I made two rounds of predictions last time, for the NHL’s second round and the NBA’s first. Let’s see how I’m doing.
In the NHL, the answer is not good. I picked the Predators, Blues, Rangers, and Flyers. I’m going to need the Rangers to win in game 7 to hit any of those. Granted, I thought each series would be close; I thought the Coyotes would take it to 7 and I gave them a 43% chance of winning outright, the Kings had a 36% chance, and the Devils a 46% chance. In short, the craziness of the NHL playoffs will continue. In the Western conference we’re going to have the 3 seed (who had the worst goal differential of any Western playoff team) play the 8 seed and the winner of the Rangers/Caps game will face the 6 seed Devils. If the Capitals happen to make it, that means the Eastern conference finals will pit the 6 seed against the 7 seed, who also was outscored in the regular season.
The NBA has been a little more orderly, and I can also see how I’m doing compared to some other big guns out there. I’ve always taken my model as a baseline – it only uses regular season point differential and home-court, with no accounting for injuries, match-ups, changes in minutes, etc. If you can’t beat this model, it’s hard to argue that you’re bringing a lot to the table (in my humble opinion). And the model has historically done better than the other people in the Smackdown. Last year didn’t go well though, so we’ll see if everyone else can start exerting their dominance.
Bulls-76ers: I wasn’t worried about Rose going down, but Noah getting hurt really puts a damper on my Bulls pick. On the plus side, everyone had the Bulls and only Arturo had them winning in 7, so I can’t get too hurt here relative to everyone else.
Heat-Knicks: As expected, this was over quickly. I picked the Knicks to win 2 games, narrowly over winning 1 game, which is what actually happened. So I pick up 5 points to tie John Hollinger while everyone else snagged 7.
Pacers-Magic: Despite not knowing that Dwight Howard was hurt, the model took the Pacers in 6, just over in 5. They actually took the series in 5, so I get 5 points along with Hollinger, Ilardi, and Ma (who picked sweeps).
Celtics-Hawks: This series isn’t over yet, but I have the Celtics barely favorites and winning in 6 games. If the Celtics can win tonight at home, I’ll have hit it on the head. Unfortunately, everyone else also picked Boston and only two people picked it for less than 6 (and no one in 7). So if it turns out, I’ll make up a few points on two people. Otherwise we’re all right (or wrong if the Hawks take it in 7) and no one gets a relative advantage.
Spurs-Jazz: I had the Jazz winning one game as a small favorite over a sweep, but a sweep was indeed what we got. Everyone else seemed to agree, since every competitor had the Spurs in 5. 5 points for everybody!
Thunder-Mavericks: I had Dallas winning a game, and they certainly had a few chances to get it. But they didn’t. No one else picked a sweep either, so it’s ‘everyone gets a trophy day’ again.
Lakers-Nuggest: this one isn’t over yet, but it sure seems that way since the Lakers went up 3-1. I thought it was close and went with the Nuggets as narrow favorites. Five competitors took the Lakers, so this will be a blow to my chances if the Nuggets don’t pull off the miracle comeback.
Grizzlies-Clippers: a similar story here, as I took the Griz in a close pick but they went down 3-1. If anyone could blow that lead it seems it would be the Clippers though, right? Only three people took the Clippers, and with performances being so close this could be the series that determines the winner in the end.
So right now Ilardi and Ma have 22 points, Hollinger has 20, and everyone else has 24. I have 20 points as well to bring up the rear. As mentioned, I’ll make up a little ground if the Celtics win tonight, but I need a lot of help with the Nuggets and Grizzlies. Coin flips are the worst. Maybe the second round will go more my way?