We can use this regression analysis to estimate how much this year’s first-round playoff series should affect a team’s odds for the second round. We accomplish this by computing the probability of a team winning its second-round series based on its regular-season SRS, and then, alternatively, with a modified version of SRS that accounts for how many games it took to win the first round and its average margin of victory in those games.
Indiana Pacers vs. Washington Wizards
Original SRS odds: Indiana 76 percent to win the series.Modified SRS odds: Indiana 54 percent to win the series.
The formula has the Pacers going from being 3-to-1 favorites to beat Washington to about even money. This is obviously something of an extreme case of a No. 1 seed struggling and facing a No. 5 seed that played very, very well and is much better rested. I might be biased since I’ve been called a wizard, but I can buy that the series is about even given how much Indiana struggled late in the regular season.
Miami Heat vs. Brooklyn Nets
Original SRS odds: Miami 88 percent to win the series.Modified SRS odds: Miami 95 percent to win the series.
Miami swept its opening-round series, while Brooklyn needed seven games to beat the Toronto Raptors. Hence, the Nets have gone from really big underdogs to really, really big underdogs.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Original SRS odds: San Antonio 78 percent to win the series.Modified SRS odds: San Antonio 69 percent to win the series.
San Antonio needed seven games to beat Dallas, but Portland took six to beat Houston in a very competitive series. Part of this, however, is that the Spurs had more to lose, since they were heavily favored against Dallas while Portland wasn’t against the Rockets.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Original SRS odds: Los Angeles 51 percent to win series.Modified SRS odds: Los Angeles 52 percent to win series.
SRS had this series as a toss-up before, and since both the Thunder and the Clippers took seven games to win their first-round series, nothing much has changed.