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Which NBA Pundits Made The Worst Regular Season Predictions?

Republished with permission from PunditTracker

With the playoffs tipping off tomorrow, let’s revisit how the pundits did with their regular season predictions. We are tracking the predictions of 35 ESPN pundits across 11 categories: 6 division winners, 2 conference winners, overall champion, MVP, and Rookie of the Year. In this post, we will analyze the 6 division winners and MVP/ROY, assuming that LeBron James and Damian Lillard win the player awards, respectively.


The table is ranked by Yield. As a reminder, the Yield 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.


Kevin ArnovitzBOSINDMIAOKCSALALLillardJames6$1.47
Nick FriedellBOSINDMIAOKCSALALLillardJames6$1.47
Dave McMenaminBKNINDMIAOKCMEMLALLillardJames5$1.27
Israel GutierrezBOSINDMIAOKCSALACDavisPaul5$1.21
Brian WindhorstBOSINDMIAOKCSALALLillardDurant5$1.12
Beckley MasonBOSINDMIAOKCSALALLillardDurant5$1.12
Mike MazzeoBOSINDMIAOKCSALALLillardDurant5$1.12
David ThorpePHICHIMIADENSALALLillardJames4$1.11
Marc SteinBOSINDMIAOKCSALALDavisJames5$1.04
Chris PalmerBOSINDMIAOKCSALALDavisJames5$1.04
Larry CoonBOSINDMIAOKCSALALDavisJames5$1.04
Royce WebbBOSINDMIAOKCSALALDavisJames5$1.04
Tom HaberstrohBOSINDMIAOKCSALALDavisJames5$1.04
Maurice BrooksBOSINDMIAOKCSALALDavisJames5$1.04
Arash MarkaziBOSINDMIAOKCSALALDavisJames5$1.04
Chris ForsbergBOSINDMIAOKCSALALDavisJames5$1.04
Ian BegleyBOSINDMIAOKCSALALDavisJames5$1.04
Vegas FavoritesBOSINDMIAOKCSALALDavisJames5$1.04
Scoop JacksonBOSINDMIAOKCMEMLACDrummondPaul4$1.02
Justin VerrierBOSINDMIADENSALALLillardDurant4$0.98
R. ShelburneBOSINDMIAOKCMEMLALLillardPaul4$0.93
Tim LeglerBOSCHIMIAOKCSALALLillardDurant4$0.90
Keith LipscombBOSCHIMIAOKCSALALLillardDurant4$0.90
John HollingerBOSINDMIADENSALALDavisJames4$0.89
Chad FordBOSINDMIADENSALALDavisJames4$0.89
Adena AndrewsBOSINDMIAOKCMEMLALDavisJames4$0.84
Jackie MacMullanBOSCHIMIAOKCSALALDavisJames4$0.82
Tim MacMahonBOSCHIMIAOKCSALALDavisJames4$0.82
Chris RamsayBOSINDMIADENMEMLALDavisJames3$0.70
J.A. AdandeBOSINDMIAOKCSALALDavisDurant4$0.69
Chris BroussardBOSINDMIAOKCSALALDavisDurant4$0.69
Michael WallaceBOSINDMIAOKCSALALKidd-GilchristPaul4$0.69
Henry AbbottPHIINDMIAOKCSALALDrummondDurant4$0.69
Jack RamsayPHIINDMIAOKCSALALSullingerWade4$0.69
Bruce BowenBKNINDMIAOKCSALALDavisDurant4$0.69
Adry TorresBKNINDMIAOKCMEMLALDavisDurant3$0.50

Here is a breakdown of the percentage of pundits that got each category correct, alongside the Vegas implied odds for each winner before the season began. For instance, not one of the pundits picked the Knicks to win the Atlantic while only two picked the Clippers to win the Pacific, even though Vegas gave each of them 24% odds.

Category% Of PunditsVegas Odds
Knicks Win Atlantic0%24%
Pacers Win Central86%57%
Heat Win Southeast100%95%
Thunder Win Northwest86%86%
Spurs Win Southwest83%64%
Clippers Win Pacific6%24%
LeBron James Wins MVP54%36%
Damian Lillard Wins ROY31%29%

Finally, let’s look at the Finals and Championship predictions for the group.

PunditYield (Reg Season 2012)EastWestChampion
Kevin Arnovitz$1.47MIAOKCMIA
Nick Friedell$1.47MIALALMIA
Dave McMenamin$1.27MIALALMIA
Israel Gutierrez$1.21MIALALMIA
Beckley Mason$1.12MIAOKCOKC
Brian Windhorst$1.12MIAOKCMIA
Mike Mazzeo$1.12MIALALMIA
David Thorpe$1.11MIALALMIA
Arash Markazi$1.04MIALALLAL
Chris Forsberg$1.04BOSLALLAL
Chris Palmer$1.04MIALALMIA
Ian Begley$1.04MIALALMIA
Larry Coon$1.04MIALALLAL
Marc Stein$1.04MIALALMIA
Maurice Brooks$1.04MIALALLAL
Royce Webb$1.04MIAOKCMIA
Tom Haberstroh$1.04MIALALMIA
Scoop Jackson$1.02MIALALMIA
Justin Verrier$0.98MIAOKCMIA
R. Shelburne$0.93MIALALMIA
Keith Lipscomb$0.90MIAOKCMIA
Tim Legler$0.90MIAOKCMIA
Chad Ford$0.89MIALALMIA
John Hollinger$0.89MIASAMIA
Adena Andrews$0.84MIALALLAL
Jackie MacMullan$0.82MIALALLAL
Tim MacMahon$0.82MIALALMIA
Chris Ramsay$0.70MIALALLAL
Bruce Bowen$0.69MIAOKCMIA
Chris Broussard$0.69MIALALMIA
Henry Abbott$0.69MIALALMIA
J.A. Adande$0.69MIALALMIA
Jack Ramsay$0.69MIAOKCMIA
Michael Wallace$0.69MIALALMIA
Adry Torres$0.50MIALALLAL

Can you do better than these so-called experts? There are still a few hours left to make your predictions for the Round 1 of the NBA Playoffs. Will the Knicks beat the Celtics and the Clippers defeat the Grizzlies, as Kevin Arnovitz is predicting? Make your predictions by visiting our Sports page and using the “Vote Now” buttons.

PunditTracker's mission is to bring accountability to the prediction industry by cataloging and scoring the predictions of pundits. This post has been corrected to reflect that Pete Thamel works for Sports Illustrated.

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