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2016 Big Ten Hockey Tournament: Odds, Stats, and the Standard Bet

Hockey is more fun with a case of beer on the line.

I've emerged from months of silence to bring you some stats about the Big Ten Hockey Tournament.  And since it's St. Patty's Day, I've decided to let you all in on a way to win some beer, and have a rooting interest in every game of this tournament.

All of these probabilities are based on KRACH ratings posted at  The probability of a team winning a game is equal to their rating divided by the sum of their rating and their opponents rating.  Using this formula, I calculated the probability of every possible match-up in this tournament.  Here are the probabilities for each team to make the Final:

Team Probability
Michigan 70.18%
Minnesota 66.06%
Penn State 23.75%
Ohio State 22.49%
Michigan State 11.45%
Wisconsin 6.07%

Before you freak out about how low your team's odds are of getting in, keep in mind how big of an advantage the first round bye is.  If you're Penn State, your chance of beating Wisconsin in the first round is 68.71%.  Your chance of beating Michigan in the second round is 34.57%.  Therefore, your odds of making the final are 23.75%.  Make sense?

Michigan's odds of beating Penn State straight up is 65.43%.  Michigan's odds of beating Wisconsin is 80.61%.  The odds of Michigan getting the Final is equal to the sum of the probability of beating each potential opponent (Penn State or Wisconsin) and the odds that each opponent will even make it to the second round.  I state that clumsily but I did the math right.

Now to the bet.  My old man and I have a standard bet which dates back to the 2007 NFL season.  Essentially the bet works like this: you delve deep into thorough analysis of a sporting event, looking at the match-ups, looking at the stats, looking a each team's systems, looking at the venue, the weather, trends in atmospherics, etc.  Then you pick a winner straight-up, no line.  If your team wins, you win a case of beer.  If you're going to bet, stick to a standard.

Based on the stats I discussed above, I calculated the probability of every possible outcome of the Final, of which there are 18.  I sorted the possible results by their probability, and then attempted to find a fair method for dividing up each possibility while giving us the same number of outcomes (9 each).  Here's what I came came up with.  The winner is listed to each possibility.

Big Ten Hockey Odds

The Table

As you can see, there's a distinct advantage to picking first in this instance.  I've also spent a couple of hours trying to figure out who I want to win each game of the tournament, and I only succeeded in confusing myself.  The only easy one is Ohio State vs. Michigan State.  I have all three outcome where Ohio State wins the tournament, so it behooves me to hope they win that game.

That's all I've got today.  Enjoy the tourney (see how I didn't capitalize it?)!  Go Gophers!