ZiPS Updated Playoff Probabilities – 2018 NLCS

Updated through Game Six of the NLCS.

The ZiPS projection system will update these charts after every game and as the starting pitcher probables change. They are based on the up-to-date ZiPS projections of the strengths of the teams and the projected starting pitchers. They are different than the playoff odds that appear elsewhere at this site. The FanGraphs playoff probabilities are based on 10,000 simulations using the updated projections in the depth charts. Where ZiPS differs is guessing the game-by-game starting pitcher matchups and using the ZiPS projections, including split projections.

First, here are the game-by-game probabilities:

Game-by-Game Probabilities, NLCS
Game Home Team Milwaukee Starter Brewers Win Los Angeles Starter Dodgers Win
1 Brewers Gio Gonzalez 100.0% Clayton Kershaw 0.0%
2 Brewers Wade Miley 0.0% Hyun-Jin Ryu 100.0%
3 Dodgers Jhoulys Chacin 100.0% Walker Buehler 0.0%
4 Dodgers Gio Gonzalez 0.0% Rich Hill 100.0%
5 Dodgers Wade Miley ‘n’ Friends 0.0% Clayton Kershaw 100.0%
6 Brewers Wade Miley 100.0% Hyun-Jin Ryu 0.0%
7 Brewers Jhoulys Chacin 45.1% Walker Buehler 54.9%

And here are the overall series probabilities.

Overall NLCS Probabilities
Result Probability
Brewers over Dodgers in 4 0.0%
Brewers over Dodgers in 5 0.0%
Brewers over Dodgers in 6 0.0%
Brewers over Dodgers in 7 45.1%
Dodgers over Brewers in 4 0.0%
Dodgers over Brewers in 5 0.0%
Dodgers over Brewers in 6 0.0%
Dodgers over Brewers in 7 54.9%
Brewers Advance 45.1%
Dodgers Advance 54.9%

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Dan Szymborski is a senior writer for FanGraphs and the developer of the ZiPS projection system. He was a writer for ESPN.com from 2010-2018, a regular guest on a number of radio shows and podcasts, and a voting BBWAA member. He also maintains a terrible Twitter account at @DSzymborski.

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36 Comments on "ZiPS Updated Playoff Probabilities – 2018 NLCS"

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ianmSC
Member
ianmSC

Rich Hill is that bad that he’s a 55-45% underdog at home to a bullpen game?

Vegas lines seem to favor the Dodgers slightly more, 60.7% implied probability to win the series, according to vegasinsider.com. But the major sports books also have the Dodgers at -155 (60.7%) to win today, and he’s obviously lower than that here.

phealy48
Member
phealy48

I think it’s actually more due to the bullpen game, rather than in spite of it. Bullpen games are extremely valuable, especially if you have the Brewers pen.

ianmSC
Member
ianmSC

But like, are Hader, Jeffress, and Knebel really going to combine for 27 outs? Cause Woodruff and Soria and Burnes don’t seem good enough to overcome home field advantage, a pretty good starting pitcher and a significantly better lineup.

Btw, Hill has a 20.1 K-BB% which is 18th among starters with more than 100 innings, ahead of Aaron Nola, Charlie Morton, Kershaw, Greinke, Robbie Ray to pick a few. His FIP is higher at 3.97, but he’s been a very similar pitcher to Jack Flaherty this year overall, which seems odd to be a home underdog.

dcholcomb
Member

Too bad he won’t be an underdog on the money line.

Buhners Rocket Arm
Member
Member
Buhners Rocket Arm

I very much expect LAD will be at least -175 or higher in every home game, including the Rich Hill game.

sadtrombone
Member
sadtrombone

Hill is great, but if you get Woodruff and Burnes dialing it up in short stints that’s pretty good. That said, I wonder about the ability to predict the performance of bullpen games. We don’t have a ton of experience modeling them and wonder if there are things we haven’t thoughtof.

pickleRick
Member
pickleRick

They wear down too fast if you are trying to get to them. They are being asked to do more than they are used to doing. Nobody is better on one day of rest. That leads to being forced to use guys that we typically call mop-up guys or whatever a teams 4/5th best RP is. They don’t do it because it isn’t a great idea. There is a minimum of what a rotation needs to do to succeed. I don’t think trying to find the breaking point sounds like the best strategy.

Moate
Member
Moate

The advantage is that you can place Woodruff, Soria and Burnes in situations to minimize their downside/maximize their upside. Rich Hill is going to pitch to Yelich, probably twice.

Buhners Rocket Arm
Member
Member
Buhners Rocket Arm

-155 includes bookies’ margin (MIL is going to be around +135 at that number), and is also skewed toward LAD because they are likely to attract so much more action. The true odds of the game are probably closer to Milwaukee’s number than LAD’s, and in fact there is probably some meat on the bone in Milwaukee’s favor.

Dave T
Member
Member
Dave T

“Vegas lines seem to favor the Dodgers slightly more, 60.7% implied probability to win the series, according to vegasinsider.com.”

Was that before Game 1? I find it hard to believe that any baseball team has implied 60% probability of winning a best of 7 series after falling behind 1-0.

ianmSC
Member
ianmSC

Yes it was. FiveThirtyEight’s model has the Dodgers at 63% to advance at 1-1, Fangraphs Playoff Odds are at 68%. Vegas has been remarkably similar to the odds here and at FiveThirtyEight, believe it or not, so it wouldn’t shock me if the Dodgers were still heavily favored after being down 1-0.

For example, Mybookie and Bovada have the Dodgers -180 or 64.3% to win the series right now. The Astros are only -155 or -160 (60.8%, 61.5%) to win their series with home field advantage.

I don’t really know the reason, it’s just odd to me that Zips is the outlier on the Dodgers odds, between FiveThirtyEight, Fangraphs and “Vegas”. Seems like that’s mostly due to the Hill vs bullpen game odds, and I just don’t see the justification for that.

Dave T
Member
Member
Dave T

Thanks for that.

As for this point: “it wouldn’t shock me if the Dodgers were still heavily favored after being down 1-0.”

Assuming that I’ve done the math correctly, after being done 1-0 in a series, the team that is behind would need to have about a 58% chance of winning each remaining game in the series to have 50 / 50 odds of winning the series. That strikes me as awfully high between two playoff-caliber teams, with no remaining home field advantage at that point: it’s equivalent a playoff team going 94-68 head to head against another playoff team. For a team down 1-0 to have a 60% chance of winning a best of 7 series, the trailing team would need a 62.5% chance of winning each game (equivalent to a 101-61 head to head advantage).

AG
Member
AG

After the Dodgers lost Game 1, I got odds of +155 on them winning the series. I quickly bet it because I thought that was good value. Sure enough, the line moved to +125 by the time Game 2 was played.