A selection of my research and blog posts on luck in sports.


(Phil Birnbaum main page)  (Sabermetric Research blog)




“On Why Teams Don’t Repeat” (1989, .pdf) -- An analysis of how teams that perform well are probably not as good as their record, and probably achieved their performance partly with the assistance of good luck.


Poor play can be caused by unobservable bad luck.


How much luck is there is in a typical NHL season?  What about a lockout-shortened 48-game season?


How there’s luck in golf.  How there’s luck in basketball foul shooting.  How there’s luck in chess.


Randomness in pitching results.


A method of estimating how much luck there is in a particular league, as shown by Tom Tango.  An informal “proof” that Tango’s method works.


My Presentation from SABR 35 in Toronto, “Were the 1994 Expos Just Lucky?” (2005)

.ZIP file containing the above presentation, plus two spreadsheets with full team and player results.


Simulating an NFL season.





(Page construction in progress as of Februrary 26, 2013.  More links to come.)