I wanted to answer the question of how well we might be able to predict a teams’ point percentage at the end of the year compared to their current percentage based on how many games are left in the season. It’s easy to say that a teams’ percentage after every passing game reflects their end-of-the-season P% better than it did a few days ago, but we want to know exactly how those margins of probability are changing as the season progresses.
To do this, I got the P% for each team at certain game intervals of last season. I then found the difference of these percentages from the teams’ P% at seasons end. What was found was that the average teams margin of possible P% taken away or added by the end of the season is calculated by y = -.0014x + .1236, in which x is the number of games that have gone by so far (the formula is adjusted to an 82-game season, even though the results were taken from last years 48-game season). This might be a little hard to understand so I’ll explain it in the context of the Jets.
At the time I wrote this article, Winnipeg has played 26 games with a .500 P%. Putting this number into our formula gives us:
y = -.0014(26) + .1236 = .087
This means that if the Jets were an average team, a best-case scenario would leave them at the end of the season with a .587 P%, or about 96 points in the standings, which is comfortable to make the very edge of the playoffs. In a worst-case scenario, they would end the season with a dismal .413 P%, or 68 points (about where Colorado was at the end of 2010-’11).
As you can see, at this point in the season we can’t be absolutely confident about any prediction we make for a team down the road, but what you should know is that the margins become a lot smaller once we get past the 20-game mark of the season. A teams’ P% shouldn’t be used for the first 1 through 19 games of the season because a linear model wasn’t fit for the curve of the 10 game interval compared with the rest of the intervals.