Week 12 CPR: The Edge of Wisdom

The crowd picked an impressive 14 winners out of 16 games, and we ask, is there an outer edge to crowd wisdom?

The crowd went a very impressive 14 for 16 in picking winners in Week 12 for an 88% success rate. I was halfway through dancing on my roof after seeing that result when I looked at the spreads and had to stop. There were only 6 games this week in which the spread was less than 6 points. And while a large spread doesn’t guarantee victory, a quick scan shows that picking the favorite when the spread is 7 or more was correct in 41 out of 51 games (80% success), so 88% accuracy is not quite the feat I had originally thought. (Incidentally, the two incorrect picks were the Cowboys and the Chiefs.) Still, the crowd correctly picked the Cardinals (+6) upset over the Jaguars as well as the winner in 4 games in which the spread was less than 4 points, so it’s still a pretty impressive accomplishment that tied for first among the ESPN experts.

This got me thinking about the crowd and very large spreads. In Week 12, there were 5 games with spreads greater than 8 points. 4 out of the 5 favorites not only won outright but covered the spread as well. The question that sprang to mind is: can the crowd identify value for a spread that large?

The challenge, especially for games with very large spreads, is that a prediction in which the favorite wins by a narrow margin would be the equivalent of an upset by even a moderate underdog. Here’s what I mean. The Patriots were favored by 16.5 points in Week 12. If I predicted New England to win by 8, which is still a very comfortable margin, two people would have to predict the Patriots to win by 21 points to offset that. As far as the crowd wisdom is concerned, my 8-point Patriots win predictions would have had the same effect on the crowd score as picking the Bills, who were getting 8.5 points, to beat the Chiefs by 1.

Perhaps with a large crowd, we would see wins by big margins balance out narrower victories, but it seems as though predictions with very large spreads are pretty rare. For me, it would be hard to imagine a professional team losing by more than 20 simply because you just never know what can happen. Time will tell whether the crowd will be able to identify value for matchups with that kind of discrepancy.

We had 9 total predictors this week (up 2 from Week 10), including one new user (thanks J.P.!). Our plans for a postseason contest are coming together, so please tell your friends to add their wisdom in the coming weeks so that they can have a chance to win!

Another Near-Hit This Week!

J.P. was on fire this week. He hit the Titans-Colts spread on the nose and with a 21-17 prediction, missed each score by only a point each, and then he predicted a Raiders 21-13 victory over the Broncos, missing the actual score of 21-14 by just one. Nice job J.P.!

CPR Week 12 Summary

  • Straight-up: 14-2 (88%)
  • Against the Spread: 8-8 (50%)
  • Over/Under: 10-6 (63%)


  • Straight-up: 117-59 (66%, +2%)
  • Against the Spread: 83-93 (47%, +0%)
  • Over/Under: 88-88 (50%, +1%)

9 predictors in Week 12, up 2 from Week 11. Thank you to those who keep returning. We cannot tell you how much we appreciate your support. Please tell your friends!

The Cynthia Frelund Experience


The Monday night game in Week 12 was a bit unusual for @cfrelund‘s crowd. The crowd predicted a 23-15 victory for the Ravens, just one point from the actual score. Pretty amazing! On the other hand, the spread favored the Ravens by 7.5, so the crowd was technically on the wrong side of the spread. However, as we’ve mentioned several times before, part of the value of the crowd wisdom is identifying lines to avoid in order to save money for the valuable bets. The crowd said to stay away from the line and they were pretty much right on the money on that.

The WotC Game of the Week

I was impressed with the crowd prediction in the Saints-Rams game because the predicted a close victory for the Rams with a total of 48 points. That total was over 10% less than the Vegas total of 54, indicating good value. The reason it’s not the WotC winner is because the crowd predicted a Saints cover. With only a 2.5-point spread, that is an extremely narrow window to thread the needle, and it came up empty. Given that this week’s selection predicted a fairly big underdog to win outright, Jaguars-Cardinals gets the nod this week.

Winner Cardinals Cardinals
Spread Cardinals by 0.22 (spread was Jaguars by 6) Cardinals by 3
Over/Under 43.1 (over 37) 51

The Wabby of the Week

The crowd got at least one prediction right every game this week. Very impressive! Still, only one person predicted the Bills to beat the Chiefs, and if you had given me the Bills and 5.5 points in Kansas City after QB Nick Peterman threw 5 interceptions in the first half the previous week, I’d be wearing a barrel on Monday.

Winner Chiefs Bills
Spread Chiefs by 7.12 (spread was Chiefs by 8.5) Bills by 6
Over/Under 41.57 (under 47) 26

Week 12 Top Performers

User J.P. finished first across all three categories, tying for first with an impressive 12, 10, and 11 picks. Nice work J.P.! Here are all of our top performers for Week 12. Congrats everyone and thanks again for your help!

G.A. (12)
C.A. (12)
P.C. (12)
P.M. (12)
J.P. (12)
B.C. (10)
J.P. (10)
E.P. (9)
G.A. (11)
J.P. (11)
P.C. (9)

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