2016 Super Bowl Predictions

We use team statistics to create models that predict outcomes of NFL games. Our models generate either a win probability for the home team or a point spread, with each model generating a unique prediction. See this article for a more detailed breakdown of each model. So far this postseason, our average probabilities have picked 8/10 games correctly, and Models 2 and 3 have been the most accurate individual models, both going 9 for 10.

Super Bowl Matchup

Falcons vs. Patriots (-3)
Our numbers are all over New England, giving them an average win probability of 63%. Models 2 and 3 have been the most accurate this postseason (both 9-1), and they have the Patriots winning, with win probabilities of 69% and 62%, respectively. The next best models also like the Patriots: Model 5 (73%) and the average probability (63%) have both picked 8 of 10 games correctly so far. Out point spread model has NE winning by 9.

Our models’ support for NE is driven by their previous playoff success, superior record vs. playoff teams this season (NE is 4-1, ATL is 2-2), the fact that their defense forces more punts than ATL’s, fewer points allowed, and minimal reliance on the run game. ATL has previously seen support from the models due to their ELITE passing numbers, but NE is also near the top of the league in many passing categories, giving the Falcons less of an advantage than usual.

Not only do these teams win games, but they also cover the spread more often than not (NE is 15-3 ATS this year, ATL is 12-6). Both teams have found an easy way to cover the spread: absolutely crush your opponent – NE has an average margin of victory of 19 pts in their last 6 games (and ATL 18 pts). Contrary to most NFL teams, these teams have been just as impressive away from home. Since Brady’s return, NE is 6-1 in home games (also 6-1 ATS), winning by an average score of 32-17, while they are 7-0 in away games (6-1 ATS) winning by an average score of 29-15. Also of note, only 2 of those 7 road games went over the total. Atlanta was 6-2 on the road (7-1 ATS) with the over going 5-2-1 (avg. road score: 32-23, avg. home score: 36-26). Furthermore, under head coach Dan Quinn, the Falcons are 10-3 ATS as an underdog (9-4 straight up).

The table below gives our predicted spread for this matchup, as well as win probabilities for the home team from six different models. The Model 1 value of 0.72 means that this model gives New England an 72% chance to win (and Atlanta a 28% chance)

Home Away Our Spread Mod 1 Mod 2 Mod 3 Mod 4 Mod 5 Mod 6 Avg
NE ATL NE by 9 0.72 0.69 0.62 0.70 0.73  0.31 0.63

Prediction: NE 34, ATL 30

Model Performance in Rounds 1-3

Model 1 3-1 3-1 0-2 6-4
Model 2 4-0 3-1 2-0 9-1
Model 3 4-0 3-1 2-0 9-1
Model 4 4-0 2-2 1-1 7-3
Model 5 4-0 2-2 2-0 8-2
Model 6 3-1 2-2 0-2 5-5
Avg. 4-0 3-1 1-1 8-2
Spread (vs. Vegas) 1-3 2-2 1-1 4-6
Spread (Winner Correct) 3-1 2-2 2-0  – 7-3