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Layups: The Overtime Spike

Posted by Neil Paine on June 12, 2009

Here's a fascinating piece at the blog Cheap Talk regarding the frequency of tie games in basketball. If we assume points scored and allowed are independent of each other, our prediction for the odds of a tie after regulation is much lower than it actually is in real life. Why is that?

(H/T: Chicago76 at APBRmetrics.)

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2 Responses to “Layups: The Overtime Spike”

  1. Bradlee Says:

    Because we are humans.......When you are behind you have a greater sense of urgency to catch up. While you are ahead there is a tendency to take the foot off the gas a bit.

  2. Jason J Says:

    Bradlee's answer sounds pretty good to me. There's also probably something to be said for in-game adjustments. The team that's behind is changing their tactics to adapt to the play style of the team that's ahead. Meanwhile the front-runner is likely just sticking to what worked before, playing directly into the hands of a team making good adjustments.