The Yankees have an 80% chance of making the playoffs. The Indians have a 62.5% chance. And the Red Sox have a 58% chance.
There are sixteen possible outcomes after this weekend’s six games — three between the Yankees and the Red Sox and three between the White Sox and the Indians. You could say there are two possibilities in each of six games, which would be 2*2*2*2*2*2, or 64. But really, we only care about the outcome of each series. There are four possible outcomes of each series, meaning that we take 4*4, or 16. There are sixteen possible outcomes of this weekend. We could go further and talk about possible one game playoffs. Personally, I’m interested in which teams will make the playoffs. Further, I’m interested in what the odds are that each team will make the playoffs.
So what to do? Figure it out in Excel, then use Excel to create a table!
Below I show the sixteen possibilities for what the New York Yankees (NYY)’s, Boston Red Sox (BOS)’s, Chicago White Sox (CHI)’s, and Cleveland Indians (CLE)’s, respective records could be after this weekend. (Apologies for the ugliness.) To the right of those columns, I show what the playoff picture will be Monday morning. The final four columns show the odds, per each Monday morning playoff picture, that each team will make the playoffs. Note that in each scenario, the White Sox have 1 out of 1 odds of making the playoffs, because they have already secured the AL Central title.
About ⅔ of the way down, you’ll see the “nightmare scenario,” where MLB would have the first ever two-tiered one game playoff. Here, I have determined that the Yankees, for example, have a 50% chance of winning the first game. They also have a 50% chance of losing that game, meaning they would play the second game against the Indians, where they again have a 50% chance of winning. 50% * 50% = 25%. The 50% from the first game plus the 25% from the second game equals 75%. (Blah blah blah, etc etc etc.)
The last two rows show first, the odds out of 16 that each team will make the playoffs. The White Sox will make the playoffs 16 out of 16 times, because they have already locked up the AL Central. The final row shows each team’s odds out of 100. Enjoy.
|97-65||93-69||99-63||93-69||NYY wins ALE; 1GP CLE@BOS||1||0.5||1||0.5|
|97-65||93-69||98-64||94-68||NYY wins ALE; CLE wins WC||1||0||1||1|
|97-65||93-69||97-65||95-67||NYY wins ALE; CLE wins WC||1||0||1||1|
|97-65||93-69||96-66||96-66||NYY wins ALE; CLE wins WC||1||0||1||1|
|96-66||94-68||99-63||93-69||NYY wins ALE; BOS wins WC||1||1||1||0|
|96-66||94-68||98-64||94-68||NYY wins ALE; 1GP CLE@BOS||1||0.5||1||0.5|
|96-66||94-68||97-65||95-67||NYY wins ALE; CLE wins WC||1||0||1||1|
|96-66||94-68||96-66||96-66||NYY wins ALE; CLE wins WC||1||0||1||1|
|95-67||95-67||99-63||93-69||NYY wins ALE; BOS wins WC||1||1||1||0|
|95-67||95-67||98-64||94-68||NYY wins ALE; BOS wins WC||1||1||1||0|
|95-67||95-67||97-65||95-67||1GP BOS@NYY; 1GP NYY@CLE/CLE@BOS||0.75||0.75||1||0.5|
|95-67||95-67||96-66||96-66||1GP BOS@NYY; CLE wins WC||0.5||0.5||1||1|
|94-68||96-66||99-63||93-69||BOS wins ALE; NYY wins WC||1||1||1||0|
|94-68||96-66||98-64||94-68||BOS wins ALE; 1GP NYY@CLE||0.5||1||1||0.5|
|94-68||96-66||97-65||95-67||BOS wins ALE; CLE wins WC||0||1||1||1|
|94-68||96-66||96-66||96-66||BOS wins ALE; CLE wins WC||0||1||1||1|
|Out of 16:||12.75||9.25||16||10|
|Out of 100:||79.68||57.81||100.0||62.50|