Underdog or tie game?

It’s important to highlight base rates in the wild as a way to keep them top-of-mind. What’s available is what we think about. Nowhere is this better than sports. We tend to overreact rather than “short the narrative” and base rates are a useful thinking tool to practice.

Talking about the last week of the NFL season and potential playoff situations, otherwise sane Shane Jensen offers up, “I think it’s less likely the Colts lose to the Jaguars than that other game ends in a tie.” Okay, what’s the base rate? Since 2017 there have been 5 games that ended in a tie, and 7 games where a big underdog won.

What’s probably happening is recency bias. The Jaguars lost by forty points to the Patriots, fired their coach mid-season, and maybe aren’t the best run organization. All of those things can be true as well as still being more likely to win than a tie game.

Part of the Wharton Moneyball podcast is to be entertaining. That’s fine. But part of it is to be analytical, and for that this was a miss.

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