Don’t Sweat It: Results Oriented Thinking is Bad

In poker, there is a concept called results oriented thinking. Too often, new or unskilled players allow the outcome of a hand to influence future decisions, which inevitably leads to hemorrhaging money in the long term. Newer players are often emboldened to play hands against the odds because of previously winning a big hand despite their poor decision making and that’s just not sustainable. Poker is a game where understanding odds and probabilities is key to being successful at the table and I would argue most things also follow that logic. That’s why I’m not worried about going 0-3 in my picks this weekend. If you’re following the SportsIntel picks column each week, or any predictive picks columns from other coverage outlets, you might see each week that sometimes uncontrollable variables influence the odds. In poker this is called a bad beat, in football it just means I got the game outcome wrong.

For the most party I’m usually happy with my analysis, but sometimes I miss on that, too. The bad move would mean throwing out everything I know about the football metrics in favor of gut feelings. A perfect example of this would be my stubborn opinion that the Falcons are dead. They’re not, of course, but I’m also human and there game in Foxborough against the Patriots earlier this season just rubbed me the wrong way and I’d rather stick to my guns each week than trust them to prove me right in a single game matchup. With that said, they’re absolutely not going to return to the Super Bowl this season. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Atlanta.

In this week’s AAR, I’ll break down my thought processes for my picks and why I still think they were the right choice, but for now, I’ll leave you with ELO and Cortana’s picks for this week, two different algorithmic models created to analyze an NFL team’s chances at winning each week, and eventually the Super Bowl.

Minnesota Vikings (10-2) @ Carolina Panthers (8-4); Line: Vikes by 2.5

Chris’s Pick: Minnesota Vikings

ELO’s Pick: Minnesota Vikings, 53% Win Probability.

Cortana’s Pick: Minnesota Vikings, 60% Win Probability.


New York Jets (5-7) @ Denver Broncos (3-9); Line: Jets by 1.5

Chris’s Pick: New York Jets

ELO’s Pick: NO PICK, 50% Win Probability so no official pick this week.

Cortana’s Pick: New York Jets, 57% Win Probability.


Seattle Seahawks (8-4) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4); Line: Jags by 2.5

Chris’s Pick: Seattle Seahawks

ELO’s Pick: Seattle Seahawks, 53% Win Probability.

Cortana’s Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars, 55% Win Probability.

It looks like Cortana won this week, but I’m not worried about it.