The Yale Undergraduate Sports Analytics Group and media coordinator Michael Bogaty ’19 are excited to launch a new series featuring season projections for different Yale sports.
About the model:
YUSAG’s prediction model utilizes the ELO ranking system, most notable for its use in chess. ELO has been applied to a variety of sports by FiveThirtyEight and other analytics platforms. When a team wins a game, its rating increases and the rating of its opponent decreases, taking into account the initial ratings of the teams. If a very good team defeats a very poor team, the result will not likely do much to change the system’s opinion of the relative strength of the teams and thus the ratings change will be small. In an upset, however, the underdog’s rating will go up by a much larger amount.
Our model also takes into account two factors that the traditional ELO system does not. First, it takes into account the home-field advantage in each sport. Second, it takes into account the score differential, or magnitude of victory. Research has consistently shown, in just about every sport, that considering a team’s point differential is more predictive than just considering wins and losses.
As of this writing, the Yale men’s hockey team sits seventh in the ECAC standings with 11 points in conference games. Our model is slightly more bullish on the Bulldogs, ranking them the fifth best team in the conference.
With 10 games remaining on their schedule, the Bulldogs’ most challenging game is, according to our model, their visit to Ithaca on Feb. 10. First, we calculated the win probabilities for the remainder of the Elis’ schedule:
Note: Ties are weighted as half a win.
We then simulated the remainder of the season 10,000 times, giving us the probabilities of each Ivy League team finishing with the best record in Ivy League games:
Note: Probabilities sum to over 100% due to the possibility of co-champions.
Our simulations for the remainder of the ECAC season show Union as the favorite to claim the conference championship, followed by Ivy-rival Cornell. Each team’s expected conference points, probability of winning the regular season crown, and winning the ECAC tournament are below.