Posted by Hayes Davenport on Mar 16, 2011 12 comments
Here’s the good news: the first three times I ran this ridiculous thing, the Celtics won. So have that information ready the next time someone tells you the C’s are too old and banged up to take it this year.
Here’s the bad news: those results are based on a number one seeding (EDIT: Not anymore) that the Celtics may not, and, according to Torny Koneheiser and Will Michaelbon, should not try to end up with.
But this device is worthwhile in that it provides odds for the Celtics winning in each round of the playoffs against each possible team. Here are those odds, presented and briefly commented on. The series-picking robot doesn’t change the odds based on round number, just matchups and seeding, so I’ll just go by the round the C’s are most likely to see each team in. The number is the chance the C’s have of winning the series, and (homecourt) means THEY have homecourt, not the other team. Also, the numbers have been fluctuating slightly (I guess as game results come in), so don’t be surprised if you try it and they’re a couple points off from what you see here.
FIRST ROUND:
Hawks: 88%
Sixers: 86%
Pacers: 81%
Knicks: 78%
The robot correctly places a very low value on the Hawks’ status as a five-seed. I’d actually much rather see them than any of these other four teams. They just look like absolute garbage right now. The Sixers should really swap with the inexplicably favored Pacers here, given the matchups we’ve seen between Philly and the C’s this season. All the makings of a really bloody seven-game series. Every single making.
Of interest: according to this metric, the Heat have a better chance of beating the Sixers than the C’s do (87%), and the Magic are more likely to beat the Hawks (89%). But the Magic only have a 69% chance of beating the Knicks, say the numbers.
Other three rounds after the jump.
SECOND ROUND:
Magic (with homecourt): 56%
Heat (with homecourt): 53%
Magic (without homecourt): 48%
Heat (without homecourt): 47%
I see very little chance of seeing any other team in the second round, unless by some inverse-miracle the Celtics drop to the 4 seed. In any case, I think those Magic odds are maybe ten points too low and the Heat odds are about where they should be as basically a tossup. For some reason, the Heat sustain less of an advantage against the Celtics from home-court advantage than the Magic do. I guess it has something to do with the fans not showing up or caring what happens?
Interestingly, the Heat are favored over the Bulls by a percentage point, even without beating them all year. Gotta admire this robot’s cojones metálicos.
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS:
Bulls (with homecourt): 55%
Bulls (without homecourt): 47%
If it’s not either of those last two teams in the ECF, it’s the Bulls. No arguments here.
FINALS:
Thunder (with homecourt): 65%
Mavericks (with homecourt): 61%
Thunder (without homecourt): 60%
Mavericks (without homecourt): 54%
Lakers (with homecourt): 53%
Spurs (with homecourt): 50%
Spurs (without homecourt): 46%
Lakers (without homecourt): 43%
The stats seem to be sleeping pretty hard on the Thunder, likely because they’re not accounting sufficiently for the big snarly piece they just added. I’d rather face the Mavs, for example, even if they have beaten the C’s twice this year. Other than that, I’m basically okay with this. The Spurs without homecourt would be last on my probability-of-success list, but I’d entertain offers for the Lakers with four at Staples.
Speculate away, but take home this fact: the numbers don’t think the Celtics have less than a 42% chance of winning ANY series. In fact, even if they take the most difficult possible road to the championship presented here: (Knicks-Heat-Bulls-Lakers, last three rounds without homecourt), they still have a 6% chance of winning it all.