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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Ugh. Colin Cowherd Is (Statistically) The Best Pundit Of 2012.

Illustration for article titled Ugh. Colin Cowherd Is (Statistically) The Best Pundit Of 2012.

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Coming into 2012, we expected that our inaugural award for Best Pundit of the Year would likely go to a political pundit. However, as we have reviewed at length, that pundit community turned in an awful election season. There were a few bright spots, including Nate Silver, although we have argued that the performance of the quants has been overhyped by the media. Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post merits an honorable mention, as he picked Obama to win the election and nailed the final tally for the House of Representatives. Moreover, Cillizza's prediction that John Kerry would be the new Secretary of State and that Scott Brown would take Kerry's spot in the Senate now looks quite possible (click here for Cillizza's full list of predictions).

Turning to finance, our recent recaps of their 2012 prediction lists revealed that none of the financial pundits did particularly well, although Marc Faber and Mario Gabelli deserve credit for their impressive investment picks.

In the end, we concluded that the Best Pundit of 2012 award should go to a sports pundit, one who has demonstrated terrific game-picking prowess this year.


That pundit is Colin Cowherd of ESPN.

Here is our aggregate data for Cowherd, who hosts The Herd with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio, since we began tracking him in 2010:

Calls Graded: 260
Correct Calls: 151

Hit Rate: 58%
$1 Yield: $1.16

Cowherd's "Blazing Five", in which he picks five games each week against the Vegas spread, account for the lion's share of his predictions. Here is his Blazing Five track record by season:

SeasonRecordHit Rate$1 yield

Cowherd had an average season in 2010, an excellent one in 2011, and an off-the-charts turn so far this year. For those new to the PunditTracker, the $1 Yield metric is the average payout had you bet $1 (using Vegas odds) on each of the pundit's predictions; we award an A grade to any yield above $1.10. As such, Cowherd's $1.40 yield so far this season (with 70 predictions) is sensational. After going 2-3 in Week 1, he has rattled off 13 consecutive weeks of winning records:

Week 12-3
Week 24-1
Week 34-1
Week 43-2
Week 53-2
Week 64-1
Week 74-1
Week 84-1
Week 94-1
Week 103-2
Week 114-1
Week 123-2
Week 134-1
Week 153-2

In addition to his weekly picks, we are also tracking Cowherd's full-season predictions for both baseball and football. In baseball, his performance this year was merely average, although he was one of the few who selected the Tigers to make the World Series. Here were his NFL predictions:

2012-13 PredictionLikely Outcome
Patriots to win AFC EastTrue
Ravens to win AFC NorthTrue
Texans to win AFC SouthTrue
Broncos to win AFC WestTrue
Giants to win NFC EastTBD
Packers to win NFC NorthTrue
Falcons to win NFC SouthTrue
Patriots to win AFCTBD
Bears to win NFCTBD
Bears to win Super BowlTBD
Bills to win more than 7.5 gamesFalse
Rams to win more than 6 gamesTBD
Colts to win more than 5.5 gamesTrue
Saints to win less than 9.5 gamesTrue
Lions to win less than 9 gamesTrue

The Bears Super Bowl prediction looks dicey at the moment, but overall, Cowherd's pre-season picks are looking quite strong.

For a full breakdown of Cowherd's predictions, click here to visit his PunditTracker profile page.


PunditTracker's mission is to bring accountability to the prediction industry by cataloging and scoring the predictions of pundits.

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