Nate Silver's Super Bowl Pick: The 49ers

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Sure, Nate Silver was on-point during the 2012 election, but before you place your bets behind the bespectacled number genie, remember that he predicted that this would be a Seahawks-Patriots Super Bowl — and that he's gotten a little better at the politics game than anything else. But in a column for The New York Times Magazine published online today, Silver breaks down his latest mumbo-jumbo over S.R.S. rankings and something called the Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, which is exciting if you're a statistician groupie — just not if you're a Baltimore Ravens fan. In the end, Silver seems to call it for San Francisco:

Those rankings find that while the 49ers had the better offense and defense, the Ravens had the best special teams in the league this year. If they do pull off the upset, on the heels of Steve Weatherford’s game-changing performance for the Giants in last year’s Super Bowl, perhaps it will be time for a new cliché: punters win championships. But don’t count on that.

Now, that should make Niners fans happy, and keep the bookies on edge. (Most lines have the 49ers by about 3.5 or 4 points.) After all, this guy got the election beyond right and he did more or less tell us that the BCS championship would be a bust. But the Electoral College isn't football, and Mitt Romney is not Ray Lewis. And on January 10, Silver didn't even have the Niners in the big game when pressed by ESPN. He had Seattle and New England:

So, yeah, that happened. And Silver has been a bit off his game with more fantasy statistical models since he messed up the Oscars a few years ago. His stats magic didn't help him at the Aussie Millions poker championship, where you thought his number-crunching skills would translate well:

So, yeah, it appears that betting on the Super Bowl by way of Nate Silver comes at your own risk. But everyone's rooting for San Fran now anyway.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.