LA is favored, but not by much. The difference in SRS is 1.86 points, which suggests that LA should have odds of winning of 56%. The Rams were in the playoffs last season, and Cincinnati hasn’t been in a while, which also factors into the Ram’s favor. Rams played the tougher schedule, also a factor in their favor.

That said, Joe Burrow has faced worse odds before. Will they be the Miracle Bengals? I guess we will have to find out.

So now we are down to two games, Cincinnati at Kansas City and 49ers versus Rams. By SRS, KC should be favored by 4.3 points and have a winning percentage of 64%. Splitting the season creates even worse odds for Cincinnati. Rams and 49ers, it depends on if you slice the season in two or not. Rams have a 1.5 point advantage if the whole season is used. if weeks 10 through 17 are used, the 49ers should be favored by 5.1 points. The WP of the two different scenarios is Rams by 55% if whole season data are used, and 49ers by 67% if the split season is used.

There are four playoff games upcoming. We’ll discuss AFC first, then NFC second. Buffalo at KC, ignoring HFA, should be favored by Buffalo by about two and a half points. The win probability here is 58% in favor of the Bills. Cin at Ten is close, with TEN favored by 0.34 points The Titans win percentage is 51%. LAR at Tampa Bay, Tampa is favored by about 3.3 points. Tampa Bay’s WP is 61%. 49ers at Green Bay, SRS says that Green Bay should be favored by 0.7 points, and the GB WP is calculated to be 52%.

To note, in the case of Kansas City /Buffalo, if you throw out the first seven games of the year and recalculate the odds by SRS, then KC has a SRS of 14.66 and Buffalo has one of 6.80, in which case KC is favored by 7.86 points. That becomes a WP in favor of KC by 74%. Likewise, if you do the same for Green Bay and San Francisco, then Green Bay is favored by almost three points with a WP of 59%. Cin at Ten does not change much, and the Rams and Tampa Bay become close, less than a point apart.

Conversions between point spread and winning percentage is given here.

There are six playoff games this weekend, and without my old playoff model in play,we will be discussing favorites based on offensive stats. The first game is Raiders at Bengals, and Bengals, ignoring the very minor HFA effect this year, should be favored by about six points, and thus have about a 70% change of winning.

New England and Buffalo are the next teams in consideration, and ignoring HFA, Buffalo should be favored by about one and a half points, roughly 55% change of winning.

The third pair of teams in consideration is Philadelphia at Tampa Bay. The SRS delta is about six points, and so Tampa Bay would have a 70% change of winning.

The fourth pair of teams is San Francisco at Dallas. Dallas is favored by SRS to the tune of six points, roughly a 70% chance of winning. If you cut the season in half the advantage is three points, but San Francisco’s SOS through that period is awful, three points below average. San Francisco overall wasn’t beating very good teams in its playoff run.

Pittsburgh at Kansas City. KC has a 10 point advantage by SRS. Winning percentage for KC is well over 80%.

The final playoff game, on Monday, is Arizona at LA Rams. This game is even, a pick ’em game. Differences in offensive stats are less than 0.2 points between the two.

Ok, I have not been posting my playoff formulas, and for good reason, as there is no home field advantage this time around. That and the insane politics of the US transition have made it easy to focus on other things.

Looking purely at offensive stats (not the best predictors) from this source Tampa Bay should be slightly favored over Green Bay, so long as the weather is decent. Bad weather would give Green Bay an edge. The same is true for Buffalo; it should be slightly favored just looking at simple rankings or Pythagoreans. In the case of Tampa Bay, the delta is less than 2 points. For Buffalo, less than a point.

The other side of the coin is that both Green Bay and Kansas City outperformed their Pythagoreans, GB by a bit, KC by a lot. Though in KC’s case, Patrick Mahomes has to pass a concussion protocol before he would be allowed to play.

We’ll see. Stats suggest close games in any case. In terms of a good analytics take on the games, try this article from fivethirtyeight.com.

The methodology for this prediction is here.

I managed to watch big chunks of both conference games. The Titans made a game of it for one half. They ran out of steam in the third quarter and ended up losing, but the team overall looked good. The Packers were crushed. The score doesn’t really show how bad the game actually was.

