It’s an embarrassment, but I’m not going to hide from it. All the favored teams by my numbers (and the markets) lost in the division series.
And it’s not like the favored teams lost in a game 7 coin flip. The favored teams won two games (Dodgers over Cardinals, Nationals over Giants).
As Billy Beane said about his analytics in Moneyball, “my shit doesn’t work in the playoffs.”
Someone tweeted that quote at me before the division series started. I blew it off. If you’re betting on heads, you want the coin to come up heads 52% instead of 50% of the time. Always.
But Billy’s words have new meaning after the division series. It’s not that analytics don’t work in the playoffs. It’s that we should appreciate the randomness of a short series.
Let’s also remember that the team that wins the World Series might play more playoff games than a college football team does all season.
Here are numbers for the championship series.
- San Francisco has a 52.6% chance to beat St. Louis. No, there is Cardinal Devil Magic in this prediction.
- Baltimore has a 56.6% chance to beat Kansas City.
These win probabilities start with my MLB team rankings, which take run differential and adjust for strength of schedule. Also, for the first time, I adjust for cluster luck based on the regular season.
In addition, the projections consider starting pitching through xFIP, an ERA type statistics that captures the skill of a pitcher through strike outs, walks and fly ball rate.
Daily predictions for each game appear on the predictions page.
As of noon Eastern on October 10th, the markets give both San Francisco and Baltimore an implied odds of 55.1%.