The Major League Baseball Division Series is underway and NJIT math professor Bruce Bukiet has once again analyzed the probability of each team advancing to the World Series. "Now that the Texas Rangers have won the opening game against the Detroit Tigers, the probability of this team winning the American League Pennant has jumped from 64 to 76 percent," he said. "In the National League, the Milwaukee Brewers have upped their chances of clinching the National League pennant from 51 to 68 percent."
Performing the analysis this post-season has posed more problems for Bukiet than usual with the regular season going down to the final day to determine two of the post-season teams and then the League Division series going to the fifth game in three of those four series. This has left little time between the determination of the contenders and the start of the following series.
At the season's start, Bukiet used his mathematical model to project the number of wins each team should earn (see: http://m.njit.edu/~bukiet/baseball/2011_season_predictions.htm). While Bukiet's model picked only five of the eight post-season teams last April, he said that his performance was still good enough to come in first in the competition at www.baseballphd.net and better still than most experts. Bukiet updates the probabilities of each team taking their series throughout the Major League Baseball post-season at http://m.njit.edu/~bukiet/baseball/playoffs11.htm
On Bukiet's website, he provides the likelihood of each team taking the series in a given number of games. At this point, the most likely outcome (27.2 percent) is for the Texas Rangers to win in six games. In the National League, the most likely outcome (24.9 percent) is for the Brewers to win in six games.
This is Bukiet's 11th year using his model to determine whether it is worthwhile to wager on games each day during the baseball season. His picks (posted on www.egrandslam.com) have led to (slightly) more positive results for 7 of the 11 years (counting 2011's worst-ever results). He has also used the model to predict how teams should perform during a baseball season and these results have compared favorably with experts, including 2011. This year, Bukiet has even expressed surprise that his daily picks performed so poorly while his overall picks did so well.
Bukiet's model originally appeared in the journal Operations Research. More recent improvements were published by Bukiet and his research team in the International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sports. The model computes the probability of a team with given hitters, bench, starting pitcher, lineup, relievers and home field advantage winning a game against another team.
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