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Old 10-15-2019, 07:14 PM
Wheelz is offline
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How often does the winner of Game Six also win Game Seven?


With the MLB playoffs in full swing (though the question neednít be specific to baseball), people love to talk about ďmomentum,Ē and I got to wondering whether itís a real phenomenon. Specifically, in best-of-seven series that have gone the full distance, what percentage of game sevens have gone to the winner of game six?

Anecdotally, it feels like the game six winner takes game seven more often than not. But we all love a good comeback, so maybe those are just the ones we remember, like the 2016 Cubs or the 1986 Mets.

So I did a little digging. Since 1965, there have been 20 seven-game World Series, and 12 have been won by the game six winner. But thatís a small sample size, which takes into account only one round of playoffs in one sport, and I didnít feel like manually looking up any more than that.

Has anybody ever definitively catalogued the fate of game six winners in game sevens? My google-fu is weak here. I found stats regarding game seven home advantage in different sports, but that doesnít answer my question.
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Old 10-15-2019, 10:17 PM
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Remember in a best of seven series in baseball games six and seven are played in the same park so the same team gets home-field advantage (and more recently gets to ply by it's rules DH or no DH) so it might also be interesting to know if the home team wins game 6 is it more likely to win game 7 than if it's the visitors.
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Old 10-16-2019, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheelz View Post
With the MLB playoffs in full swing (though the question neednít be specific to baseball), people love to talk about ďmomentum,Ē and I got to wondering whether itís a real phenomenon. Specifically, in best-of-seven series that have gone the full distance, what percentage of game sevens have gone to the winner of game six?

Anecdotally, it feels like the game six winner takes game seven more often than not. But we all love a good comeback, so maybe those are just the ones we remember, like the 2016 Cubs or the 1986 Mets.

So I did a little digging. Since 1965, there have been 20 seven-game World Series, and 12 have been won by the game six winner. But thatís a small sample size, which takes into account only one round of playoffs in one sport, and I didnít feel like manually looking up any more than that.
I did, and prior to 1965, Game 6 winners are 11-12 in Game 7 (including some examples in best-of-nine series, but excluding tie games.)

In the ALCS Game 6 winners are 5-2 in Game 7; in the NLCS they're 5-3. So the historical record is 33-25, suggesting but not proving an advantage.
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Old 10-16-2019, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
I did, and prior to 1965, Game 6 winners are 11-12 in Game 7 (including some examples in best-of-nine series, but excluding tie games.)

In the ALCS Game 6 winners are 5-2 in Game 7; in the NLCS they're 5-3. So the historical record is 33-25, suggesting but not proving an advantage.
Don't suppose you can look up NHL and NBA too? Lots more data there with so many more 7 game series.

NBA would need the most controlling for home-team advantage, since it's the biggest generic home-team advantage. IIRC, playoff formats have shifted over time, from top seed having games 6 and 7 at home to mostly only game 7.
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Old 10-17-2019, 02:44 PM
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So what would this say about momentum? Wouldn’t the fact that any Game 6 winner who went on to win Game 7 had to have been down 2-3 to the other team? Wouldn’t the Game 6 loser be a data point for “momentum isn’t a thing”?
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Old 10-17-2019, 03:11 PM
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Don't suppose you can look up NHL and NBA too? Lots more data there with so many more 7 game series.
I don't know how to do that easily.
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Old 10-17-2019, 08:05 PM
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The website whowins.com probably has everything you're looking for, including an all-time historical table showing how often teams lose a series they were leading 3-2 (across all sports, it's a little over 20% of the time, it turns out).
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Old 10-18-2019, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by journeyman_southpaw View Post
The website whowins.com probably has everything you're looking for, including an all-time historical table showing how often teams lose a series they were leading 3-2 (across all sports, it's a little over 20% of the time, it turns out).
So I clicked on http://www.whowins.com/tables/up32.html which presented a table listing all the results of all series that went at least 6 games (one team led 3 games to 2). The first line of the table lists the overall results for the leading team, from all sports, in all rounds, and at all sites (home and visitor).

The Game 6 result is 438-360 (.549). Which means that the team that trailed 3 games to 2 won 360 of the 798 Game 6's, a percentage of .451.

The overall series result is 637-161 (.798) for the team that led 3 games to 2. So if I'm reading this correctly, the team that trailed 3 games to 2 and won Game 6 also won 161 of the 360 Game 7's. That is a percentage of .447.

Am I correct in my conclusion?
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Old 10-18-2019, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by journeyman_southpaw View Post
The website whowins.com probably has everything you're looking for, including an all-time historical table showing how often teams lose a series they were leading 3-2 (across all sports, it's a little over 20% of the time, it turns out).
Which is close to the 25% that they'd lose if every game was a 50/50 coin flip.

But that doesn't speak to momentum. Looking at the site, they have that when a team is leading 3-2, then win game six 55% of the time (which, without making any models seems pretty close to what we'd expect, given that we'd expect the team leading 3-2 to be slightly better on average). Doing some math with the numbers from the site we can calculate that the team that was ahead 3-2 but loses game six wins game seven 56% of the time.

So, over all sports and all formats and home/away splits there's no evidence of momentum from game six to game seven. (assuming that random web site has correct numbers). The home/away may be worth looking into, as there's a pretty big split for teams starting the series at home and those starting away, but I don't have time to do that now.
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