Ten Days Left: Wild Finish for the A.L. Wild Card

Three weeks ago, the Houston Astros (73-60) sat relatively comfortably atop the American League West with a three game lead over the Texas Rangers (69-62) and a 6.5 game lead over the Los Angeles Angels (66-66). Over the course of three weeks, the Rangers wrangled the division lead in a convincing series over the Astros.…

Comparing Probability Models: MLB Playoff Probabilities Update

As the season comes to a conclusion, we will continue to produce probabilities for each MLB making the playoffs. With 10-12 games remaining for each team, the need for urgency arises and teams outside the playoff picture need to start posting near perfect records (Rockies of 2007); or teams inside the playoff picture need to…

MLB Playoff Probabilities: Automatic Updating

In our recent post, Predicting MLB Playoff Probabilities, we addressed a simple method for estimating the probabilities for each MLB team using a Markov Chain Monte Carlo using historical results from earlier in the season. We introduced the notion of continuity correction to help adjust for small sample sizes and a simple random number generator to…

Who’s Going To Make the MLB Playoffs: Simple Simulation

ESPN recently updated their Hunt For October page and introduced probabilities for teams making the playoffs. While ESPN does not give a detailed analysis on how they obtain these simulations, we can instead create our own method. To do this, let’s take a simple approach: use past results of games and a little statistical machinery to build…

Mapping Crime in Madison, Wisconsin

In 2013, it was reported that Madison, Wisconsin was one of the safest cities in the United States. In the FBI reports that help dictate the “safest cities” and “dangerous cities” lists, statistics on shootings, homicides, burglaries, rapes, assaults, and other various violent crime statistics are taken into consideration. Interest in these numbers typically stem from an…

Musings About Rankings Systems: NCAA Football and Basketball

In light of the continual chest-beating by the SEC against Ohio State’s schedule, we figured to take a moment to look at common methods for ranking teams from a mathematical viewpoint and gain insight on the impact of schedules. While we are accustomed to playoffs and all the drama that it brings to our everyday life,…