April 3, 2009

Math formula picks baseball winners

A New Jersey professor, using a mathematical formula to foretell the outcome of games, predicts a three-way tie in the National League East this season.

Professor Bruce Bukiet, of the mathematical sciences department at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, developed a formula in 2000 to predict game results. As the season gets under way Sunday, his formula sees the defending World Champion Philadelphia Phillies, the New York Mets (which Bukiet admits is his favorite team) and the Atlanta Brave will each win 88 games and tie for the NL East title.

Bukiet's formula says the Chicago Cubs Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim should easily win their divisions.

The New York Yankees, predicted to win 99 games, were a two-game favorite over the Boston Red Sox in the AL East and the Cleveland Indians were installed as the team to beat in the AL Central.

These results are merely a guide as to how teams ought to perform. There are many unknowns, especially trades, injuries and how rookies will perform, Bukiet said. Over the years, the predictions have been about as good as those of the so-called experts. It demonstrates how useful math can be in understanding so many aspects of the world around us.