FanPost

Never Tell Me the Odds: 60 and 3

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

"It's a trap!"

You clicked a story entitled "Never Tell Me the Odds." However, pretty much all that follows will deal with odds. Specifically, we'll look closer at the odds surrounding the Seattle Sounders and their attempt to win the first Supporter's Shield in franchise history as well as clinching the top seed in the Western Conference MLS Cup Playoffs. We'll also look at how the Sounder's remaining 7 matches might go to reach each projected finish.

The Odds

First, consider this lovely table:

Projected Points

Record (W-D-L)

Odds

Shield Odds

1st Seed Odds

59 points

(3-1-3)

10.84%

60.3%

81%

57 points

(2-2-3)

10.49%

13.4%

40%

60 points

(3-2-2)

10.46%

71.8%

88%

56 points

(2-1-4)

7.48%

4.9%

22%

62 points

(4-1-2)

7.43%

95.7%

98%

58 points

(2-3-2)

7.04%

31.8%

63%

63 points

(4-2-1)

4.48%

97.3%

99%

54 points

(1-2-4)

4.45%

Less than 0.1%

2%

61 points

(3-3-1)

4.35%

87.4%

96%

55 points

(1-3-3)

4.34%

0.5%

8%

Via Club Sports Stats

The good folks (or just one dude) at Club Sports Stats run some pretty in-depth simulations, to the tune of 40,147,031,762 simulations of the Sounders remaining 7 matches (that count has increased by nearly 3 billion since I pulled the numbers). Even better, they include the final seven match record with each point total.

This chart is sorted by the odds of each win-draw-loss scenario happening ("Odds" on the graph). The scenario where the Sounders win three out their seven remaining matches, draw one and lose the other three has a 10.8 percent likelihood, making it the first scenario listed.

Some general things we can pull from these numbers:

  • 60 is the magic number: While the Sounder's Shield odds at 59 points is still very solid at a 60% rate, once you get to 60 the odds are almost three-in-four; once we cross into 60+ you had might as well give the Sounders the Shield and the 1-seed out West. However, fail to get past (or even up to) 58 points and the likelihood will be either a 1-seed in the West and an East Shield winner, or a 2-seed for Seattle. That means...
  • 3 is also a magic number: Schoolhouse Rock said so, so why not? In nearly every 3-win simulation, the Sounders' Shield odds top 60%. The only situation they don't is a 3 win, 4 loss stretch with Shield odds at 40%. If the Sounders can get three more wins, they are a solid bet for the Shield.

The Scenarios

59 points (3-1-3)

Wins

Draws

Losses

vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10/9)

vs. New York Red Bulls (09/29)

@ FC Dallas (10/19)

vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (10/27)

@ Los Angeles Galaxy (9/21)

@ Colorado Rapids (10/5)

@ Portland Timbers (10/13)

Here are my projections for the 59 point scenario. A win at home against Vancouver gives us the Cascadia Cup and a win against New York keeps them off our Shield pace. Grabbing a home draw to LA to clinch the Shield on the final match-day would go down in Sounders lore for sure.

57 points (2-2-3)

Wins

Draws

Losses

vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10/9)

@ FC Dallas (10/19)

vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (10/27)

vs. New York Red Bulls (09/29)

@ Los Angeles Galaxy (9/21)

@ Colorado Rapids (10/5)

@ Portland Timbers (10/13)

The Red Bulls win in the previous scenario becomes a draw here. The two dropped points may not only cost us the Shield, but also a 1-seed. This makes this a very significant match if we want to secure the Supporter's Shield. Luckily, the match is in the friendly confines of CenturyLink Field.

60 points (3-2-2)

Wins

Draws

Losses

vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10/9)

vs. New York Red Bulls (09/29)

@ FC Dallas (10/19)

vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (10/27)

@ Portland Timbers (10/13)

@ Los Angeles Galaxy (9/21)

@ Colorado Rapids (10/5)

To me, this seems like the most likely scenario to occur, since we face this year's iteration of the Drawosaurus Rex in the Portland Timbers. Since it's pretty tough to drink bubbly off a Shield, how about eating some crispy bacon off of it?

