mike Golic (E)1.311381%Colts (HOU @ IND)3.571.01
Seth Wickersham (E)1.291381%Colts (HOU @ IND)3.571.15
Eric Allen (E)1.211275%Colts (HOU @ IND)3.570.96
Merril Hoge (E)1.171381%Vikings (GB @ MIN)2.571.07
Adam Schefter (E)1.161381%Buccs (TB @ ATL)2.380.98
Jason Cole (Y)1.151275%Colts (HOU @ IND)3.571.10
Mike Ditka (E)1.301381%Colts (HOU @ IND)3.571.06
Ryan Wilson (C)1.051169%Colts (HOU @ IND)3.570.99
Keyshawn Johnson (E)1.051169%Colts (HOU @ IND)3.570.96
Cris Carter (E)1.011275%Bears (CHI @ DET)1.660.99
Vegas Favorites 1.011275%Bears (CHI @ DET)1.660.94
Prediction Machine (C)1.011275%Bears (CHI @ DET)1.660.97
Ron Jaworski (E)0.971169%Buccs (TB @ ATL)2.381.02
Chris Mortensen (E)0.971169%Vikings (GB @ MIN)2.571.14
Les Carpenter (Y)0.941063%Colts (HOU @ IND)3.570.99
Will Brinson (C)0.931063%Panthers (CAR @ NO)2.901.09
Mike Silver (Y)0.931169%Bears (CHI @ DET)1.661.12
Clark Judge (C)0.931169%Bears (CHI @ DET)1.661.01
Accuscore (E)0.931169%Bears (CHI @ DET)1.660.98
Dave Richard (C)0.931169%Bears (CHI @ DET)1.660.96
Josh Katzowitz (C)0.911169%Bears (CHI @ DET)1.661.08
Tom Jackson (E)0.911169%Skins (DAL @ WSH)1.640.99
Mark Schlereth (E)0.821063%Skins (DAL @ WSH)1.641.01
Pete Prisco (C)0.811063%Bills (NYJ @ BUF)1.601.02
Jason La Canfora (C)0.72956%Bills (NYJ @ BUF)1.601.00
Mike Freeman (C)0.901063%Vikings (GB @ MIN)2.571.03

Keep in mind that we still have the playoffs to go, but our regular season champion is (drumroll…)

Seth Wickersham (ESPN)

Over the past several weeks, Wickersham and Chris Mortensen have been battling neck and neck for the top spot, with Mortensen generally holding a razor-thin lead. Wickersham’s week 17 performance was just enough to edge out Mort, who called 11/16 correctly for a $0.97 yield, to become the NFL regular season’s top pundit.

On the other end of the spectrum, we also had a photo finish for worst pundit of the season. Three pundits came out to a $0.96 season yield: Keyshawn Johnson (ESPN), Dave Richard (CBS), and Eric Allen (ESPN), but when extending out the digits, the worst performer was Keyshawn Johnson.

Of course, all pundits have their good weeks and bad weeks. A couple extreme examples over the course of the 2012 season include:

Best Week:  Merril Hoge in Week 4 – 14/15 correct for a $1.65 yield.

Worst Week:  Les Carpenter  in Week 6 – 3/14 correct for a $0.31 yield.

Here is a summary of how all of our pundits fared during the 2012 regular season.

