We are set up for a rematch of last year’s NBA Finals. A year ago, the Miami Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs to capture their second consecutive NBA Championship. With this year’s Finals appearance, the Heat have now made it to four consecutive NBA Finals.
The Spurs look to add to their legacy of solid NBA play over the past decade and a half. In addition, the Spurs are aiming to avenge last year’s bitter loss to the Heat in seven games.
Together with Dr. Jay Granat, a psychotherapist, I quantified factors related to concepts of sports psychology. Our “quant facts” have successfully predicted the winner of this year’s Super Bowl and the NCAA tournament’s Final Four. In total, our predictions have been correct 63.5 percent of the time in major championships, while sometimes going against the grain and picking underdogs.
Big-game experience, as measured by the number of finals appearances over the past three years, has proven to be a good indicator of success in the NBA Finals. Across all sports we have studied, experience has proven to be one of the most important factors related to winning championships.
Over the past 24 years, the team with more recent finals appearances has won 81 percent of the titles. With three appearances over the past three years, the Heat have a big edge in big-game experience. Edge: Heat.
Our research has also shown that defense does indeed win championships. Over the past 24 years, the team with the better defense, as measured by points against, has won the championship 63 percent of the time. Miami edges San Antonio in this department with 97.4 vs. 97.6 points against. Edge: Heat.
We will be back with part two of this article with a look at quant facts related to concepts of sports psychology including consistency, minimizing errors and leadership.
Carlton Chin is a portfolio manager, quant researcher, and sports analysis contributor at Rant Sports. Please follow him on Twitter @QuantFacts, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your Google network.
You can catch the action live, but it will cost you as Miami Heat tickets are averaging $718 for Thursday night’s Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs.