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Journal Article

Late-Game Reversals in Professional Basketball, Football, and Hockey

Paramjit S. Gill
The American Statistician
Vol. 54, No. 2 (May, 2000), pp. 94-99
DOI: 10.2307/2686024
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2686024
Page Count: 6
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Late-Game Reversals in Professional Basketball, Football, and Hockey
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Abstract

Empirical evidence suggests that in basketball, football, and hockey, the leader at the beginning of the final period (quarter or period) wins the game about 80% of the time. We discuss modeling of late-game reversals in NBA, NFL, and NHL sports. The models are built around the assumptions that basketball scores and football scores are normally distributed and hockey scores vary according to a Poisson distribution. The models also accommodate the proverbial home field advantage. We use data from the 1997-1998 regular seasons of the leagues to estimate the parameters for the models. Predictions from the probabilistic models are in excellent agreement with the actual outcomes.

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