2012 Season

HY Call
HY Call
Pundit Average1.0316564%
Seth Wickersham1.1517970%Redskins (WSH @ NO)-9/9/20124.49
Chris Mortensen1.1417870%Bills (BUF @ ARI)-10/14/20123.12
Mike Silver1.1217568%Colts (IND @ DET)-12/2/20123.79
Jason Cole1.1017368%Colts (IND @ DET)-12/2/20123.79
Will Brinson1.0916866%Bills (BUF @ ARI)-10/14/20123.12
Josh Katzowitz1.0817167%Colts (IND @ DET)-12/2/20123.79
Merril Hoge1.0717167%Redskins (WSH @ NO)-9/9/20124.49
Mike Ditka1.0616665%Colts (IND @ DET)-12/2/20123.79
Mike Freeman1.0316464%Colts (IND @ DET)-12/2/20123.79
Pete Prisco1.0216665%Chiefs (CAR @ KC)-12/2/20123.12
Ron Jaworski1.0216866%Chiefs (CAR @ KC)-12/2/20123.12
Mike Golic1.0116263%Colts (HOU @ IND)-12/30/20123.57
Clark Judge1.0116665%Steelers (PIT @ NYG)-11/4/20122.80
Mark Schlereth1.0116564%Redskins(WSH @ CLE)-12/16/20123.02
Jason La Canfora1.0015862%Giants (NYG @ SF)-10/14/20123.78
Ryan Wilson0.9915862%Steelers (PIT @ BAL)-12/2/20123.84
Tom Jackson0.9916163%Redskins (WSH @ CLE)-12/16/20123.02
Les Carpenter0.9915761%Colts (HOU @ IND)-12/30/20123.57
Cris Carter0.9916464%Chiefs (CAR @ KC)-12/2/20123.12
Accuscore0.9816464%Redskins (WSH @ CLE)-12/16/20123.02
Adam Schefter0.9816063%Rams (SF @ STL)-12/2/20124.23
Prediction Machine0.9716364%49ers (SF @ NE)-12/16/20122.90
Dave Richard0.9615962%Steelers (PIT @ NYG)-11/4/20122.80
Eric Allen0.9615460%Eagles (PHI @ TB)-12/9/20123.94
Keyshawn Johnson0.9615460%Redskins (WSH @ NO)-9/9/20124.49
Vegas Favorites0.9416364%Colts (CLE @ IND)-10/21/20121.92

Also included in the table are the highest yield calls of the season for each pundit. The best single-game yield was the Redskins to beat the Saints in Week 1, which three pundits got right: Wickersham, Hoge, and Johnson all rightfully bought into the RG III hype.

Now take the following network comparisons with a grain of salt, given the limited sample size: there are only 3 pundits we are tracking from Yahoo as compared to 8 from CBS and 12 from ESPN. That being said, here are 2012 season numbers in a nutshell.

2012 Season

Network# punditsAvg CorrectAvg IncorrectHRODY
All Pundits23165.190.964%1.03

Finally, here are our cumulative rankings to date, which includes last year’s weekly picks. Mike Silver continues to lead the pack with a cumulative yield of $1.11 with Wickersham, our 2012 leader, pulling to #2 overall. Mortensen’s strong performance this year brings his cumulative yield to $1.05, good for #5 on our board.

2011 and 2012 Seasons ($1 Yield)

Mike Silver (Yahoo)$1.08$1.12$1.11
Seth Wickersham (ESPN)$1.04$1.15$1.09
Josh Katzowitz (CBS)$1.08$1.08
Mike Ditka (ESPN)$1.06$1.06
Chris Mortensen (ESPN)$0.95$1.14$1.05
Mike Freeman (CBS)$1.05$1.03$1.05
Will Brinson (CBS)$0.96$1.09$1.03
Les Carpenter (Yahoo)$1.06$0.99$1.03
Jason Cole (Yahoo)$0.96$1.10$1.03
Merril Hoge (ESPN)$0.98$1.07$1.02
Clark Judge (CBS)$1.01$1.01$1.01
Mark Schlereth (ESPN)$0.99$1.01$1.01
Pete Prisco (CBS)$0.96$1.02$1.00
Ron Jaworski (ESPN)$0.97$1.02$1.00
Jason La Canfora (CBS)$1.00$1.00
Dave Richard (CBS)$1.00$0.96$0.99
Mike Golic (ESPN)$0.96$1.01$0.99
Tom Jackson (ESPN)$0.99$0.99
Ryan Wilson (CBS)$0.99$0.99
Cris Carter (ESPN)$0.99$0.99
Eric Allen (ESPN)$0.99$0.96$0.97
Keyshawn Johnson (ESPN)$0.96$0.96
Adam Schefter (ESPN)$0.94$0.98$0.96

Can RG3 and the Skins keep the magic going against Seattle to extend an improbable 7 game win streak? How costly will that week 17 loss to the Colts prove for the Texans? Enter your Wild-Card Weekend picks now by clicking here and win the chance to make your own predictions on Many of our users have been clobbering the NFL “experts” so far this year — start building your own track record today.




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