56 points (2-1-4)

Wins

Draws

Losses

vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10/9)

@ FC Dallas (10/19)

vs. New York Red Bulls (09/29)

@ Los Angeles Galaxy (9/21)

@ Colorado Rapids (10/5)

@ Portland Timbers (10/13)

vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (10/27)

This scenario turns the LA home match from a draw to a loss. Of any team remaining on our slate, I can only really see the Galaxy coming into CenturyLink and leaving town with three points.

62 points (4-1-2)

Wins

Draws

Losses

vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10/9)

vs. New York Red Bulls (09/29)

@ FC Dallas (10/19)

vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (10/27)

@ Portland Timbers (10/13)

@ Los Angeles Galaxy (9/21)

@ Colorado Rapids (10/5)

Every four-win scenario gives the Sounders a 94-plus percent chance of winning the Shield. If the Sounders hit 4 wins, prepare for the fixture congestion we've become so accustomed to beginning again next August.

58 points (2-3-2)

Wins

Draws

Losses

vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10/9)

@ FC Dallas (10/19)

vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (10/27)

vs. New York Red Bulls (09/29)

@ Portland Timbers (10/13)

@ Los Angeles Galaxy (9/21)

@ Colorado Rapids (10/5)

This is just about as high as the Sounders could go and just barely win the Shield. It seems most likely that an East team like Montreal grabs the Shield if the Sounders finish at 58 points, with the Sounders taking the West's 1 seed. However, if Montreal does grab the Shield and the Sounders are runners-up, the Sounders get a CONCACAF Champions League berth, just not the hardware that usually accompanies it.

63 points (3-3-1)

Wins

Draws

Losses

vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10/9)

vs. New York Red Bulls (09/29)

@ FC Dallas (10/19)

vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (10/27)

@ Colorado Rapids (10/5)

@ Portland Timbers (10/13)

@ Los Angeles Galaxy (9/21)

There is one thing these scenarios have made clear to me: the Galaxy need a result (and probably a win) much more than the Sounders do on Saturday. The Sounders could lose to LA and still win the Shield by getting a result the rest of the way. Hell, a result in Colorado isn't too necessary at this point, either. The Red Bulls match, as well as our home clash with the Galaxy, on the other hand, will be key results in our Shield quest.

54 points (1-2-4)

Wins

Draws

Losses

vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10/9)

vs. New York Red Bulls (09/29)

@ FC Dallas (10/19)

@ Los Angeles Galaxy (9/21)

@ Colorado Rapids (10/5)

@ Portland Timbers (10/13)

vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (10/27)

This is the sad-face scenario. Holy moley do the wheels fall off in this one. At least we secure the Cascadia Cup, but only secure a 3 or a 4 seed after being in the Shield lead with a little under eight weeks to go. Talk about a collapse. I want nothing to do with this reality. Thankfully, there's a 96% chance it won't happen.

61 points (3-3-1)

Wins

Draws

Losses

vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10/9)

vs. New York Red Bulls (09/29)

@ FC Dallas (10/19)

vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (10/27)

@ Colorado Rapids (10/5)

@ Portland Timbers (10/13)

@ Los Angeles Galaxy (9/21)

Here we hit both magic numbers: 60 points and 3 wins. Not surprisingly, the Sounders have an 87% shot at the Shield and are all but guaranteed (96% chance) a 1-seed in the West. Bring on the 4-5 winner!

55 points (1-3-3)

Wins

Draws

Losses

vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10/9)

vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (10/27)

vs. New York Red Bulls (09/29)

@ FC Dallas (10/19)

@ Los Angeles Galaxy (9/21)

@ Colorado Rapids (10/5)

@ Portland Timbers (10/13)

Interestingly, one constant throughout each projected scenario is a win against Vancouver to secure the Cascadia Cup and a loss to LA this weekend. I really do believe we will beat the ‘Caps in three weeks and I will now be not-mad if we lose to LA. Unless, of course, we lose like we did in the last two matches in Carson. Then I shall be very put-out.

In sum, the two biggest things you need to keep in mind as we dive studs-up into the stretch run: 60 and 3. If the Sounders can get 60 points and 3 wins, welcome back to CONCACAF. 60 and 3 means a shot at hosting the MLS Cup Final. 60 and 3 will be a trap for the rest of the West and the best of the East.

Never tell me the odds.

Just tell me 60 and 3.

FanPosts only represent the opinions of the poster, not of Sounder at Heart.

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