Monday, April 7, 2008

Cup predictions

Last year I decided to take another run at capturing the Nerd of the Year award by constructing yet another mathematical way to predict the outcome of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Since I only follow the NHL during the playoffs, I have no intuition with regards to which teams will win. Therefore, I must rely on math and statistics. Previous years had been complete failures. Last year, however, I hit pay dirt.

There are 15 series in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Using the statistical method I devised, I correctly predicted the outcome of 13. And the initial run of my algorithm predicted an Anaheim/Ottawa final with Anaheim victorious, as actually happened.

How does it work? I first take all the teams in the NHL and find the correlation between numerous team statistics and how many wins each team earned in the regular season. Those numbers are always somewhere between 1 and -1. I then multiply each correlation by the actual value of the statistic for every team in the playoffs. For example, the correlation between the 5 on 5 goals for/goals against ratio and wins is 0.83, a strong correlation. So for each team that is in the playoffs, I multiply 0.83 by, in Detroit's case, 1.41, to arrive at a value. Once I have obtained that value for each of the 14 stats I have for each team, I add them all together to come up with a score for each team.

To predict which team will win a given series, I compare their scores from the above calculation. Detroit has a score of 43.3 this year and Nashville 36.0, so I predict Detroit will win. Simple, effective, and it requires no sporting intuition on my part, which is a good thing, because I have none.

However, I thought this year, since I had a 86.7% success rate last year, I would get a little more ballsy and try to predict in how many games each victor would defeat their opponent. Below are my predictions for the entire 15-series playoff. However, if my predictions prove less than perfect in the first round, I will adjust predictions based on which teams are competing in subsequent rounds. I will consider the accuracy of my initial prediction of the final however, including the winner of the Cup. For the sake of my success rate, I am really going for picking the teams. How many games it takes is a total crapshoot. If I get that right, I'll shat. I'll keep you up to date on my success as the playoffs progress. Here goes!

Round 1
DET v NSH: DET in 4
SJS v CGY: SJS in 5
MIN v COL: MIN in 7
ANA v DAL: DAL in 7
MTL v BOS: MTL in 6
PIT v OTT: PIT in 7
WSH v PHI: WSH in 7
NJD v NYR: NYR in 6

Round 2
DET v DAL: DET in 5
SJS v MIN: SJS in 6
MTL v NYR: NYR in 7
PIT v WSH: WSH in 7

Round 3
DET v SJS: DET in 6
NYR v WSH: NYR in 7

Round 4
DET v NYR: DET in 6


Anonymous said...

WTF Tone, did you ever consider something simple, like how many beers you can consume during the playoffs. Sound simpler and way fun!

Your bro. said...

I showed this to Keith and he is gonna load up the bets on these predictions so if he loses his house that's your fault. Anyway get ready to put the Oil in your nerdiness next season. Later