Last I read, Kansas City was favored by one point in the odds. My system favors them by a lot more, more like 5 points.

Super Bowl Odds
Home Team Visiting Team Score Diff Win Prob Est. Point Spread
Kansas City Chiefs San Francisco 49ers 0.683 0.66 5.1

Conventional wisdom went 3-1 and my picks went 2-2; perhaps I would have done better if the Seahawks hadn’t suffered so many injuries at the end of the season. The Titans continue their upset ways while Green Bay, Kansas City, and San Francisco won as favorites.

The methodology of how we pick is given here.

Conference (NFC/AFC) Playoff Odds
Home Team Visiting Team Score Diff Win Prob Est. Point Spread
San Francisco 49ers Green Bay Packers 0.263 0.56 2.0
Kansas City Chiefs Tennessee Titans 1.031 0.74 7.6

The first round of the playoffs were full of upsets. The Titans upset the Patriots and the Vikings upset the Saints. Both upsets were driven by ground games that both scored and consumed the clock.

The methodology of how we pick is given here.

Second Round Playoff Odds
Home Team Visiting Team Score Diff Win Prob Est. Point Spread
San Francisco 49ers Minnesota Vikings 0.372 0.59 2.8
Green Bay Packers Seattle Seahawks -0.194 0.45 -1.4
Baltimore Ravens Tennessee Titans 0.985 0.73 7.3
Kansas City Chiefs Houston Texans 0.429 0.61 3.2

The methodology of this work is described here.

This year, the formulas favor the Baltimore Ravens and the Seattle Seahawks. Baltimore has the advantage in any possible encounter in the AFC. Seattle has the advantage over any team not named the New Orleans Saints. As the Saints lose their HFA against Green Bay, they are not favored against Green Bay. The odds of a Seattle-New Orleans matchup are small.

2019 NFL Playoff Teams, C&F Worksheet.
NFC
Rank Name Home Field Adv Playoff Experience SOS Total Score
1 San Francisco 49ers 0.660 0 0.125 0.785
2 Green Bay Packers 0.660 0.747 -0.225 1.182
3 New Orleans Saints 0.660 0.747 0.015 1.422
4 Philadelphia Eagles 0.660 0.747 -0.511 0.896
5 Seattle Seahawks 0.0 0.747 0.690 1.376
6 Minnesota Vikings 0.0 0.747 -0.334 0.413
AFC
1 Baltimore Ravens 0.660 0.747 0.015 1.422
2 Kansas City Chiefs 0.660 0.747 0.061 1.468
3 New England Patriots 0.660 0.747 -0.535 0.872
4 Houston Texans 0.660 0.747 0.292 1.699
5 Buffalo Bills 0.0 0.747 -0.380 0.367
6 Tennessee Titans 0.0 0.747 -0.310 0.437

 

The total score of a particular team is used as a base. Subtract the score of the opponent and the result is the logit of the win probability for that game. You can use the inverse logit (see Wolfram Alpha to do this easily) to get the probability, and you can multiply the logit of the win probability by 7.4 to get the estimated point spread.

Because the worksheet above can be hard to decipher, for the first week of the 2019 playoffs, I’ve done all this for you, in the table below. Odds are presented from the home team’s point of view:

First Round Playoff Odds
Home Team Visiting Team Score Diff Win Prob Est. Point Spread
New Orleans Saints Minnesota Vikings 1.009 0.733 7.5
Philadelphia Eagles Seattle Seahawks -0.541 0.368 -4.0
New England Patriots Tennessee Titans 0.435 0.607 3.2
Houston Texans Buffalo Bills 1.332 0.791 9.9

Well, the system went 0-2, and probably would have gone 1-1 had the refs been able to call pass interference in the last two minutes of the Saints-Rams game. The story as I gather it, is the lack of experience in the current crop of referees and the lack of good positioning during the infraction. Count me among the folks who think “the booth” should be able to overrule this kind of blatant miss on the field.

The other factors that don’t seem to change is that New England outplays its strength of schedule and that Kansas City underperforms its playoff predictions. All that said, the formula predicts a close game with the Rams emerging with a victory.

Super Bowl Odds
Home Team Visiting Team Score Diff Win Prob Est. Point Spread
Los Angeles Rams New England Patriots 0.380 0.59 2.8