## Game Probabilities - Wildcard Round

Weekly game probabilities are available now at the nytimes.com Fifth Down. This week I also discuss how the 'best team' and the 'champion' aren't always the same thing.

### 9 Responses to “Game Probabilities - Wildcard Round”

1. Edward Moretti says:

How could the Jets have a 66% chance to win last week and now only have a 49% to win? Does home field make that much of a difference?

2. Brian Burke says:

Yes. That's right. Take two completely even teams. The HFA would be a little more than 8%, that is, the home team would be favored 58/42. If you reverse home field, you get 42/58, for a swing of 16 percentage points.

3. Johnny Wu says:

"How could the Jets have a 66% chance to win last week and now only have a 49% to win? Does home field make that much of a difference?"

Correct me if I'm wrong, but 'last week' the Bengals had nothing to play for, while the Jets fought for a playoff berth. Of course NY would be heavy favorites for that game.

4. Zeke T says:

Interesting.

I'd argue that HFA is improved for a good team with a bye. Surely you've run those data and found that home teams in the divisional have an even more pronounced advantage?

5. James says:

Sure, Johnny Wu, I'll correct you. If the Bengals had won, they would have earned the 3 seed and a game against the Ravens. However, that doesn't even matter because Brian's stats are purely empirical and don't take momentum, heart, desire, etc into consideration. Therefore, it's completely due to home field advantage.

6. James says:

Actually, the Ravens would've been the 5 seed if the Jets lost, so the Bengals would have played the Texans. In any case, it's still due to home field advantage, especially since the post-Week 17 stats (if those were the ones used) hurt the Bengals and favored the Jets.

7. Jordan says:

Ouch the predictor went 1-3 this weekend.

8. Zach says:

Vegas also went 1-3.

9. Shawn says:

If the Week 17 Jets-Bengals game had been taken into consideration even partially it would probably have been enough to predict a Jets victory (and 2-2 for the predictor); however, it's hard to predict at precisely what strength a team was playing in the final game of the season, especially when the Bengals essentially gave up after the first half and did rest a couple of their starters from the beginning.