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I’m Upset: “Win probability” has a 100 percent chance of sucking

I’m Upset: “Win probability” has a 100 percent chance of sucking

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  • Love this article, I agree 100%. Stats are useful in sports and can even be fun, but they way they’re often used in TV sports broadcasts is just... dull. Live stats aren’t adding any real information, and sometimes they only serve to reduce suspense. “Win probability”, which luckily hasn’t infected the

    Love this article, I agree 100%. Stats are useful in sports and can even be fun, but they way they’re often used in TV sports broadcasts is just... dull. Live stats aren’t adding any real information, and sometimes they only serve to reduce suspense. “Win probability”, which luckily hasn’t infected the sports I prefer (not a basketball fan), seems like an encapsulation of the worst parts of sports stats.

    “It’s one thing if, say, you’re a sports executive and want to understand the players/incidents that most affect the outcome so that you can better construct your roster. But for the fan, there’s no point in fixating on these kinds of things. They do not improve the process of watching a game; they bring no tangible exultation. What you get is only extraneous information, to be listlessly cited in recaps and post-game discussion as further evidence that, wow, the team did pull off a historic comeback, though of course we’d just watched it happen....

    A couple of years ago, a couple of statisticians presented the paper “The Problem With Win Probability” to the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, typically regarded as the epicenter of statistical innovation in sports. (I attended one as a journalist, and found that to be exactly right.) Their argument, carefully laid out via specific evidence, suggests that win probability is bad because it ‘lacks sufficient context’ and is derived from flawed metrics.”

  • Repeat after me: "correlation and causation are two different things."