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Who will win the Super Bowl: predictions from NFL experts, a ‘Super Computer,’ and a Magic 8-Ball

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Put your money where the internet tells you to

football-crystal-ball Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Remember the Twilight Zone episode “A Most Unusual Camera,” about a couple who rob an antique store and find themselves in possession of a camera that can predict the future? Personally I don’t think it’s cool for criminals to find such a neat gizmo (even if it eventually kills them all (spoilers)). But the story had a moral: If you can see into the future, you should use your knowledge to gamble and get rich, because life is short and you will inevitably fall out a window in an unexpected and ironic fashion.

Come to think of it, the internet is a little bit like that camera. There are dozens of ways its near-infinite collection of data could make a logical prediction of the future. With that in mind, I’ve taken the liberty of compiling as much internet-sourced material as possible to prophesize the outcome of this year’s Super Bowl — the New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons — and turn what I have in my savings account into a small fortune.

So here, in no particular order, are various Super Bowl winner predictions from around the internet.

  1. The OddsShark Super Computer, which calculates future scores based on past gameplay, names the Atlanta Falcons as the winner by a margin of around 8 points.
  2. CBS Sports decided to base its predictions on a simulation of Super Bowl LI in Madden NFL 17. The Patriots beat the Falcons in a score of 30-20.
  3. However, CBS Sports reporter Will Brinson aran a season-long simulation in the same video game before the real season had even started and the Falcons won it all.
  4. SB Nation asked a bunch of NFL experts who would win. The majority chose the Falcons.
  5. Back in September The Daily Dot asked the artificial intelligence company Unanimous AI (which had previously predicted the final four finishers of the Kentucky Derby) to predict the Super Bowl winner. The AI said the final match would be between the Packers and the Steelers — an automatic elimination at this point.

5. A Yahoo Answers post from 8 months ago, while not the most reliable source, is nonetheless comprehensive, and a voice of the people. Let’s hear it:

  • Green Bay Packers (3 votes)
  • Arizona Cardinals (2 votes)
  • Indianapolis Colts (2 votes)
  • Baltimore Ravens (1 vote)
  • Barry Sanders, a running back who retired in 1999 (1 vote)

Unfortunately none of these teams are playing in the Super Bowl. Yahoo has been DQed.

6. Following the Yahoo Answers lead, I asked several online Magic 8 Balls, “Will Barry Sanders win the Super Bowl?” because the question must be posed in a “yes or no” format. The results were what can only be described as a mixed bag:

7. Then I texted the Q&A chat service Cha Cha, which shut down operations last year. This proved less useful than the Magic 8 Ball.

8. This online crystal ball replied, “Maybe, if you do nothing. If your hands are tied, this is a possibility. But the only way to make your future definite is to untie your hands and seize the day!”

9. Lastly, I attempted to contact several online psychics for answers, but they kept asking for my credit card information, and you already know I’m not a gambler.

In summation, it seems like the most likely winners of Super Bowl LI are either the Atlanta Falcons or the New England Patriots. But it’s impossible to entirely rule out a Barry Sanders comeback.

In 2015, SB Nation reported that the amount of money spent gambling on the game annually was in the billions. Gambling on the Super Bowl is like robbing an antique store: It seems like a good idea at first, but as any antique thief will tell you, “Don’t rob that antique store, the old man has gun!”

And yet millions of you will do it anyway (gamble on the Super Bowl that is) so you might as well stock the odds in your favor with these missives from the future. Surely one of them is right.


Super Bowl LI preview