Today is the start of the NFL season and building on our success in using crowdsourcing to predict the World Cup, we’d like to release our predictions for the upcoming NFL season. Using data from our “Which NFL Team Will Have the Worst Record in 2014?” list, which was largely voted on by the community at WalterFootball.com (using a Ranker widget), we would predict the following order of finish, from worst to first. Unfortunately for fans in Florida, the wisdom of crowds predicts that the Jacksonville Jaguars will finish last this year.
As a point of comparison, I’ll also include predictions from WalterFootball’s Walter Cherepinsky, ESPN (based on power rankings), and Betfair (basted on betting odds for winning the Super Bowl). Since we are attempting to predict the teams with the worst records in 2014, the worst teams are listed first and the best teams are listed last.
The value proposition of Ranker is that we believe that the combined judgments of many individuals is smarter than even the most informed individual experts. Our predictions were based on over 27,000 votes from 2,900+ fans, taking into account both positive and negative sentiment by combining the raw magnitude of positive votes with the ratio of positive to negative votes. As research on the wisdom of crowds predicts, the crowd sourced judgments from Ranker should outperform those from the experts. Of course, there is a lot of luck and randomness that occurs throughout the NFL season, so our results, good or bad, should be taken with a grain of salt. What is perhaps more interesting is the proposition that crowdsourced data can approximate the results of a betting market like BetFair, for the real value of Ranker data is in predicting things where there is no betting market (e.g. what content should Netflix pursue?).
Stay tuned til the end of the season for results.
– Ravi Iyer