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July 10, 2013

Manufactured Runs

The Mystery of the Missing .500 Teams, Part Two

by Colin Wyers


A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the distribution of team wins, and the discovery that the distribution may in fact be bimodal, not normal as one might expect.

One of the predictions that came from this theory was that teams right at .500 would, counterintuitively, tend to regress away from the mean. So one thing we can do is actually check to see if the real world behaves the way we expect it to. I took all teams from 1969 on with even numbers of games and split them into “halves” of even-number games. I use scare-quotes for halves since in order to boost the sample size, I split into increments of two and kept any pair where both “halves” were within 20 games of each other. Then I looked at teams that were exactly .500 in the “before” sample— 716 teams total—and saw what they did afterward:

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Related Content:  Projections,  Playoff Odds

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: Matt H... (07/10)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Manufactured Runs: Rub... (07/05)
Next Column >>
Manufactured Runs: The... (08/01)
Next Article >>
Painting the Black: Er... (07/10)

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