Over the years, Dr. Jay Granat, a psychotherapist, and I have studied championship factors related to sports psychology to predict the winners of major championships. Much of our research has focused on quantifying concepts such as leadership, consistency, and minimizing errors.
These factors are often overlooked by most sports fans and analysts. Our regular series of “Who Will WIn” quant facts predictions have been correct about 65% of the time. The results are based on championships going back several decades – and across major sports including the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and professional tennis and golf.
What do our championship factors say about this year’s NHL Stanley Cup Finals between the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins?
Big Game Experience
Big game experience and the related factor of confidence play a large role in winning. While this is true in every major sport we have studied, neither team has advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals over the past three season. No Edge.
At any level of sport, the team with the stronger leader wins more often than not. Our work has shown this to be true at the highest level of professional sports — in championships! The team leader can often lift his game and that of his teammates. The team leader can “will” his or her way to victory. This championship factor goes to the Boston Bruins, led, by Brad Marchand and his 100 points. Edge: Boston.
Leadership Between the Goalposts
In a similar way, leadership between the “posts” can lead a hockey team to victory as well. The championship factors we list in our articles are correct about 60%+ of the time. Hot goalies can win the big game. This edge goes to the St. Louis Blues and their goalie’s superior save percentage during the regular season. Edge: St. Louis.
Our championship factors are 1-1, so our tiebreaker comes down to defense. And the old adage, “Defense wins championships,” has proven to be true. Defense is associated with hard-nosed, gritty work — and is typically more consistent. Interestingly, our work quantifying concepts of sports psychology work has shown that “consistency” is a championship factor. This factor goes to the Bruins, who edge the Blues in goals against average. Edge: Boston.
The championship factors favor the Boston Bruins 2-1, so Boston will be our official quant fact prediction.
Side bar: Some readers may wonder if I have a bias since I went to college in the New England area. However, I always let the “numbers do the talking.” Enjoy the big game!
Carlton Chin, a graduate of MIT, is an investment officer and quant researcher focused on portfolio strategy and sports analytics. An adjunct Professor at Rowan University, Carlton has worked with various sports organizations, including the Sacramento Kings— and has been quoted by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and ESPN.
Dr. Jay Granat, psychotherapist, named one of America’s Top 10 Mental Gurus by Golf Digest, has worked with Olympic athletes & sports organizations. A former university professor, he has authored several books on sport psychology — and has appeared on ESPN, CBS & Good Morning America.