Republished with permission from PunditTracker.
35 ESPN experts made preseason predictions on which teams would make the NBA Finals. Only one correctly picked both the Heat and Spurs. Unfortunately for ESPN, this pundit is no longer with the network.
The pundit’s name? John Hollinger.
Hollinger joined the front office of the Memphis Grizzlies last December but not before making his preseason selections. While all but one of ESPN’s 35 ‘experts’ picked the Heat to make the Finals, Hollinger was alone in picking the Spurs, which is mildly surprising given that Vegas pegged the Spurs’ odds at about 14%. Here is a summary of the collective picks along with the corresponding Vegas odds at the time.
|Matchup||# of Pundits||% of Pundits||Vegas Odds|
For the individual picks of each of the pundits, click here.
So what is the prognosticating class saying about the Finals? Well, let’s first take a look at how they have done this playoffs so far. Here is a recap of how the pundits collectively fared in each series:
|Matchup||Hit Rate #||Hit Rate %||Vegas Odds||Comments|
|Pacers-Hawks||32/33||97%||78%||Henry Abbott (ESPN) Wrong|
|Knicks-Celtics||34/35||97%||75%||Chris Forsberg (ESPN) Wrong|
|Spurs-Lakers||34/35||97%||86%||Amin Elhassan (ESPN) Wrong|
|Warriors-Nuggets||2/33||6%||23%||Ken Berger (ESPN) & Chris Mannix (SI) Right|
|Grizzlies-Thunder||19/21||90%||55%||Bradford Doolittle (ESPN) & Ian Thomsen (SI) Wrong|
|Spurs-Warriors||21/22||95%||87%||Adry Torres (ESPN) Wrong|
As has been the case in each of the past four playoffs, there have been four upsets so far this year: Bulls/Nets, Warriors/Nuggets, Grizzlies/Clippers, and Pacers/Knicks.
We have tracked 13 pundits from ESPN and CBS Sports who have made predictions for each of the fifteen playoff series this year. Here are their rankings by Yield—which is the average payout had you bet $1 on each of their predictions—along with their predictions for the Finals. You can make your own predictions for both the Series and Game 1 (plus other propositions) by visiting PunditTracker’s NBA page (click here) and using the “Vote Now” buttons. We will grade you afterwards.
|Ken Berger, CBS||11/14||$1.22||Spurs in 6|
|Amin Elhassan, ESPN||11/14||$1.18||Spurs in 6|
|Michael Wallace, ESPN||11/14||$1.10||Heat in 7|
|Tom Haberstroh, ESPN||11/14||$1.10||Heat in 7|
|Zach Harper, CBS||11/14||$1.10||Heat in 7|
|Kevin Pelton, ESPN||11/14||$1.08||Heat in 7|
|Kevin Arnovitz, ESPN||11/14||$1.08||Heat in 7|
|J.A. Adande, ESPN||11/14||$1.08||Heat in 7|
|Henry Abbott, ESPN||10/14||$1.06||Heat in 7|
|Royce Young, CBS||10/14||$0.96||Spurs in 7|
|Brian Windhorst, ESPN||10/14||$0.95||Heat in 7|
|Israel Gutierrez, ESPN||10/14||$0.91||Heat in 6|
|Vegas Favorites||10/14||$0.91||Heat in 5 or 7|
|Matt Moore, CBS||9/14||$0.80||Heat in 6|
The group has had a decent showing so far, with nine of the thirteen returning a positive yield. Ken Berger of CBS Sports has turned in the best performance, thanks mostly to his pick of the Warriors to beat the Nuggets. ESPN’s Amin Elhassan is #2, buoyed by his picks of the Bulls to beat the Nets and Pacers to beat the Knicks, which more than offset his unfortunate prediction of the Lakers to beat the Spurs. Matt Moore of CBS sits at the bottom of the rankings.
Finally, here are the 16 NBA Playoff Pundits that have Profile Pages on PunditTracker because they have made at least 25 predictions, ranked by their cumulative performance over the past four playoffs:
|David Thorpe, ESPN||$1.22||$0.83||$1.25||$1.15||$1.11||Heat in 6|
|Tim Legler, ESPN||$1.29||$0.68||$1.09||$1.45||$1.11||Spurs in 6|
|Jon Barry, ESPN||$1.39||$1.09||$0.94||$1.09||Heat in 7|
|Tom Haberstroh, ESPN||$0.53||$1.23||$1.10||$1.08||Heat in 7|
|John Hollinger, ESPN||$1.25||$0.88||$1.06||$1.07|
|Ken Berger, CBS||$0.90||$1.22||$1.06||Spurs in 6|
|Kevin Arnovitz, ESPN||$0.94||$1.09||$1.08||$1.04||Heat in 7|
|Henry Abbott, ESPN||$1.14||$0.88||$1.09||$1.06||$1.04||Heat in 7|
|Chris Broussard, ESPN||$1.17||$0.98||$1.09||$0.79||$1.03|
|J.A. Adande, ESPN||$0.76||$1.16||$1.06||$1.08||$1.01||Heat in 7|
|Israel Gutierrez, ESPN||$0.00||$1.17||$0.91||$1.01||Heat in 6|
|Royce Young, CBS||$1.03||$0.96||$1.00||Spurs in 7|
|Chad Ford, ESPN||$1.05||$0.67||$0.98||$1.26||$0.98||Heat in 7|
|Vegas Favorites||$0.99||$1.00||$0.90||$0.91||$0.95||Heat in 5 or 7|
|Marc Stein, ESPN||$0.77||$0.95||$0.90||$0.80||$0.86||Spurs in 6|
|Matt Moore, CBS||$0.91||$0.80||$0.86||Heat in 6|
|Michael Wilbon, ESPN||$0.72||$0.86||$1.02||$0.84|
We will update all the rankings after the Finals.