A post from Mike Scoscia's Tragic Illness titled 'Does The Best Record In The League Matter' got me thinking about a good way to measure this using math. Hey, opinions are great but if you know a little bit about me, you would know that I need to know the probabilities.
So what I did was assign a string of probabilities for the Dodgers winning the NLDS, NLCS and World Series. Now, I am going to assume in this exercise that the Dodgers are either the #1 or #2 seed in the National League. It is of course very possible that the Dodgers get the #3 seed, but let's save that scenario for a later date.
I kept the probabilities of the Dodgers winning the NLDS and World Series constant and then set a game by game win probability for each of the seven games the Dodgers and Braves would play each other in the NLCS. One set of probabilities for the Dodgers having HFA and one set for the Braves having HFA. The accuracy of the probabilities that I set aren't all that important. The important part is adjusting the NLCS games by 9% (assuming a HFA of 4.5% in this exercise) on a game by game basis. From these seven NLCS win probabilities I can then run this through a simple Monte Carlo simulation to get a NLCS series win probability.
The table below will show you my findings.
|LAN HFA||ATL HFA|
For the data above you can see that given the series and game win probabilities that I used, there is less than a one percent difference in chances of winning the World Series based on having the #1 or #2 seed in the MLB playoffs. I think the numbers I used are pretty accurate though, as Vegas has the Dodgers chances of winning the World Series at between 19-20 percent. Anyways, the final number doesn't really matter. What matters is the difference between the chances of winning the World Series with the #1 or #2 seed. Is a cost of 0.89% to your World Series champion probability a big deal or not? I would say no it isn't when you are balancing that out with properly getting your team ready for the post-season.
Note: NLCS Winner was computed with Monte Carlo simulation (10 Million simulations).