Dec 31, 2008, 05:36AM


The first round of the NFL playoffs—wherein four division winners are underdogs against four wild card teams—is pretty damn improbable (but not too improbable).

Crunch the numbers:

However, I think the probability is closer to one in 7,600 — still unexpected, but not as dramatically so.

Bell’s calculation worked like this: He examined the pregame point spreads for the 10 playoff games before the Super Bowl in each of the last seven postseasons. (He skipped the Super Bowl because it’s played on a neutral field so there is no road team to consider.) In just four of those games — or 6% of the 70 total games — was the road team the favorite. Multiplying 4/70 by itself four times, Bell calculated that the probability of four road favorites in four games was one in more than 93,000.


Register or Login to leave a comment