MLS Playoff Math: Using Statistics to Predict the MLS Cup Champion

MLS CUP MATH

MLS CUP FINAL

Portland at Sporting KC
Sporting KC: 1.71 Home G/G, 0.85 Home DM
Portland: 1.47 Road G/G, 0.82 Road DM
Computer Prediction: Sporting KC 1.40 – 1.24 Portland (Draw)

This score line falls within the margin of error for a draw. If the game makes its way to penalties it is anybody’s guess. The statistics do give Sporting KC the slight edge, and being that this is an MLS contest, the home team always has a significant advantage. It should be mentioned that three MLS Cup titles have been won by a team at their home stadium (1997 DC, 2011 LA, 2012 LA) and one club has hosted the final but lost (2002 New England).

I hope I’m wrong with these computer predictions, but if I’m not, don’t blame me, blame the math!

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  • Dave from Dix Hills

    So ……. Much …….. Math …… Wouldn’t hurt my brain as much if Red Bulls won at the end though.

  • Aguinaga

    Fun exercise. Only thing missing from the analysis is the statistical probablity that the predictions made all come to pass :)

    • Bill Reese

      Well, there can only be 3 outcomes to a match (not including penalty kick wins, which go in the book as draws, technically). So, I have a 33% chance of making a correct pick. There are 15 playoff games. So you’d go .333 to the 15th power, which is a number I cannot begin to comprehend. My best calculation is that you would have a 0.00167% chance of picking all 15 correct in a world where Win, Loss and Draw had even chances of occurring. That translates to a 1.67 chance out of 1,000