04 October 2016

Cubs, Red Sox Dominate World Series Probability Estimates as 2016 MLB Playoffs Commence

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.

Welcome back to Rational Pastime's coverage of the 2016 Major League Baseball postseason. In a change this season, my posts will be heavier on data and lighter on narrative. This is less a preference for data-driven and analysis and more a concession to spending more time with my infant son. Thanks for tuning in!

As in the past, I estimate each team's "true record" using my RPScore system. I simulate every possible postseason outcome, game-by-game, and calculate the frequency with which each squad wins each series. My system generates very different outcomes that you would expect if you relied on each team's win record from the regular season. For instance, while Texas finished with the top AL seed, RPScore actually considers the Rangers the weakest team in the playoffs, not expecting them to emerge from the ALDS.

Instead, RPScore expects either the Toronto Blue Jays (over the underdog Baltimore Orioles) to surpass the Rangers, moving on to lose to the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS. In the Senior Circuit, RPScore likes the Cubs all the way, advancing past either the New York Mets (or, less likely, San Francisco Giants), then defeating the Washington Nationals (favored over the Los Angeles Dodgers) to win the NLCS. The model then expects the Cubs to end their 108-year championship drought.

My odds estimates differ more this year than in years past from the odds that the betting markets are pricing. According to the lines posted by Pinnacle at Noon Eastern on Tuesday, October 4, bettors have relatively more confidence in the Dodgers, Rangers and Giants and significantly less confidence in the Red Sox.

For bookkeeping purposes I like to track World Series outcomes by likelihood, disaggregated by winner, loser and the number of games the series goes. Boston and Chicago dominate the top of the chart. After the top 10, I listed every team's most likely winning outcome. My model expects 109 more likely results before it picks the Giants to repeat their even year success.

There will be new updates following each day of postseason play, as well as before the start of each series. Follow along to see how each team's wins and losses affect their, and every other competitor's, chances at taking home the Commissioner's Trophy in 2016.


Andrew said...

Great work as always!

One thing - looks like you have Baltimore hosting the AL Wild Card game (since it is 50/50 despite Toronto's superior RPScore). It's actually in Toronto....

JD Mathewson said...

Well, crap. Thanks.