Thread: Simple Probability question - regarding playoff series formats and sports!

1. Simple Probability question - regarding playoff series formats and sports!

Hi, I have a basic question regarding playoff series formats, this is especially relevant as we are approaching the NBA finals in the next couple of weeks!

In the National Basketball Association, the standard format for playoff games and home court advantage is 22111, (2 home games, 2 away games, 1 home game, 1 away game, 1 home game, 7 games total). The team with home court advantage gets to play at home first. This format changes to 232 for the final series.

Given a .6 probability of winning at home and .4 probability of winning away, which format is better for the team with home court advantage?

My initial impression was that it is the same for both teams, but I am unsure how the statistics work out. Thank You!

2. Re: Simple Probability question - regarding playoff series formats and sports!

Thanks for your input halfnormal! I am aware of all the intangibles, but I just want to know from pure statistics, given a constant win % at home, what the outcomes would be. Thanks!

Originally Posted by halfnormal
This is heavily relevant to my personal life, so I'll weigh in...someone else can do it from a statistical standpoint

232 is actually better for everyone involved, especially the home team.

The first 2 games at home gives the home team a chance for a strong start. They are in their home arena, around their own fans, and sleep in their own beds. They get a good shot at going 2-0 and while OKC has HAPPILY proven this wrong this year, the chances of the opposing team winning the series after losing the first 2 games are low.

Next, both teams travel to the other city. In the 2-2-1-1-1 format, assuming a full series, this is the first of four flights . Home or away, more travel days means less sleep, less practice, less energy. 2-3-2 means there are just 2 flights. In addition, if the series went to 7 games, getting to stay home between games 6 and 7 allows for the rest, the comfort, and momentum.

This year, all of it is more crucial since the games are so close together.

So there are a lot of intangibles here.

3. Re: Simple Probability question - regarding playoff series formats and sports!

"Given a .6 probability of winning at home and .4 probability of winning away"
Are these events assumed to be completely statistically independent?

Or will the winning probability be influenced by a previous win or loss? (Thinking about what halfnormal said.)

What is “OKC”?

4. Re: Simple Probability question - regarding playoff series formats and sports!

OKC stands for Oklahoma City, they're just one of the teams in the NBA finals this year. Let's assume they are independent for right now.

5. Re: Simple Probability question - regarding playoff series formats and sports!

If there is no ellimination in between & each team plays 7 games in preliminary then probability of winning all 7 is ).6 ^ 7 in each alternative.

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