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Playoffs are probably harder to play than to watch: first round odds for all teams

Leafs’ fans know their team is the underdog. But they aren’t the only one or even the one with the longest odds to win in the first round.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Washington Capitals - Game One
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Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Today with the first nervous Maple Leafs’ playoff game behind us, I think it’s time to risk looking at some probabilities. These are three different looks at playoff probability, beginning with just the first round.

Winning a game in the playoffs increases a team’s chances at winning that round and all the series leaders are ahead in probability. The two tied series are at about 60-40.

Micah McCurdy has his demonic crab of doom visualization, and it covers the whole playoffs:

The first thing you should notice is that he’s got Toronto with a higher chance of winning than Dom does. He’s got the Montréal series as a little tighter too. They both think Columbus is doomed, and if you have seen any of either game, you would think that too.

The only surprise about that series is that Marc-André Fleury’s .972 save percentage is not the highest for goalies who have played two games.

MoneyPuck has the old-fashioned table of numbers if you like that sort of thing, or you can see the big wheel here if you prefer that. The website has the most up to date numbers.

He has the Leafs at 25 percent to make round two with the numbers above finalized.

The Leafs’ chances shoots way up to 41 percent if they win tonight. Big swings in playoff series probability are normal since the outcome of any single game of hockey has a lot of unpredictable factors in it.

I can’t quibble with most of these numbers, but I don’t quite believe in Boston’s high chance to go all the way. I think they looked sluggish and tired against Ottawa, but maybe I just dislike them so much I can’t think straight about it.

There is only one way to know for sure—wait until June!