Todd W. Schneider

2014 PGA Championship Final Round Live Odds Visualized: McIlroy, Fowler, Mickelson, and Stenson

The 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla finally provided some final round drama following anticlimactic finishes at golf’s first 3 majors of the year. Sunday afternoon saw 4 main contenders jockey back and forth for the title: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson, and Henrik Stenson each held at least a share of the lead before McIlroy pulled away for the win.

Gambletron 2000 tracked the betting odds throughout the tournament, which showed that each of those 4 players was considered most likely to win the tournament at some point on Sunday afternoon. Note that is different from saying that each player held the lead. For example, Bernd Wiesberger also held a share of the lead on Sunday, but the betting odds never showed him as the most likely player to win.

Here’s what each player’s real-time betting odds looked like on Sunday afternoon:

McIlroy entered the final round as the 50% betting favorite, but his sluggish start, coupled with strong play from the other 3, led to Fowler taking over at the top of the betting markets a little before 5:30 PM local time. Stenson made some birdies and briefly became the betting favorite around 6:15 PM, then Mickelson made his charge and took over the probabilistic lead around 6:30 PM. Mickelson held the lead as late as 7:30 PM, but a late bogey on the 16th hole ultimately doomed him.

Here’s a graph that shows the betting favorite at each point on Sunday. You can see that McIlroy led for most of the day, including when it mattered most, but the other players, especially Fowler, were all the favorite at some point:

Do you work for AN investment bank, or THE investment bank?

Matt Levine had a good idea on Twitter:

This is amusing of course because in the world of prestige-obsessed New York Times wedding announcements, the definite article “the” is far more prestigious than the indefinite article “a” — you want to work at the place everyone knows as the consulting firm, not a consulting firm!

I crawled through the Wedding Crunchers database of NYT wedding announcements to look for mentions of investment banks and consulting firms immediately preceded by “the” or “a”, then compiled the results into the spreadsheet at the bottom of this page. Caveats apply: some firms (JPMorgan, for example) tend not to be explicitly referred to as banks or consultancies, so we cannot measure where they fall on this particular New York Times Weddings & Celebrations prestige scale.

The results are pretty much what you’d expect: the usual suspects of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and McKinsey are almost exclusively referred to as “the” investment bank or consulting firm. Jefferies & Company receives the most mentions as “an” investment bank. While this puts Jefferies toward the bottom of the prestige scale, that might actually be a good omen: Lehman Brothers, Salomon Brothers, and Bear Stearns all rank highly in prestige, and we’ve seen how that worked out for them…

Real-time NBA Championship Odds Before and After LeBron James’s Announcement

LeBron James announced that he’s going back to Cleveland, and immediately the Cavaliers’ chances of winning the 2014/15 NBA championship increased from 10% to around 18%.

Of course that 10% already had built in some likelihood that James would choose to play for the Cavaliers next season. Before Cleveland was considered a threat to land LeBron, their championship odds were around 2%, so the 10% Cleveland odds immediately before LeBron’s decision perhaps reflected market expectations that LeBron had a 50% chance of choosing Cleveland: 0.5 * 0.18 + 0.5 * 0.02 = 0.1

The Houston Rockets were initially the other big winners of The Decision Part II. Chris Bosh had been expected to join the Rockets if LeBron left Miami, and so the Rockets’ championship odds increased from 5% to around 15% immediately after LeBron’s announcement. Unfortunately for Houston, though, it later came out that Bosh was returning to the Miami Heat, and Houston’s championship odds subsequently declined back to around 6%

UPDATED: some folks have asked how the Indiana Pacers’ championship odds changed in the wake of Paul George’s serious leg injury. The Pacers had been around 4.4% to win the championship before George got hurt, but they’ve since declined to 2.5%: