Following last year’s March Madness, we published a post recapping how the pundits from ESPN, Yahoo, SI, and CBS Sports fared with their brackets.
Here is what those same experts are predicting this year for the Final Four and National Championship. We have ranked the experts by how they scored last year based on our $1 Yield metric, which measures the average payout — using Vegas odds — had you placed $1 bets on each of the pundit’s selections (we used futures odds for each round).
Pundit Yield Midwest West South East Champion
Peter Tiernan, CBS $1.23 Louisville Ohio State Florida Indiana Louisville
Barack Obama $1.22 Louisville Ohio State Florida Indiana Indiana
Jay Bilas, ESPN $1.22 Louisville Ohio State VCU Indiana Louisville
Jeff Goodman, CBS $1.20 Louisville Gonzaga Florida Indiana Louisville
Jeff Borzello, CBS $1.08 Louisville Gonzaga Georgetown Indiana Louisville
Jerry Palm, CBS $1.03 Louisville Ohio State Kansas Syracuse Louisville
Colin Cowherd, ESPN $1.02 St. Louis Gonzaga Florida Miami Miami
Matt Norlander, CBS $1.01 Louisville Gonzaga Michigan Miami Louisville
Luke Winn, SI $0.99 Louisville Ohio State Florida Indiana Louisville
Joe Lunardi, ESPN $0.95 Louisville Gonzaga Florida Miami Louisville
Chalk (higher seed) $0.93 Louisville Gonzaga Kansas Indiana Louisville
Gary Parrish, CBS $0.93 Louisville Wisconsin VCU Indiana Louisville
Gregg Doyel, CBS $0.92 Louisville Ohio State Michigan Indiana Ohio State
Dan Wetzel, Yahoo $0.91 Louisville Gonzaga Kansas Indiana Indiana
Pat Forde, Yahoo $0.90 Louisville Ohio State Georgetown Indiana Louisville
Andy Katz, ESPN $0.87 Louisville Gonzaga VCU Miami Lousiville
Brad Evans, Yahoo $0.87 Louisville Ohio State Georgetown Miami Louisville
Dennis Dodd, CBS $0.87 Louisville New Mexico Georgetown Miami Louisville
Andy Glockner, SI $0.86 Louisville Ohio State Florida Miami Louisville
Dick Vitale, ESPN $0.86 Louisville Ohio State Michigan Indiana Louisville
Stewart Mandel, SI $0.86 Louisville Ohio State Florida Miami Louisville
Seth Davis, SI $0.85 Louisville New Mexico Kansas Miami Louisville
Vegas Favorites $0.83 Louisville Gonzaga Florida Indiana Louisville
We will provide rankings for this year’s brackets for these pundits and others, following both the first weekend as well as the championship game.
Visit PunditTracker.com now to make your March Madness picks. We currently have 60 predictions available for voting, including picks for every game of the tournament as well as all the expert predictions above. The three top-ranked users will become Featured Pundits on our website.
Visit our Sports page now to make more than 50 March Madness predictions, including picks for each game as well as for the Final Four & Championship. While there are many other March Madness contests out there, PunditTracker allows you to a build a lifetime track record.
We will update the picks throughout the tournament.
We are excited to announce some new features on PunditTracker.com:
User Rankings: We now post the three Top-Ranked Users on the Home Page as well as your individual ranking on the My Profile page.
Social Sharing: You can now share your predictions both on Twitter and Facebook. Just click the “Share” button on the rightmost column of the prediction table (My Profile page).
Public/Private Profiles: If you do not want your prediction history accessible by other users, you can now make your profile private by clicking on the Edit Info button on the My Profile page and then checking the Private box.
If you have not been making predictions on the site yet, now is a great time to start doing so! With new pundits being added each week, there are plenty of calls on the site that are currently open for voting. Recall that the three top-ranked users (with at least 25 graded predictions) will earn the right to become Featured Pundits on our website. The current “PT Challenge” ends on June 30, but we plan to make this a recurring contest each year (on a cumulative prediction basis). Therefore, we caution users against making a bunch of low-conviction votes simply to hit the 25 prediction threshold by June.
When we started tracking James Altucher in 2011, it didn’t take long to recognize that Altucher swings for the fences with his predictions. In fact, all seven of his predictions that we have cataloged have had Medium-High or High boldness ratings. Altucher’s approach is likely to result in a low Hit Rate, but his Yield will tell the story over the long run.
Three of his predictions have come due so far in 2013:
Dow Jones Index will hit 20,000 within one year (made on 2/27/12): Predictions don’t get much bolder than this — consider that the Dow was at 13K at the time — and this one proved to be wildly off the mark, with the Dow finishing February at just above 14,000.
Apple will be $1 trillion dollar company in one year (made on 2/6/12): Altucher was calling for more than a double in Apple’s valuation, and when the stock soared to $700 per share last fall, the prospect suddenly seemed plausible. However, the stock has since given back its gains and closed Feburary 6 at about $457 share, slightly down from when Altucher made his prediction.
S&P 500 to hit 1500 by early 2013 (made on 9/23/11): The S&P was at 1130 when Altucher made this prediction for a 30%+ return over the next sixteen months. This bold call was proven correct when the S&P eclipsed 1500 in late January.
Overall, Altucher has been 1-for-6 with the predictions we have tracked, with a $0.92 yield. Click here to see the details for all his calls, including yet another super-bold one: that Facebook will have a $300 billion market capitalization by 2017.
We tracked 22 pundits who made predictions for all 24 categories of the 85th 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]
Pundit Hit Rate Yield
Anthony Breznican, Entertainment Weekly 21/24 $1.61
Scott Feinberg, Hollywood Reporter 21/24 $1.48
Anne Thompson, Indiewire 20/24 $1.45
Melena Ryzik, New York Times 20/24 $1.31
Gary Susman, MovieFone 17/24 $1.22
Clayton Davis, The Awards Circuit 17/24 $1.12
Kris Tapley, HitFix 18/24 $1.08
Richard Lawson, The Atlantic Wire 18/24 $1.07
Tom Shone, The Guardian 18/24 $1.05
Vegas Favorites 19/24 $1.03
Joel D Amos, Movie Fanatic 17/24 $1.02
Rotten Tomatoes 18/24 $1.01
Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Times 17/24 $0.96
Peter Knegt, Indiewire 17/24 $0.94
Guy Lodge, HitFix 16/24 $0.93
Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times 16/24 $0.89
Joal Ryan, E! Online 15/24 $0.87
Pete Hammond, Deadline.com 15/24 $0.86
Kevin Polowy, NextMovie 16/24 $0.84
Steve Pond, TheWrap 15/24 $0.83
Kyle Buchanan, Vulture 16/24 $0.82
Wesley Morris, Grantland 11/24 $0.69
The Best Pundit award goes to Anthony Breznican of Entertainment Weekly, who got 21/24 picks correct, including non-consensus ones such as “Lincoln” for Production Design and “Skyfall” for Sound Editing (where it earned a tie). Scott Feinberg of the Hollywood Reporter and Anne Thompson of Indiewire also scored high marks, while Wesley Morris of Grantland had a rough showing. Simply going with the favorites — as deemed by the oddsmakers — would have yielded a slightly positive return.
Finally, here are the cumulative rankings of the pundits we track that made predictions for all categories both last year and this year, with Melena Ryzik of the Carpetbagger blog (New York Times) earning the top spot.
Pundit Last Year This Year Cumulative
Melena Ryzik, New York Times $1.36 $1.31 $1.34
Anne Thompson, Indiewire $1.07 $1.45 $1.26
Clayton Davis, The Awards Circuit $1.35 $1.12 $1.24
Kris Tapley, HitFix $1.39 $1.08 $1.24
Scott Feinberg, Hollywood Reporter $0.96 $1.48 $1.22
Peter Knegt, Indiewire $1.37 $0.94 $1.16
Vegas Favorites $1.10 $1.03 $1.07
Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Times $1.16 $0.96 $1.06
Pete Hammond, Deadline.com $1.22 $0.86 $1.04
Steve Pond, TheWrap $1.14 $0.83 $0.99
Guy Lodge, HitFix $1.01 $0.93 $0.97
Rotten Tomatoes $0.83 $1.01 $0.92
Kyle Buchanan, Vulture $1.01 $0.82 $0.92
Kevin Polowy, NextMovie $0.95 $0.84 $0.90
Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times $0.73 $0.89 $0.81
Update: We originally had Kris Tapley scored at 17/24, which was incorrect. This has been fixed.
With predictions for the the 85th Annual Academy Awards flowing in, let’s revisit which film pundits fared best and worst with their Oscar predictions last year. Here are our rankings for the 21 pundits we tracked, along with several of their predictions for this year (based on the latest available information, which we will update throughout the week).
Last Year’s Oscars: Rankings
Yield = how much money you would have made, on average, had you placed $1 bets on each of the pundit’s predictions (based on Vegas odds)
HR = Hit Rate = # correct predictions / # total predictions
Yield HR Picture Actor Actress S Actor S Actress Director
Kris Tapley $1.39 79% Argo DDL Riva DeNiro Hathaway Lee
Peter Knegt $1.37 79% Argo DDL Riva DeNiro Hathaway Spielberg
Clayton Davis $1.35 83% Argo DDL Riva Waltz Hathaway Russell
Melena Ryzik $1.36 83% Argo DDL Lawrence DeNiro Hathaway Lee
Pete Hammond $1.22 75% Argo DDL Riva DeNiro Hathaway Lee
Glenn Whipp $1.16 79% Steve Pond $1.14 75% Argo DDL Riva DeNiro Hathaway Lee
Sasha Stone $1.11 75% Vegas Favorites $1.10 77% Argo DDL Lawrence Jones Hathaway Spielberg
Dave Karger $1.09 75% Argo DDL Lawrence DeNiro Hathaway Lee
Anne Thompson $1.07 71% Argo DDL Lawrence Jones Hathaway Lee
Guy Lodge $1.01 67% Argo DDL Riva Waltz Hathaway Lee
Kyle Buchanan $1.01 67% Argo DDL Lawrence Jones Hathaway Spielberg
Lou Lumenick $0.98 65% Jim Slotek $0.98 58% Scott Feinberg $0.96 67% Argo DDL Lawrence Waltz Hathaway Lee
Kevin Polowy $0.95 67% Argo DDL Lawrence Jones Hathaway Spielberg
Rotten Tomatoes $0.83 58% Argo DDL Lawrence Jones Hathaway Spielberg
Mark Harris $0.76 58% Richard Roeper $0.73 58% Argo DDL Lawrence DeNiro Hathaway Spielberg
Erik Childress $0.63 54% S.T. VanAirsdale $0.59 43%
Last year was a good one for the favorites (as deemed by oddsmakers), which outperformed most of the pundits we tracked on both a Yield and Hit Rate basis. For the pundits that scored well on our Yield metric, underdog picks such as “Undefeated” in Documentary and “Hugo” in both Cinematography and Visual Effects accounted for most of the outperformance.
We will update the picks throughout the week and then provide updated rankings following Sunday’s results. If there are any other Oscar pundits that you wish to see tracked, just let us know.
As we head into All-Star Weekend, let’s take a look at how the NBA pundit prognostications are shaping up so far this year. We are tracking the predictions of 35 ESPN pundits across 11 categories: 6 division winners, 2 conference winners, overall champion, MVP, and Rookie of the Year. Given that it’s too early to judge the likelihood of conference and overall championship winners, we will only analyze how the division and player award picks are faring (8 categories), assuming the season ended today. This might prove presumptuous, but we are assuming that LeBron wins MVP and Damian Lillard wins ROY (for you Kevin Durant fans, we are happy to provide the data based on KD winning the MVP).
The table is ranked by Yield, although you can sort by # correct as well. As a reminder, the Yield metric calibrates predictions for boldness by measuring the average payout (using Vegas odds) had you placed $1 bets on each of the pundit’s selections. The last row (“total”) shows the % of pundits that got each category right — for instance, none of the 35 pundits picked the Knicks to win the Atlantic, while all of them picked the Heat to win the Southeast.
Pundit Atl Ctl SE NW SW Pac RoY MVP # Yield
Total 0% 86% 100% 86% 83% 6% 31% 54% 4 $0.96
Kevin Arnovitz BOS IND MIA OKC SA LAL Lillard James 6 $1.47
Nick Friedell BOS IND MIA OKC SA LAL Lillard James 6 $1.47
Dave McMenamin BKN IND MIA OKC MEM LAL Lillard James 5 $1.27
Israel Gutierrez BOS IND MIA OKC SA LAC Davis Paul 5 $1.21
Brian Windhorst BOS IND MIA OKC SA LAL Lillard Durant 5 $1.12
Beckley Mason BOS IND MIA OKC SA LAL Lillard Durant 5 $1.12
Mike Mazzeo BOS IND MIA OKC SA LAL Lillard Durant 5 $1.12
David Thorpe PHI CHI MIA DEN SA LAL Lillard James 4 $1.11
Marc Stein BOS IND MIA OKC SA LAL Davis James 5 $1.04
Chris Palmer BOS IND MIA OKC SA LAL Davis James 5 $1.04
Larry Coon BOS IND MIA OKC SA LAL Davis James 5 $1.04
Royce Webb BOS IND MIA OKC SA LAL Davis James 5 $1.04
Tom Haberstroh BOS IND MIA OKC SA LAL Davis James 5 $1.04
Maurice Brooks BOS IND MIA OKC SA LAL Davis James 5 $1.04
Arash Markazi BOS IND MIA OKC SA LAL Davis James 5 $1.04
Chris Forsberg BOS IND MIA OKC SA LAL Davis James 5 $1.04
Ian Begley BOS IND MIA OKC SA LAL Davis James 5 $1.04
Vegas Favorites BOS IND MIA OKC SA LAL Davis James 5 $1.04
Scoop Jackson BOS IND MIA OKC MEM LAC Drummond Paul 4 $1.02
Justin Verrier BOS IND MIA DEN SA LAL Lillard Durant 4 $0.98
R. Shelburne BOS IND MIA OKC MEM LAL Lillard Paul 4 $0.93
Tim Legler BOS CHI MIA OKC SA LAL Lillard Durant 4 $0.90
Keith Lipscomb BOS CHI MIA OKC SA LAL Lillard Durant 4 $0.90
John Hollinger BOS IND MIA DEN SA LAL Davis James 4 $0.89
Chad Ford BOS IND MIA DEN SA LAL Davis James 4 $0.89
Adena Andrews BOS IND MIA OKC MEM LAL Davis James 4 $0.84
Jackie MacMullan BOS CHI MIA OKC SA LAL Davis James 4 $0.82
Tim MacMahon BOS CHI MIA OKC SA LAL Davis James 4 $0.82
Chris Ramsay BOS IND MIA DEN MEM LAL Davis James 3 $0.70
J.A. Adande BOS IND MIA OKC SA LAL Davis Durant 4 $0.69
Chris Broussard BOS IND MIA OKC SA LAL Davis Durant 4 $0.69
Michael Wallace BOS IND MIA OKC SA LAL Kidd-Gilchrist Paul 4 $0.69
Henry Abbott PHI IND MIA OKC SA LAL Drummond Durant 4 $0.69
Jack Ramsay PHI IND MIA OKC SA LAL Sullinger Wade 4 $0.69
Bruce Bowen BKN IND MIA OKC SA LAL Davis Durant 4 $0.69
Adry Torres BKN IND MIA OKC MEM LAL Davis Durant 3 $0.50
Will the Lakers make the playoffs? Will Josh Smith get traded before the deadline? Make your predictions now on our Sports page.
With Super Bowl XLVII in the books, let’s review how the 25 pundits we tracked from ESPN and Sports Illustrated fared with their pre-season prognostications. We tracked their predictions across 14 categories: 8 Division Winners, 2 Conference Champions, Super Bowl Champion, Offensive Rookie of the Year, Defensive Rookie of the Year, and Most Valuable Player.
As we discussed in our last sports post, Dennis Dillon and Jim Trotter of SI were the only two that called for a Ravens-49ers Super Bowl, with both correctly picking the Ravens to win it all. So it should be no surprise that they topped the 2012 rankings. As a reminder, the $1 yield metric calibrates predictions for boldness by measuring the average payout (using Vegas odds) had you placed $1 bets on each of the pundit’s selections
|Pundit||Hit Rate||$1 Yield|
|Dennis Dillon (SI)||71%||$3.42|
|Jim Trotter (SI)||64%||$3.26|
|Dan Graziano (ESPN)||57%||$1.97|
|Kevin Seifert (ESPN)||57%||$1.97|
|Kerry J. Byrne (SI)||50%||$1.69|
|Jeffri Chadiha (ESPN)||57%||$1.53|
|KC Joyner (ESPN)||50%||$1.36|
|Andrew Brandt (ESPN)||50%||$1.33|
|John Clayton (ESPN)||43%||$1.19|
|Pat Yasinskas (ESPN)||43%||$1.19|
|Bill Williamson (ESPN)||43%||$1.16|
|Tom Mantzouranis (SI)||36%||$1.10|
|Andrew Perloff (SI)||36%||$0.95|
|Jeff Diamond (SI)||36%||$0.95|
|Ashley Fox (ESPN)||50%||$0.89|
|Mike Sando (ESPN)||50%||$0.89|
|James Walker (ESPN)||43%||$0.71|
|Paul Kuharsky (ESPN)||43%||$0.71|
|Peter King (SI)||36%||$0.62|
|Jamison Hensley (ESPN)||57%||$0.61|
|Chris Burke (SI)||36%||$0.56|
|Bill Barnwell (ESPN)||36%||$0.54|
|Don Banks (SI)||36%||$0.54|
|Adam Schefter (ESPN)||29%||$0.38|
|Matt Williamson (ESPN)||21%||$0.28|
Let’s now break down the individual categories. In the table below, we compare the percentage of pundits that correctly predicted each category with the corresponding Las Vegas odds before the season began. All of the pundits picked the Patriots to win the AFC East and the Texans to win the AFC South, for instance, while none thought the Redskins would win the NFC East or Adrian Peterson would take the MVP trophy home. Interestingly, eight of the 25 picked Luke Kuechly to win the Defensive ROY award despite an only 11% implied probability of victory according to Vegas (Kuechly was the favorite, but it was a very fragmented group).
