All hail the coin.
Before Week 3 of the NFL season, a 25-year-old Las Vegas Raiders fan who goes by “pongislame” on Reddit posted a picture of a piece of notebook paper on the r/raiders thread. The title of the post was as follows: “During the off-season I simulated the NFL season by flipping a weighted coin based on game odds. So far accurate through two upset wins.”
And with the attached pic came the Raiders’ 2021 schedule. The first two games — victories over the Ravens and Steelers (moneyline odds were +147 and +187, respectively) — were marked as wins.
And then the third game — which hadn’t happened yet — was a predicted win over the Dolphins at -180 odds.
So it is written, so shall it be.
And on it went. Weeks 4 and 5, the coin predicted losses to the Chargers (who were -170 favorites) and Bears (+202 underdogs).
A guy on Reddit flipped a coin to see our record. He's been right for every game. We making the playoffs. Believe in the coin. 🏴☠️ pic.twitter.com/V8BYlaCaed
— 𝕄𝕒𝕩𝕩𝕚𝕞𝕦𝕤 𓅐 (@CondorSZN) November 15, 2021
The coin then predicted wins over the Broncos (Raiders were +175 dogs) and the Eagles (-113), before correctly nailing the current three-game losing streak, where the Raiders have dropped games to the Giants (who were +127 dogs), the Chiefs (-148), and the Bengals (-128).
In short: The person known as pongislame and that trusty weighted coin are 10 for 10 so far this year, headed into Thanksgiving’s tilt against the Cowboys.
— Wyatt T Minor (@TOS_WTKM) November 22, 2021
Let the record show the coin — maybe we should start calling it The Coin? — predicts a Raiders victory on Turkey Day.
Could’ve turned $100 into … !!!
Now, for some numbers.
If someone decided to wager $100 on the moneyline for each game thus far, that someone would show a profit of $1,186 (and two cents). Not too shabby, obviously. But …
But: But if that $100 was bet on that first game against the Ravens — for a total payout of $247 — and then rolled into the next week, and so on and so forth, that lucky bettor who followed The Coin would currently be sitting with a total haul of $185,764.30, all of it profit sans the original $100 bet.
For what it’s worth, the Raiders are currently +270 dogs at BetMGM on Thanksgiving against the Cowboys, meaning if they win in Dallas and our fictional bettor let it ride … well, a Raiders victory would have this fictional nest egg at $687,327.91.
Sadly, pongislame has failed to capitalize on The Coin’s prowess.
“I personally haven’t bet any money on it, although looking back on the results I probably should have,” he told US Bets in an email. “Maybe the Cowboys game will be a good opportunity.”
As for the method?
“So the concept of using a weighted coin to predict the outcome of the NFL season just popped into my head one day when I was sitting at home,” pongislame said. “I found three websites, one which listed odds for every game for every team after the preseason was over, another website which converted those odds to percentages, and a third which allowed you to flip a coin based on those percentages. Then I did the grunt work to see what would happen. In order to somewhat simulate how teams would improve or otherwise over the season I either added or removed a half point to the odds for every upset win or loss.”
Perhaps not overly scientific, but definitely successful, somehow.
And while the Raiders games have been an obvious outlier, pongislame notes the weighted coin method has been spookily accurate for the entirety of the NFL.
“When I checked two weeks ago, my simulation had gotten 27/32 teams’ records within two games of what they actually were, but the number of exact games correct was more normally distributed,” he noted.
Meanwhile, over at Reddit, some people were a little taken aback by the voodoo, causing pongislame to address the ruckus.
“I am not responsible for any gambling losses incurred from the Coin’s predictions,” he wrote, followed by “Edit: I’m noticing the sentiment around these posts are a lot different following a win compared to that following a loss.”
Welcome to the NFL, pong.
For the record, as seen on the piece of paper, the coin — I AM SORRY MY MASTER, I MEAN “THE COIN” — predicts a 10-7 finish for the Raiders, good for the No. 7 seed in the AFC.
All hail THE COIN, indeed.
— ☠️(5-5) Cowboys From Hell 🦈(8-4-1) Seek N Destroy (@MetlRaiderShark) November 22, 2021