Statistics Guru Talks About The Odds Of A Perfect Bracket - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Statistics Guru Talks About The Odds Of A Perfect Bracket

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(WLNS) - It's the last full day to fill-out March Madness brackets and for many that means "stressing over" last-minute changes.

But is it really worth spazzing out when your chances of winning are in the quintillions?

Quintillion, that's a lot.

6 News talked to a former statistics professor at MSU about the odds.

Get ready to have your mind "stretched" a little bit.

Former Stats Professor Jim Stapleton has March Madness down to a formula.

Well actually, 288 of them. They chart the probability of each team beating its opponent.

"These numbers are estimates of probabilities that team seated 5, for example, will beat team seated 4," says Stapleton.

And he's already thought about the game this week.

"My estimate of the probability that Michigan State will win is 7881."

That calculation's based on past games, scores and more. But Stapleton says even if you always pick the team more likely to win, you still only have a 1 in 133 billion chance of getting it all right.

"When you take the whole collection of games, you have to do some multiplication and the probability becomes very small that you get all of them correct," said Stapleton.

Stapleton says the odds of getting a perfect bracket are like throwing sixes on 14 die and then flip a coin on heads.

And that's just his calculation, the odds could be even worse.

"2 to the 63rd power 'cause there's 63 games," says Stapleton.

But that's only if you're choosing completely at random. Stapleton says his MSU knowledge contradicts the calculations he's done.

"Their probability of winning is probably much closer to 1," says Stapleton.

 Or maybe that's just bias.

Fill out your March Bracket on, click: March Brackets

By Sari Soffer, 6 News Intern

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