|Category||Winner||% Pundits Correct||Vegas Odds||Pundits|
|Super Bowl||Ravens||8%||5%||Dillon, Trotter|
|NFC Champion||49ers||12%||14%||Byrne, Dillon, Trotter|
|Offensive ROY||Griffin III||8%||13%||Diamond, Perloff|
We launched our PunditTracker.com NFL coverage with the 13 pundits for whom we tracked predictions in each of the 2009, 2010, and 2011 seasons. Here are their rankings updated for 2012 performance, with Jim Trotter separating from the pack following three consecutive strong seasons. You can see all the individual predictions by clicking on the pundit links.
|Jim Trotter (SI)||$0.35||$1.94||$1.34||$3.26||$1.72|
|Kevin Seifert (ESPN)||$0.36||$0.51||$1.81||$1.97||$1.16|
|Jeffri Chadiha (ESPN)||$0.54||$1.33||$0.99||$1.53||$1.10|
|Adam Schefter (ESPN)||$0.63||$1.71||$1.51||$0.38||$1.06|
|Peter King (SI)||$0.75||$1.97||$0.85||$0.62||$1.05|
|Pat Yasinskas (ESPN)||$0.80||$0.80||$1.35||$1.19||$1.04|
|Matt Williamson (ESPN)||$0.35||$1.96||$1.35||$0.28||$0.99|
|Bill Williamson (ESPN)||$0.54||$0.54||$1.70||$1.16||$0.98|
|John Clayton (ESPN)||$0.71||$0.50||$1.45||$1.19||$0.96|
|Mike Sando (ESPN)||$0.52||$0.89||$1.45||$0.89||$0.94|
|Paul Kuharsky (ESPN)||$0.18||$1.98||$0.69||$0.71||$0.89|
|Don Banks (SI)||$0.38||$0.54||$1.47||$0.54||$0.73|
|James Walker (ESPN)||$0.71||$0.54||$0.84||$0.71||$0.70|
Note that we will soon be adding SI’s Kerry Byrne ($1.51 yield) and Andrew Perloff ($0.72) to the site now that they have three seasons of tracked predictions (2010-12).
To see our entire coverage and/or to make your own predictions, visit our Sports section.
Brill’s Content, an old media-watchdog magazine, used to track the predictions of political pundits such as George Will and Eleanor Clift. The magazine incorporated an interesting twist: it compared the accuracy of these professional pundits with that of Chippy, a chimpanzee who chose random ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. Chippy did quite well, hitting on more than half of his “predictions” and beating out several of the experts.
Inspired by Chippy, today we are introducing three new pundits on PunditTracker: Groundhog Gary, Coin-Flip Chloe, and RNG Roger. These fictitious pundits will make one random prediction each week: Gary in Finance, Chloe in Politics, and Roger in Sports. Each Monday, we will take one popular topic in each category and then literally flip a coin to pick which side the pundit takes.
Not only will this feature allow us to compare the ‘experts’ with a random number generator, but it will also supply a steady stream of predictions for you to vote on.
Gary, Chloe, and Roger have alluredy made their predictions this week – click on their profile pages to make yours:
We consider the bible of pundit prediction analysis to be Philip Tetlock’s Expert Political Judgment. The book details an epic study conducted by Tetlock, in which he tracked more than 80,000 predictions from nearly 300 political pundits over the course of 20 years.
There are plenty of fascinating insights in the book, but we particularly enjoy the roster of excuses that pundits trot out when confronted with the fact that their prediction was dead wrong (Tetlock refers to these as “belief system defenses”). Here are some of our favorites:
Pundit defenses (a.k.a. lessons in how to not admit that you were wrong)
Too early: “I was simply too early; just wait and see, that stock market crash is still coming.” (see: Broken Clock Pundits)
Black swan: “Sure, our credit rating models failed, but who could have predicted that housing prices would fall across the country at the same time?”
Close enough: “Hey, I said the stock market would go up more than 10% and it went up 8%. I was basically right.”
Self-negated: “It was our own beliefs and actions that spared the world from catastrophe.” (see When Prophecy Fails)
Hedged: “I only said that it could happen.” (See: The 40% Rule) — note: when pundits are correct, they strangely fail to mention the hedge.
What other excuses have you heard? And can you think of any specific examples of the dodges above?
Friendly reminder: Only a few days left to make your predictions on the 2013 calls from Byron Wien, Karl Rove, Doug Kass, and others.