2012 World Series Predictions: Who Math! Says Will Win

The Giants and Tigers are set to face off in Game 1 tonight, and numberFire says one side should hold a distinct advantage.

We've been a little focused on football season here at numberFire, but tonight starts one of the most magical times of the year: the World Series. Yes, I too am excited that we don't have to limit our Joe Buck experience to just Sunday; we get him EVERY SINGLE NIGHT!

With Cabrera and Posey and Verlander and apparently-you're-an-ace-again Barry Zito, this series has the star power. But who has the chops to win? For that, I turn to the numberFire projections machine (aka Chief Analyst Keith Goldner, who might as well be a machine) for the answers. And Motor City fans should rejoice at the results.

So Who Wins?

That's the ultimate question, and the numbers look good for the Tigers. We ran every possible scenario for the games, thousands of simulations, and our final numbers say:

Detroit wins with 61.04% odds.
The odds of San Francisco winning are only 38.96%.

The World Series coinciding with the end of Detroit Beer Week is coincidence too good to be true, because if the Tigers close it out early, the streets will be flooded with the biggest party you've seen since the GM bailout. That is, if the series ends early...

Hey, How Long Will It Go Anyway?

That depends: will the Tigers or the Giants win it all? The projected length of the series sits at 5.77 games, or long enough to make it fun for all non-Giants/Tigers fans but still short enough to have your "Miguel Cabrera WS MVP" costume ready for Halloween.

But the numbers change a bit based on whether the Tigers or the Giants win. Since the Tigers have stronger odds of winning, it makes sense that the numbers skew in their favor when it comes to the series ending early as well. Simply put: it should take less time for Prince Fielder to eat through the Giants pitching than it should for Tim Lincecum to hair-whip the Tigers into submission.

The projections say that if the Tigers win, the series should only take an estimated 5.63 games. For those looking for the Tigers to clinch at home (i.e. in 5 games or less), the odds of that happening are 29% overall (meaning that they win in five or less in 29% of all simulations, not just when the Tigers win). There's better than a quarter chance that the Detroit ball club could come home for Game 3 and never have to leave again before their victory parade.

If the Giants win, however, the series should take a bit longer. The projections say that it would take an estimated 5.98 games for the Giants to take out the Tigers. San Francisco fans wouldn't mind; both Game 6 and Game 7 will be back in San Francisco if necessary.

Winner Series Length % Chance
Detroit 4 Games 9.45%
Detroit 5 Games 19.78%
Detroit 6 Games 15.31%
Detroit 7 Games 15.63%
San Francisco 4 Games 3.84%
San Francisco 5 Games 6.31%
San Francisco 6 Games 14.50%
San Francisco 7 Games 15.19%

Who has the best chance at MVP?

For that, we turn to numberFire's baseball Player Rankings. The main number to look at here is our nERD figure (yes, I know we're nerds). Simply put, the higher the score, the better you've played this season.

If the Tigers win, it makes sense that Miguel Cabrera would be the frontrunner for the award. He did win the regular season MVP, after all. Prince Fielder is up high on our charts as well; he finished the season as the #5 overall hitter in the MLB with his .405 weighted on-base percentage (adjusted for pitchers faced). Justin Verlander should have a nice shot too, currently being in line to pitch both Game 1 and Game 5. However, look out for Austin Jackson as a potential sleeper. He was baseball's 29th best hitter this season according to our nERD figure, and his 0.367 weighted on-base-percentage finished 11th best among all AL outfielders.

If the Giants win, Buster Posey has the best shot; his 0.407 weighted on-base percentage finished fifth among all MLB ballplayers. Game 4 (and 7?) starter Matt Cain projects well also: despite his second-half dip, he still finished the year as numberFire's eight-best overall pitcher with 7.9 Ks per nine innings while walking a career-low 2.1 per nine. Melky Cabrera would have had the next best shot, but you know how that goes. Instead, for a Giants sleeper, look at Game 2 (and 6?) starter Madison Bumgarner. His 2.31 nERD finished 19th among MLB pitchers this year and second on the Giants by a long shot, with a better-than-Cain 8.3 strikeouts per nine while only giving up the same 2.1 walks per nine.