John Hollinger Had The Best NBA Preseason Predictions, Jon Barry's Were Nearly The Worst

With the NBA season concluding last week with a Miami Heat championship, let's revisit how those pre-season pundit predictions turned out. We tracked the picks from 30 ESPN pundits across 11 categories (6 division winners, 2 conference champions, NBA Finals champion, MVP, and rookie of the year).

Going with the consensus this year would have paid off handsomely, as Vegas only missed on two favorites. It liked Derrick Williams to win rookie of the year—the award went to Kyrie Irving—and the Mavericks to win the Southwest. The Spurs won. Still, several pundits outperformed Vegas, with John Hollinger scoring the best based on $1 Bet Yield. As a reminder, this metric calibrates predictions for boldness by measuring the average payout (using Vegas odds) had you placed $1 bets on each of the pundit's selections.

$1 Bet Yield


John Hollinger$2.44
Chad Ford$2.39
D. McMenamin$2.23
Chris Ramsey$2.08
Nick Friedell$2.02
B. Kamenetzky$1.92
Keith Lipscomb$1.89
Tom Haberstroh$1.87
Brian Windhorst$1.86
Chris Palmer$1.85
Kevin Arnovitz$1.85
Chris Forsberg$1.82
Maurice Brooks$1.82
Jeff Caplan$1.65
David Thorpe$1.51
Henry Abbott$1.51
Chris Broussard$1.49
A. Kamenetzky$1.48
Justin Verrier$1.48
J.A. Adande$1.46
R. Shelburne$1.46
Tim Legler$1.39
Michael Wallace$1.29
Larry Coon$1.21
Jalen Rose$1.15
Marc Stein$1.12
Scoop Jackson$1.12
Jon Barry$0.99
Tim MacMahon$0.83
Zach Harper$0.46

Hollinger and Chad Ford tied for the most accurate bracket based on the standard hit rate approach (# of correct calls divided by # of total calls), each getting 10 of 11 picks right. Hollinger missed the Pacific division winner (Clippers instead of Lakers), while Ford missed the Southwest winner (Grizzlies instead of Spurs).

Hit Rate


Chad Ford91%
John Hollinger91%
Chris Forsberg82%
Chris Ramsey82%
D. McMenamin82%
Keith Lipscomb82%
Maurice Brooks82%
Nick Friedell82%
Tom Haberstroh82%
B. Kamenetzky73%
Brian Windhorst73%
Chris Palmer73%
David Thorpe73%
Henry Abbott73%
J.A. Adande73%
Jeff Caplan73%
Kevin Arnovitz73%
R. Shelburne73%
A. Kamenetzky64%
Chris Broussard64%
Jalen Rose64%
Justin Verrier64%
Larry Coon64%
Michael Wallace64%
Jon Barry55%
Marc Stein55%
Scoop Jackson55%
Tim Legler55%
Tim MacMahon45%
Zach Harper36%

Republished with permission from PunditTracker's mission is to bring accountability to the prediction industry by cataloging and scoring the predictions of pundits. The site, which is currently running as a blog, is slated to officially launch later this year.