Do All-Star Games Predict Finals Winners? (Or, Another Reason not to Watch the Pro Bowl)

By David Roher

Twitter follower Blake Barfield asked us last night if there was any correlation between the conference winner of the Pro Bowl and that of the Super Bowl. I decided to tackle this question for the NFL and the other three major American sports. Here are the results for each league — the first number is the p-value (lower indicates a stronger relationship, .05 or lower is significant) and the second is the fraction of times that the winning conference was the same in the ASG and the final.

NFL: .759 (19/40)
MLB: .717 (37/73)
NHL: .713 (16/28)
NBA: .081 (37/59)

I wasn’t expecting to find any relationship, so the NFL, MLB, and NHL numbers are unsurprising. But the NBA figures, while not yet statistically significant, might eventually yield a relationship with a larger sample size. The conference that wins the NBA All-Star Game has gone on to win the NBA Finals 63% of the time.

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