Monday, May 25, 2009

Predicting Playoff Series Outcomes

I think that the main tool for predicting playoff outcomes is a position by position comparison.  People always do the same thing when predicting a playoff series.  They pick the higher seed.  That is a quick and easy way to tell who will likely win.  

But every playoff upset is caused by the same problem: bad match-ups.  The biggest upset I've seen was the Warriors over the Mavericks in round one of the 2007 playoffs.  And there were matchup problems all over the court.  It was like the Warriors had the athletic advantage at nearly every position.  When the Pistons beat the Lakers in 2004?  They had better players at 3 of 5 positions.  

So the key to evaluating a playoff series is to trust your analysis and go with whoever has the 3 of 5 advantage.  Or 2 of 1 in case of two ties.  Etc.

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