Live Playoff Probabilities Today

I've put together a live ticker for each team's playoff chances. The widget will update as today's games proceed based on in-game win probability. The win probabilities are adjusted for pre-game estimates of team ability (and motivation).

But wait, there's more! If you call now, I'll throw in a free overall-first-draft-pick probability.

With all the games that have playoff implications, this should be a lot of fun today, especially during the 1pm games. But this is something that's only useful one day out of the entire season, so please don't wait to spread the word:

A few notes about the playoff probability widget:

It only really cares about certain thresholds--getting into the playoffs at all, getting a bye, and having home field throughout. The widget does not distinguish between the 5 or 6 and the 3 or 4 seeds in each conference.

The probabilities for a certain seed or outcome may not perfectly sum to 1. This is due to some unavoidable rounding that occurs upstream in the in-game win probability model.

The Rams get the Redskins' first round pick this year, so St. Louis fans will be rooting for WAS to lose and HST to win.

The NFC wildcard picture is complex. To simplify things, there are only two teams on the bubble of making the playoffs, NO and ARI. SEA, SF, and CAR have all at least clinched a wildcard. The label that says "NO/other" includes the possibility that NO gets the #2 seed, CAR falls into a wildcard. SF or SEA would have the other.

KC has clinched the #5 seed in the AFC.

Pre-game estimates this week are based on consensus point spreads. I chose not to use the ANS efficiency model numbers for a couple reasons. First, week 17 can be unique in that some teams have a lot to play for, and some don't. For example, the KC-SD game is very lopsided, as KC has their seed locked up and SD needs to win to survive. The efficiency model doesn't account for such late-season motivation factors. Second, there are two significant QB changes for playoff contenders today for GB and DAL, both of which have an impact on their teams' chances.

I realize the NFC East and North probabilities are simply the game probabilities, but if I left them out I'd get dozens of tweets that say hey u lft out d brs.

The widget automatically updates every 30 seconds starting at 1pm. There's no need to refresh the page.

It's likely there's an error in there somewhere. This is much more complicated than I expected. What I thought would take an hour or two turned into a probability final exam and 380 lines of code. Let me know in the comments below if you see something fishy. I already fixed one mistake (thanks, Evan!).

I wish I could create a cool visualization tracking each teams' chances as the day goes on. I'd still like to do that but I won't have time. Maybe next year.

If you'd like to add the widget to your own site, you can do so by adding the code below. I haven't larded it up with ads or links back to ANS, so if you use the widget make sure you cite the source and include a link.

<\iframe frameborder="0" height="440px" width="440px" src="" ><\/iframe>

The widget will stay up on the main page 'feature window', but I'll include it below as well. Should be a fun day. Enjoy the complexity!


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12 Responses to “Live Playoff Probabilities Today”

  1. Unknown says:

    some probabilities no longer add to 100 (AFC 2nd seed 67 + 11 + 10 + 16 = 104)

  2. Brian Burke says:

    That may occur at times due to rounding.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is really awesome, thanks Brian!

  4. Anonymous says:

    it seems the probabilities aren't updating for the late games?

  5. Brian Burke says:

    Updating for me. Let me know if you still have problems.

  6. Brian Burke says:

    Oops. Yeah. I gooned the main game WP updates. Should be ok now.

  7. Anonymous says:

    working now, thanks

  8. Todd says:

    Why is the AFC wildcard probability (SD vs. PIT, currently 0.42 - 0.58) not the same as the game win probability in the SD-KC game (currently 0.25 for SD)?

  9. Justin says:

    I just like the picture you used :)

  10. Brian Burke says:

    Todd, the playoff probs include team strength and home field adjustments.

  11. Todd says:

    Ah, interesting. Does including those features increase the accuracy of the predictor?

  12. Brian Burke says:

    Note...the data feed from SD died with 2 min to play in regulation. Sorry everybody. Nothing I can do.

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