AI predicts Golden State Warriors to win NBA Finals

But result contradicts ESPN BPI’s choice - who is right?

Deborah Yao, Editor

June 2, 2022

2 Min Read

But result contradicts ESPN BPI’s choice - who is right?

Unanimous AI, whose Swarm intelligence platform consistently beats movie critics in Oscar predictions, has decided to pick the winner of the NBA Finals.

Tonight is Game 1 of the finals – in a best-of-seven game series − featuring a match-up between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors.

Fans of Stephen Curry rejoice: AI predicts Golden State Warriors will win. And they will prevail after six games.

But there is a caveat: While Unanimous AI had a prediction accuracy of 81% for this year’s Oscars, it was 55.6% for the regular season of the NBA.

Figure 1: swarm-1.gif

However, Swarm AI still outperformed 96% of bettors, Joshua Sitzer, chief business officer of Unanimous AI, told AI Business.

“If someone simply bet 10% of their bankroll on each of our picks, the final profit for the season was $8,374,” he said. “This was much better than the average bettor, which would have lost $2,608 by the end of the season on equally sized bets as us.”

Figure 2: swarm-2.gif

Others’ predictions

Bettors also favor the Warriors to win as of today, according to ESPN. Most sports experts also picked the Warriors.

But the analytics tell a different story. Polling aggregator analytics site FiveThirtyEight gives the Celtics an 80% probability of winning. ESPN’s Basketball Power Index picked the Celtics as well, at 86%. Both entities are owned by Disney.

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Sara Ziegler, FiveThirtyEight’s sports editor, acknowledged that its analytical model did not get things quite right: The model “absolutely did not see this coming: We gave Celtics just a 12% shot to make the Finals back in preseason, and the Warriors got an abysmal 0.5%.”

In contrast, Unanimous uses AI to build a ‘hive mind’ in which the decisions of a group of people acting in concert are superior than those of individuals. This is different from a vote or a survey, which is a tally of revealed intentions. Rather, the AI incorporates their behavior to come up with what Unanimous AI deems as optimal results.

About the Author(s)

Deborah Yao


Deborah Yao runs the day-to-day operations of AI Business. She is a Stanford grad who has worked at Amazon, Wharton School and Associated Press.

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